Deconstructing Stories: A Novel Manuscript

Ola Opalinska

5846 words

52 minutes

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At dawn

Since I was a little girl, I would obsessively and persistently try to forecast certain events, relationships and whole storylines while watching a film or reading a book. I became so infused with the idea of creating an entire imaginary world in my mind, that I would often spend time on my own, with a book rather than with peers, just to envision countless narratives, characters and events. Although I grew out of isolating myself from others, my fixation with stories and narrative only became stronger. After watching, reading, listening to and even making small attempts at writing fiction, I realised I long for something unique and unpredictable, something that would break the current, repetitive and conventional storytelling pattern. Most of the stories I’ve come across have somewhat recurring structure. At the beginning there is the slow unravelling of the plot and introduction to the time and space, later - we stumble upon some kind of a problem as the narrative thickens, just to explode with all its tension in the culmination point. The last stage is just wrapping up the story and drawing a conclusion from everything. So, what happens if we change it? The ultimate purpose of my work is to deconstruct or somehow interrupt the perpetual and countlessly applied for centuries storytelling scheme.

My favourite thing about stories is the ability to see so many different perspectives, viewpoints, attitudes and approaches within a few sentences. I would even go as far as saying that reading variousbooks gives us often an unreachable experience. An experience of being in certain situations, relationships and most importantly, the impact of both universal and individualised life decisions. An American novelist George R. R. Martin, the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, once wrote in one of his novels ‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one’(Martin, 1936) and I fundamentally agree with that statement. In another great source - The English Journal by Luella B. Cook, the author, reflects on how to inspire and motivate young people to read more and get rid of the ‘reading is boring’ stereotype, seemingly drilled into their heads. She also explains and describes the benefits of reading literature, one of them being the ultimate reading experience and how it relates to our lives and primarily happiness - ‘People who enjoy life have, for the most part, learned how. The idea that the freedom of itself guarantees happiness is denied by common observation. One must know how to interpret the experience in order to enjoy it.’ (Cook, 1936). Personally speaking, I find books the ultimate guides in obtaining such interpretation.



One more beneficial aspect of reading is bibliotherapy, often also referred to as book therapy, poetry therapy or therapeutic storytelling. How it works is simple, the therapy uses a person's positive emotional attachment to certain aspects, genres and topics to later simply, read or write something that has those connotations. As plain and probably futile it might sound for some, personally, I immensely benefited from bibliotherapy without even realising it. Everyone has some daily struggles, we all just try to tackle them one at a time while looking for comfort. Be it a place, a smell, a person, a thought or a story, we all have some perception of solace. Finding it, to later grow and maintain it by reading and/or by writing, is particularly what bibliography does. I think that quality is one of my dearest, when it comes to books, the fact that I can simply just carry around my happiness, my comfort zone anywhere, is definitely at the core of my love for fiction. Whether it's visual or written narrative, I thrive while creating experimental stories, complicated plots and unique narratives. Therefore, I would like to make an attempt at writing a short story, which explores an intense emotional attachment of two different people to the same smell. However, before I tackle this, I would like to dive into some research.


The old days

I find it really fascinating how something as imaginary and ethereal as a fictional narrative has such a concrete impact on our everyday reality and how much it shaped both our history and society. It couldn't have been different and here is the particular reason for it - the cultural pattern. As broad and far-reaching as our human history is, there is a certain philosophy supported by the greatest erudites, which states that we are, in a way, meant to confront the same or similar experiences to other people and our ancestors. The idea is closely related to dreams and symbolism in them. While reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, I spotted many quotes which confirm this view. Sigmund Freud, the so well known neurologist, declares “(...) symbolism is not peculiar to dreams, but is characteristic of unconscious ideation, in particular among the people, and it is to be found in folklore, an in popular myths, legends, linguistic idioms, proverbial wisdom and current jokes, to a more complete extent than in dreams.” (Freud, 1800). German philosopher Friedrich Nitzsche, too, confirms this view by stating “In our sleep and in our dreams we pass through the whole thought of earlier humanity. I mean in the same way that man reasons in his dreams, he reasoned when in the waking state many thousands of years… The dream carries us back into earlier states of human culture, and affords us a means of understanding it better” (Nietzsche, 1878). Many times mentioned in another great source - Archetypal Patterns in Poetry - Carl Jung, also backs this claim by saying “Any lived experience tends to evoke immediately a knowing of its directions and experiences” (M. Bodkin, 1934) - that is due to its ancestral experiences. Consequently, I think it is clear to say that it is only natural that human mankind created the storytelling pattern over the thousands of years. Since most of us, if not all, are prophesied to encounter and undergo alike experiences, and all stories are essentially based on - and cannot exceed - the author’s personal observations, the scheme and repetition is meant to happen. As I see it, this phenomenon has both universalised but also limited the world. ‘Stories are a communal currency of humanity.’ - (Shah, 2017)

