Okay, now to talk about how to make the visible MORE visible. But, also, how to translate the verbal elements, since this is a book, into s0mething completely visual. Here is where I turned back to the theme of this novel. Seger writes about how there is a certain amount of description needed to get images across in a book. These are chosen carefully to construct an overall image, or theme. This is often done by repeating the same image or idea, by adding details to the original image, or also by using contrasting images. I tried to implement these techniques when it came to my adaptation. I focused on the ideas of silence versus noise – of the implications of both, and how it can affect the overall image of a household. Seger talks about how movement is fluid in a novel. The narrator moves through the book in a way that helps readers understand the connection between details, ideas, and information that may appear again in different chapters. The author connects the past, present, and future. An interesting aspect of My Sister’s Keeper, is that the novel jumps around in time. The mother is often reflecting on the past, and many times whole chapters are flashbacks. This helps connect the imagery and themes of the novel, though. It illustrates how the past inevitably affects the present, which will also impact the future. These images are closely intertwined.
When considering my adaptation, I tried to fixate on repeated words, and the resultant images they formed. It was also interesting to note that sometimes the same words prompted totally different results, or images. Because of the ways in which the characters changed, the words took on new meanings, and formed completely different images. This contributed to the confusing mood of the novel and the inability of characters and readers to get a firm grasp on what is right and wrong. The words create images, however, which help form a general mood and theme for the book.
What I really wanted to capture in my visual adaptation, was the interconnectedness between verbal word and the formation of images. Whether these images are created by the character or the reader, they are a reaction to something said or not said. Image and word are tied together. And even though the relationship bonds in this novel are tested and torn and pulled to a stretching point, the bond between written word and visual image, remains constant. The words might change, the images might change, but the coexistence of the two, does not.
My whole life, I have written. It is the one I could not stop. It is a part of who I am. I can’t turn off the thinking, the imagining. I am always jotting down words, creating images. Or I am being inspired by images, and then jotting down the words that come to mind. It has always been about creating things – taking letters and forming words and stringing those words together to create sentences and paragraphs and worlds. I love that you can create something out of nothing, how a word can create a picture or a picture can be described by words. Sometimes words can’t do an image justice or sometimes words can leave you breathless in a way that an image cannot.
I wrote this on the “About Me” section on my other blog:
Ever since I was young, there has been one thing I can’t not do. That has been writing. I look around me, I look within me, I breathe in these thoughts, these ideas. They brew inside of me. And then, eventually, after they sit for a while, I let them out and into the world. I let them give life to someone else. In this way, writing, for me, is like breathing. I can’t stop. I never want to stop. It is the one constant in my life, the one thing I have always been able to say I could do. I can’t always change what others say, how others act. I can’t always change the world around me. But, I have the power to write, to think, to breathe – to change my own self, to give myself life.
Calvino, himself, was a writer. He comments on two types of imaginative processes regarding visibility. He talks about what starts first – image or verbal expression? How do they work together? They feed off of one another, but which starts first, and is this process different for different people? The first process he mentions is how creativity may start with a word and eventually that word turns into a visual image. The other process, though, may start with a visual image and then morph into verbal expression.
Calvino mentions that this idea of what comes first – image or word – is much like the common question of whether the chicken comes first or the egg does. He argues that for most people, the visual imagine tends to precede the verbal construction. He says that when it comes to his own writing: “The first thing that comes to my mind is an image that for some reason strikes me as charged with meaning, even if I cannot formulate this meaning in discursive or conceptual terms…it is images themselves that develop their own implicit potentialities, the story they carry within them” (88-89). Calvino goes on to describe how the image creates descriptive written words and that then the words take on their own images. He says that eventually the “writing guides the story toward the most felicitous verbal expression, and the visual imagination has no choice but to tag along” (89).
Grounding this idea of visibility in books I have read, the first thing that came to mind was Harry Potter. I know this sounds a bit juvenile, but I grew up with the books and have many fond memories of being curled up in bed with a new book sprawled out in my lap. I would lock my door so no one would bother me. There was a definite process to reading a new Harry Potter book. And, sadly, this process will no longer come into play.
However, I think this series really gets at the idea of visibility. J.K. Rowling creates a world that forces us to use our imagination, because this world is not real. We don’t really have any real life images to base it off of. However, at the same time, she has the book take place in a real life country – England. She does ground it enough that we can see images of it in our mind. Therefore, we have this idea that her words create an image, but also that these images, lead our own minds to go astray and think different words and thoughts and create further images. We imagine what Hogwarts looks like, what Harry, Ron, and Hermione wear, how they walk, how they interact. And up until the movie, these images existed purely in our imaginations.
In interviews, J.K. Rowling talks about how the ideas came to mind, how it was both images and words, characters and setting. There is this idea that both written word and visual image were of high importance in the creation of these tales. And now, with the movie, we can literally see how written text created visual imagery.