Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Flannery O'Conner against gnosticism

I’ve been reading Flannery O'Conner's The Nature and Aim of Fiction. (in Mystery and Manners.) Very thought provoking and engaging.

She says: "People have a habit of saying, "What's the theme of your story?" and they expect you to give them a statement: "The theme of my story is the economic pressure of the machine on the middle class"-or some such absurdity. And when they've got a statement like that, they go off happy and feel it is no longer necessary to read the story."

Reminds me of people who used to brag about their ability "to 'beat' Myst (or the like) in 10 min!" I have this awesome dvd player that lets me watch a 2 hour movie in 2 minuets! But that just goes to show how different Myst was from most computer games and why it appealed so much to non-gamers. Back to Flannery...

"Some people have the notion that you read the story and then climb out of it into the meaning, but for the ficiton writer himself the whole story is the meaning, because it is an experience, not an abstraction."

Some people here could refer to a lot of modern evangelical Christian artists, or any artist or writer who cares more about ideas then people or loves theology more then God.

"They are conscious of problems, not of people, of questions and issues, not of the texture of existence, of case histories and everything that has sociological smack, instead of with all those concrete details that make actual the mystery of our position on earth."

of this and virtual worlds

This evening as I took a walk in the puddles of our neighborhood, I was puzzling about why it is that I don't get the same pleasure from the 'realistic' visuals in our world as I do from realistic worlds in computer games like Myst and Riven or to some degree parts of Half-Life 2.

Sometimes I think "If only I could think that this was a computer game, how much pleasure I would get from it, how much fun I would have!" I do love the beauty of creation, but it seems to be a different sort of pleasure that I get from virtual worlds. Perhaps it is simply knowing that they are not real while they seem so magically real.

Or perhaps I too often don't think of the real world as a world brain-stormed, designed, and created to be incredible detailed and...realistic. Perhaps I don't think enough that this world is something that did not have to exist made by someone for the mere pleasure of the people who wander through it.

I think it is when I realize how unnecessary the detail in the world is, I most enjoy it.

I don't know.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Pixar and Disney

There's a great article at CNN by John Lasseter of Pixar about the history and future of pixar and their relationship with Disney.

On the making of Toy Story:

"What was interesting is that Disney kept pushing us to make the characters more edgy. That was the word that they kept using. We soon realized this was was not a movie we wanted to make - the characters were so "edgy" they had become unlikable. The characters were yelling, they were cynical, they were always making fun of everybody, and I hated it."

The fact that disney bought pixar made everyone nervous, but thankfully according to the article, the Pixar people will be the creative directors at disney; meaning Pixar won't get worse, Disney will get better.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Storytelling and Worldbuilding articles

I just found these 3 articles from Gamasutra, on WorldBuilding and Story telling. Gamasutra is an online magazine on computer game design, unfortunatly you have to regester to reed the articlas, but thankfuly, the author, concept artist Don Carson (check out his artwork), posted the first two on his blog:

-Environmental Storytelling: Creating Immersive 3D Worlds Using Lessons Learned from the Theme Park Industry

-Environmental Storytelling, Part II: Bringing Theme Park Environment Design Techniques to the Virtual World

There is a third article here on the Gamasutra site.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

It makes sense, to 'personify' ideas and things as the bible does and as Medievals often do, because God, in whom all things live and move and have their being is neither an idea nor a thing, but a person, three actually.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

All justice is poetic justice
And all license is artistic license.

For all the world is art,
And all of life is poetry.

For just as man needs a pilot’s license to fly,
He needed artistic license to pretend he was a bird.

And when a murderer is executed,
We call it just because it is fitting and symmetrical

When we decry injustice, we don’t appeal to ethics, but aesthetics.
“Something is out of place; this is not the way it’s supposed to be!”
When we say this, we are usually talking to the great author of history,
Telling him, this isn’t a good story, or this can’t be how it ends.

So when man was given dominion over the earth,
he was given permission and authority to add to and change
the art of the original creation, in fact he was commanded to do this.
So architecture, and invention and literature and engineering:
cathedrals, and airplanes, and Spanish, and computers
Were made because man took artistic license and made buildings that look like forests and halls that fly, etc. So Noah was given license to kill those who wrongly killed, joining God in his poetry by keeping justice.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Jim Elliot on Psalm 104

On July 7, 1948, Jim Elliot, wrote these words 8 years before he was martyred: "Psalm 104:4: 'He makes His ministers a flame of fire.' Am I ignitible? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of 'other things.' Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame. But flame is transient, often short-lived. Canst thou bear this, my soul, a short life? In me dwells the spirit of the great short-lived, whose zeal for God's house consumed him, and he has promised baptism with spirit and with fire. 'make me thy fuel flame of God.'"

-the Journal's of James Elliot

(thanks, Buff, for the excellent book!)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Tonight, I read aloud almost half of Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse, it was amazing, I couldn't stop!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Richard Vander Wende on the Fantasy of Reality

"All good science fiction and fantasy is about our world. So it's important to me that my designs not look alien -- outside the spectrum of existing species.A lot of people who design creatures ignore our natural laws in pursuit of uniqueness, and wind up with something that no longer relates to the world around us." -Richard Vander Wende (a lead designer in Aladdin and Riven) as quoted in Feature Creatures

Earlier in the Article he talks about seeing the world through new eyes "...I looked up and saw sparrows landing on a sign. Suddenly, the whole scene became completely abstract, as though I were seeing it through nascent eyes, I realized I could remove all preconceptions about these birds. That ability was very exciting"

The ability to see the fantasy of reality, sometimes I feel like that's what I live for. Chesterton conveys that in alot of his poetry
. Like this one:
                "If trees were tall and grasses short,
As in some crazy tale,
If here and there a sea were blue
Beyond the breaking pale,


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Chesterton on Gothic and Greek Sculpture

"It seemed to represent men bending themselves (not to say
twisting themselves) to certain primary employments.
Some seemed to be sailors tugging at ropes; others, I think,
were reaping; others were energetically pouring something
into something else. This is entirely characteristic of
the pictures and carvings of the early thirteenth century,
perhaps the most purely vigorous time in all history.

The great Greeks preferred to carve their gods and heroes
doing nothing. Splendid and philosophic as their composure
is there is always about it something that marks the master
of many slaves. But if there was one thing the early
mediaevals liked it was representing people doing something--
hunting or hawking, or rowing boats, or treading grapes,
or making shoes, or cooking something in a pot."

-G. K. Chesterton in Tremendous Trifles

I've been reading this collection of Chesterton essays and poems, and
I'm thoroughly enjoying it, I was surprised how many of both the essays
and poems are about trees or use trees as examples.

Also, while googling cathedral sculpture, I found this awesome site with
over 3000 hi-rez images of the Chartes Cathedral from miniature sculpture
and manuscripts to exterior shots and windows.