Discovering micro narrative

micro narrative - the collector blog
The Dinosaur – one of the shortest stories ever

“When he awoke, the dinosaur was still there.”

Believe it or not, that’s one of the world’s shortest stories.

It’s titled The Dinosaur and belongs to Augusto Monterroso (December 21, 1921 – February 7, 2003) a Honduran writer, known for his humorous and ironical style in his work.

When it comes to writing, one tends to think that it’s necessary to count on plenty resources to find inspiration. That stories need to be long in order to deliver meaning.

Take another look at the first line of this blog post. You’ll see that all you need is a powerful idea to welcome as many interpretations as the universe has.

Flash fiction, a style of fictional literature characterized by its brevity, starts showing more presence on the world wide web through sites like Flash Fiction Online and Flash Fiction Magazine.

Micro narrative leads the way to compiling ideas for a longer composition. Sometimes, as a writer, you find yourself jotting down random thoughts without any connection between themselves. This literary style may put them all together.

Another tool that may you help with micro narrative is Twitter. You have 140 characters to tell a story. Great way to train your mind to express in a few words.

Play with ideas and possibilities. Starting small can bring some great results.

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Museums trigger creativity

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Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City

Last month I visited Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

It is one of the most iconic museums in Mexico. It’s a must to be there!

In December, there was an exposition on Russian art that displayed propaganda posters as well as drawings that illustrated influences from cubism.

There was a specific room for all visitors to play with cubes and build anything with them to interact and experience that kind of art. This is brilliant. It’s the first time that I find this possibility in a museum.

Then, in a different exposition, the murals painted by Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros portayed the essence of the Mexican history. My mom and I were analyzing them, and figuring out the meaning behind them. We came to so many conclusions together.

It was really constructive to exchange ideas on what we were appreciating.

In that very moment, I realized that it’s important to have pen and paper when visiting a museum. I felt so bad for not having any of those elements. (What kind of journalist am I?)

Therefore, next time I visit a museum, it’s mandatory to have them because of the following reasons:

  • Further research on a topic or artist can be conducted later on. Keywords are necessary for that.
  • It’s possible to come up with ideas to design, illustrate and photograph. Inspiration might catch you there!
  • Thoughts and interpretations can be translated into ideas for articles or analysis.

 

Go for it.

 

Facing creative fears

creative mess - the collector blog
Creativity is challenging

Creatives face challenges constantly.

Everyday, there’s something new to solve. Something to figure out in any kind of industry.

However, these creatives also get to a point where they don’t know if they can meet expectations. What if they run out of ideas?

What if they’re not good enough?

Lots of what if’s.

The other day I found this talk from 99u. In it, Christoph Niemann, an illustrator, artist and author proposes solutions to these challenges.

Let’s focus on the solution, not on the problem.

Calgary Zoo Lessons

A couple of weeks back I visited the Calgary Zoo at night to enjoy Illuminasia, a lantern & garden festival presented by Sinopec Canada.

I was deeply impressed.

The concept captured cultural aspects of China, Japan and India through food, garden and art. All at night.

One would think that a zoo has a fixed schedule, and that there’s nothing to do at it after 8 pm.

That’s not the case here, and that’s fantastic.

I learned two lessons from that experience:

  1. Culture can be transmitted through creativity at a zoo. It’s not an exclusive thing from libraries or museums.
  2. Art is a way of expressing knowledge.

I love you, Calgary Zoo.

Kraftwerk played in Calgary, and I was there

The legendary music band Kraftwerk played in Calgary for the very first time in its 45-year career.

On September 17th, I enjoyed their 3D concert at the Jubilee Auditorium. I got my ticket two days before and spent a lot of money on buying a shirt as a souvenir, but I didn’t care. It’s, Kraftwerk!

Kraftwerk playing Tour de France
Kraftwerk playing Tour de France

Photo Credit: Takahiro Kyono with some rights reserved

It’s also important to note that, in that week, I ended up with less money to spend on groceries…then again, it’s Kraftwerk! It was also my first concert in Canada, the first time that I saw this band live and the first time I interviewed people in this kind of event.

