Synergy and Convergence

I just saw a commercial for an interesting-sounding movie, called The Odd Life of Timothy Green, about a boy who is born out of his parents’ wishes and the Earth. That is all I know about the movie.

But that reminded me of a short story I wrote a couple of years ago, about a girl born of Water and her parents’ wishes. How neat is that?

They say that ideas flow until they meet in a node and while in that node many people combine these ideas into similar constructs. So it was with Darwin and Wallace, so it is with many literary works. It has happened many times to me and tonight it happened again.

I can’t help but smile.

 

 

I called my story A Pril o’ the Thirst. It is a Jack tale, only the main character is April. And yes I wrote it to be read at the March 31, 2010, meeting of the Write Group, the closest meeting to April 1 of that year.

The premise is that during a severe drought, the girl was born of the last bit of Water to a miller and his wife, who lived in a water-mill at the edge of a village. The girl, made of wish and magic, spreads magic and hope during her “typical-Jack” adventures. But she is also made of Water and upon her death, after a short life, Water returns to the village.

It is not coincidence that I equated the name April with Jack, nor that I thought of writing a Jack story for April Fool’s Day. I took a Storytelling course in 2004 from Gail de Vos at the University of Alberta. One of her grad students converted a Jack story into a contemporary April story to celebrate the approach of April 1 in 2004. All I can remember of that story is that it involved highrises and the Edmonton river valley. Yet the synergy of Jack, April and April 1 made an impression on me.

A Pril o’ the Thirst was a fun tale to write. I look forward to watching The Odd Life of Timothy Green when it comes out.

What do you think about idea nodes and converging creations? Have you ever experienced similar phenomena?

The Fool-witch in the Schnapps

The Schnapps

Festive Fastnacht! Heureux Mardi Gras! Bon Carnival! Feliz Terça-feira Gorda! Cheerful Pancake Tuesday!

Today is a special day around the world as Christians prepare for Ash Wednesday and Lent. Fastnacht is the time of release, of indulgence, the opposite of Lent, when strict behaviour and abstinence are observed until Easter. It is the day when the world eats pancakes — I ate soup.

My memories of Fastnacht are sharply personal. It was during Fastnacht that I met my first witch!

And she wasn’t alone …

I wrote an essay in which I described my encounter with this witch. Below is an excerpt of that encounter.

“… an old woman with a hunched back, big nose, wide grin and conspiring wink. She leans on a walking stick, carries a leather pouch and offers a shot glass in a toast. Asters and daisies grow about her feet; young black spruce grow behind her. A crow sits on her shoulders, offsetting the orange full moon and few clouds in the twilight sky.

“The woman, of course, is a witch. … I remember this witch and a hundred more like her, marching one warm afternoon down a German street with their traditional, home-made white blouses, brown skirts, red headkerchiefs and hand-carved wooden masks covering their faces. Most carried hazel brooms with twig wisps; some carried whips. Between them rolled horse-drawn wagons with wooden cages beneath that could fit a couple dozen spectators pulled from the crowd and a dozen in gallows on top. We had noisemakers and clay badges to protect us from the grasping witches. I remember quite vividly one reaching for me. It took my parents to shoo her away, for my noisemaker and badge were not doing the trick. For a seven-year-old child quite aware of the stories of Hansel and Gretel and himself in the land where these stories were set, this Witch Parade was an awesome and scary experience.”

The Fool-witch

I have many hobbies, among which is oil painting.

That memory of the Witch Parade never left me and has always been an igniter of my imagination and a source of inspiration. So, I let my imagination carry me as I played with my memory, and I composed the following oil painting.

 

 

This painting was extremely fun to create as I spend considerable time playing with light, shadow, blends and three-dimensions in it. Notice that it contains two styles of painting: realistic foreground (the witch) and impressionistic background (the hill and trees to the left).

The above photograph shows an intermediate state of the painting. Several features were touched since, particularly the pond which has since been darkened to emphasize the night and the “suspense” of the scene.

The inspiration for the painting came from the label on a bottle of Schnapps of all things. This bottle of Schnapps is full of elements of sorcery and fire folklore. I describe it and its symbolism in detail in the essay I mentioned above. The following image is a photograph of it.

 

 

The bottle’s true dimensions are: 4×1.5×0.75 inches.

I completed the painting last November.

The Oil

Play is what we do when we enjoy ourselves and others. It inspires our imagination, revitalizes our minds and strengthens our bodies. It sparks curiosity and creativity, and focuses our senses. And when it becomes public, it moves those who witness it.

But it also shapes and constructs our practical wisdom, so contributing to our ever learning and maturing nature.

Painting and writing are two of my favourite hobbies, which is why I devoted a blog to them. What hobbies inspire you to grow?