My StoryBoard

Welcome to the first post of StoryBoard. For those of you who don’t know what a story board is, it is used primarily to visualize a story through a sequence of sketches depicting changes in scene and action. Usually used in film, it’s always used in animation. It is rough and meant to outline the story before it is filled in.

That is generally where we start a conversation. But for the most part, it is unsatisfying. We live within the layers under that public skin. What we are is the sum of all the whole and partial stories that whirl around in our brain triggered by our senses, our dreams, our experience.

When you ask someone what they like to read, for example, they may give you a list. But if they relate a story about the first time they read, say, Jane Eyre, and remember it was during a lazy summer when her extended family spent their vacation in Maine. She and her cousin would read it with a flashlight under the covers when they were supposed to be sleeping. Now that tells you something about her. It helps fill in the spaces between the boards. She may tell you how scary Bertha Mason and Grace Poole seemed in the dark and how the settling creaks of an old beach house may have sounded threatening, how she and her cousin use the code word, Jane, when life is challenging. A tiny life vignette packs a wallop. It opens up all kinds of interesting questions.

Here is my storyboard. Just the facts, ma’am.

But that doesn’t really give you any insight into me. Maybe I should back into the story of me by telling you about the early ideas for my book, STANDING ON THE CORNER OF LOST AND FOUND. I grew up in the sixties when feminism and equal rights were not quite the right of passage they are now. In 1970, only 7% of women were doctors, abortions were still illegal, there was far less equal pay for equal work, and employers systematically discriminated against married and pregnant women. Women had so many glass ceilings to break, they could have brain hemorrhages.

The obstacles were enormous, but we breathed in possibility and change as our air. For the first time women had political savvy and most importantly, choice about career and family. So my own initial story board for the book was to have two principle women protagonists. One thought she knew exactly what she wanted (aka the traditional woman’s model of marriage and family); the other didn’t know what she wanted (as long as it wasn’t that). During the trajectory of that story, I expected to have them flip views, as I have over the years. But it was complicated and didn’t quite unfold the way I expected.

To be continued.

3 thoughts on “My StoryBoard

  1. Jan, I like this story within the story. Here is a simple and really cliched thought– our life, and everything that is a part of it, is the sum of our experiences. And, those experiences are all stories. I think the writer takes these experiences/stories and tries to synthesize them in a way to relate them to the reader. Here’s another cliche, I guess, and this one is offered out of absolute respect for what you are doing with your writing–It’s simple, but it’s not easy (applies to alot of things.)…. Congratulations and much success with life and your book…Jerry

    1. Jerry,
      I think cliches come from their absolute truth. The point of the blog and really all my writing is to get beneath the obvious story into the layers beneath. People are so complicated and often times, if we dug in a bit, our reactions to them and our understanding of them, would improve our relationships.

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