The Village Idiot, The Steam Train and some potential time-travelling

Today’s magical number consisted of three steaming pirouettes, in motion, alongside the chug chug of an age-old train. There were three ballerinas: one in green, like the other two carnation’s favourite spell of trees up high, down low, and all, all around.

Someone gulped down a Dirty Hippie cup of coffee (chai tea with espresso) while the others broke bread, poached egg, and sampled some dusted sourdough courtesy of every Australian fairy.

My brother once told me that I was born in the wrong era. And when I’m all aboard a steam train of a period before my grandmother, perched up on the ledge, my arms around the bars, cool breeze on my face, excited about every sound the train makes before its departure, I really do feel like I am made for a different era. And I so badly want to have spent even a few years of my life in the 30’s where boys wear top hats and were called men. But I’m mostly for the steam train sound of my childhood: little people lined up in a row, someone pulls on the vanishing train horn, I make the loud noise and altogether now! – choochoo chuggachuggachuggachuggachugga choochoo.

Never forget. Especially for someone who’s never actually been on an actual steam train.

I remotely thought about time-travelling. But who’s got the time nowadays, am I right?

At The Village Idiot Cafe, I pondered many things to do with dreams. Mostly because there were dreamcatchers hanging over our table and it felt like the perfect moment to just list them out. I was distracted by boisterous laughter from two friends, the hissing of the coffee machine, and the chirpy camaraderie between the hired hands. They talked to do with something grungy and credibly normal you cannot help but tune the rest out and slouch on the couch.

And on the way back, after a cuppa choc and bird attacks, I was beginning to be lulled to sleep and I frighteningly wanted to have been because how romantic is it? To sleep on a chugging steam train and you wake up, rub your eyes, and it is 1891, there is a striped circus in your neighbourhood with a huge fanfare, caramel popcorn and top hats!

Hey… that’s a pretty cool basis of the beginning of story ain’t it? I was gonna re-watch some favourite episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine but I may just start writing a story instead. Don’t worry, the protagonist’s name won’t be Bill.

Initiative: the practice of simplicity and the essence of the human condition in film

Tribute to Hayao Miyazaki by dono 2015

When I came across my first Hayao Miyazaki film (Spirited Away) three, four years ago, I finally opened the magical door to a world of film in its most simplistic and also in its most grandeur…simultaneously. The stories are etched in a man who, like everyone else, had been a child once, and has discovered the mystical pulling powers of one’s imagination at play. I loved his films for their presence. There is a realism there that is deeper than showing someone suffering from a sort of emotional turmoil or play. His films are like watching a piece of art come alive.

Ways of Making aims to help us budding filmmakers find a way to actually make a film that is a combination of our “creative vision” and our “respect for the subject matter as an active agent shaping the final form” and I am enthused by the idea that I can make a Miyazaki film, or at least, draw from the essence of his films into my own creative works and directorial vision…something I want to accomplish as a director, writer and producer.

In this particular post, I would like to highlight my inspiration of capturing in my future films what is known as the essence of humanity: that even through a non-animated film, one can create a fictional world that could also “soothe the spirit of those who are disheartened and exhausted from dealing with the sharp edges of reality”. I know it sounds a little contradictory when you think about it but I think the truth very much lies in what story you are telling and how you are telling it.

I allude to my previous post in regards to my admired directors. I mentioned Peter Jackson for his foray into the genre of fantasy and action and adaptation and creating The Lord of the Rings which is now at the heart of every movie-goer and those swimming in pop culture waters. Though Jackson created a world that Tolkien had already envisioned and blue-printed, Jackson (and his team, of course) chose the characters, inhabited the settings, rode the horses, and sharpened the long swords.

Miyazaki drew his inspirations from his childhood imaginations, and also some books, or graffiti maybe, or a stall at a busy night market and like clay, formed them in an image of his creative vision.

This is the kind of storytelling I want to produce, an exploration of the human condition through humans themselves, perhaps, and a conglomeration of both animation and realism.

A lot to think about but I so very much ready to make this happen.

short story writing: 4-things prompt

In today’s class, the task was simple. Write a short story that includes these four things:

  • a place, Chinatown
  • a food item, Pavlova
  • a word, Propinquity
  • a cultural icon, James Dean

Here’s what I have so far…

You’re not one to stare. You have been taught not to, your mother’s propriety at stake, and if you do, by accident, of course, no one will ever know. Perhaps not even yourself. Maybe.

