Seriously, you guys, I love this so hard.
I like the idea that stories are love letters, though not always the kind that we expect. There are stories like this one – a letter of love from one person to another person, and it is lovely. But there are also stories that are love letters to the books we loved or love letters to the people we used to be or love letters to the world. Some stories are love letters that the writer constructs, and other are built entirely by the reader. I think that all of my stories are love letters to the lonely child I used to be. Except the ones that I write for my children. Or the ones that I write to my husband. Or the ones I write to the world (or every world).
Perhaps it is all these things at once.
In any case, I love the simplicity of the drawings here. There is an immediacy to the storytelling and an urgency to the tenderness that I find terribly appealing.
Narrative is an amazing thing. We think of storytelling as a linguistic art, bound by word and syntax and the cadence of sound, but that’s not true. Story – as a structure, as an art form, as an organism, as a thing that feeds and grows and multiplies and thrives – is wholly separate from language. Language is the medium that we often use to get at the heart of the story, but it’s a blunt tool most of the time. Language winds around the story, it catches it like butterfly nets or fish hooks or cages, but language is not the story. The story is the story.
I was having a conversation with some other writers recently on Twitter about outlining. I am not an outliner – and when I have made some attempts at outlining, I ended up killing the book that I wanted to write.
(there are dead novels in my desk drawers. They are mummified corpses. They are partially created frankensteins, that will never draw breath.)
But I wonder – I really wonder – if a pictoral outline would be a more effective tool. One of the lovely things about that flip book is that the story felt unbound. It unfolded in my head; it wrote itself in my heart. Perhaps I need to try my hand at unbound outlining.
If anything else, I think I would enjoy it very much.