The power of story

I loved The West Wing when it was on TV. The truth is, I love most of what Aaron Sorkin has written (I don’t like his new show Newsroom, it’s kind of a hate-watch for me) for two very specific reasons. Neither of which is his dialogue, as his level of line recycling is amazing, but not in a good way.

The reasons I admire him so much is because of his command of character and story. The plot points aren’t subtle or surprising, but they masterfully frame his narrative. His monologues and climatic moments may border on cheesy, but he knows how to get to his audiences emotions. Cynical critics aside, the man knows how to yank on heartstrings. Still, its surprising that I love the West Wing so much because I disagree with almost every single political message the show sent. Seriously, almost every one.

But I still loved it. So when I found all the seasons on Amazon Instant Video over the weekend, I immediately started the series from the beginning. I tried to get Lindsey to watch it with me, and at first she wasn’t interested. Then, after walking into the middle of an episode she changed her tune.

She is watching it with me now, and she is starting to really enjoy it. Seeing her enjoy it reminds me of the power of narrative and story. It reminds me that story is a universal means of connecting with others. I believe that humans were created with a need capacity and need to connect with others, and that we do it through stories.

An author Lindsey and I like, Don Miller, wrote a book all about how our lives are stories that we write as we live them. It has really stuck with me over the years. I think about that a lot in context of our marriage. We are writing a story right now. We are in the opening chapters, and there is so much ahead. There will be many defeats and struggles, just as there will be many victories and joys. But the point is, just like a good novel or TV show, we have to focus on writing that story. We have to get up everyday and build the plot together.

So far, it’s been a great love story. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

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