But not today.

You look pale, would you fan yourself? You’re sweating a little bit. You can’t help but notice her, can’t you? The little maid with the tiniest slippers housing even tinier feet. She’s carrying your mother’s pavlova cake as big as her beehive hair and you see nothing. Nothing but the two tiny feet, and the cake almost levitates, doesn’t it? Arriving ceremoniously on the grand table.

Your father smokes a pipe, you join him but only to drink his drink. Perhaps he’d let you drive fast today. Like James Dean. You see her move, did you see? Like a charmed snake, you want to say, but she is too small, too fragile, and you want to take her out. Away from this place. From people, apart from you, who notice nothing of her. To Chinatown, driving fast, you buy her something cool with red beans or mush, iced and jelly-like.

You need to cool yourself down. And so does she. But you first, right? Always.

But not this time.

Your propinquity to her astounds you a few moments later when you raise your hand to summon her beside you. You feel choked when she recites the other items to be served. You realise that she cannot carry the pork tray with spiced apple and potatoes, that she cannot juggle the liquor and the ice and the glasses and the demands. That her feet, by the end of the night will swell up as twice as they are now, even more, as big as yours, and you stop her.

You command her to-

And I end there because Ernest Hemingway often stops mid-sentence so he has something to come back to the next day. And that I will do in part deux, when I continue this later on.

Things I learned well, one of, is allowing the story to grow organically. To just keep writing without any idea of what the outcome will be, or what the ending should be and just let the characters flow. I think I’m going to like doing this writing exercise more often than I thought before. Here’s to breaking from what is comfortable!

Things I notice about my own writing, is that I like disjointed, jarring first paragraph-sentences. Something to ponder about for the next works…

the angel of death

First of the Creative Writing works inspired by the most disjointed first paragraph I have ever half-read in She will build him a city by Raj Kamal Jha (someone please get me a copy.)

je présente…

The trees offered no respite. A mother, rocking the child, blameless, possibly lifeless, scalding waters in torrents under her feet, which, not the child knew, would be the resting place, scorned, strong, limp, breathing still. When the pools of her green hue, sometimes blue, mostly sage, lathered favourably on every bite, waxens, whitens, disappears, like the colour of the moon, the howl of a distant predator, begone, begone, did the trees finally ask the question, may I cover thee, an outcry of the once-child comforted by a once-mother, no more then, remembered now. Breathing. The child. And breathing still.

Beneath her feet (or was it another’s?) was a long thin string of once the colour of soot, now covered in red that followed the trail of bodies amidst the mass. She fingers the material.
Strong, sharp.

It cuts her finger and she bleeds. And it flows in a trickle, like the colour of the boy who once upon a time lived next door, not crying, never crying, but the one cradling him, like a torrent, a deluge, of blood, blood, blood.

With a mind focused, the wound closes as fast as it opened. She takes the soft gauze from her back-pocket and she pinches, in authority, the arms away from the bleeding boy. Let go. You must let go.
Or he will die, she tells herself but not out loud. You must never frighten the trapped prey. Or they will flee, and take the carrion with them.
And her purpose is no more.

The deep greens, like a forest under the mountains, so green, so full of life, sees another life, this one, much older than the boy, stronger, sitting up, scratching, she falters. She is herself. The little girl. A leg gone, two, three fingers, caressing her mother’s bandaged head while she itches. Itches to help another.

Stop, she wanted to scream. Get away from this place. Get away!
But she must never frighten the trapped bird. No. She must nurse them upon her breast. And they will take flight, finding a branch for the ark of another’s life.
Like her, once dead, now living for the dead.

Her apron is covered in a hundred men’s blood. Her fingers, sanitised, cleaned, still smelled of foul decay of young eyes going still, of maternal hands limping as hers tighten stronger. She is an angel. She is mine. I see her in white. Glorious, healing in touch.
I will take away your pain, but you must trust me. You must.

And some are frightened. Old men grasping, choking, heaving, hands pumping, I want to live! Live!
She takes their hands and offers them life. Then let me help you. And she takes out another roll of soft gauze from her back pocket. And she lays it over their eyes.

And it waxes, whitens, disappears, like the colour of the moon, of gauze of white, and darkness.

She chooses them, whosoever has chosen to live. Not many, all children, some men, their crosses are no refuge.
An angel, once a child, where the trees were too late to offer respite.
Of death, now saviour. Of life, now dead.