I had an assignment for my writing class, so this show was the ideal topic for me to work on.

I must say that I got lucky with the interviews part. Two guys, Mike and Tony, were talking about music as they waited for the doors to open.

I took my time to join the conversation. I wasn’t sure how to introduce myself or how to tell them that I wanted to ask them a few questions.

I let it happen naturally, and soon the three of us were analyzing how Kraftwerk has influenced bands and artists like Depeche Mode, Coldplay, Joy Division and Madonna among others.

Mike, 51, said that his aunt has always been into this band. She played her Autobahn LP all the time and he just loved the music. When he learned that it was touring Canada, he didn’t hesitate to drive all the way from Winnipeg to make it in time.

Kraftwerk's LP's
Kraftwerk’s LP’s

Photo Credit: Francisco Luis Prieto with some rights reserved

On the other hand, Tony, 28, became a huge fan of the band thanks Madonna’s album Confessions on a Dance Floor. He got himself a ticket on the front raws to enjoy the 3D experience. He also chose a very unique outfit for the night: black trousers, black tie and a red long-sleeved shirt to emulate the band’s members’ clothing on the cover of the Man Machine album.

Another guy even approached him to congratulate him on that idea. It was certainly brilliant.

Although the concert didn’t last too long, the graphics and the music were perfect. I still can’t believe that I was actually there!

I went on my own; however, talking to Mike and Tony was a nurturing experience. It taught me that there’s nothing wrong with joining conversations; we all had something in common after all.

Breaking the ice leads the way to discovering new stories.

Step up and show your work

Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon
Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

All of us have projects.

We write, we take pictures, we create music…but we are shy to share that work with an audience.

Austin Kleon says

Crafting something is a long uncertain process. A maker should show her work.

In 211 pages and 10 chapters, Kleon describes step by step how to put your creations in the public eye through the use of the Internet.

His first chapter strongly states that you don’t have to be a genius. All you need is process. Results are not the main focus. This point in particular is the core essence of Show Your Work! That mindset can actually help you track your daily progress as you think less about becoming famous or going viral.

The matter of time can be a factor that stops you from crafting your art everyday. You have to work, or study, or take care of your children, or feed the dog and so on.

Still, it’s important to share a little something everyday through a tweet, a picture or a blog post. Small steps will turn into great habits.

On the other hand, Kleon suggests to tell good stories instead of becoming human spam. You might be excited about your content, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to pester online communities to ask for likes or retweets.

According to the author,

“Follow me back?” is the saddest question on the Internet.

Show Your Work! is highly recommended to start promoting yourself through social media. It’s the kind of book you can easily read in one day.

Once you’re done, you’ll want to get to work immediately.

Photo by Alicia Barreto Jaime

Admiring someone you used to dislike

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I used to dislike Yoko Ono.

Yes, I blamed her for making John Lennon go solo.

Yes, I used to think she had no talent at all and that she was famous just because of that relationship with him.

Last year, I was in the bookstore and spotted her latest book Acorn. I felt curious about it and decided to buy it without reading any page beforehand.

I started reading it in my room…and I couldn’t stop.

“This is a masterpiece”, I told myself once I was done.

Her poems and drawings are deep and meaningful. She made me look at the sky in angles I didn’t know existed.

She made me observe the environment I create in my own room.

Thanks to that book I have better ideas on how to enjoy a rainy day and became more interested in recording the sound of laughter.

Acorn is the kind of book you need to face an unfriendly world. It’s a guide to keep your mind healthy and practice introspection.

It’s a great book to enjoy on a Sunday morning with coffee and a great companion to survive any busy hour during the week.

On the other hand, this artistic work portrays the real Yoko Ono, the woman who had to deal with haters that accused her of breaking The Beatles.

Every word reveals deep feelings, deep thoughts. Every complete poem talks about someone who has gone through an emotional roller coaster and dared to write about it.

Your opinion on Yoko Ono will change after reading Acorn. I know it happened to me.

Image credit: Dr Case at flickr.com with some rights reserved.