An evening of Myth and Poetry
February 1, 2017 in Trinidad, CO
©2016 Annette Meserve
In Service of the Story
Stories are told in many forms, in drawings and in paintings, in photos and in video, in live performance, in television, in movies.
Until relatively recently, my own stories have been largely brought to life within the visual arts, through drawing and painting and sculpture, seeking out the imagery of what was in my head. I suppose I loved the metaphor as much as I loved the feel of a pencil in my fingers and the messiness of paint, clay, and glue. Mostly, I loved the story.
So it was a natural thing to start telling stories in front of an audience. Intrigued by my Scottish ancestry and the rich storytelling of the British Isles, I collected some folktales and a few jokes, pulled out my kilt and went to work.
But I’ve been writing since I was young. I didn’t recognize it as writing per se, never identified myself as a ‘writer’ (that was the sacred territory of my older sister). My little stories and poems were just things scratched down for my own entertainment, essays were opportunities to rant privately, to solve the world’s problems in secret.
Until that fateful day when this one story stormed in, knocking down my door and sitting on me with the force of a fully developed novel. I promised this behemoth that I would write it into being if it would just get up off my chest. Since then hours, and days, and months, and now years have been given to shoring up the story that seemed so solid when I was under it but which was surprisingly unformed upon closer inspection. That story has become the novel, The Appearance of Terrible Things, which is, as we speak, in final rewrites.
In the meantime, one must make a living and an opportunity presented itself for me to learn video production including computer animation. I really thought it was just a job, a way to utilize my graphic arts background and a way for my husband to retire.
Alas, this new storytelling creature grabbed me by my throat offering to service my love of metaphor if I would only spend the time. As I worked with the delivered scripts, charged with creating visual representation for intangible academic concepts, I found characters living within the voice-over, a universe developing before me on the timeline, possibilities for other projects dancing behind my eyes.
But learning video work by the ‘gosh, I wonder what this button does,’ method, took away the big chunks of time needed to focus properly on revising the novel’s complex story.
After a time, the writing goblins started to rattle the bars of their cages, agitating for equal time and the poetry project was born. As a smaller, bite-sized medium, the goblins could be fed just a little every day. They’re not happy that the novel is being delayed but their snacks have led to the interim publishing of Life at the Far End, a book of poetry due out in May.
As I work away at multiple projects at once, I make a promise to my editor-mother, to my aunt, to my yoga teacher and to all my generous beta-readers: work on the novel continues, it will be finished soon. But until then, look at the other stories that are getting born!