On my drive into work today I tuned into a retrospective about The Beatles, and out of all that amazing music and commentary, one thing still managed to stand apart. A snippet of an old George Harrrison interview, when Harrison said, “Really, if you think about it, we’re required to keep doing one thing in life.” One thing only:
That is, if we’re to have meaningful lives.
Oh dang. Intellectually, I know this to be true. But, emotionally, I celebrate routine and lists, and people and things that can be counted on.
A perfect day for me is surprise-free (with lots of food) and runs smoothly on time. That’s it. Having to choose between my perfect day and a Maui beach could be a toss-up.
But life’s not stress or surprise-free. No matter how much we try controlling it, life constantly moves in unpredictable directions, for one reason only: to test our mettle. To see what kind of stuff we’re made of; to make us reach down inside ourselves and bring up something we didn’t even know we had.
Listening to Harrison, I also thought of how change applies to writing fiction–what I love doing–because creating fictional characters is, at its root, about constructing believable plot situations that force our characters to choose between an old belief and a new belief.
All stories are about change, whether it’s your life story or the story you’re reading. Momentum-less = lifeless, and to be a novelist, to propel a story forward, is to understand momentum’s complete necessity.
And just messin’ with you about Maui. Of course I’d choose Maui.