October 21, 2012
THE TIMES…ARE THEY A CHANGIN’?
The decade since 9/11 occurred has sparked all sort of “national” emotions.
At first, when I visualized the two female protagonists of this peace, both warriors, I put them as three-dimensional figures against a flat backdrop of the “culture wars”, present since the beginning of the Republic, in fact, since the American War of Independence and before.
Growing up in a family where arguments around war and peace and the justifications for each were wars all their own, I always wondered if soldiers could be “honorable”, and I always thought, despite the dishonor around certain causes, that individual soldiers could and should be admired.
But, as I got to know these “admirable” and still flawed and endangered protagonists, I also realized that I couldn’t make them the only three-dimensional characters, and that, I needed to do more than have a flat canvas of secondary characters yelling at each other in the background. That sort of outcome might give comfort to pundits who decry the beloved “polarized” polity, but, it doesn’t do much for a story.
But one thing I could keep from my earliest musings around a “difficult” story to tell in time of war was around a community and characters big enough, round enough, complex enough, and most of all, interesting enough, to leap out from the supporting canvas and hold hands with my two women and help them tell the story more effectively. So, thank goodness, the threads of community provided continuity and roots for major and minor characters, and equally important, give audience members strong threads to grab to come inside the story.
After I got deeper into the structure, I found 9/11 a threshold event, not changing people from their fundamental selves, but providing intention and confirming their nature, making them MORE rather than less recognizable as a result.
For those of us who lived during the Sixties, it’s easy to project them forward as a sort of “test” for those who are too young to know them, and to make them a default failure as a result.
That sort of template of time is self-defeating and inhibiting to a writer.
So, here’s the big thing. As I launched this project, I realized, unlike most of the drama I’ve written, I wanted this to be about young people, not just any young people, but the generation of my children. I hope that, through One Way In, we can learn more about this generation as they struggle with war and peace within and without.
Remember, that this story has key characters in an older generation. Maybe those of us in this generation can learn more about ourselves, too.
Next Time: Dissonance: Writing about the difficult.
Lars lost his battle with