In other words, he is doing with a scene, what WE (writers) should be doing with a scene. The other stuff should be realistic, or it's distracting, but it shouldn't be EMPHASIZED. What should be emphasized are the things we want our reader to notice, and especially the main character and the things that matter to THEM.
This painting in particular is special, as the main character is looking out at US—she is engaging us. That's unusual in classic art—even unusual for Vermeer, other than his head shots, which tell us very little about the subject. Most of his paintings have music or art as their side themes, or so it appears from a quick glance, and often, the instrument outshines the musician. Here though, while the teacher and the music are brighter than the background, there is also brightness from the window... yet the girl is attending to US.
Yes, indeed. Very find example for a writer,
So I finished this on the way home from work Friday. I don't normally read non-fiction, but this was very skillfully done. Susannah Kaysen is articulate, observant and funny (considering how unfunny the situation really is). I was particularly impressed with her ability to walk the reader through delusional moments... weave us into how much sense they made to her at the time, while still letting us know she is not disconnected like that anymore.
It was a very poignant book, in that it contrasts her position both with the outside world, which she feels ill-equipped for, and the REAL crazies (a visit to Alice, who'd been with them briefly, then goes to the maximum security portion of the hospital, but even within her own ward, she acknowledges she and Georgina, her room mate, are 'least crazy')
Her descriptions of Borderline Personality Disorder, too, interested me. I am pretty sure I've known a few. But that aside, most of the time, this sounded very much like a diagnosis that is
Adolescence + Writeritis = Borderline personality disorder.
There were times she crossed lines... had delusions... but mostly she was plagued with a lack of interest in anything but writing or boys, an inability to make decisions, lack of engagement with others, unwillingness to follow the expectations of society...
I can both see why they changed it, AND why Susanna Kaysen wasn't happy with it. It wasn't her story anymore in the movie—things added. Things subtracted. I know why they do it and usually I take issue—it's not necessary to alter details. But THIS book was a series of clips—not in order, in many ways separate from each other. It wasn't a single coherent story, but a series of short stories and a lot of thought. Unaltered, it wouldn't work on the screen—as a documentary, sure, but not as a feature.
The acting was good—heck, Angelina Jolie got an Academy Award for it. I think the whole cast did pretty well. But some of the issues in the movie were NOT Kaysen's issues. And a HUGE amount of it was exaggerated for the sake of a bigger story.
I am glad all this came up last week... that I asked all of your advice and you sent me this direction. I feel connected to this writer, mental illness or not. I think it's important articulate, writing representatives from all sorts of places, but I think madness is one of the hardest to truly understand, so I appreciate what she has done. I recommend the lot of them.