Sunday, February 21, 2016

Story-telling versus writing

I consider myself primarily a storyteller. I've chosen the written word as a way to tell my stories. Or perhaps I mean the written word chose me, as I never envisioned another method.

But there are plenty of other ways of telling a story.

Some people use songs. I have a tin ear myself, so that was never an option. Some people use dance. Hawaiian hula dances always tells a story, as do classic ballets like Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty. Musical theater combines songs, dances, and spoken words, as in the traditional The Music Man and more recently in the edgy new Broadway hit Hamilton.

Interestingly, the modern era has produced some excellent story telling in television commercials. One of my all time favorites is this Tullamore Dew whiskey commercial; it packs a huge amount of story telling into a small amount of time, and pulls off a surprise ending, too.  In spite of my tin ear, I love the song in it.

A Toronto artist found a unique, visual way to tell a story. He makes dioramas out of vintage ring boxes, in an effort to make the viewer feel transported to another world. Each of his creations is a complete scene, and each viewer can interpret it in his or her own way.

Dance, music, songs, movies, TV. commercials, visual art, books, they're all good. What works for you?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Technology is changing at an incredibly rapid pace!

I was browsing the web the other day, when I saw a set of photos of events in history. Image #17 is of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States.  He helped negotiate the treaty that ended the War of 1812. His father John Adams was the second US president. JQA was nine years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

I had no idea a photograph of this man existed! It just shows you how new our country is, and also how the pace of change is accelerating. JQA's image was captured in his mid-70's by a technology that didn't exist when he was born, or even when he was president, although daguerreotypes were being made a decade or so after he left office. Photographic technology improved over the decades, but it took a long time until it looked radically different.

On the other hand, look at two famous entertainers, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. In addition to being in many “Road” movies together, they also shared a birthday month and year. They were both born in May of 1903. In December of that year, the Wright brothers made the first manned heavier-than-air flight at Kitty Hawk, NC. Both Hope and Crosby were 66 years old when humans first landed on the moon. The jump in technology from the Wright Flyer to Apollo 11 was enormous, and yet it took only 66 years.

Who knows what a baby born in 2016 will see! I'n guessing that when he or she grows up and has a child, they may well come home from the hospital in a self-driving car to a house where all the appliances can be given verbal orders. The really interesting question is what will he or she do for a living when robots cans do so much?