image via: The Wes Anderson HandbookI just returned from Camp Mighty where a lot was said about story, which is everything when it comes to everything. It made me think of this Robert McKee lecture. And, yes, it's 27 minutes long but worth a watch if you have the time.
I recommend one "parenting" book to friends who are expecting and that book is Bird by Bird, which isn't a parenting book at all and that's why it's the best one. Because it pertains to all humans with human experiences. (Here are some quotes if you don't have the book in front of you.)
In fact, pretty much any/all books about writing can be applied to parenting because their main objective is to get us, the readers, to just do it. Just write the damn thing. Trust your gut, yo. Write what you know.
We are the sum of the stories we read and hear and watch, and the stories we tell and share and give are our greatest legacy. We tell stories whether through books or our own experiences, when punishing, rewarding, teaching... we use archetypes to bridge gaps in our unknown as we converse, argue, write, read, understand. Because we have not experienced it all for ourselves, not even close. So we turn to characters in books, strangers on airplanes, friends in our living rooms, teachers in classrooms, articles in magazines. We recall the story our grandmother told us once. Whatever has left an impression becomes a part of who we are. And then we pass it on.
"There is no such thing as an innocent story. Every story contains an idea that is wrapped inside an emotion. Stories take ideas and embed them into people irrationally..."
"When people get emotional, things change."
"In order to survive the mind does whatever it needs to keep itself alive. The mind is capable of rationalizing every evil into a good... Each and every person in the world who is doing what we think is evil, they think of as good... and then you realize that every one of us is capable of such..."
"The mind organizes life as a story... in order to understand ourselves and our own existence... which is why we need great storytellers... to give us deep insight into life... otherwise life becomes inauthentic..."
"A decadent life is a mono life - flattened... so we need honest, insightful storytellers to shine a bright light into the dark corners of humanity."
"Aristotle said, a convincing impossibility is to be preferred to an unconvincing possibility. And this is true especially when you're working with stories based on fact... the actuality must be convincing. Just because it's based on fact DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE." (ED: AMEN.)
"... the third way to persuade people is to tell them a story. Story persuades because story admits the negative, it throws life out of balance in order to then restore balance... positive, negative, positive, negative..."
"When people use rhetoric they hide every fact that contradicts what they say. For example, when someone sells you sex they do not bring up venereal disease."
"Tell your stories. Tell them from the heart. Tell them as beautifully as you know how... And then ask yourself at the end, do you believe this? Is this an honest expression of what it is to be a human being? Do I believe in the meaning of my own creation? If the answer is yes, then do everything you can do get that story into the world. "