Friday, 20 September 2013

The Storyteller

Rented a somewhat recent (2012) film out of the Main Public Library yesterday, name of Life of Pi, and watched it last night.  I had only heard a tiny bit about it, didn't really know what it was about.  What it turned out to be about was, besides itself - a fabulous voyage of the mind - also a trigger for a memory out of my own imagination, of many years ago.  But first, a word about this one.

The film, and novel on which it was based, could also as well have been titled The Storyteller; although that may have been giving too much away up front.1  Anyway, as I saw it:2

Characters from the foundering ship, who ended up with the Hero, in his imagination, on his journey in the only lifeboat that made it to the sea and (relative) safety: the cook (the hyena), an injured sailor (the injured zebra), his mom (the female orangutan), and part of himself; all conjured up out of his imagination, to see him through his long and lonely ordeal.  

'Part of himself': the adult Bengal tiger, that fierce, 'other' part of himself that he called forth (from offstage, i.e., from under the canopied half of the lifeboat), to help him do battle with his severe, life-threatening situation, and whose presence saw him through, to the very end, when it was no longer needed, as a coping device, and slipped quietly away, into the world of the dense, screening jungle that it came out of originally, and had been called up out of here for this purpose; with nary a glance back at its conjurer; who gave thanks and credit to a God that cared enough for that small and insignificant part of Itself that It could help it with such a coping device as such an imaginatable mind; to help us see ourselves through our ordeals, of life away from Home,3 down on this almost - almost - godforsaken speck of dust in the immensity of a universe that could almost - almost - care not a whit about us, and our petty little adventures.

We think.  While ensconced in the storytelling.  Of The Great Storyteller behind it All...  

An ingenious story.4   

And it reminded me of something that came up out of my own imagination a goodly number of years ago, now. 

I have mentioned this before, in these pages.  But I don't expect you, Dear Reader, to have remembered it, if you have even been with me on my adventures of the mind in these pages that long.  It was in the telling of the story - in bare, outline form - of a film script that I wrote many years ago, about a youngish American male - after coming back from some war or other, seen in a brief Prologue (our Hero indistinguishable at that stage from all the other characters caught up in that story)  - ending up in small coastal Mexican village hosting an artists colony, whose older female Director he is an assistant to, in exchange for painting lessons.  He turns out to have a fabulous, and secret, 'inner life', having painted the inner walls of his small one-room adobe dwelling with wall-size scenes,5 and the ceiling as a canopy of stars, like those found in Egyptian tombs.  One wall is of a searing desert scene, with a lone cactus in the background and the bleached-bone head of some horned animal in the foreground, and the sun looking like something out of a Van Gogh painting, complete with ringlets; one is a seascape, with a huge wave being ridden by a lone dolphin; one is I forget what, at this point (it doesn't matter in this telling of the story); and the fourth - ah, the fourth.  That is a wall of almost impenetrable jungle - and interestingly enough, almost precisely like that depicted in Life of Pi.  The only difference between the two storytellings is that in the Life of Pi's story, the feline animal is looking at it from this, our, side, looking to enter back into it, after having been called forth, for a coping purpose.  In my story, there are a pair of feline eyes looking out at the human's side of the jungle.  It's hard to tell, from the painting, whether they are filled with menace, or just watching, watching, from the other side of the screen in between. In between us, and another part of ourselves…and Feline/Feminine/the feminine principle, as in the Active part of the Godhead...

I don't need to go further into that story.  (Although it has to do with our time and place.)  I just mention it,  as an interesting 'artifact'.  

As we verge on the edge of a major breakthrough into another reality. containing another part - aspect - of our consciousness.  Beyond the veil of Illusion.                     



1 And after all this time that the film has been out, I don't think I'm giving away too much in talking about it.  If you haven't seen it, and would like to, read no further, and let it be your own experience; not as seen through my eyes, and mind; to say, interpretation.   

2 And a tip of the hat to a poster on the thread of an article about the film, critiquing it, who helped me focus my thoughts on it.  I knew there was something in the nature of a storytelling device about it; I just hadn't connected all the dots, when I decided to check out the Internet on the film, and see what others thought about it - and as our Hero told the story, at the end, when the Mexican authorities, interviewing him about the sinking, didn't believe him, to say, his first story.

3 Metaphored here by the Hero being forced to leave his beloved India for life far away, on a different continent, in a different culture, in Canada.  Crossing an immense sea to get there; full of who knew what all challenges, and portents of challenges... 

4 The fabulous island, near the end of our Hero's journey, of edible seaweed and meerkats - simply surreal; although true to the idea of such a person's state of mind after such a long time at sea (277 days in total in the telling) - was the real tipoff for me. as the more-obvious device of a storyteller.  Gulliver's Travels, and all that sort of entertaining folderol.  But done in a very captivating, and thought-provoking, way here.  Especially in the way that the storyteller brought God - and the sense of a God -  so boldly, and centrally, into the picture.  Very telling.  And confronting.

5  sealing himself off from the corrupt outer world of his 3D living experience

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