How great stories are made and why they last


Finally, like almost everyone I know, I too am watching Game of Thrones. Having read the books, even if quite a bit ago (well, at least the first four), I feel quite privileged to enjoy the story as if for the first time all over again. Given its complexity and number of characters, I don’t remember all that much after a decade, but what I do remember in no way lessens the thrill.

It is quite the story. I would it say it qualifies as one of those great stories, the ones I say really matter. The ones where we do battle, rise and fall and rise again. The ones where we acknowledge who we are and tell the truth. The ones where we embrace our passions and are not afraid, or else we are afraid and still find courage. The ones where lovers love and lovers claim. And also the ones where the line between innocence and guilt gets very blurred as guilt is softened by sympathy, and great sympathy darkened by guilt.

So of course, as I am watching, both the poet and psychologist in me start with their observations of what else but relationships between men and women. And both of them ask: How in the name of all the gods in all the worlds does anyone still not get it?

Whatever our age, profession, inheritance or values, in the end, it is the passion of lovers and that magical ‘fit’ between two people that ultimately dictates choices and actions…that crowns successes or leads to disaster if it’s missing. And it applies to the ‘good guys’ and the not so good ones alike.

At the core of a couple are always two lovers; not roommates, buddies or adequately matched ‘life management specialists’. An intimate relationship starts with the lovers, and it can’t stray, because if it does, we end up sharing a life of some convenience perhaps with a dependable other who can be loved yet never with abandon and passion, whom we can trust yet to whom we will never fully reveal ourselves. And that scenario does not a happy, fully lived life make, nor does it lead to any true satisfaction or growth. It makes for a boring, sad and very short story.

So yes, we need lovers who ‘fit’, who are passionate and make a priority of each other. (Some may not agree with me, in which case please see Mr. Tony Robbins and his coaching strategies for couples…he’ll convince you where I have failed.)

But…(and to quote Tyrion Lannister I believe, what comes after the ‘but’ is the important stuff), the ‘fit’ is not just a matter of physicality. It is a package deal…physical, spiritual, and intellectual. The spiritual and the intellectual components are the fuel for passion and the foundation for respect, a respect without which nothing can last.

Simply put, we need partners who turn everything on…our bodies, our minds, our souls. And do so with their bodies, minds and souls, as well as with their unwavering loyalty and support…with their admiration even if they challenge us, with their resilience even when we test them, with their patience and humor when we throw our little and big tantrums, with their tenderness when we need someone to witness our vulnerability.

You’d think this is simple enough. Because we see the same thing again and again and again in all the great stories…in life, in books, in films, paintings and music.

But (another ‘but’) many still don’t get it. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. You see, we have four categories. First, the clueless. Second, those who get it but are too scared to take an honest look at their lives so as to figure out if there’s potential. Third, those who get it, look, see potential left but are too scared of change, even if it leads to great rewards. And last but not least, those who get it, have little to worry about because it’s already great, and yet are too scared to go for it. Yes, there are those few for whom the best is, one imagines, not good enough, or else too good…and who would rather have nothing than everything. Don’t ask me to explain, I suspect the gods themselves are trying to figure that one out.

I would love to make this very thorough and very epic, but I’m afraid it’s getting late, and another episode of a great story is waiting.

So then, let’s wrap this up. The problem? With the exception of category #4 (see above), we all want great stories. Solution? We should really make one while we can.

How are great stories made? With a great ‘fit’…with passion, with love, with tenderness, with respect…with absolute trust and loyalty. And why do they last? Well, they last because those in great stories, once they start, stay and grow together.

“You and I, Love, together we ratify the silence,
while the sea destroys its perpetual statues,
collapses its towers of wild speed and whiteness:
because in the weavings of those invisible fabrics,
galloping water, incessant sand,
we make the only permanent tenderness.”
 ~ Pablo Neruda

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