Monday Motivation: A single, simple premise

 In Monday Motivation

I haven’t seen Lady Bird, winner of one of the top awards at the Golden Globes last night, but I have read the script – and one of its features confirms something we have always said about stories.

The scene I’m thinking of is the very first, in which Lady Bird, the story’s protagonist, is lamenting the fact that she lives in Sacramento which she thinks of as a town in which nothing of any significance has ever, or will ever, happen.

She’s with her mother, with whom she enjoys – if that’s the right word – a really fraught relationship. Here’s how it goes:

There you have it. The central dramatic premise of the story is laid out in just seven words. Can you guess which seven?

“I wish I could live through something.”

It’s the cry of so many young adults, isn’t it? The desire to live in interesting times. The dream of making your mark. The sense that your town, your family, your friends, aren’t quite what you’d hoped they’d be. The feeling that you’ve somehow missed out on the important stuff.

The story shows Lady Bird learning to value all the things and people – and even her own name – that she’d despised, as she navigates the very tricky path from youth to adulthood.

It’s a beautifully realised story, simply told, but with all the yearning and dreams of youth distilled into a hundred or so pages.

I thought that a reference to Lady Bird, and the clarity of its vision, would be a good way to start 2018. Because however grand our vision of the story we might want to tell might be, it must be founded on a simple premise articulated as clearly as Greta Gerwig spelled out her character’s burning desire: I want to live through something…

Happy New Year!


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