Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ninja Story

The kids asked me to write a story about "meeting a Ninja" for this month's newsletter. This is what I came up with. I wanted something like those Reader's Digest "angel stories" with a bit of a dark psychological bite to it. It's actually not my usual style at all. It is definitely not the whimsical Ninja yarn I usually spin, but I'm quite happy how it turned out.

The version I gave the kids was a little watered down. I downplayed the rum and suicide angle. It's a shame, though, because Judy's slightly pathological empathy for the girl is the only reason why this doesn't feel like a child kidnapping story. I also loved the imagery of rum. The dark smell made the scene very creepy.

I love this kind of sacreliciousness. It's kind of pathetic the way some people think "Christian story" means "literal retelling of actual events" or "American prairie story". I don't know why a story can't just be good but with an intentional Christian backdrop behind a complex story. One can take flack for finding Christian undertones in secular work, and for secularizing a Christian story too much.

I wanted Judy to seem real. I wanted her to cry for help in a way. God is not literally here. There are no angels. But there is a girl that hurts and has a need, and it is answered in a mysterious way. Plus, it's all wrapped up in a bizarre reciprocity moral. I'm not saying it's great, but I feel like I have to defend it, because it doesn't say "this is an angel and she called out to God specifically." That bugs me.

Why can't we teach our world view by creating stories based on a Christian mythos, without pounding "facts" into the reader's head?

1 comment:

Josh said...

This is f-ing rad!
RAD, I tell you!!
Sure it's not a savy, whimsical yarn, but the serious, edgy telling of such a silly concept chocks it full of delicious irony, making it a hundred times more...well, savy (forgive the dirty pirate-speak).
I like the hint of a greater backstory in a way you can draw your own conclusions: Was her dad a pirate? Is she descended from pirates? This creates the impression it could easily slide into an epic: If her dad was a pirate, was it coincidence that she was there at the same time and place as a pirate attack, and saved by a ninja? Was it just her kindess to the girl, or is she destined for ninja-greatness?
I like what you have to say about your style too: "Why can't we teach our world view by creating stories based on a Christian mythos, without pounding 'facts' into the reader's head?" This is what I've been trying to put into words forever that sums up perfectly my frustration with modern storytelling, or storytellers rather, who keep sacrificing their art for their agenda, instead of just expressing, and letting any "message" emerge naturally out of who they are, and not bending the story to fit it in.
...like, (I hope) my film.