“When a flower appears on a canvas, it is placed in that position with intention. For that moment the Artist is defining the world and intends to control your perception for just a moment”
Eduardo Barbudo (after listening to Eliot read
The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock
at Shakespeare and Company
and holding one hand with Picasso
and a coffee in the other.
He was in Paris..)
Recently, I responded to a post on Social Media. It was a fan page and the discussion was about a symbol that kept reappearing throughout the multi-season show, even though the cast had changed locations every several weeks. The symbol re-appeared. Several suggested that the symbol had no meaning…it just happened. Symbols in life especially on film rarely just happen. Screenplay are written, rewritten, translated from the page to the camera’s lens, edited, re-edited and if the symbol is there, it was mean to be there. If it is repeated, it should be remembered. It is as important to the story as dialogue and location. Symbols can be physical. They can be actions, They can be repetition.
Edgar Allan Poe felt strongly about repetition and symbols and much of what came from his thoughts to the page was powerful repetition:
“’To the swinging and the ringing
of the bells, bells, bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells
Bells, bells, bells-
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!”’
I feel strongly about every thought my characters have, every action, every word they utter. I control the world for the time a reader spends staring at the page, mouthing my words. It is my brush. It is my camera. It is my chance. I want to use whatever tools I can put on the page. Nothing is random.
I wrote on Social media in response to several posts:
“I am a writer. I think about words. Words on a page do not just happen there. I must have the thought, write the words and the words must survive a dozen rewrites.
If the sky is blue, it is because I painted it blue. If someone cries, trust me, it is in the script.
My writing may reflect life, but my words define life as I see it. There is nothing happenstance about what you see on the screen. It may appear random. But with conviction I say, if it is there and the directors are good, the writer and directors guide you along a specific path and wants you to see it.
(In reference to Thw Walking Dead)
If I want you to think Enid is a spy, you will consider the possibility. If I want you to hate Eugene, love Daryl, weep for the loss of Hershel and despise Gabriel, a writer has the power to make it happen.
There is a reason for the “A” on the Church, on the boxcar, stamped on the hand by Sam and on Carol’s front porch steps. We may know what the writer(s) are thinking, we may never know. But it is not random. Like the comic book Carl finds in his new Alexandria home, Morgan, the street sign, to the words the characters speak, every word, every action, everything placed could be a symbol. Never say it is meaningless or random. The writers and directors are just too good for that to happen.
Like on the opening of the early TV show…
”There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to – The Outer Limits.”