I’ve been within the membrane of a story since the movie ended yesterday evening.
Part of the longevity has to do with the type of movie (Amazing Grace), of course. But more even than that, I attribute the strength of the membrane to a post-story silence that I observed yesterday, maybe for the first time.
When telling stories– especially heavy, significant stories, and especially to an older audience– one recommendation is to take an entire five-minutes for silence after the story, before talking about it or starting a new one.
On our way to the car, and our first two minutes there, I effervesced my first impressions, and how the the woman’s role coalesced cleanly with three other sources (I may essay about later) that were on my mind recently.
This talk had made me turn off the radio (I refuse to compete with talk radio) so when we made a stop for Jay partway home, I waited in a quiet car.
There is a line in The Magician’s Nephew about the place you could almost feel the trees growing, and that was the curious sensation I felt while Jay was gone: a sense of growing and solidifying. Foundation stones, or roots of Story were growing both down and out, connecting something in my core to something in my story cocoon.
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Do you know what I mean by a story cocoon, or a story membrane?
It’s not just the ability to get lost in a story, but the presence and weight of when you’re there. It’s the extra atmospheric pressure of another world, and the iridescent bubble that hasn’t quite popped, even when the story’s ended.
It’s the slowness you feel as you’re leaving a dark theater, or closing a book, while your mind works to order the myriad of sensations you’ve just received and reconcile them to your understanding of the world as it is. (Sometimes it succeeds, sometimes it doesn’t.)
And it’s that feeling of a story sticking with you, affecting you.
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The idea about this first came when I was reading The Thirteenth Tale, and while it applies to books as much as to movies, I think we experience it with movies more.
I’m beginning to think that this is the strongest argument for Charlotte Mason‘s directive to read slowly. More slowly and in smaller sections than you can based simply on your ability or interest, in order to allow the content to infuse your thinking and, basically, last long enough to truly affect you.
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The question, of course, remains as to how much you want a story to affect you. Good/effective writing or storytelling will create a stronger cocoon that’s harder to escape from, and this is why I always want to be so careful what I expose myself to. After all, innocence is not just for kids.