Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: PC269: Selected Program Notes From the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa  (Read 12260 times)

ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
I kind of doubt you're going to answer this, but now that I've experienced the story without the taint of your outside opinion, what did you imagine was going on with Latimer? Or was this story all evocation, with no tale at the heart of it?

I'm conflicted about whether to answer, because the evocation is so much of what I was after, and because I think that the author's notion of "what the story's about" is less important than the story that played out in the reader's head.

That said, I'll give a brief answer under the spoiler mask, if you still want to read it...

That's really neat! I like the story you were telling. My guesses were more or less along the same lines, but I injected some other, more epic thoughts - because that's how I roll as a creative person. The way that several of the paintings implied that there was something more going on off-panel inspired in me the idea that not only was Latimer interacting with the dead, she was also interacting with something beyond the dead, something that she couldn't bring shape to, something that the dead were helping her to protect the rest of us from...

But that's the beauty of the story you wrote. I can have my interpretation, which is wrong :D, and you can have your interpretation!

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


evrgrn_monster

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 356
  • SQUAW, MY OPINIONS.
I'm a bit late to the show on comments, but I very much enjoyed this story, especially right after our ham-fisted barbarian friend. It was so very subtle and just well crafted as a whole. I felt a connection with the artist and her loves, despite the lack of dialogue or ever having any real interaction with her. I am actually amazed that this story pulled together so well. It was a risk, but I'm happy that the author took that risk, because this was a beautiful story. I especially loved the ending and the last painting. I felt happy for her. Frankly, I felt optimistic about death and how many times do you get to feel that way? Great story.


Devoted135

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1252
Late to the party as well, but I have to jump on the "loved it" bandwagon. I could see each of the paintings in my mind's eye, and the unique style really created a lush atmosphere for me. The fantasy element was not at all obvious to me, which actually seems kind of perfect. It seems to me that the artist was hiding a message in her paintings that was only visible to those who were looking for it; similarly, the fantasy elements in this story are hidden and only really visible to those who are looking for it.



Max e^{i pi}

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1038
  • Have towel, will travel.
This was very nice. The format of the story didn't bother me at all. I do try to go to museums to learn about art and get culture that doesn't come in my yogurt, so it was easy to follow.
Very quickly I was totally swept up in the artist's life and world.
I often bounce back and forth between "the artist/author doesn't have any hidden message, you people are all crazy" and "it's obvious that the artist/author was trying to tell us xyz". But in this case, the description of the stories, but mostly the discussion questions, made think about the artist, connect with her. Live part of her life with her. Love with her. Hurt with her.

I need to ask though: does anybody know of the significance of the paints she used for her paintings? Before she saw dead people, before the Highlights period, she used oil paints. Exclusively. Afterwards, when she starting seeing dead people and drew them as Highlights, she used acrylic paints. Exclusively. Except for one: her last portrait of Meszaros while Meszaros was still alive is a Highlights painting done with oil paints. It's explained that the purpose was to draw similarities to an older painting, and I accept that as part of the reason, not the whole reason.

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

Registered Linux user #481826 Get Counted!



Whiskerwing

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
  • [Verb]!
    • TavenMoore.com
I found this one fascinating and incredibly well-read. I definitely feel that the reader heightened the impact of the story perfectly.

It makes me remember all of the dry, dusty histories I've been lectured on in the past (both artistic and non) as well as the no-longer-private personal lives of those people. It's so easy to dismiss them as simply names and dates instead of living, breathing people who suffer from the same sorts of joys and depressions that we do. The way the narrator dismissed the artist, yet somehow hinting to us, the readers, that there was so much more going on.

I LOVED the descriptions of the paintings, the "Highlighting" and the only-just implied meaning behind it. I loved the quote at the Sistine chapel section, about believing that the scars are the truth. I loved that she was a lesbian matter-of-factly -- with no huge impact on the plot itself, but also with no shame or blunting. I am haunted by the faces of the dead, and how perfectly she painted them despite there being no way she could have known what they looked like ahead of time. The brief scent of magic, like a foreign flower's pollen drifting on a breeze through a manicured garden.

This is the story that got me hooked on PodCastle, and I'm having a lot of fun going through the archives now. =]


Ken Schneyer

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 10
This is the story that got me hooked on PodCastle, and I'm having a lot of fun going through the archives now. =]

Okay, Peter and I are both choked up now.  What a wonderful thing to say!  Thank you.



DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
This is the story that got me hooked on PodCastle, and I'm having a lot of fun going through the archives now. =]

Okay, Peter and I are both choked up now.  What a wonderful thing to say!  Thank you.