Fairy Tales, fables and fiction as a whole, existed since the beginning of mankind. Whether it was written, oral or visual, it's always been around. ‘Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution - more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story let us know what to hang on to’ (Cron, 2012). One of the first examples of potential storytelling and communication appeared as Cuneiform, an ancient writing system based on symbols and basic shapes. It was first used circa 3400 B.C. Some of the first, great literary works were written in this language, The Epic of Gilgamesh (it is found to be the earliest surviving notable literature and the second oldest religious text) among them.

Mesopotamia is one of the storytelling cradles, though their narratives would mainly focus on monarchs like Enmerkar, Lugalbanda and Gilgamesh, gifted protagonists and their praiseworthy accomplishments, without a doubt, it is a substantial part of extant literature. Slightly later, before 3100 B.C., people began using hieroglyphs. The word hieroglyph literally means “sacred carving”, as they were initially used on the walls of temples. What I find interesting is that Egyptians used cursive to write religious literature and fiction. One of the most famous examples of an ancient story is King Neferkare and General Sasenet. Though unfortunately the narrative survived only in segments, historians managed to discover its rough content. It is one of the first examples of a ‘cloak and dagger’ story, with an eerie feel of a mystery and intrigue to it. It might be one of the first examples of fiction, during that time. The hieroglyphic language was meant to survive until the 5th century A.D.


The Tellers

Stories wouldn't mean as much without its narrators - the storytellers. One of the first and biggest ones (to be documented) was a greek fabulist Aesop. He is a widely known figure, appearing in countless books, films and plays. The earliest mentions of his impact were recorded in works of great philosophers and writers like Aristotle, Herodotus and Plutarch. Despite the evidence stating his birth circa 620 B.C. there are many legends and myths circling around his identity and whether he was even real in the first place. He has many short stories and fables but his biggest work - most probably his fictionalised life - was The Aesop’s Romance, it tells a story of a hideous yet clever slave, freeing himself to become an advisor to the king, and later the making of his way up the social ladder - a classic example of Rags to Riches story scheme - but about that, later.

Next, the father of one of the greatest works to be ever written - Homer. He wrote Odyssey in the 8th century B.C. The work, being both one of the most important and oldest stories, is based on a Trojan myth and takes place many years before the birth of the author, in The Bronze Age, with glorious monarchs, magnificent warriors and enthralling women.

Another example of great storytellers are the Choctaw - native american tribe, originally living in the Southeastern Woodlands (now Alabama and Mississippi). The first documented mentions of them come from the 17th century, although it is believed that their ancestors have lived in Mississippi from four to eight thousand years before that. The Choctaw mythology goes back a long time and touches on topics like world and human creation, life meaning and explanations of various occurrences (e.g. the change of weather and nature) but it also addresses more socially entertaining themes, like short ghost stories or tales about supernatural creatures. Their storytelling and its rich content is an excellent way to get to know their culture a bit more. Though they are surprisingly often left out, when discussing storytelling history, I find them incredibly important and really fascinating.

These are some of the earliest storytellers I have stumbled upon.



While thinking about the format for my dissertation writing, I researched some of the weirdest and most experimental book formats. Creative bookbinding by Pauline Johnson was a big help in this matter. The text briefly goes through centuries of book binding and cover design, it has many detailed instructions and guides on how to properly make a book, from start to finish - it has been a great source of historical inspiration and old references (fig. 1,2 and 3).

Fig. 1 and 2

Fig. 3

One of the most interesting books I found - in terms of the format - was Ship of Theseus by the incredible American filmmaker - J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. This experimental novel is about two students discovering the mysteries of … the novel itself. The book has annotations, comments on the margins, letters, postcards and many more - all being part of the students’ investigation. Another thought -provoking work, relatively similar, is Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It tells a story of a young woman going through a break-up, when suddenly the earth gets invaded. The whole plot is told through seemingly hacked documents: letters, emails, maps, interviews, medical records and more, they all guide us through the narrative of the heart broken woman (fig 4).

