The business of connections
What is the process of your storytelling? I mean, how do you use narratives to create a story? I’ve been a documentary filmmaker and film editor for a long time now. The years of working with “existing stories” and material has given me this mindset that I’m not:
my stories, rather I’m DESIGNING them. I’m finding and shaping them.
I’m collecting all the dots that I need in the hope of finding or making a connection between them: Why is A always carrying a book? What is this book about? Who gave it to her? Why didn’t she want to talk about it?
Yes, when I’m editing, I put my detective hat on! But I’d like to use the examples from the design realm more than other metaphors. Milton Glaser, who designed I LOVE NY, in an interview with Steve Heller from 2014 said:
My deepest interests and the thing that gives me the most delight is the scene that everything is connected. There are no unrelated events. Everything, if you look for it, is connected to everything else, no matters how strange and random those connections are. Everything has an implicit or explicit connection, and you can find those connections. I don’t know whether you are looking for them or they are looking for you. But it’s a question of willingness to see what is in front of you.
Also this week, I found this amazing interview with George Lois, who is the man behind the idea of “The Big Idea,” and what he says here shows that even for him, storytelling and ideation was a method of finding connections and making meaning:
I don’t think I create anything; I just discover ideas. Whenever I nail an idea, I say “Motherfucker!” It was here the whole time in front of my face!
He argues that if you know enough about the history of art and humanity, the idea is always there! You just need to discover it.
I love to finish this thought by mentioning a quote from T.S. Eliot, who believed that we are in the business of finding connections:
The definition of hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing.
Take care of yourself,
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Jumping forward to 1990, Bukowski sent a letter to his friend William Packard and reminded him: “We work too hard. We try too hard. Don’t try. Don’t work. It’s there. It’s been looking right at us, aching to kick out of the closed womb. There’s been too much direction. It’s all free, we needn’t be told. Writing a poem is as easy as beating your meat or drinking a bottle of beer.”