Yeah, me too :-)

Welcome, Whiskerwing! Hope you enjoy the castle :-)


Father Beast

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 516
My problem is that I usually have multiple conflicting theories about what is going on in a story like this, and by the time I have narrowed it down, the story is almost over, and I'm not interested enough to listen again to see if my theory fits. I NEVER listen to a story again directly after hearing it, but that's exactly what I did. My theory seemed to fit, and the story was well worth listening to over again.

If you're not paying attention, that's one of the signs of good writing, when being spoiled on the secrets of the plot in no way decrease the enjoyment of the story.

The guide to the artwork is quite the contrast, being so completely clueless about the work, and offering questions which will do nothing to enhance your enjoyment of the work. He is the classic example of someone who has spent too much time reading stuff written about the paintings, and not enough time looking at them.

Yeah, it made the "Best Of" list.



LadiesAndGentleman

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 26
[...]

I read a lot of fiction like this in book form but would usually file it under literally fiction, maybe magical realism*. In fact, I am not sure how well it fits into PodCastle's portfolio, especially right after Conan. I usually delete past episodes from my iTunes, but this one will definitely stay on my playlist. It's one of the more distinct pieces of the last months.

* i.e. fantasy for people who think that genre fiction isn't art.  ;)

I agree it's a distinct piece and certainly one I'll be brooding on for a while, but I'm going to nitpick about this definition of magical realism.  For a while, I also thought it was a way for English students and professors to refer to fantasy they don't want to admit is fantasy or a label the marketing department of publishing houses threw on to get a review by The New Yorker.  Instead, I've discovered "magical realism" is mainly used to refer to political fiction that uses a surreal or meta lens.  Magical realism novels are usually set against a background of social upheaval, like Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, Catheryne Valente's Deathless, and Toni Morrison's Beloved.  Characters have problems that they're either unable to talk about openly or too traumatic to contemplate, so conflicts are written in a "coded" language. Allies and antagonists in these works become ghosts, monsters, and living folklore characters, just depicted in a "factual" or reporter-like way.  There's an extra layer of metaphor wandering around. 

So I do think magical realism is its own category not just a phrase slapped onto "literary" fiction.  While I like Schneyer's piece, I don't think it entirely fits this category.

See, but that's how I interpreted this piece. There is child abuse and a relationship that the parents are not fond of (and which in current times would be non-mainstream, the story suggests that in the future it will be more accepted), and then ghosts show up. This to me is pretty close to your definition of magical realism. I do have to admit that I never defined magical realism the way you just did, but I am not a literature expert anyway.

Eh... I still hesitate to put it under the "magic realism" umbrella because it doesn't appear to be political or expand beyond Theresa's personal traumas and demons.



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
I simply adored this story, and the reading. It was beautiful, amazing, and touching. It's one of the rare stories where I have nothing to nitpick. I love that I got to hear it, and I love that Podcastle gets to play a Conan classic one week and this story the next.



danooli

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
    • Who Doesn't Love Stories?
So touching!  I've never been an "art" person, but boy, I'll be damned if I didn't wish I could see these paintings...

Ken Schneyer has actually made me interested in art! 

And the narration by Peter Wood was great!  It could have been somewhat dry, but he brought a warmth to it that helped bring the paintings being described to vivid life.  Wonderful!



Liminal

  • EA Staff
  • *****
  • Posts: 109
    • Peter C Wood
So touching!  I've never been an "art" person, but boy, I'll be damned if I didn't wish I could see these paintings...

Ken Schneyer has actually made me interested in art! 

And the narration by Peter Wood was great!  It could have been somewhat dry, but he brought a warmth to it that helped bring the paintings being described to vivid life.  Wonderful!

Thanks so much Danooli - I was worried about the balance between a somewhat academic tone and enough emotion to pull you in. I'm glad it seems to have worked for most. :)

Why is this thus? What is the reason for this thusness? - Artemus Ward


Ken Schneyer

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 10

Ken Schneyer has actually made me interested in art! 


"...My work here is done..."  ;D

Thanks for the compliment!  So glad you liked it.



FireTurtle

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 898
I recognize that I'm a little late to the party, but life went a little sideways for me right after I listened to this and I couldn't get up the wherewithal to comment. I REALLY enjoyed this one. I can't point to a single facet of "why" I enjoyed it so much, just that it was, er, unique and enjoyable.

To put it with more wordiness: This contained within in the best and brightest aspects of my love for the speculative genre. A poignant and graceful depiction of the best and worst of the human condition overlaid with a fantastic element that reaches just beyond where we are now to who we wish we could be. All packaged in a format that places as somewhere we'd never thought to be in a story.

Well done.

