Sometimes you just need to prioritize.
Say you’re a hero in an action movie.
Okay, so hypothetically.
You’re a hero and you’re supposed to save the day. You need to run down to the airport and single-handedly bodyslam an attack bomber that is targeted upon your favorite girlfriend’s beauty salon.
I made it a girlfriend because it’s important that a good story should have some “personal motivation”. I mean, let’s face it – if Bruce Willis was to come up against a skyscraper full of bad guys, odds are he would just dial 911 and then walk down the street out of pistol range and maybe get himself a bacon double cheese burger.
I don’t know, but Bruce Willis just seems to me to be a sort of a bacon double cheese kind of dude. Not in the first place, you understand. When he was doing Moonlighting he was more of a crab dip and olive spread kind of fellow – but he’s evolved over the years – which is how us old guys say that “He got old.”
But then he finds out his wife is being held hostage by those bad guys and all of a sudden he’s got himself a case of deeply seated personal diehard motivation. There is just no way that he is going to let old Hans and his boogey-boys get away with that kind of foolishment.
So let’s say that it is your favorite girlfriend’s beauty salon that is in jeapordy – and no, I’m not talking Alex Trebek – I’m not talking deep-fried danger. To make matters worse you had an appointment with her for a body perm – no, scratch that – way too metrosexual for an action hero – let’s say she was going to hew you high and tight like the god of all marine attack squads. Only, if that bomber drops it’s payload on the salon you are probably going to have to fall back on some sort of cheap barber – on account of action heroics just don’t pay like they used to – and he’ll mess up the haircut on account of he’s holding his mouth wrong when he wields his barber shears – on account of you probably punched him in the mouth after he good morning-ed you on account of your favourite girlfriend just got attack bombed to death.
Call it a mood swing.
So there you are – racing to save the day – and you’re running down the freeway towards the landing strip where the attack bomber is about to take off and then – out of the corner of your eye – you see a brand new reconditioned mint class Pac Man machine with one game already paid for.
You just have to stop and play that one game. I mean, this is Pac Man we’re talking about. You always rocked at Pac Man. Nobody could beat you. You were the freaking Pac Man King.
So you stop and you play that game and you get in that ghost-gobbling groove, acing up level after level, rolling and smoking that Pac Man machine like it has never tasted tobacco in its life.
And while you’re doing that the attack bomber takes off and drops its payload which brings you right back to that cheap barbershop where you are probably going to get yourself arrested for assaulting that poor hapless barber who just happened to good morning you at the wrong time of existence.
Next thing you know you’ve got a jail sentence and some three hundred pound bald one-eyed three-toothed dude named Bubba Chumsicle Gruntlebee is bringing you posies and smiling at you hopefully.
All because you let yourself get distracted.
Focus on what you are doing.
If you are trying to finish a story or a novel or a limerick about a three legged man named O’Reilly – then don’t stop in the middle of it and run off and write yourself a ninja opus.
Won’t be no Bubba Chumsicle Gruntlebee.
yours in storytelling,