In a past life, I used to work in fiction (some might say that is journalism these days anyway), but the thing I love about the make-believe world is that it is often a way to cut to the most important elements of real-world dynamics without all the messiness of reality. When you are living in a moment, it is sometimes hard to separate ourselves from it and to see the wood from the trees, so to speak. Add in some special effects, a spaceship and some rolling intro credits and you have yourself a cool way to explore current and topical issues without starting an emotional social media war. I think that this is really the magic of storytelling and the power of books and film and plays – the ability to be able to really tap into heart of what it is to be human individually and as a group.
My natural inclination at this point is to weave in a dad joke to stop this getting too heavy but for once in my life, I’ll try not to deflate the moment. Another thing that I love about the world of storytelling is the fact that we have been doing it as long as we have been able to. The latest Marvel movie might have some pretty cutting-edge tech behind it but the foundations of its storytelling go back thousands of years; the tropes, the act structure, the rhythms of the beat points and major turning points, the character journeys – there is nothing new here because these are the tools that we have been using for thousands of years to make sense of it all.
So there are two points that I want to make about this all. The first is that maybe we need to turn off social media and the news occasionally and read a book or watch a movie to get a more realistic take on what’s happening in the world. The second point is that the most powerful, repeating themes in most resonate storytelling is the concept of hope. It is innate in us. And regardless of the time, and whatever threat or issues we face, there is always hope at the bottom of the box. So, here’s to that and a brilliant 2022.