Ever since Homer sent Odysseus on a hero's journey. Ever since Beowulf chased the dragon Grendel. Ever since Hamlet gave us sympathetic eyes into a suicidal soul. Ever since Margaret talked to God as only a twelve year old can. Stories that wrestle with the fundamental questions we all ask sometime in this life give us new perspective, new compassion. New heart.
I love good writing. But even more than that, I love a good story. When a book has both, it is pure magic. Some incredible wordsmiths paint memorable pictures. But some great story tellers never use complex sentences or four syllable words. They simply take us to a place where we need to be. They simply lay bare the human condition and let us feel life along with the characters. Sometimes it's fun to read about someone like me, with a life like mine. But the big payoff for me comes when I read about something I could not have known from living my particular life.
Yesterday we saw the movie Manchester By The Sea. It was powerful. And it did what good story telling does. It fleshed out the character of a man broken by a horrible incident. Not a two dimensional character. Not the one we hear about in a news report who did something terrible, that we would label as a complete and utter loser. But a news report doesn't take us into the man's heart and let us see pain so big that he will never get past it.
Here's to the writers who have a story to tell. Here's to the writers who brave rejection and self doubt and more rejection, but keep after the story they have to tell. A hero's journey takes many different roads. Just ask Harry Potter. Now, there's a great story!