I’m a big fan of the movie “Saving Mr. Banks.” If you haven’t seen it, it is based on the true events of Walt Disney and ‘Mary Poppins’ ‘ creator P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson, who is brilliant in the role). The movie focuses on the story of Mr. Disney and Mrs. Travers as they work through the creative process of making the movie, her passion as an author and his passion as a movie maker conflict throughout the entire film until Mrs. Travers finally signs over the rights of her book.
There’s a scene in the movie that includes a short conversation between Mr. Disney and one of the Sherman brothers. Mr. Disney reflects that he understands Mrs. Travers’ dilemma; he too was in the same situation with Mickey Mouse as a young man without even a penny in his pocket. Someone wanted the Mouse, he recalls, but he couldn’t give it up. “That Mouse is family.” he says with conviction.
As I lovingly toil through the transcript of the fiction narrative I am currently working on, I have discovered that I understand Mr. Disney’s perspective. We put immense amounts of energy into the creation of a thing as writers. Our characters, the people that fill our pages become our ‘family’ in that they become part of us. We worry about them as writer’s don’t we? We wonder about how they perceive the world. We obsessively concern ourselves with what they’ll do next and WHY they will do it and then we worry about their reaction. We shape their character as lovingly as a potter shapes a vase and are intimate with every detail of their lives. It is no wonder that they become family to us.
Here’s to the creative process. Here’s to the beautiful characters we pluck out of the ether and breath life into. Here’s to writing kids…….