Show, Don’t Tell: Advice Not Just for Storytelling

More than a year ago, I wrote a post “Modern Myths: The Active Audience, Imagination, and Why I Love Fanvids”.  There, I explained a bit about why I enjoy watching fan made music videos and the art that goes into crafting them. One of my favorite fanvid editors of all time is Pteryx. I follow her via email updates and recently I saw this video below, pop up in my inbox.

Go ahead, watch. There aren’t any spoilers in it, as far as I could see, and I watched it several times.

This video really summed up my own 2015.

Here’s how Pteryx commented on it herself. “After all we’ve been through this year, whatever comes next I kinda feel ready for it. Okay, let’s be honest. No one expected this mash-up, even me. Fulfillment of this mission seemed to be impossible, but here it is. It was a long tough year for me without you, my friends. 2015 was a year of challenges and our future is predetermined by how we coped with them. So here are 3 themes of 2015: Future, Struggle, Home. We all fight for our future to finally get home.” 

For me, this video, and many of the fantastical shows that provided clips for the piece, are literally, the explanation of our lives. We use myth to understand ourselves. We always have, as humanity, from the Chinese centering their palaces along the cosmic center lines reflecting their ideal of heaven, to the Norse legends of greed, family, and trickery. Sometimes, we have believed our legends and sometimes we haven’t. But we still use them to explain a world that so often, cannot be summed up in mere words.

We could use mere words. I could say, grief is not easily surmounted. How much of a visceral reaction do you feel?

Some? A little? A passing flinch?

But what if I wrote this?

“The fifth year I couldn’t search for you. The world was full of blood and death. I couldn’t hear your voice. It was lost, in the storms, in the burn of ash. Somewhere in hell, my gods all died….I drank to the cry of woman singing for the angels who fall first. I heard the screams of the unforgiven. My fate was clear as blood on snow by the time the voices on the speakers were screaming about passion and greed.

“Did I sing again?” Nigel whispered. 

“In time,” Siddhartha answered. She drank from her glass. “I was in Germany… a man began to chant the Lord’s Prayer against a counterpoint of hypocrisy. Your voice whispered with his until it was all I heard. I heard the faith and the irony, the cries of the world against the faith of the man’s voice, against your voice. I bought the CD, just so I could break it. I threw the dusty pieces in the river but I couldn’t lose your voice in my head.”

– Excerpt from my short story Siddhartha

Now that is grief. And more. Perhaps a mixture of guilt or something else. It is left to the mind of the reader, reflecting back their own experience.  Like when I watch the video above and see my own 2015 in the same captured evocation of Pteryx’s own year.

Show. Don’t tell. That goes for writing. For living. For building a relationships. Even, perhaps, for understanding ourselves.

Here is it, in another art form.



This entry was posted in Identity, Music, Mythology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Show, Don’t Tell: Advice Not Just for Storytelling

  1. patriciablaj says:

    Hi there, I really need your help! My Youtube channel is a project for University and my grade for the course depends on how much engagement the videos/channel has. It would mean the world to me if you could check it out, leave some comments/likes and if you like what you see, please subscribe (I need 250 subscribers by Friday, eek!). I would of course return the favor! Thank you from the bottom of my heart in advance!
    Channel link:

  2. Suzanne says:

    I love Segio’s video. I’ve watched it often over the past 7 months.
    I enjoyed your post, your writing.

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