Friday, June 10, 2011

Story Versus Life

Claire’s post on imperfection says it all. What is a life, and certainly, what is a story without imperfection? That is what makes it all interesting and relatable (and tolerable). My editor told me more than once that I should never write a perfect book. If I did, I’d never write another one. One book may be fine for someone like Harper Lee, but not for most creative folk. Strive for perfection, sure, but reach it…? Never!

I saw the movie, Everything Must Go recently, based on a Raymond Carver story and starring Will Ferrell (in a very serious role). Everyone in it is imperfect. You could even go so far as to think of them as losers and/or assholes. Yet they are human. All humans make mistakes at one point or another, some are bigger mistakes than others. Compassion and forgiveness seems to be the only thing that gets us through. It’s way better than the alternatives (hatred, anger, revenge, etc…) even though some of that is necessary for the learning curve of the story to get to the other side.

Sometimes we writers have a very difficult time knowing the difference between story and “reality.” I am starting to think that there really is no difference at all.

1 comment:

  1. I think that the deepest part of a story, the transformation of the protagonist, comes from our own deep knowing about life. Thanks for the thoughtful post, Lisa.