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Beyond the Lone Islands

Monday, 4 May 2009

Quotation of the Week (19/09) - In medias res

"--- it was a conversation begun in medias res, a style of presentation he'd always liked --- for it meant that small talk had already been dispensed with, given that the conversation began in the middle, and in the middle of something the speaker had feelings about."

Martha Grimes, The Stargazey

The Wikipedia definition of the expression "in medias res" is:

In medias res, also medias in res (Latin for "into the midst of affairs (lit. into mid-affairs)"), refers to a literary and artistic technique where the narrative starts in the middle of the story instead of from its beginning (ab ovo or ab initio). The characters, setting, and conflict are often introduced through a series of flashbacks or through characters relating past events to each other.

Back in the 90's, I used to sometimes spend a summer holiday week going away somewhere on a creative writing course. One of the things I liked about these courses was that it was an exciting way to meet people; much like the quotation above. Usually on these courses, we did not bother much about introductions, but dived right into writing, and got to know each other that way.

I can't go away on that kind of courses any more because I can't really do anything "intensive" these days. (I also have difficulties travelling.) I miss that. But since I started exploring the Blog World, I find that this is also a very good way of getting into "in medias res" conversation with people. You jump right in, usually starting with the writer's latest post. And if you get interested, you can go backwards later, to find out more... But at the same time, it allows each one to keep his/ her own pace. Wonderful invention, the internet...!


Dr.John said...

But sometimes you really wish that you had joined the conversation earlier.

DawnTreader said...

Dr.J - Yes, but isn't it often precisely the passionate "in medias res" conversations that make you feel that way? - not the polite roundabout small talk that we so often begin with, and sometimes get stuck in...


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