Joe Lambert, in his Digital Storytelling Cookbook, discusses the “olden days” of epigrammatic storytelling (meaning, the sharing of little stories with folksy proverbs at the end – which, if you’re Frank Capra, you build into entire movies, right?)
Lambert goes on to discuss why it’s so hard to tell stories nowadays:
“…we are bombarded with millions of indigestible, literally unmemorable, story fragments every time we pick up a phone, bump into a friend, watch TV, listen to the radio, read a book or a newspaper, or browse the Web. We cannot process these into epigrams, recite and retain them, and so they become a jumble of fragments that actually inhibit our ability to construct a coherent story.”
I believe we really are faced with information overload in the digital age. A fellow student asked me during Hanson Hosein’s Storytelling class last night how I come up with a story idea, and the first thing I could think about was the converse; how I more often than not DON’T come up with a story. I have creative blockage nine times out of ten. I think this stems from the glut of material we are bombarded with, and as a self-proclaimed media junkie, I’m especially subject to such overload. Perhaps that’s why my artistic creations are often abstract. Perhaps the popularity of abstract art in the later part of the 20th century, particularly Pop Art and post-modernism (I’m looking at you, Andy Warhol) combined with the MTV age is just an inevitable natural response to the tidal wave of media consumed by the last few generations (TV, radio, and print in particular), as well, of course, a big part of it itself. There is just so much out there now, we’re saturated in our own blood, wounded with the shrapnel and bleeding from the blast generated by this narratological H-bomb dropped by The Mass Media. As far as I’m concerned, this saturation has stunted our storytelling capabilities. But, it also presents a challenge, the challenge to sift and filter and overcome, and with that challenge, the potential to truly shine.
So, how do you overcome your creative blockage?
Quotation above taken from Joe Lambert’s The Digital Storytelling Cookbook, Digital Diner Press, Feb. 2007