Joss Whedon Gets It: Good Stories Are Alive

Spending a bunch of time reading copyright cases and talking about the legal aspect of fanfiction can be a little depressing. This is a quote from him at Comic Con:

“When you come out of a great movie you feel like you’re in that world,” he says. “When you’re telling a story you’re trying to connect to people in a particular way. It’s about inviting them into a world. The way you’ve inhabited this world, this universe, you have become part of it. When I see you guys, I don’t think the show is off the air. I think there’s spaceships and horses — the story is alive.”

This reminds me of the way Terry Pratchett speaks about stories in his Witches Abroad:

“People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.

Stories exist independently of their players. If you know that, the knowledge is power.

Stories, great flapping ribbons of shaped space-time, have been blowing and uncoiling around the universe since the beginning of time. And they have evolved. The weakest have died and the strongest have survived and they have grown fat on the retelling . . . stories, twisting and flowing through the darkness.”

This isn’t me trying to say stories are entirely communally produced–though that is a lot closer to the truth than any polite legal fiction about lone auteurs–but that great creators know that what they produce came from the sky and is doing its job best when it goes back there. The words we use to describe this process–the public domain, the original work, the author–are so ill-suited to the way culture is produced today. (Or was ever produced). It is nice to see a fan-favorite like Joss Whedon saying he finds value in fans letting his world into their own.

Good on him.

Robert Downey Jr at Comic Con 2012 SDCC

Inspirational Quote:

“As [American poet Ruth Stone] was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out, working in the fields and she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. It was like a thunderous train of air and it would come barreling down at her over the landscape. And when she felt it coming…cause it would shake the earth under her feet, she knew she had only one thing to do at that point. That was to, in her words, run like hell to the house as she would be chased by this poem.

The whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page. Other times she wouldn’t be fast enough, so she would be running and running, and she wouldn’t get to the house, and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it, and it  would continue on across the landscape looking for ‘another poet’.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

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