Fig. 4

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski is a horror novel and a great example of Ergodic literature (literature which usually requires more effort to read it and uses various experimental and unusual methods in writing and text layout). The story is about a family which lives in a house that appears to be way bigger on the inside than the outside architecture allows it to, I suppose this is why the book has such an odd yet absorbing feel to it. However, the most fascinating part is the text form. Danielewski plays with the layout, by adding (seemingly) random spaces, empty squares, crossed sentences, flipped text and many more (fig. 5). All of this experimentation makes the story feel scarier, weirder and even more enigmatic. Of course it is no surprise that the book has been an immense success, it was translated into many languages and followed by a next companion piece - The Whalestoe letters. “Superbly innovative… a rare debut: genuinely exciting” - The Guardian.

Fig. 5



It is said that people have a tendency to see patterns everywhere. I believe it comes from our natural need to experience safety and stability. Chaos makes us feel uncomfortable and nervous, which is why it is only natural that fiction and storytelling is no different. Mary Shelley emphasises this in one of the greatest gothic novels - Frankenstein, ‘Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change’ (Mary Shelley, 1818). There are certain behaviours, archetypal figures and common practises that we all know, share or heard of - in this familiar ground, among safety and reassurance, are created the often most read and appreciated stories. While it is something we all long for, it becomes monotonous at times. After twenty - one years of perpetually experiencing and being exposed to (mostly) the same archetypal story patterns, I want to conduct an experiment, in which I will try to interrupt it. However, before I jump into my fiction writing, I would like to go through some of the research that I found particularly useful for my work.

One of the best examples of literary patterns I have found is The Hero with a Thousand Faces, a storytelling scheme-analysing book, written by Joseph Campbell in 1949. This work is based on Comparative Mythology, which is essentially the comparison of myths from around the world, in order to draw attention to particular themes, characteristics and archetypes. This study has had a notable influence on, for example, psychology (collective unconsciousness, the study of archetypes) and history (understanding past events like religion and tradition). Campbell captures here the impact, which storytelling has had on our surroundings. ‘Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth.’ (Campbell, 1949). The book consists of two parts, both describing The Monomyth: The Adventure of the Hero and The Cosmogonic Cycle.The Monomyth is a developed narrative, which describes transformative adventures of a hero. This scheme is often used as a comparative method in literature and history.

Campbell really intrigued me by comparing some of the greatest and oldests stories and essentially proving they follow a very similar scheme. Firstly, he talks about the Greek Minotaur myth and converts it’s plot into a metaphor, to later set it side by side with other major narratives. In short, the myth goes as follows, the antagonist- minotaur Asterion, is imprisoned in a labyrinth and the hero Theseus must get through the obstacles and kill him in order to save Athenians. His love interest Ariadne, gifts him a thread which will safely guide him on the way out of the labyrinth. Though he succeeds in killing the monster, on his way home he forgets to change the colour of his sails. This results in his father’s thinking his son is no more, and leads to his suicide. Here, the pattern begins - An unjust antagonist, a glorious hero, a helpful guardian, a labyrinth full of obstacles and a sorrowful and bitter-sweet (every so often) victory. Now, having pinpointed all these aspects of a hero’s journey let’s compare it to other great stories. Prometheus and Perseus myths, Great Struggle of the Buddha, Beowulf, Epic of Gilgamesh, the story of Jesus’ scarification and even more modern like The Hobbit - they all include the features mentioned earlier. However it is only instinctive, that we apply the ultimate archetypes of behaviours/situations and people because it is all we know, all we ever experienced. Joseph Cambell described the scheme in three steps “a separation from the world, a penetration to some source of power, and a life enhancing return.” (Campbell, 1949). I believe The Hero with a Thousand Faces has immensely influenced my research and hugely broadened my knowledge on the subject. Campbell very thoroughly explores the cultural pattern, its influence on the storytelling and dives into many absorbing topics.

Next, I would like to study The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker. This seven-hundred-thirty-six-pages long book, is one of the most ample and informative storytelling structure references I stumbled upon. The author believes that storytelling is a tool, which we use to pass on a model for a successful life and that ultimately, all stories are primarily family dramas with (almost always) archetypal evil fighting. In four parts and thirty-four chapters, he covers the quintessential fiction motifs and patterns, reappearing since the human race first started creating narrative. Booker dives into seven different plots throughout the book: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, The Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy and Rebirth - those ‘types’ of stories are applicable to surprisingly many both modern and older narratives.The book is considered to be quite contentious (which I essentially agree with) because after all, storytelling and fiction ought to be imaginative and visionary, and there is only so much we are able to do with a scheme. However, there are certain reappearing patterns and schemes which are hard to omit. I consider this publication immensely important, as it thoroughly studies years of narration alongside its origins, purposes and influences. Christopher Booker worked on this piece for thirty-four years.

