Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Waxing Philosophical Part 2: On Being Part of a Story

Read Part I First…

If you ever hold a conversation with me—especially if it’s about writing, you’ll probably hear me say, “It’s all about the story.” I’ve always been the one to find an old arrow head and wonder about its story, or to find a shell on the beach and wonder how it got there. For me, the story is everything. Even with artwork, I’ve found that the more successful artists have a story behind each scene they create. It’s not just a picture of a dress; the picture of the dress tells a story—if you catch my meaning. Why else are people fascinated by the Mona Lisa? The woman has a story to tell, and all of us want to figure it out. Actually, that’s one of the reasons I think that movies with a lot of CG components sometimes lose their luster (excuse the cliché). All too often, the CG characters lack soul—they lack a story.

I also have a suspicion that each of us wants to be part of a story. When we read books, we put ourselves into the story—we become the characters. (I know that I used to imagine myself as one of the Fellowship of the Ring because I wanted so much to be a part of it. And come on, how many of you really wish you could go to Hogwarts and already know exactly what house the Sorting Hat would put you in?) We attach ourselves to actors and actresses, sports heroes and teams (go Yankees, by the way), movies, video games, and politicians because we want to be part of something great—something more exciting than what we think we’ve got on our own. We want to be part of a great story. I think sometimes, we look at our real lives, and we don’t want to be part of them at all. We feel as though they are a waste. After all, who wants to forecast land sales or clean toilets (Can you guess some of my former jobs?) when we could be fighting evil wizards, destroying powerful pieces of jewelry in lava streams, or fighting mornachts?

But what if…?

What if there really is a story being told beyond that of our own lives? What if there is a power struggle between good and evil? And what if the fate of the world lies in the balance? What if you could be a part of it? Would you jump at the chance to make a difference? Would you fight for good, even if it required some sacrifice?

Design implies a designer. And if that designer has a story, do you want to be part of it?

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