Thursday, May 16, 2013

Where to begin

My son is just passed seven and has some interest in Star Wars. Not the movie, but the whole culture, as one might become curious about Catholicism or football.  It seeps into the seven-year-old world without an invite, so now he wants to watch the movies.

But in what order?  That is a tricky question.  Episode 4 A New Hope launched the franchise and, for many, changed the world a little bit.  Episode 1 The Phantom Menace is where the saga starts.  I figured we should begin at the beginning . . . forgetting everything I’ve learned about story telling. 

Stories rarely depend on chronology.  Why something is important - what gives an event or comment or glance meaning - may derive from the past.  It might also come from the future or even spring from things the characters will never know no matter how long they survive.  Great stories frequently start in the middle, with necessary details backfilled or foreshadowed.  Beowulf, Hamlet, Casablanca – we enter in medias res and the stories are better because of it.

I loaded the Phantom disc.  About 45 minutes in, Max started playing Lego.  “This is a little boring,” he said.  And (sigh) he was sadly, sadly right.  Can’t imagine what he’d say about church or the line of scrimmage.

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