Melodrama is not the result of overexpression but of undermotivation. Not writing too big, but writing with too little desire.*
The call of the wild is not what you hear but what you follow.**
(Terry Tempest Williams)
Robert McKee’s words are true for a story-script because they are true for life.
We all know people who live melodramatically, upset by many small things but unmoved by the big things they could make a difference in. We know because life is about trying not to become melodramatic.
The person who makes no effort to discover and pursue the thing that really matters to them is truly lost, in danger of coming to the end of their days bound up by smallness and full of regret.
Another day without following our wild is forms another cord from which it will be more difficult to escape. Seth Godin reminds us of how helpful today is:
we can begin today on changing the internal limits we place upon ourselves.^
One way to escape these cords comes from noticing and playing with the tears in reality that are all around us, often seen as mess and chaos but are the world as it is:
Perhaps, then, what a lucky find reveals first is neither cosmos nor chaos but the mind of the finder. It might even be better to drop “cosmos” and “chaos,” and simply say that a chance event is a little bit of the world as it is – a world always larger and more complicated than our cosmologies – and that smart luck is a kind of responsive intelligence invoked by whatever happens.^^
I include these words from Lewis Hyde because they connect with what Seth Godin says about changing our internal limits. Our ability to interact with this far-larger-than-we-imagined-world is formed by us. Hyde goes on to write this about people who are able to engage in such a world:
But notice that in addition to having a ready structure of ideas, the prepared mind is ready for what happens. It has its own theories, but it attends as well to the anomaly that does not fit them. We therefore get this paradox: with smart luck, the prepared mind is prepared for what it is not prepared for. It has a kind of openness, holding its ideas lightly, and willing to have them exposed to impurity and the unintended.^^
Developing this openness of mind – a general curiosity to everything and a specific curiosity to something, leads to an openness of the heart and, so, to our motivation, leading to an openness of the will – then we’re moving in the call of the wild.
(*From Robert McKee’s blog: How to Avoid the Curse of Melodrama.)
(**From Terry Tempest Williams’ The Hour of Land.)
(^From Seth Godin’s blog: Approaching the limits.)
(^^From Lewis Hyde’s Trickster Makes This World.)