Story Sprites

Philip Pullman: "When I'm at work I'm highly superstitious. My own superstition has to do with the voice in which the story comes out.
"I believe that every story is attended by its own sprite, whose voice we embody when we tell the tale, and that we tell it more successfully if we approach the sprite with a certain degree of respect and courtesy.
These sprites are both old and young, male and female, sentimental and cynical, sceptical and credulous, and so on, and what's more, they're completely amoral ... the story sprites are willing to serve whoever has the ring, whoever is telling the tale.

"All you need to tell a story is a human imagination ... and this is the way my imagination works.

"But we may do our best by these tales and find that it's still not enough. I suspect that the finest of them have the quality that the great pianist Artur Schnabel attributed to the sonatas of Mozart: they are too easy for children and too difficult for adults."

I find this quote by Pullman, which was buried in the Foyles bookshop magazine, so interesting. That he can consciously put himself aside and let other (mischievous?) elements take over.

I like the idea of each story having its own specific sprite, its unique quality or sensibility like a fine taste or tone, a cellular song.

And the way the many layered human mind works; it makes me think of those globe artichokes when you pull off the scales and still there are more underlying and interlocked in a kind of dense code.

It is heartening that a writer of Pullman's stature and experience still thinks of sprites and pays respect to his sprites. To use a slightly tenuous metaphor, I suppose he is conductor and audience and music, and music hall itself. And the ears go on receiving.


Popular Posts