Last time I posted about three seemingly unrelated topics, Mary Poppins, Mickey Mouse, and the singing group One Direction.
Actually it was more about the author of Mary Poppins, Walt Disney and the reaction of tens of thousands of young girls to the positivity of One Direction. Then I promised to tell you what I thought any of this had to do with me.
I don’t want to spoil the movie for you and I will try be subtle in what I say so as not to. But there is a scene in the Mr. Banks movie that was very powerful to me. Disney and P.L. Travers are sitting alone over tea and they have a deep and personal discussion (or mostly Disney does) about story telling and what makes them story tellers.
Without giving too much away, it was pain and tragedy that led both these authors to create characters that brought joy to millions. For Walt it was the Mouse, for Travers it was the nanny. As the scene unfolded (by the way critics all over the internet have already delighted in telling everyone that the conversation never happened in real life. I say, “so what?” the reality of their lives was as depicted and the motivation behind their creativity was the same as depicted)…anyway…as the scene unfolded, I am embarrassed to admit I cried. I sat there in the theater and blubbered. Because I realized that though I have now completed three books and one manuscript, I still haven’t written a book I need to write.
I need to release my inner Mickey Mouse.
Some of you know my childhood story some of you don’t. Some of you only know a small part of it. But it was my childhood that honed me into a story teller. It was through my own pain that my sense of humor blossomed. And that’s okay. The last thing I want is for anyone to feel sorry for me.
On the one or two occasions I have shared my entire testimony, I have always emphasized that I don’t seek pity and I don’t think my story is any harsher than anyone else’s story. We all have difficulties and sad things we experienced. It was just that mine combined with the personality traits that God gave me and created a writer.
That being said, I have lost count of the number of times I have had someone who knows me well tell me, “You need to write YOUR story.” They think that the funny stories I have told about my own life is where my real calling as a story teller lies. I have never pursued anything like that however because I’ve never known how to tie these stories together into any kind of a narrative.
To be sure I have incorporated some of these anecdotes into my books here and there. But what both Travers and Disney did is created a central character and projected some of their own experiences onto that character. That’s what I am going to try and do (only mine won’t be a cartoon character).
While I loved writing my other books, I think my real strengths are in writing for the heart. Humor and nostalgia are where my strengths lie and the best books combine these two.
My very first published work can be found on this blog. It was entitled First and Last. It was a story that pulled at the heartstrings and was about my Pop taking me on my very first hunt as a boy, and me taking him on his very last hunt as an elderly man.
That story was published in the 25th Anniversary edition of Turkey Call Magazine and has since been republished in two more magazines. It has been seen by over a million people. And THAT reminds me of the One Direction audiences. Those girls were drawn to the positive message. The world is wacky and warped enough. Maybe they don’t want to read scary conspiracy books. Maybe they want to be uplifted and edified in the midst of the madness swirling around them.
So I am going to be doing a lot of brainstorming. I don’t know when I’ll come up with my story, I don’t know what the character I want to create will be like or look like. But I think I have a new goal as a writer.