Lately I’ve been fascinated by the concept of oral storytelling.
About a month or two ago, a friend sent me a link to some spoken word poetry. It was fantastic. The words themselves were beautiful, but the passion and skill of the performers made it better. Around the same time, I listened to Neil Gaiman’s Worldbuilders readings of Jabberwocky and Green Eggs and Ham. Anyone can read those stories, but he took it out of monotonous rhythm and made it interesting. Plus, the accent. Then I started on epic poetry.
If you’re at a party and they start passing around the Homer, just say no.
Last week, I found myself with the smudgy draft of a short epic poem, at nearly midnight. It’s the short story equivalent of a real epic poem, and considering the inherent structure I’ve dissected and essayed upon since then, it’s doesn’t quite fall into all the parameters of epic poetry— but it has the basics. I wrote a short poem in unrhymed blank verse, set in my current storyworld, about a mythic hero’s last sacrifice. No, it doesn’t invoke the Muse. No, it doesn’t begin in medias res. Unfortunately, I skimped on both allegory and epic simile, because I haven’t created enough of this world to be that academic, and I still had a bit of a purple prose filter on. But still, I consider it epic.
Probably the biggest reason is this: it’s written to be performed. Continue reading “Writing as a Performance Art”