Part of the CBC Massey Lectures series, Northrop Frye originally delivered his series of six talks on the value of studying literature, collective known as The Educated Imagination, in 1962. The lectures have been collected in a book published by Anasi. By virtue of being a student at the University of Toronto and being taught by professors who were in turn taught by Frye himself, the ideas of this book are a part of my critical DNA. Before going back to read The Educated Imagination again this week after a decade of recommending it to all and sundry, I don’t think I fully appreciated exactly how formative Frye’s ideas are to me and my approach to literature and critical theory. Continue reading “READ 001 – The Educated Imagination – Northrop Frye”
In out most recent chat, Luke and I discussed how reading books or articles about storytelling is all well and good, but it would be more beneficial to us as creators, and indeed to our community as a whole, if we were to actually reflect on the content of these books.
To that end: enter a new kind of Central Pillar article. READ articles will allow members of the Adventures in Storytelling community to reflect on writing that is about writing. Much like the PLAY experiments, we don’t want to put too many formal restrictions on what READ looks like, but expect READ to be filled with insights on big thinkers, discussions on new ideas, connections to existing Adventures in Storytelling content (especially Right Pillar themes), thoughts on the many philosophies of storytelling, and indeed, whatever else you want READ to be about!
“There is no such thing as a bad idea.”
I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before—you might have even seen it on another creative advice website. It’s the sort of entry level advice that is both incredibly valuable and infuriatingly reductive. The truth is a bit more complex. There are bad ideas, but that does not mean that they are without merit or value.
The day was March 12, 2015. I was walking home from work, contemplating the inevitable yet no less heartbreaking news: Sir Terry Pratchett had passed away. Sir Terry represented 50% of my personal writing heroes, so you must understand I was staggered by the gaping hole he left behind in literature and my soul. How could we, as a species, hope to fill this void? How does one person come to be as skilled, intelligent, delightful, and insightful as he was through each of his works?
Just over one whole year ago, I sent an email to James with three little words in it: Adventures in Storytelling. (Actually, the email had a lot of words in it, but three very important ones were “Adventures”, “in”, and “Storytelling”.) In that moment I laid out an idea that was 10% plan, and asked him if he wanted to be a part of “…something better than if I do it alone.”
Adventures in Storytelling is an ambitious project. In between multiple jobs and mortgages and marriages and home renovations and all manner of adult responsibilities, about a year ago, Luke and I made a big decision. We decided we would go ahead with this project, even if we didn’t really know at the time what the project was, exactly. Now that we’ve had some time to think about what we’re doing, we’ve realised that in some ways we’re doing what has been done many times before: we’re building an online writer’s advice website. Our novel trick, our niche, is that we’re trying to prove that the advice we have isn’t just for writers. It is for any creator, storytellers of every make, shape, and size. Nevertheless, we are very well aware of the fact that we’re moving over well-trodden ground. So why the continued commitment? Why are we passionate about Adventures in Storytelling?
At the start of Adventures in Storytelling, before this website existed as a place for us to meet and share ideas, as James and Luke were gathering the community, they sent around a Google-doc that detailed the vision of the project, its goals, direction, and a brief how-to in regards to getting started. Though the original dates were full of hope and failure (and rightly removed from this rendition), the doc nonetheless played its part in bringing this group of creators together.