“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.” – Duke Ellington
Yesterday, LeVar talked about the rhythm of language and how this is an important part of stories. I have always believed this too. In my early twenties, I got heavily into swing dancing, and my dancing buddies and I would recite that Duke Ellington quote all the time. But we’d also follow it up with, “And that’s not just something that applies to music, it applies to life.” Since stories are meant to show a mirror to life, they need to swing too.
Have you ever read a book, watched a movie, or listened to a friend tell a story, and you just think to yourself, “Is this going to go anywhere? Is anything going to happen?” Or, on the other hand, you might feel physically exhausted by a story that is so fast paced, that trying to keep up with the action is like a hardcore trip to the gym. Ultimately, stories need an ebb and flow to their rhythm…they need swing. The best stories, no matter how long or short, work to carry the reader/listener/watcher effortlessly along the high and low points of the plot and action.
Acoustic Rooster and the Barnyard Band – When a jazz-loving rooster sets his sights on winning a barnyard talent show, he realizes he can’t do it as a solo act.
My Family Plays Music – With everyone in her family making all kinds of music, this spunky girl can’t help but want to join in.
You can find these great stories in the Reading Rainbow App, or at your local library.
The Reading Rainbow Team