Monday, October 29, 2012

Creating Awe

If you've paid attention to my blogs you know I have a penchant for touting talks of a variety of flavors. This latest I watched is given by Rob Legato, the man responsible for movie effects for Apollo 13, Titanic, and Hugo to name a few.

A basic nugget I took from his presentation was that when we infuse something with enthusiasm or awe or fondness, it changes what we remember.

Although he was talking about the creation of movie images, I began to think about the important books in my life. And realized that the most pivotal stories I'd read were so important to me not only because of the raw talent of the writer, but because of the time and place I read them in my life. Some sort of magic formula is created at the intersection of art and audience.

I think back to just one of the books that made an impact on my life. Clan of the Cave bear by Jean Auel. I was in middle school and it was summer vacation. I was on a trip with my father and step-mother, out of my typical environment and on a sailboat. Sleeping in an unfamiliar bed and feeling outside of myself, not quite sure who I was. My step-mother had suggested this novel and bought me a copy. Ayla's adventure and the pre-historic world building fascinated me. I needed her universe. And it explicitly opened my eyes to the idea of strong female heroines and the struggle for survival and intricate creation of worlds. It affected my path as a future writer and my identity as a woman in our modern world. It gave me hope in some strange way.

We all have favorite books. Yes, some are universally considered masterpieces or universally beloved. But there are so many fantastic books, and sometimes we identify a unique one that came to us at just the right time. When we were suffering, when we needed hope, when we were facing great change in our lives. And that story touched us forever.

What were the books and circumstances like that for you?

1 comment:

Naima Simone said...

Cool post, Michelle!
The book that immediately comes to mind for me is "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". I was about ten or eleven sitting on my grandmother's porch. It blew my mind! Until then the settings in the books I had read were present day. This was the first book where the characters and events took place in a new, strange, beautiful world. It was my introduction to fantasy. And to this day it is still my favorite book of all time!