Monday, January 28, 2008

Voice theory – Emotion. Part 1

What I'm reading: Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy AND Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder.

What I'm working on: A scene in the middle of Slayer.

New words today: 409

Awhile back, Alyson posted a list of “swept away” movies. I’ve been trying to think about my swept away movies. I’m not sure I can come up with a list like Alyson’s (click here and here and here), at least nothing so lofty and artistic and intellectual and important as hers.

I’m not a “thinky” movie sort of girl. Technically, I’m not a “thinky” book sort of girl, either; although, I did love Ender’s Game for the sheer cleverness of it. It embodied extraordinary concept with flawless execution. I remember thinking I needed an OSC alter so I could bow down. However, it was the end I read and re-read. Ender’s empathy for the Buggers was the emotional thread that catapulted the book over the top for me.

And there is the key to the books and movies that captivate me: Emotion.

I want a ride. I want to laugh, red-faced, as I feel a character’s embarrassment. I want to smile and giggle at the sheer joy of a character’s triumph. I want to cry – uncontrollably – with tragedy and loss.

I want to feel. Deeply.

Several years ago, the students at my favorite middle school embarked on a cross-curricular study of the Olympics. They studied the early games in Latin. They competed in Olympic events and measured distances in math. The looked at controversies in history that surrounded the games. They….well, you get the idea.

As a culminating activity, 200 seventh graders took a mid-morning field trip to a private showing of Miracle, the movie story of the 1980’s Gold Medal hockey team, a team consisting of unknown college players who felled the big dragon -- the ultimate professional team from the U.S.S.R.

It’s the story of a coach that bucked the system and a group of rival twenty-something, high-testosterone males. It’s the story of the underdog, good guys verses the fire-breathing, evil communists.

When the US hockey team scored the winning goal against the Russians, the entire packed-to-the-brim theater erupted into cheers and a standing ovation. I’d already seen the movie once, but I erupted with them, tears streaming down my face.

Pure, raw, elation. A truly emotional story.

I want to feel a gamut of human emotion. I think almost all of my swept away movies are brimming over with emotionally charged scenes.

Other movies that made me feel deeply:
Bridges of Madison County
The Notebook
The X-Men trilogy
(Don’t laugh. I’ll explain)
The Bucket List

I’m sure there are others, but we’ll leave those for part dos.

Tune in for part 2 tomorrow, where I’ll explain why Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (the book) falls under the category of swept away emotional reads.

Part 3 will be the emotional draw of the love triangle (at least its draw for me.)

Part 4, well, I’ll get to that later. (And, yes, yes, I’ll explain Saturday’s vampire thing, too – maybe as a part 4 or 5.)

For now, I’m too tired to continue. Tune in tomorrow. I promise – this really is going somewhere.



C. Alyson Love said...

Great post, Michelle. Gosh, my movie list sounds so . . . high faluting. LOL. I actually consider most of my movies very emotional, too. Life is Beautiful, Braveheart, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. They rocked me with huge waves of grand scale emotion. I left the theater with red, teary eyes. Some are more funny or clever or thinky than deeply emotion. But some of them made me cry an hour or so later. And the next day. And the day after that. They were grand tear jerkers with huge themes. So I get the emotional thing . . . and I like an emotional ride, too, but I think sometimes different things evoke emotion in viewers, readers . . and therein lies a big difference. Don't you?

Looking forward to more,
C. Alyson

C. Alyson Love said...

Oops, sorry. I called you Michelle! How ridiculous. I meant, Macy, of course. . .