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Friday, January 22, 2010


My younger brother Ben is one creative little dude. While I'm off at the theatre stepping into a character's skin, he's at home spinning stories and worlds out of the most mundane of circumstances. Ben watches a nature documentary and gets an idea for a new species of animals he can use in a story; he reads a book on art history and imagines a world where art is illegal. There is, almost literally, nothing that won't set his imagination to work. I don't doubt that he'll be a great author and a great storyteller.
Seeing as how he and I are together every day for school, and seeing as how we're about as close as two siblings can be, we tend to use each other as sounding boards for creativity. Hardly a day goes by without Ben tapping me on the shoulder and announcing, "I thought of an idea for a..." And off he goes. I don't approach him with ideas quite as often, since writing and storytelling aren't my only creative outlets, but when I do have a new story concept, he's one of the first to know. When I'm in that stage of writing where I have the idea, but none of the details, Ben is fantastic at listening and giving input. Sometimes all it takes is one little sentence: "That's a cool thought, but what if you added this?" and my story resolves itself into plot twists and characters.
We also work well together when coming up with joint ideas. Ben is all about plot; he loves action/adventure and is fantastic at adding nuance and suspense to a story. I'm more into the characters; I concentrate on populating my worlds with realistic, well-rounded people. Together, we create outstanding characters who take amazing journeys.
But we're not always creating other planets or envisioning magical beasts. Sometimes, our combined creativity is focused on something as simple as making up an episode on one of our favorite tv shows. Ben and I share a lot of similar tastes in television (heheh...cartoon network and disney, anyone?), and we recently discovered Phineas and Ferb on the disney channel. (If you haven't seen this show, I HIGHLY reccomend it. Cartoon or not, it's super-creative and has humor for all ages.) Now we bounce episode ideas off each other all the time, and in fact, I'm actually writing some of them into full-fledged stories. Granted, they're not stories I can dream of publishing, but there's a place for such stories in the world (fanfiction.net, people...but I suppose that's another blog post.) And besides...it's just fun. It's fun writing in a world I didn't make up. It's fun trying to match the style of the show.
And most of all, it's fun creating with my little brother. Love you, Ben.