Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mystery Singer - Accentuate the Positive

So once again the local station didn't go back and announce the signer/band of a song this morning. This particular radio station is also the one that drives me CRAZY with that stupid "I remember when" song sung by Nancy Wilson? EVERY MORNING at 7:06am.

Anyway, I immediately recognized the song. It is a well known lyric written by Johnny Mercer. Here's the

story of how he came to write it. (and now I think I finally found the singer, Monica Mancini).

Anyway, there's this thing about writing a story, which relates (kind of) to the lyrics. By the end of the story, your character has to change in some way. Some profound way. Now normally we think about stories where the main character learns something "meets the challenge" and is a better person. You know, you "Accentuate the Positive". Personally, I think that's the easier story line to write. Of course, we all know I don't do anything the easy way.

I've been struggling for six months now with the story arc and how Josiah changes. Unfortunately I think his story is one about losing faith (instead of gaining it). And that's kind of sad for me. 'Cause I really wanted to highlight how faith supports him and his scientific world. But he doesn't seem to be cooperating.

The other thing, is that although on the surface this story seems to be one about hope/redemption, ie: the need for environmental protection is recognized and the judiciary supports this; and "the little guy" (farmers) win one against "big money" (miners/railroads) - it's really a tragedy because Josiah loses his faith. He's forced to face the fact that his amazing engineering designs aren't going to save the day. This is a difficult realization for him (as it would be for any crusader to realize they can't change the world).

So the question becomes - how is he different after this crisis of faith? Another important part of writing , is you've got to make the change dramatic. So if the change isn't going to be a positive one - then I'm writing to the antithesis of these lyrics,

"You got to spread joy up to the maximum

Bring gloom down to the minimum

And have faith, or pandemonium

Liable to walk upon the scene"

I don't know yet. It's been suggested the best way to show this change (his internal pandemonium) is to make him materialistic/capitalistic after the lawsuit is over. I'm not sure how that works. I know he'll still be relying on logic and scientific principles. Now though (I think) he'll be out to make money from his ideas - and won't be trying to save people/nature. No joy to the maximum for my guy.

Anyway , at least it's something to mull over while I finish up the webinars - and something to write towards. Which is good - because only after I write it can I see if it works or doesn't work. And although I hate discarding writing - if I figure out what doesn't work, then I'm that much closer to figuring out what DOES work, right?

Yesterday I wrote "Happy Tuesday" -cause at least Monday is in the past."

"You got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive

E-lim-i-nate the negative

And latch on to the affirmative

Don't mess with mister in-between"

But today I'm going to say, "Happy Food Wednesday" - it's peach season (and NOT a very glorious one at that (compared to the cherry season, at least) ... but I'm makin' Peach Ice Cream for the group dinner tonight. You should make it too!


I H8 24 said...

Peach ice cream sounds delicious. I bought some GA peaches yesterday at Joe Patti's and have been getting some rally sweet ones from Kroger. Would go really good with some spicy hot shrimp!!!

bernthis said...

sad endings are hard. Although true to real life for sure, I find it hard to read them b/c often I turn to fiction to take me away from the sadness of every day life and yet I so appreciate the honesty of a story that reflects reality. I know, I'm nuts

Robert said...

make him materialistic/capitalistic

That strikes me as a really unrealistic change of character.

Science has never and will never tell us what is right and wrong. That is not what Science is for. It is a hell of a tool for accomplishing many things - but you have to use your own conviction and moral compass to figure out what you'll do and why. The fact that you can do something, isn't a justification for doing it.

Maybe he just needs to figure that out.

Anonymous said...

If I understand Robert correctly science cannot be used as a tool to put faith into a finite box. We just have to limited of an understanding of the overall scheme of things. Very well stated Robert.