These were the words that came out of the mouth of my leader in a writers meet-up group I attended over 5 years ago. He did me the favor of reading the first 10 pages of “Nick and Me”, the fiction I wrote which finally came out this past July. “Nick and Me” involves four primary characters, and the relationships get a little rocky. His advice was, “Someone in this story has to die.”
Now, this may seem morbid to you, but it was absolutely the truth. The class was about writing in a “narrative arc”, the structure typically used by writers when developing a fictional story. There is a set-up, and lots and lots of conflict that leads to a climax, and then resolution. It’s a rise and fall….therefore, forming an arc. Truth is often stranger than fiction, which is what I was thinking about today.
Our lives are narrative arcs. We are born into a situation where the characters are laid out. We develop relationships with said characters, then there are lots and lots of conflicts (and a bunch of good stuff too), and then we die. There. Narrative Arc. Someone in our stories has to die. We also have to die.
Coming to grips with our own mortality seems easy enough. But, really? If you think about the fact that over 250,000 people will die today, does this give you pause? I hope so. One knowledgeable Indian guru that I saw on YouTube the other day touched on this. His point was that, when you wake up and see you WEREN’T one of the 250,000 that died last night, it’s time to be grateful. Gratefulness has magical qualities. Simple feeling grateful every morning brings more blessings your way. It’s all how you look at things. My partner and I frequently discuss what we are grateful for in the morning.
The fact that you will die also puts things into perspective. Whether you think you only live one life, or many lives, doesn’t detract from the point that this life is short. We stop here only for a short while, so if you are living your life as if it will go one forever, maybe you should knock that off.
If you were to die tomorrow, how would you speak to others? Would you finally acknowledge that certain parts of your life are being led in order to fill someone else’s agenda? We all do this to some extent. If you need to distance yourself from toxic people with negative emotions, please do so immediately. You don’t need to feel sorry for that. After all, it’s not like they are giving you something you need. As a matter of fact, you may be doing them a favor. They will start waking up to what is real. That, I feel, is our task: To WAKE UP and live your truth.
When a writer writes, he/she of course creates all of these characters inside of their head. The characters are the writer’s creation. The characters are like children. You know what they are thinking and feeling, what they ate for breakfast, and the color of their socks, etc. In order to write well, however, as Stephen King says, “You have to kill the babies”. In other words, you have to be willing to eliminate your own creation for the good of the story.
We also have to eliminate some of the babies in our lives. Start living your truth, because someone in this story has to die……
Cheers to a new and glorious week ahead. Go get ’em. Deb
A link to “Nick and Me” on Amazon: