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The Art of Story: Public face and Inner Truth

COW Blogs : Bob Gillen's Blog : The Art of Story: Public face and Inner Truth
Art reveals itself on different levels.

Louise Penny, author of the Three Pines/Inspector Gamache crime novels, speaks of the duality in her stories. There is, for her characters, both a public face and an inner truth. It's the difference between what is said and what is felt.

This is where story lives, in the unfolding of a person's true character through spoken words and external actions. The criminals in her mystery novels hide behind masks of deceit. Even the law-abiding citizens struggle to hide something of themselves, yet yearn to reveal their truth. Not necessarily a dark truth, maybe simply a part of themselves not easily shared.

Steven Whyte, a British born sculptor now residing in northern California, specializes in clay and bronze sculptures of the human form. His works range from sculpted six-inch squares (photo above) to huge public monuments. Not long ago, Whyte says, a woman approached him and asked if she could model for one of his sculptures. Deadra Hammond, a stage-three breast cancer survivor, reached out to Whyte to help her reveal the dignity she felt beneath her scarred breasts. It would be part of her spiritual recovery, Hammond told him.

Whyte sculpted the woman. He has since gone on to do others, allowing cancer survivors to reveal the inner strength and beauty of their souls.

Recently TCM aired the classic Roman Holiday. Public face and inner truth. Audrey Hepburn hides the fact that she is a royal princess who has sneaked out of her embassy to ditch mind-numbing royal duties and spend an anonymous day on the streets of Rome. Gregory Peck plays a newspaper reporter who happens to come upon the princess, discovers who she is, but hides that fact so that he can do an undercover story on her adventure.

The two develop feelings for one another, enjoy a wonderful 24 hours, and subtly reveal their truths. No spoilers. See the movie yourself to learn how it ends.

Each of our lives is a story. Each group, each community we belong to has a story.  Every well-written novel, every great film tells a compelling story. Public face and inner truth: the story of our inner lives groping forward toward the light of day.

In the film, the script, the documentary, the novel, the marketing piece you're now working on, show us what is felt beneath the spoken words. We need to see that.

This is a reprint of our December newsletter. You can sign up for the monthly newsletter on our home page.

Posted by: Bob Gillen on Dec 17, 2010 at 12:06:39 pm

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