Sunday, January 27, 2008

Marcel followed the voices to safety.

Green walking, originally uploaded by z e n.

Deriving a six-word story for me went something like this:
The first thing I looked at after the photo were people's comments - and they were both about loners, being loners and understanding the feeling of being different. So that set my 'mood.'

Boy walks away from dumb wedding.

Well, yes, that's a bit obvious for what's going on, but it's probably how he's feeling about the dumb wedding and having to be all dressed up and slick-backed hair and stuff.

Next I thought what would be the name of my little loner? I like giving names because, well, I believe that a story is about someone. Someone specific. Not 'Loner" because we all can see that he is and and already identify with that. And definitely not 'little boy' because not only is that obvious, but for gosh sakes it uses two words! That's a 3rd of my story! So if I name him, he will be manageable and identifiable too. A loner should have a name that no one likes in the first place or one that sets him/her apart from his peers… like Herbert or Marcel or Gaylord, but not Dave or William or any of the newer names people use for children to make them seem different, but aren't… the city-like Denver or Austin or happy neo-retro names like Brandon or Connor and definitely nothing starting with a J (Jason, Jacob, Joshua). These are fine names, but not for our little loner. And nothing too cutesy like "Billy."

I like Marcel because it's different, and has an effeminate sound to it. Like Johnny Cash's "Boy named Sue."

The scene is in the mountains, and obviously a part of a gathering, probably a wedding. Marcel is more dressed up than he wants to be, and either that discomfort or boredom shows on his face. He's obviously taking a 'path less traveled' even though it is mowed. It leads off the photo so we don't really know where it goes - but it doesn't seem to lead anywhere where the crowd is interested, except that one woman (who happens to be my dear sweet Helen, but nobody needs to know that she's probably looking at me taking a picture of someone, not looking after the boy or whistfully watching).

What did he do next? Go behind a tree a take a leak? Go off into the woods and get lost and launch a few Search and Rescue helicopters to find him?

Marcel was later found partially eaten.

Yikes, let's not be overdramatic and have the poor boy mauled by a bear just to create some plot… there's probably plenty crisis to go around without resorting to physical harm. Besides, not all crisis needs to be physical.

Maybe we should just let the details of his "loner-ness" be private and only indicate that there was something larger there:

Even at 9 Marcel heard voices.

So that's why he's distracted and tends to wander off! Well, we learn that he hears voices, but his expression isn't hypnotized. One thing, we probably already suspected he was around 9 years old so those words in the story don't tell us anything new. I like the "Marcel heard voices" part though, so what else can be told?

Maybe the voices were good rather than what we normally assume, that he's a loner and nuts (and an artist). Maybe that takes the story into a place where we didn't originally want it to go, but gives interest to the relationship between the boy and the crowd he either despises or is ambivalent about.

Marcel followed the voices to safety.

Ah! Now Marcel may have wandered, but this leaves the story open to many other endings… such as did he also run and tell everyone to leave before the aliens came? Did the unexploded bomb in the Pyrenees mountains go off killing many partiers and he unexplainably survived? Was the 'safety' his mother? Were the voices real (not in his head as implied earlier)? I like this much better than when I started, and just thought I'd throw in the thought process of my particular six-word-story today for fun.

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