Have you ever wondered about where the drive to create came from? Where did we begin our artistic explorations? I recently read The Oldest Enigma of Humanity: The Key to the Mystery of the Paleolithic Cave Paintings by Bertrand David, which describes his theory about how the paintings were created and the experiments he did to support his theory. It was a quick read, so if you have any interest in cave paintings this book may interest you.
David’s theory revolves around the idea of shadows. The paintings themselves are found deep within caves with no light. He believes that these early creations were tracings of shadows created using firelight and sculptures, because it is an easily taught skill and may explain why this art form lasted so long. Although his theory seems to make sense and is supported by his experiments, we may never have a definitive answer as to how the paintings were created or the reasons why.
However, it did make me think about the reasons why we create, and whether or not this creative drive is ingrained in our very beings or is a learned desire. Why does anyone want to create things? Is it to communicate something or part of the simple desire to bring to life something that did not exist before its creation?
Fairytales generally end the same way: happily ever after. But I’ve never been able to help but feel that it’s a bit of a stretch to ask me to actually believe that they do just sort of float through life happily ever after, so I love seeing follow-ups to, and riffs off of, some of the more popular traditional fairytales!
In Wooden Bones, Scott William Carter explores concerns I’d say were noticeably absent in the original Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi – why being a real boy is necessarily better than being a wooden puppet, for example*, or developing a concept of identity that is not dependent upon being a boy of flesh and bone – while still adhering more or less to the fairytale structure. Pino, the boy formerly known as Pinocchio (because Pinocchio is too long and cumbersome for everyday use, according to Gepetto), discovers that apart from just being a magical boy, in the sense that he became a real boy only with the aid of magic, he truly is a magical boy, in that unlike regular real boys, he has magical powers.
Of course, these magical powers only bring him trouble (as well as helping him get out of trouble by digging himself a bigger hole), but the trouble is what prompts him to come to the realization that it doesn’t matter whether he’s a real boy or a wooden puppet boy: he’s Pinocchio, and perhaps more importantly, Gepetto won’t love him any less for being one or the other. Continue reading
I just finished Susan Mallery’s A Million Little Things, and found it to be a very appropriate read over the Mother’s Day weekend. This story surrounds three women’s personal stories of grief, family, romance and difficult choices. The story starts off with Zoe who gets trapped in an attic and begins to think of the choices she made in her life, such as changing her career to satisfy someone she thought she loved. Zoe’s best friend, Jen, is struggling as a first-time mom hovering over her toddler son and constantly worrying that he hasn’t spoken a word yet. Finally, Jen’s mom and Zoe’s friend, Pam, cannot seem to move on from her late husband and rejects any idea of falling in love again. These women’s stories intertwine with each other’s as they all have a kind of relationship with one another. Because of these intertwined stories, I was never left wondering what was happening to any character at a particular time. Continue reading