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A voicemail from my Auntie Mary that will live forever.

Auntie Mary

Ainulindalë is the first story of fantasy work ‘The Silmarillion’ by J. R. R. Tolkien. From Wikipedia:

Ainulindalë recounts the creation of Arda by creator deity Eru Ilúvatar. The text begins with describing the creation of the Ainur, described as “children of Ilúvatar’s thought”. The Ainur were taught the art of music, which becomes the subject of their immortal lives. The Ainu sang alone or together in small groups about themes given to each by Ilúvatar, who proposes a “great” plan to all of the Ainur: a collaborative symphony, where they would sing together in harmony. The Ainur are embodiments of Ilúvatar’s thoughts, but are expected to use their freedom to assist the development of the “great” plan.

If that sounds a little thick, it’s because it is. I personally couldn’t stomach it. A deliciously stony concept, but just way too many names to keep track of.

For the quick version, check out these killer graphic panels illustrated by cartoonist Evan Palmer. A few examples:

evan palmer

evan palmer

evan palmer

evan palmer

“Like it’s a magic trick or something.”

I just heard a writer give credit to a plot device called the objective correlative. He called it an invaluable tool for storytellers, mainly because, among other things, it allows you to sidestep narrative exposition.

The objective correlative is similar to a MacGuffin (observation: mine) in that it uses a tangible object to move the story forward. But unlike the replaceable MacGuffin, the objective correlative attaches itself to an important emotion or idea that would otherwise need to be conveyed through expository dialogue.

Examples of the objective correlative include Excalibur, the car in Christine, and the bloodline in Hamlet.

When used correctly, the objective correlative facilitates a setup-and-payoff effect in your story. Once you associate the intangible (idea) with the tangible (objective correlative), you can always tap into the intangible later by referring on the already-introduced tangible. Total power tool.

From Wikipedia:

An objective correlative is a literary term referring to a symbolic article used to provide explicit, rather than implicit, access to such traditionally inexplicable concepts as emotion or color.

The theory of the objective correlative as it relates to literature was largely developed through the writings of the poet and literary critic T.S. Eliot, who is associated with the literary group called the New Critics. Helping define the objective correlative, Eliot’s essay “Hamlet and His Problems”,[1] republished in his book The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism discusses his view of Shakespeare’s incomplete development of Hamlet’s emotions in the play Hamlet. Eliot states: “The artistic ‘inevitability’ lies in this complete adequacy of the external to the emotion….” According to Eliot, the feelings of Hamlet are not sufficiently supported by the story and the other characters surrounding him. The objective correlative’s purpose is to express the character’s emotions by showing rather than describing feelings as discussed earlier by Plato and referred to by Peter Barry in his book Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory as “…perhaps little more than the ancient distinction (first made by Plato) between mimesis and diegesis….” (28). According to Formalist critics, this action of creating an emotion through external factors and evidence linked together and thus forming an objective correlative should produce an author’s detachment from the depicted character and unite the emotion of the literary work. The “occasion” of E. Montale is a further form of correlative.

rowling harry potter plot outline

An early plot spreadsheet of “Order of the Phoenix”.

A spreadsheet plot written out by J.K. Rowling. Her approach to spreadsheet plotting is to divide the columns by chapter number, story timeline, chapter title, main plots and subplots.

Full story at mental_floss.

pierre squeaky snake RIP

…and then:

And there it is. The line that broke Matthew McConaughey.

Lost my dear Auntie Mary last night to her two-year battle with cancer.

Auntie Mary

She and Uncle Eddie called me their first grandchild. When my parents and I moved to the mainland from Honolulu, we stayed with them for a few weeks. I was just a baby.

We eventually settled nearby in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, and I stayed with Uncle Eddie and Auntie Mary all the time. I haven’t done the math, but one could probably make an argument that I spent more toddler hours with them than I did with my own parents. Mention the early seventies, and the first thing I’ll always think of is Uncle Eddie and Auntie Mary, as well as my multicolored ball that I’d keep stashed in the back of their umbrella closet. (It remained there until Uncle Eddie died in 2003.)

They’re the only people in my life who consistently called me Jacey. And it never bothered me. They had permission to do so from Day One.

Our relationship didn’t end in childhood. Auntie Mary was a rock for me during some of the darkest spells of my adult life. I actually don’t know what I’d have done if she wasn’t there.


Auntie Mary

Auntie Mary

Auntie Mary