Kudos as well to the narrator. I kept flashing back to college art classes. It was eerie. But, not in a bad way.

“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
Ursula K. LeGuin


ctjhill

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
I really enjoyed this story and ended up listening to it twice. Admittedly it was partly because I got distracted part way through by real life happening and missed a few sentences. Even so, usually when that happens I try and catch up with what's going on, but with this one I didn't want to miss a thing.

It was very powerful, and I felt fairly emotional at the end. The way it was done was really interesting, constructing the character and telling the story of her life through her art worked really well.



LaShawn

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 550
  • Writer Mommies Rule!
    • The Cafe in the Woods
I listened to this story yesterday, then listened to it again today. And then I went home and read it because I do have Clockwork Phoenix 4.

And I have to be honest, each time, I grew more and more disturbed. Which was a feeling I hadn't expected from this story.

I can't put my finger on why, either. It's a gorgeous story and I could easily picture each portrait in my mind. The fact that this is a ghost story didn't bother me...at first. At least, not until the last portrait.

My guess would be that, gathered from the bits and pieces in the notes, I don't think Theresa Rosenbert Latimer had a happy life; in fact, I got a feeling that she was a tortured individual. Wow...that landscape picture where everything is drab and monotonous and painted the same way--if that isn't depression, I don't know what is. Once she started seeing ghosts, that didn't make things any easier. The one with her "highlighted" parents certainly showed that. So the last portrait with herself "highlighted"--right before her suicide-- should have been downright chilling to the anonymous writer of the program notes.

Which I think is the brilliant point of the story. We have a woman who went through much emotional turmoil, and it is all viewed by a dry, clinical, oblivious narrator. I think this one will sit with me for a long time.

Kudos to Peter, though, for an *excellent* reading. There was a point when I really did feel like I was listening to a PBS or an NPR station.

--
Visit LaShawn at The Cafe in the Woods:
http://tbonecafe.wordpress.com
Another writer's antiblog: In Touch With Yours Truly


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Hm, it appears that I get to be the lone voice of dissent on this one.

The story was well-written.  The life was well-described.  I felt like they were all real people, and this was real art.  This was all good.

The tone was very dry and distant.  Which, given the title and format was entirely appropriate.  I entirely believed that this could've been grabbed from some art curator's filing cabinet and published as though it were fiction.  And I like going to museums, and reading this kind of thing on the plaques by the exhibits. 

The thing is, I enjoy reading those notes in a different way than I enjoy reading really good emotional fiction.  I find the details interesting, but the format makes it hard for me to really connect to it on a deep emotional level like this story apparently was meant to do.  Apparently I'm the only one here who had that problem, which is fine. 

It seemed like most people were convinced that this was a ghost story rather than just metaphor in painting.  Anyone care to elaborate on that?  Given the format, I don't think there's any way to tell--every bit of the painter's life that we know is portrayed in the paintings which means it just had to come from her mind not necessarily reality, but maybe I'm wrong.



Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3922
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
I've been thinking about this one well after completion, so that's a good sign. I have struggled with audio stories that are excerpts from texts. I think why this one worked so well in audio where the others have failed is that this just sounds like one of those audio tours where you put on a headset and walk around the museum. With that frame, and the strong descriptions of the pictures, it's easy to visualize walking around the gallery.

This one's definitely going on the next road trip disc, as the wife and her art background will really dig this one.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
In case anyone hadn't heard yet, this story got a Nebula nomination this year:
http://www.sfwa.org/2014/02/2013-nebula-nominees-announced/



TrishEM

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 189
My sister was telling me last week about a story on Clarkesworld, and I said hmmm, that reminds me of a story on Podcastle a year ago or so, Notes from an Exhibition something something...
I finally looked it up, and this was the story. Wow, all the way back from 2013! I guess the great stories really stick in my mind and seem fresh even years later. I listened to it again today, and it is still just as impressive.



Marlboro

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 129
Good story. Perfect reading.





It seemed like most people were convinced that this was a ghost story rather than just metaphor in painting.  Anyone care to elaborate on that?  Given the format, I don't think there's any way to tell--every bit of the painter's life that we know is portrayed in the paintings which means it just had to come from her mind not necessarily reality, but maybe I'm wrong. 




I think the painting of the victims of the 1908 mill fire go a long way to confirming the ghostly aspects of the story. The artist has accurately painted images of ~30 people who died in an accident 100 years earlier, not as they appeared at the time, but as they each appeared in their 20s. The narrator mentions that it has taken researchers decades to dig up old photos to confirm that she portrayed them realistically. It seems improbable that (as the narrator believes) the artist has preternatural skills as a researcher.