The fourth wall is the invisible wall that separates the actors of fiction from the audience. It is more of a concept than a definable “thing,” the best example being the invisible plane extending upward from the edge of a theater stage. The purpose is to establish a certain theatrical realism (and surrealism). Here’s a list of fiction that intentionally breaks the fourth wall.
I wrote an open letter about the harmonica player that sat on the cement wall outside of the UGLi throughout my four years at the University of Michigan. A recent facebook group brought to my attention that he is actually a professor at the U of M, and is not, as I had assumed, homeless. His name is Tom Goss and he’s been playing for nearly 20 years. Chances are that if you took a stroll through the Diag in Ann Arbor you would hear him today. Here’s a Michigan Daily article on him.
Hay piled high in the fields flowing by the car window, its stalks golden and brown – or are they staffs – bent by the summer wind until the sun shimmers off the flat spot. Looking through the back window wondering what it would be like to swim in the fields, or just to run free. Anything to escape the back seat of a six hour car ride.
Supposedly, if no one is paying attention and I’m passed out and traveling very fast I can pass through walls. Why? Because quantum mechanics says that electrons behave like waves when we’re not looking and we all know that waves can travel through walls. For more info, check out quantum mechanics.
Kinda like reading a four drafts of a bad novel with no descriptive words, adjectives, or adverbs. Except, then you have to take the relevant facts and divide them amongst the four drafts so that only with all four in front of you do you get a decent idea of what the storyline is. Oh, and each draft has a different narrator, too.
Can our memories outpace us? Don’t they already? Isn’t an expectation an unfulfilled memory? A shell waiting to be filled? The future is like reverse memory loss. It’s indefinite as it fades and changes and sometimes disappears altogether. The difference? There’s potential in unknown nostalgia.
I have this idea of an old man stopping by a coffee shop window and looking in on youth on the inside. He’s cold and shivering because his coat is too thin and his blood doesn’t run fast enough. He’s slowing down, but won’t go inside to warm his chill. Instead, he tolerates the cold.
There is a beautiful girl with smooth skin on the inside. She whispers, “Hello, Sir.”
They never meet. He smiles back, maybe.
There’s youth and age. There’s warmth and cold. There’s a clear window pane that divides the two. But, what is between them other than years?
When did he become content? When does she stop wanting?