My son is rewriting his story. You can rewrite your story.

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My friend Nicelle is fond of saying that we all live inside a certain narrative. She can easily figure out what narrative people are living inside because she thinks in story lines that curve and tremble rather than lines that march.

My friend Nicelle would not know what to do in the Army. The Army would have to re-write their narrative if Nicelle were to join up (which I would not suggest) the Army would have to rewrite its narrative and that would take a long time and at the point they figured it out, Nicelle would be back out of the Army and it would still be good for future Nicelles who didn’t really want to march or stamp or stomp or be in line or do things in a timely manner. The Army would rewrite its narrative and it would be like this: What if we wake up when we want to? What if we all create poems and stories in the shape of butterflies? What if we just work creatively and then go for a run and come back and drink some coffee and do it some more? What if the kids get to hang out with us while we do these things? What if we all become creators rather than killers?

So what about the story you’re living inside of? What if you don’t know? Some narratives are super obvious. Your husband died, you are sixty years old. You are inside the story of the bereaved widow. But you could live another story. My friend Jackie is not a bereaved widow; she is an amazingly beautiful vibrant woman who paints, writes and travels. Nicelle’s son JJ was sad that Jackie wasn’t going to be at our house for Christmas. He didn’t think Christmas would come without Jackie and I like that because Jackie is a walking Christmas, a party, an amazing dream flower opening.

Some stories are obvious to everyone, but you can still change the story. That’s what the writer needs to know. What story is the character inside of, what would it take for him or her to get out of it and do they want to? You see men and women who are old and alone and shuffling along inside a lonely story. Sometimes the story is everything, you’d rather give up your life than the story. Or you have a story of being in bad health and that story is more interesting than getting better.

Some stories are hard to work your way out of. You are young and poor, how do you change that story? You can marry someone rich, or you can become someone who cares about money and works really hard to make it, but then you’ve changed yourself as well as the story and you may not want to change yourself.

You are married to someone half your age, the story you are inside is the Jennifer story. The story of a man who needs to be the boss of things and so marries a youngster the age of his daughter so he could run things. It’s hard to convince anyone that you ever wanted another story.

Most of us change the story several times as we get older. The first story is not the last story. My son is changing the story. He was a crazy young fellow with a reputation, now he is an adventurer, a world traveler, a magician of his own fate. Watch your stories. Watch your characters’ stories and let them change the story. Let the story evolve.

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Published in: on December 31, 2013 at 1:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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