Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dancing about Architecture

Remember this, according to Ray Rhamey, blogger and author of books like “We the Enemy” and “The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles” when it comes to showing, not telling:
  • Telling is dispensing information
  • Showing is evoking experience
But let me show you. First, here’s Andy Williams singing “Try to Remember,” from “The Fantastiks.”

Now here’s me, trying to evoke an experience:

In silhouette he walks toward us, gently walking as if he doesn’t want to leave footprints. The guitar, the horn, the invisible singers in the background; their sounds ripple the air like wind on grain, on the farm we see behind him.

He emerges from shadow. He’s wearing a suit.

Maybe he’s a visitor at the farm, contemplating buying it. Or maybe he’s the farm’s long-lost son, returned from the city, wandering the fields he knew as a child, trying to find those places that captivate his memory: the silo where he played in the shadows, the ditch where he swam, the fallow field where the wild strawberries grew amid the cowpats.

Try to remember the kind of September,
When life was slow and oh so mellow . . .

He doesn’t look at us through the camera. He’s not singing to us. He’s singing to himself, trying to remember as he urges us to remember in song.

Melancholy. He is the boy searching for the magical spots of youth. Though crisply dressed in his blue suit, he has wandered the farm for hours, searching, and finding nothing but the grain that ripples under the wind of the fingers on the guitar, the wind of the lungs blowing into the horn.

But not so melancholy. As he stands, looking over the fields that were once a fairy world, he remembers. He remembers the green grass, the flowing yellow grain. But the memories are faint. He looks up as he remembers, then casts his eyes to the banks of earth at his feet as the memories fade.

He has returned, but he cannot go back to the days when he was a tender and callow fellow, playing in the fields, living in a world where the sky was small because the fields were big, each day lit differently by the hues of sun and fading chlorophyll.

Try to remember when life was so tender,
That no one wept except the willow. . .

When he sings this, his lips are crooked, as if he’s trying to shape the W as he sings. He knows he can’t go back to that time when the only weeping was done by the willow, though he has returned to the farm he knew so well.

Melancholy – but resigned. Content, maybe, with the dreams he keeps beside his pillow.

Deep in December it’s nice to remember
The fire of September that made us mellow . . .

Here, he almost smiles. He can’t go back to that time, standing there in the field, dressed in his suit when back then he wore overalls without a shirt on underneath. He is content with the memories he has. It’s time to go.

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