When it comes to the stories that break your heart, rock your world, open your eyes—these stories, the best stories, are never told. Never made up. They are found.
There are made up stories. There are stories we write and tell. But every once in a while you’ll come across a story and you’ll read it, or watch it in the movie theater or on TV, and you’ll know. It will be too familiar, too right, and once you experience it you won’t be able to imagine that the world ever existed without this story in it. These characters, the things that happen to them, the moments you will never be able to forget—they all fit too well, they all ring too true. It’s like they’ve always been, and you just happened to be the lucky one who found them.
Writing is an art and it’s something you work hard at. You slave some days. It’s not all waterfalls of words rushing onto a page. And by saying this, that a story is found not created, some might think I am disrespecting this process. But I'm not. It’s hard. It takes guts and discipline and a sharp mind and a special talent and a magical something-else that I don’t quite have the word to express. It takes curiosity, passion, a special kind of madness, the ability to push yourself, to stay on task, to reach the goal. You write. You rewrite. You revise. You remove. You add. You change a word. You change it back. This can go on ten, twenty, a hundred times. I do not mean to belittle this in the least.
But even after all of that, at the end of the day when you have the finished product sitting there—it doesn’t ever really seem finished, does it? And that goes back to what I’m saying—nay, insisting. Because you stumbled upon it, somewhere inside you. Call it your psyche. Your link into the collective unconscious. Whatever it is, you’ve found something, and it’s there, and all of this work—it’s like you’re an archaeologist brushing away dirt. There’s a skeleton down there somewhere, and you’re bringing it out of whatever it was that has hidden it away and back into the light of day for all to see. Sometimes you don’t get the whole thing dislodged. Maybe it’s just enough to recognize the shape of what’s beneath. So even when the book is published and sitting on a shelf, or when the show is on air, or when the movie’s shot and released, it might not be the whole picture. But you’ve found enough of whatever it was that we recognize it and identify with it, and we let part of ourselves fill in the gaps, brush away the rest. We get to find it along with you.
Does this make any sense? Not necessarily. I’m rambling, and I’ve just finished watching the LOST finale and it would take a whole other blog post to react to that ending.
But do you know what I mean? You have to know the feeling. Because you’ve found something too, I just know it. A story, a world, people. They may not be real the way you and I are real, but somehow they’re even more real than we are if that makes any sense. You know them. Somehow you’ve always known.
Somehow I’ve always known.