The Ethics of Storytelling. Narrative Hermeneutics, History, and the Possible, by Hanna Meretoja, is another great source I found. The Author speaks about how narratives mould our sense of possible in this world, they simply both expand and diminish our expectations and potential. This happens due to our “cultural and historical worlds” - they function as a space of possibilities that promotes and fuels or discourages a set of feelings, experiences, thoughts and actions - this brings us back to the cultural pattern phenomenon. ‘Stories play a constitutive role in establishing the limits of these worlds.’ (Meretoja, 2017).

Narrative Imagination is the ability to imagine oneself in a position of others, it means to recognise and understand someone else’s needs and responses, it's this particular ability that makes ‘an intelligent reader’ (Meretoja, 2017). It is quite, what we would call having empathy, which is just another great aspect of reading. Meretoja brings up another thought-provoking concept - Imaginative Variation. A mental experiment identified by Edmund Husserl (a German philosopher), which is essentially a process of interpreting and explicating the structures of experience more distinctively. The aim is to become acquainted with varying thought perspectives in the experiment. In simpler words, it is the ability to separate and notice different ‘elements’ of one thought. It is possible that Husserl was inspired by a German polymath G. W. Leibniz. In his work Meditationes de cognitione, veritate et ideis (eng: Reflections on Knowledge, Truth and Ideas) he says ‘(...)when we perceive colours or odours, we are having nothing but a perception of figures and motions so complex and minute that our mind in its present state is incapable of observing each distinctly and therefore fails to notice that its perception is compounded of single perceptions of exceedingly small figures and motions. So when we mix yellow and blue powders and perceive a green colour, we are in fact sensing nothing but yellow and blue thoroughly mixed; but we do not notice this and so assume some new nature instead.” (Leibniz, 1684).

In conclusion, there has always been a human tendency to install and apply reappearing patterns, schemes and structures in literature. However, it is instinctive to do so - to use something as familiar and widely recognized as archetypes and symbols and to keep the audience entertained and intrigued by delaying the high tension and climax point until the later stages of a story.

What extremely interests me, is how to break such a scheme, how to create something both unpredicted but comprehensible and insightful?



There are of course, many works which are way more experimental in terms of the plot, one of them being the one and only Ulysses by James Joyce. The novel, though more than seven hundred pages long, describes only a single day. The experimental part lies within the structure and the format of the book, each of the paragraphs is written in a different way, some are structured as romance tales, some like his scripts and others like classical novel chapters. Though I admit it is a hard read, it is most definitely worth the struggle. The book displays a huge amount of symbolism and references which only further proves Joyce’s brilliance.

Another interesting work would be Death by Anna Croissant-Rust is a book containing a set of short vignettes exploring the concept of death, it was originally published in 1913. All narratives lead to one and the same ending theme, just like the title suggests - death, it comes at the end of all stories. It is one point in their structures that connects it all. One of the stories titled Industria portrays helpless workers in an overtaxed, dystopian and disintegrating factory, that’s also an industrial disaster. On top of all that there is a paranormal dimension with megalomaniacal witch-like creatures. This book is thought to be one of the most experimental pieces of the twentieth century. ‘Rust breaks down narrative into patterns of feeling, abandoning any formal devices or logic’ (Meijer, 2018). Tremendously emotional and passionate, the author captures the feelings and sensations by using onomatopoeias, interjections and repetitions. This work seemed particularly gripping to me, as the language used by Croissant-Rust is immensely powerful, it makes the reading much more rhythmic and, in a way, more imaginative. Rixdorf Editions describes it as ‘An inventive revival of the mediaeval danse macabre’. For me, apart from the author’s language and literary effects, the format of Death is also something worth talking about. All stories, despite being quite versatile and - in a way- arbitrary, connect in one point, as mentioned above. Her writing style made an excellent impression on me, the way her written word transformed into liquid emotions and sensations which only keep growing is truly incredible. Anna Croissant-Rust is one of the tragically underappreciated writers.

