“Our appetite for story is a reflection of the profound human need to grasp the patterns of living, not merely as an intellectual exercise, but within a very personal, emotional experience… To be entertained is to be immersed in the ceremony of story to an intellectually and emotionally satisfying end.”
The above passage is taken from ‘Story’ by Robert McKee. He goes on to say that people go to movies, plays, and read novels, not to escape reality, but to live it vicariously through someone else, at its fullest. School has fallen short and religion rings hollow for so many. Story becomes the means by which people step out of their skins and explore humanity at its extremes.
I attended McKee’s story seminar a couple of years ago, and I picked up his book last night and started reading it. I’m writing a play about my life and I’ve brought it to a place where it’s time to deconstruct it, look at its bones, and see it in its nakedness. What more can I add, or take away to make the story stronger? What ideas need to be fleshed out? Where is the fine line between frivolous, and necessary?
I feel a great responsibility towards the audience to tell this story in the best way possible. They don’t know me, and they won’t give a shit about me when they watch it. They are there to be moved, and as with any movie or play they watch, their collective IQ rises 25 points just sitting there. They’ll smell any signs of bullshit, flawed story telling, and shoddy character choices. If I truly can move them, touch their lives in some way, I’ll have done my duty as a writer.
Yet at the same time, I am more than just a writer telling a story. I am a human being doing much soul searching, looking inward, and trying to make sense of my choices. The last three weeks have been intense. The words poured out of me like water through a bursting damn. All the shit stagnating deep inside me finally found an exit. I felt a great change inside me.
And as I penned my final scenes, I met someone special. The timing was almost cliche’. I felt her influence at my finger tips as I tapped the keys of my laptop through the final scene. I felt myself using words in new ways. I felt yet another distinctive chapter beginning and ending in my life, both on the page, and in the world I see.