With Christmas in the rearview mirror, New Year’s is a time for resolutions. Creating a memory quilt for my daughter was one resolution I actually followed through on. As a writer, I adore the happy memories–some this memory quilt reflected. But as I reflect on many works I’ve read, it’s the most painful memories that often impact us the most.
Several years ago the movie Saving Mr. Banks came out. While most are familiar with the movie Mary Poppins, few know the background of this classic. The author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers, based the patriarch of the family on her own father, Travers Goff. In the movie, Mr. Banks as an enormously successful banker, albeit a man with rather eccentric ways. In reality, P.L. Travers’ father was an alcoholic unable to hold a job. Eventually he forced his entire family into poverty and died before their very eyes.
In the movie Saving Mr. Banks, P.L. Travers butts heads with Walt Disney regarding the way her father was depicted. She’s not a fan of Walt Disney’s over cheerful version of Mr. Banks. Through the course of their conversations about how horrific Travers’ childhood was, Disney soon comes to terms with his own troubled past about a father who often beat him. Disney eventually convinces Travers to finish the story for the children that will be viewing the movie. He implores her not to let the past dictate her life, but to view this movie as helping save P.L. Travers from her tragic childhood.
For those of us who write, Saving Mr. Banks was a lesson about life that we already knew. Writing the happy endings we may never have experienced is a healthy coping mechanism that often creates compelling novels, plays, or movies. In 1839 Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” The guy was spot on. In this age of violence and paranoia, what better way to overcome adversity than to create something readers can cling to–something giving them hope?
I wish you a blessed New Year and may 2016 prove to be one in which you create beautiful memories.
Peace, Love, and Blessings,