You Know How The Story Ends

If I told you Gladiator is one of my favorite movies you might assume it is because it fits the stereotypical action flick that many people, especially men enjoy.

There is truth to that, but it doesn’t explain all of what I love about it and neither will this post because it is not going to be a school essay about why Jack Steiner thinks Gladiator is cool.

Instead we’ll say I like it for the action, the love story, the imagery and Maximus, the protagonist. If you really need more and you know me well enough to reach by telephone you can inquire if you must.

But before you reach out and try to touch me let’s take a moment to think/consider some advice that some writers provide to other writers.

They say when you are writing fiction and are developing your characters you should consider writing the ending first and working backwards.

Figure out where you want your character(s) to end up, place them there and then work backwards on developing and describing how it all happens.

And that my friends makes me think of the line below from the opening battle of Gladiator:

Maximus: Three weeks from now, I will be harvesting my crops. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so. Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you’re already dead! Gladiator

There is a certain elegance and simplicity involved in that.

Focus on doing your job well and don’t be distracted. Ride hard, be death incarnate on the battle field and in a short time you can go back to being a farmer.

Hell, isn’t that what we all want for our lives. Isn’t that what we are asking our politicians to provide.

“If you work hard and do a good job then you are guaranteed a house with a two car garage, a family vacation each year and the ability to retire at a young enough age to enjoy it.

You Know How The Story Ends

If you ask me if I know how the story ends in my fiction I’ll tell you I always have a rough idea about where the folks will end up but I don’t really know how they got there so this is the kind of  idea that works for me.

In part it is because I like letting my characters write their storylines and show me how it all happens. It makes for a nice surprise.

But if you ask me as a father, friend and man to address it, well I’ll tell you that we all have hopes and dreams but most of us don’t have a fucking clue as to how it will all play out with the kind of certainty a writer can provide a fictional character.

Hell, if I didn’t learn that from the shit I referred to in this post than I would be blind, deaf, dumb and stupid, which I might add is a nicer description of me than was expressed by a guy at the store earlier this week.

I can tell why he was upset with me.

He thinks I stole his parking space and that I don’t understand the rules of the parking lot which in his world mean you park your car at one end of an aisle and wait to see if someone exits the lot.

Maybe if he had used a turn signal to indicate he was waiting for a space it might have ended differently, but he didn’t so when I came down the aisle I drove around his car and headed down a solid 60 feet or so and stumbled upon a space.

When he accosted me about the aforementioned space I told him I was sorry and kept walking. When he kept yapping at me I told him I knew how this story would end and said it was very unpleasant for him.

So maybe I do know more about how things go in real life.

My Own Soundtrack

If I was king of the world and not just a regular dad blogger I might have an orchestra follow me around so that I could have my own theme or soundtrack play during moments like the one I just shared.

I could have pretended to Force choke the guy to the Imperial march or used the music from Gladiator and said something like:

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

Hell, if that didn’t get his attention and make him run away I am not sure what would.

It Makes For Great Blog Fodder

The beauty of ordinary life is that it makes for great blog fodder.

The simple moments often provide the fabric and foundation of stories worth memorializing on these pages and posts.

That is not snark or sarcasm, it is my real belief.

That’s because there is more beauty in the simple moments than we sometimes recognize and it is only later that we see how it was the simple things that made up the moments we treasure and miss.

Doesn’t mean they aren’t bookended or intermixed with those in which the ordinary became extraordinary because they are, but sometimes we spend too much time looking too far ahead and not enough on the present.

Maybe it is because we forget that when you know how the story ends it doesn’t preclude the importance of living out the time that leads to that moment.

You have to do the work if you want to get there.

Those aren’t just words to me, they are gospel.

I know how the story ends, now I just have to work it all out.

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