People talk about inspiration all the time, about how it can come from the strangest of places, at the most unexpected of times. They talk about what it feels like to be possessed by that feeling, and how it feels to lack it. No one ever does it justice though. Neither will I. The power a story can have on us is beyond words. Even just part of a story can capture us, swoop us off our feet and carry us away into a land of sensations, feelings, and dreams of our own.
Of all the places I’ve seen it come from, I honestly never expected a movie like Saving Mr. Banks to be one of them. I’ve liked the idea of Walt Disney for a long while now, and the creator of Mary Poppins was an author who brought something to life for millions, for generations. Or at least planted the seed. It’s a given that she would have my respect, just on principle. But neither of them are as important to me at the moment as the people who put this newer film together.
The screenwriter, the casting, the director, and the actors. Everyone who was involved in it, including the real people the movie was based on. I don’t know what really happened between Disney and that temperamental writer, but it really doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, that’s what good fiction is. Something so magical that the reality just doesn’t matter. The story is everything. What you can do with a story, righting wrongs, bringing order to chaos…
Creating a dream that others can share when they read your book or watch your movie… that’s magic. Magic that you can taste when others describe it, their experience of it, their love of it. But it’s only a taste, and the ones who are possessed by it, enraptured, know that the words we try to use will always fall short. There’s no way to know the feeling, except in experiencing it for yourself. Becoming a vessel of it on your own terms, with your own creations.
I watched this movie and felt the way I always want to feel.
Like a child. Sad, moved, set on fire with a burning idea for one of my own stories. One that might just be a dream, but one I can bring to life in story, even if I ultimately fail in reality. I could die a broken down, used up, bitter old failure, but if I bring these dreams to life in the dream world story tellers lord over… it doesn’t matter. I will still have won. No matter how small, I will have shaped reality to match my vision for it. Altered it to the shape of my dreams.
Who would have ever though a story about people trying to create a story… could be that deeply inspiring? But for me, it was. Whatever happened in the reality of the 1960’s, I have this story now. This dreamed up version of events. This inspiration. I honestly can’t believe how filled I am in awe of such a simple modern film. Can’t believe that it was strong enough to hit me as hard as it did. Maybe it’s just me… but I think I tasted magic while I watched it.
Completely unexpected, gratifying, satisfying story magic. Reality barely enters into it.