I’ve been fascinated with story telling through one medium or another my entire life. My father was a dreamer, movies and books were his life and at an early age they became rooted in my consciousness. I to this day can name the first movie and novel that moved me to tears.
The movie was Forrest Gump, and when Forrest breaks down at Jenny’s grave I cried with him. Not only was the film that powerful, it was a coming of age for me because at the time I was only 11 or so years old, watching the film opening weekend in the theater. Then and there I knew the power of a great story – a simple story, told like a fairytale.
The novel that first made me weep in grade school with John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. If you can hold it together for that ending your an emotionally stronger person than me. I threw the thin novel down not believing the cruel irony of life and the duplicity of friendship.
In each of these creative instances we are transported to simpler times but the complexities and conflicts of life remain the same. Struggles with truth and society. The individual verses the collective. Poverty versus the opulence. The never ending, never resolved conflicts of life. By stepping away and experiencing life through these different characters, we somewhere come to the notion that we aren’t that different. We function through a very similar lens although our circumstances can be very different from person to person. Story telling threads our innate similarities.
I am convinced that there are two seminal emotions guiding all our actions; love and fear. All other states are born from these two extremes. A good story teller understands motivation and more importantly a good story teller understands conflict. Every good story swirls fiercely with fluctuating levels conflict.
To all the aspiring story tellers out there, what are the stories that have moved you to tears in your life, what stories made you want to become an artist yourself?
Next time I’ll be discussing the late Stieg Larson’s Millenium series better known as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.