Next, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez is by far one of the best books I have set my eyes on, in terms of structure, language and most importantly the all-capturing ending. I will admit that at first I was a bit uninspired by the work, just because it is an example of a slightly confusing genre; magic realism. This world classic tells a story of generations of the Buendía family and the village,which they established and later developed into a small town. Though interesting, the plot seemed very confusing and accidental at times but García once again proved his genius and assembled the narrative in a way which led to one of the best book endings I have ever experienced. Additionally, one of the main reasons why I fell in love with the book is the fact that nothing about the plot is predictable.

All these works are stunning pieces of literature, however they too, follow a pattern, a slightly more general and applicable to most stories than the Hero’s Journey. They all go after a certain action design. From the beginning until the fifty to seventy percent of the book’s length (it naturally varies depending on the story and author) the action rises until a climax point is achieved - the main and most emotionally packed moment in the story. After the peak passes, the rest of the story describes a falling action movement until the end. I think this is precisely why so many narratives are, in a way, foreseeable and anticipated. All things considered it is only instinctive. The point of a story is to interest and attract the audience, whomever they are, and to keep them entertained as long as possible so it comes as no surprise that the action is designed to delay suspense and keep the reader on their toes.



In conclusion, we create these patterns because of the similar experiences, feelings and situations we encounter with, therefore I proposed a solution to make the narrative less predictable. First, I wrote a short story divided in two parts - two perspectives of a very similar occurrence. The occurrence being a split second moment in which both protagonists inhale a strong smell, that they are both emotionally attached to due to some past events . Later, I deconstructed the story and applied it to visually modified, storytelling patterns (fig. 6). The earliest and original pattern is known to everyone and explained in chapter V, visually it resembles a tilting mountain which I later transformed into a shape (fig. 6). By changing the shape, therefore the story's timeline, I could potentially experiment with the narrative. By doing so, I came up with two other variations of the same short story (images attached).

Fig. 6



I believe that when writing fiction, it is important to have an emotional anchor buried somewhere in the story. Whether it is an issue close to our hearts, a character based on a best friend or an event that left a mark in our past, I like to think that our life experience is crucial when writing. Otherwise, if the author cannot feel an emotional connection to the story, then how can a reader truly experience it?

I came to the conclusion that this is the intention with my writing style - to make the reader feel as if they are inside the story, experiencing it. That idea arose to me not only because of the above, but also due to more personal reasons. I have been experiencing mental health issues for some time, involving panic attacks and chronic anxiety. Although we have come a long way since mental health issues were thought to be a taboo subject, I still believe there is a certain feeling of discomfort and awkwardness that accompany these discussions (Chatterji, R., 2020). Many people are still noticeably more insecure and uneasy when talking about their mental, rather than physical health. There is this invisible pinch of guilt emerging whenever speaking of it, this is why it is often more considerable to keep it to yourself, just like some people would say. Now, is making something already difficult and shame infused, a guilty secret, helpful? I don’t think so. With this in mind, I wanted to bring more light into the subject and remove the stigma that plagues this topic. ‘When we convey both information and our personal experiences through storytelling, our listeners begin to connect what they hear to their own lives’ (Downs 2014).

The SunScreen short story is inspired by my personal experiences and emotions related to anxiety. In order to unravel more perspectives in front of the reader, I divided the story in two parts. Part one - Sun, describes a nothing out of ordinary moment in many of our lives - one of those tiring, miserable nights on your way home from work when everything possible goes wrong, and you just want to finally get home. Suddenly, a brief smell changes it all. The protagonist is no longer depressed due to a warm, positive feeling associated with the SunScreen scent. Second part of the story - Screen - is, in a way, a reverse. Main character is living one of her greatest, sunny mornings, when out of a sudden, after a strongly associated, horrible feeling due to the unexpected smell of SunScreen - everything seems to be painted in the darkest of colours. The point of this story is not only to draw attention to what anxiety feels like for some, but also to realise how something as brief, fragile and seemingly insignificant as a smell, can represent such opposite and unexpectedly powerful connotations. I decided to add a slight reference to one of my favourite paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and use it as a subtitle to my work - The fall of Icarus. It felt only right to add this to my story, it is a metaphor to what a panic attack feels like - apocalyptic, yet irrelevant (to everyone else and the whole world).

Just like I mentioned above, I have fallen in love with reading and narratives as a child, and since then I have been discovering and exploring various writers and their styles. Though I always seem to be chasing new inspirations, for this project I was strongly encouraged by authors like Leo Tolstoy, Edith Wharton and Witold Gombrowicz, when it comes to the writing style. Tolstoy’s descriptiveness, Wharton’s majestic vocabulary and Gombrowicz literary effects (intensified repetition and many onomatopoeias) - they were all at the core of my most recent writing. Though of course, there are thousands and thousands of more excellent writers, I consider this trio to be the closest to my heart for the time being.


