Posted by: Melany | October 13, 2009

Writing Rhythm

How literary can literary journalism be?

Most examples that I have encountered read almost like articles, written in a narrative structure and style that goes on tangents. I need to work out if my article can be written almost entirely like a story with my collected quotes and the facts that I include to make up the ‘journalism’ element.

This is still confusing me. But I’m thinking that all elements of literary journalism have to be real, with no composite characters or invented dialogue. However, literary journalism simply allows room for more description, observation and colourful and creative writing style. Here is my draft so far. It is by no means what I intend to finish off with, but I am just working on a general tone for my piece. I have included long block quotes and I’m thinking of paraphrasing those and changing the quotes to mini narrative stories.

Draft

“Magic still works because one of the things that magic has to offer that other performing arts don’t is wonder. And I think that taps into something from childhood or makes you think “wouldn’t it be great if you could do that?” And there’s a delight in that. Sometimes people say that they enjoy being fooled; I think it’s probably more that they enjoy the whole experience of magic performance.

“I think that, in this high-tech world, people like low tech. And most magic is accomplished low-tech, using methods that are hundreds of years old. We rely more on the performer. When people see good magic and they have a good experience with magic, that’s when you hear that intake of breath. And you don’t hear it all of the time, but it’s neat. It’s really nice.”

Crowe’s performance harks back to another time. His traditional performance style has a nostalgic charm, regardless of where it is performed. Crowe travels across the countryside popping into an array of regional theatres, each bringing a new audience to impress. The appearance of the theatre changes with each performance, but Crowe’s timeless, classic show has the ability to transport you to a different time, a different place. For me, I imagine I am sitting in a plush theatre from the 1800s. The ambience has an excited candle-lit buzz as I observe from my sunken cushion seat. Looking like floating palaces, the private boxes, reserved for the well-to-do of society, have an uninterrupted view of the show soon to unfold before us. Stone gargoyles line the walls, guarding the magician’s secrets as if the secrets were their own.

The audience is seated, the lights are dim. Families and friends talk excitedly, waiting for the voice-of-God to announce the moment the show will start. “Ladies and gentleman, start your applause for Australia’s only unusualist, Raymond Crowe.”

As Crowe steps out, the audience makes a hurried hush; he has the impact of the eccentric Willy Wonka. The tail of his coat forks and his top hat sits slightly askew atop his curly, almost comical hair. He welcomes the audience into a world where nothing is real, yet you wish it was.

When Crowe appears he is merely a shadow. A bright yellowish light silhouettes him against a sheet of white. Graceful and comical. He waves. We laugh. As he takes off his bowler hat it appears to double, triple, quadruple in size with Crowe himself, a fragment of his original size, standing in its depths. The hat continues to grow, plunging the screen into darkness, as light reappears, so do Crowe’s hands, morphed into the form of a bird flying across the screen. Crowe presents a menagerie of animals, each more grand than the last, battling for our attention. And he has it. The audience is captivated.
“With my hand-shadow routine I do, I think that is more magical than most magic. The reason that works is that not everything is shown. People have to fill in the spaces.”

Here I will insert a story that I remember from the magic show.

Crowe had achieved the mass intake of breath that he desired. Audience members turned to the person beside them, quizzical expressions splashed across their faces. The family in front of me, a grandmother with her daughter and two grandchildren, could not contain their confusion.

Additional:
I’m planning to include various ‘crazy facts’ throughout for example records for magic tricks, time spent underwater, weirdest places people have concealed themselves etc. These will be woven throughout the piece.

For example, I found out about the oldest record of witchery and magic. It was Reginald Scot’s The Discovery of Witchcraft from London 1584. This version was edited by Frank Luttmer.

Discoverie of Witchcraft Photo: Google images

Discoverie of Witchcraft Photo: Google images

“Another sort of witches there are, which be absolutely cozeners. These take upon them, either for glory, fame, or gain, to do any thing, which God or the devil can do: either for the foretelling of things to come, bewraying of secrets, curing of maladies, or working of miracles.” Book one, Chapter three
Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft 1584 Edited from the original text by Frank Luttmer.

The illustrations amuse me.

Inner Page of The Disocverie of Witchcraft  Photo: Google Image

Inner Page of The Disocverie of Witchcraft Photo: Google Image

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