No blanks left to fill in! No dots to connect! I’m so tired of having all the blanks filled in for me by seductive images and visual background noise! As a writer I’m rapidly moving closer towards the reality that dialogue can speak for itself. Our heads are full of dialogues, not only that we over-hear accidentally or witness deliberately, but those we remember perhaps from years before, and we can imagine them too, practice for future dialogues.
In my attempt not to spoon-feed my readers, I like to use dialogue to encourage them to fill in the blanks for themselves. I feel the reader can interact more in this way in a world which is becoming increasingly virtual. As we flick around with our mice or tapping tips, and we kit out our space with wallpaper and pods wall-to-wall, I think there’s a possibility that we stop using our imagination – this word comes from the Latin root imago, which means ‘to picture for oneself.’
As validlitsters we can’t let this happen. The diversity of the human imagination is for me something to live each day for. We shouldn’t let media take over; it’s too easy! Of course, I love images and media, but I love text much more. Imagine making a whole context from just a few words! Imagine being a benign Sherlock Holmes ferreting out the beautiful and interesting rather than the criminal from just a few clues!
The next dialogue in Easy-Happy-Sexy which was a challenge was as the lusty Lumaluma, visible only to Ninija, started to figure more in the story. This was a significant development because it indicated that Ninija was gradually being led away from her desert existence, from her responsibilities as Traditional Landowner and Spiritual Leader of her tribe, to Lumaluma’s Easy-Happy-Sexy. So, Ninija could talk out loud to him, but no one else around her could see or hear him, so they thought she was going mad. He must for the moment remain silent, but the reader must know his questions.
Writing this part in this way reminded me of all the one-way telephone conversations we hear all around us. With the huge frequency of phone usage today, this is becoming a feature of our daily lives. How can we help but eavesdrop?
See what you make of the following one-sided dialogue. By the way, Gina is Ninija’s granddaughter, Ginger is Ninija’s dead son who they are preparing a 12 day Burial ceremony for.
Ninija: She Gina Lumaluma. Ginger’s Gina.
Ninija’s Gina. She play with stone of the Lands, her Lands.
Ninija: Toys? Toys? What this Lumaluma? Ninija not know word.’ Ninija: Baby? Baby? Doll you call?
Ninija: Wahhhhh! She baby. Why she need another?’
Ninija: Book? Crayon? No Lumaluma. We no need in Lands. Mother Nature and Father Earth. They give everything we need. Rock. Sand. Body. For writing and painting. We grasses. We twig. Tail. Feather-to make brush. Earth. Blood. Ash. Charcoal-to make paint.
Ninija: Gina no book. Gina song. Gina story. She legend of dwellers in Lands, in Sky.
Ninija: She shadow-staring Lumaluma. You do that when you a bitzy thing? She used fingers, hand, to make shadow as Sun fall.
Ninija: Gina? She just-know next sound before its come. She know “loud.” She know “high- low.” She know “one-two hoot.” She know “one-two-one-two-three croak.”
Ninija: No. No. She not happy. She not sad. It not like that out here in desert. She just!’
Ninija: That body not “dead father” Lumaluma. No. That just bones, flesh. She just-know that not Ginger-father.
(Easy-Happy-Sexy, pp 11-14)
There’s much talk of early senility setting in for us human beings. We need to keep our minds active, alive. I am certain that part of this survival of the mind is connected with the imagination. Validlit needs to work hard to keep readers sharp, creative. Good literature which keeps them on their toes is essential for the continuing flourishing of the precious human spirit.