Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Creative License

When can you justify using it?

I was reading a bit of Bliss magazine (also known as Victoria) at the grocery store the other day. Reading an article about Jan Karon (writer), and she mentioned using it, just to tweak something, a local, make it closer or futher than it really is from somewhere else, I can't recall which.
Anyway, this article floated about in my head a bit.
And so did the idea of creative license. And I wondered if I could use it to solve a problem I am having with my story.
There is gardening in the story, and the story included battling Japanese beetles, this section is important symbolically for the character, who can not tolerate the idea of or the reality of, death, yet in his attempt at an act of creation (flower garden) he must confront death again and again (on some level). (must accept that it is interwoven into life)
The trouble is, in Japan (where the story takes place), Japanese beetles are not a problem. The winsome flies winsomely eat the beetle larvae. Fantastic creatures. I never thought I would have fly envy, but here I am, and I so do. I thought in my research I would find some other insect to take the place of the beetles in the story (surely there must be such a creature). But I can't seem to locate such information.
I was wondering, if I might be able to just leave that part of the story in there, but state that it is highly unusual, and why (I believe the story falls under the category of magical realism already anyway, has magical elements). And the main character is so agaisnt any sort of death that it hinders his abillity to live (this extends to his garden). He is out of balance, so it would sort of make sense for the environment around him to be out of its natural balance as well. And for it not to be restored until he is. (in the story already the notion of connection between his inner world and the outer one is present)

What do you think?

Bob said I could, and yelled at me for worrying, over and over again, over these sorts of trifling details, but he is not a writer. I feel the need for things to make sense, to fall into place, to be true. Even amidst the fantastic one must work within some sort of frame-work for believabilty. I am not making things up. I am trying to make something true, though I am using imagination to do it (imagination woven in and through the real world).


Bee said...

I like this idea very much . . . from the way that you explain it, the "un-reality" (ie, the unlikelihood of Japanese beetles being in Japan) of the detail seems justified by the message/symbolism of the story.

Also, I used to love Victoria magazine. I didn't realize that they had relaunched it! We lived in Trinidad for several years, and I used to pore over Victoria -- in a fit of "nostalgia." (I was nostalgic for a style of life, an aesthetic, lost to me; albeit one that I had never really experienced. Still, it was my ideal. Does that make sense?)

Taffiny said...

OOOhhhh, look a comment here. After I had given her completely up.

Bee (drunk on life),

I am glad you can see it working that way. I've decided to move forward with it in place (when I start moving forward again, that is).

I didn't either, but there it was, it seemed the same, but for the name.
Trinidad, that sounds really interesting.
Yes, it makes perfect sense to me. For I am forever drawn to such pages, yet the outward appearance of life around me (in my home) could serve as no reflection of them. But they speak to me just the same, and it is the feeling of them, I wish I could echo (more so than any specific scene). And there is something fine, and delicate, in that beauty, that seems forever, and feminine, and also strong, it seems antique and enduring, for even when new the items and ideas follow classic lines, so nostalgia on an emotional level for the idea of it, seems perfectly resonable.

I am trying harder to make sure that when I purchase something that it works more towards my idea of me (my life). Bob for example likes to bring me home neon green and hot pink, t-shirts and tanks, that he gets on sale for a couple of bucks, which is nice of him, but I am trying to kindly explain to him, that I don't feel comfortable, or at all like me, in those colors.)

Bee said...

We have finally "settled" into a home . . . after years of constantly moving and renting houses and just throwing things up to fill a space.

I am trying to surround myself with things that are beautiful and meaningful to me . . . as opposed to just convenient (i.e., the clothes your Bob brings home to you!). You're absolutely right: it was the Victoria "aesthetic" that always appealed to me.

Taffiny said...


I am glad you have found "home"