Monday, March 03, 2014

Character is Destiny

I went into my garage to look for a book for a friend this weekend.  As can happen, I opened one box and found a bunch of old notebooks from college. I once wrote a four page poem of rhymed couplets about an overdressed 18th century noblewoman losing her battle with nature, so whenever I stumble on a box of old papers I haven't sifted through, I stop and take a look.  I didn't even know I had some of this stuff, or why I've kept it.  Most of it had been at my parents house until the last ten years or so, but it's a long time to have old notes from drama classes and blank paper. I have several dittoed syllabi, which dates me.

Looking through my notes from one of my drama lecture classes, I saw the note "Character is Destiny" writ large in the middle of the page. I don't know why that particular line stood out, except that I'm trying to develop a story, and I'm having a difficult time with it.  The line seemed so simple - character is destiny.  All stories come out of character.  It sounds easy, doesn't it?

Today I was reading a New York Times Magazine interview with Phillip Roth, and what should he say during the interview, but "Yes, character is destiny, but everything is chance."

Character is destiny twice in as many days.  What is the universe trying to tell me?  Probably nothing - a happy coincidence.  Especially if everything is chance.

I'm hoping this helps me in some way, and not just to wonder what my character will reveal or has reveled about my own destiny.  It's hard not to wonder.

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