Fairy Godmother

When it comes to writing style, one of my ultimate favourite authors is Leo Tolstoy. With his seemingly limitless imagination, great attention to detail and descriptive style, the characters from his books feel incredibly real. The author achieves it with some interesting literary methods, which - back then - were quite revolutionary in fiction writing. One of them is coming up with many different, often contrasting and conflicting characters. He also tends to apply varied syntax in his writing, which is essentially rearranging one word in the sentence, in order to make it feel more engaging or to emphasise something important - the sentence is still, of course, grammatically correct and understandable. After studying some of Tolstoy’s works like Anna Karenina and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, I can honestly say that it has been a great stimulus for my own writing style. In The Death of Ivan Ilyich there is a particular quote, which reminded me of my idea for my short story ‘(...) and along with this memory of taste, there were a number of memories of those times: nanny, brother, toys’ (Tolstoy, 1886). The author describes a wave of recollections and stimuli triggered and followed by a particular taste in the protagonist's mouth.



After carefully drawing out and applying my story to the three patterns which I have created earlier, one narrative turned into three. Though the other two editions of SunScreen are slightly more confusing and perhaps leave the reader more puzzled, I still find them to be engaging. In the second edition (images attached) of my deconstructed story, the narrative both starts and ends with a culmination point - the climax being a panic attack. In the third edition, the story becomes more tangled, first the action traditionally increases until the peak, to later suddenly drop for a moment, relax, peak again and from that point decrease the whole tension. Visually representing it, the second edition’s timeline resembles two horns whereas the third one, somewhat a volcano (images attached).

All things considered I am satisfied with my outcome, though reading through my story feels exposing, at least for now, I am glad that I have found a way to share something so individual yet still universal. Here are two parts of my short story - SunScreen, which I consider to be most impactful.

Part One - Sun:

“Before finishing two pages, I would slowly close my eyes, wrapped in a safe, loving arms and a sweet, buttery scent. I stayed in this half-sleep ecstasy until she finished reading the chapter. I imagined everything she talked about - the characters, the places, the feelings, the nature and the landscapes. It was usually, after half an hour, when I would no longer be able to resist the hazy feeling and gently drift away, to a safe and relishing dream. During my childhood years, my grandma was my best friend and protector, my tiny piece of safety and serenity, my third parent. Now, I was reminded of this little solace, each time I breathed in the SunScreen scent.”

Part Two - Sun:

“All of a sudden, a sharp gust of wind slams my face. It's brief, yet ice-cold and somehow shivering. The following smell terrifies me so deeply I can feel my body turning stiff and cold. My lungs inhale the overwhelming sweet and buttery scent. I can sense all my insides tightening. The cold feeling is making its way from my stomach to all my limbs, like someone was slowly but gradually freezing them all. My head starts to spin, as I inhale more of the sickening sweetness. It’s sunscreen. Within milliseconds, I turn around to see what or whom might the source of this scent be, but there are so many people in sight.

The wind no longer dances between my legs, it is smashing my hair against my face, with an enraged force, making me tremble. All of a sudden, everything seems bleak, defeated even. It’s almost like some vile, terrifying force conquers my mind and borders me with utter sorrow. The more I try to relax the more my fingertips and toes seem to be stinging. Millions of needles of ice are digging into my hands and feet. I am now shaking. Is my face wet? Have I been crying? I can sense my stomach and chest getting tighter and tighter, to the point where I almost cannot breathe. I looked up. The sky was bleeding.”


The Verdict

I think it is clear that my biggest interests lay within writing and narrative, but also in blurring the line between written word, visuals and human sensations. How to make the audience feel and experience the most? What is it that makes us feel so emotionally attached to particular smells, tastes, sights and thoughts? Is it possible to use those relationships and relive the emotions while reading or exploring an artwork? I say the answer lies within those boundaries. Words and visuals have an immense bond to our senses and the other way around, I would definitely like to explore this relationship more in my future works and projects.

All things considered, I am really happy with my outcome, both written and visual. I have not only put quite a lot of time into exploring and unrevealing my topic, but also applied my very personal approach to it. Being able to put my passion and the inquiry which has been bothering me for such a long time into a bigger project, made me realise more, my strengths and subjects I would like to pursue in my later career as a designer and a writer.


The Archives

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