Dear Drama Observers,
As of next month, I will have been writing this weekly letter for four years. When I first began, I figured I’d frequently miss the mark on the weekly-ness of it. But to my surprise, I’m pretty sure I’ve only missed 3 or 4 installments in four years. Most of us aim for perfection, but our arrows usually fall short, landing in one of those circles around the bullseye called “good enough.” So, my frequency proficiency has been good enough and I’m okay with that.
And really, there’s only one reason I write this thing: Because I want to. I think drama is an important topic as do many of my readers who sometimes write and tell me their own drama stories or ask questions about how to best deal with some Drama Person in their lives. So, I’ll keep writing about this topic for a while.
That said, I am going to be making a frequency adjustment. I’ve been thinking for several years about writing a second book and it’s high time for me to stop thinking about it and just do it. But my problem is one of time availability. I’m busier than a mosquito in a nudist colony and if I don’t devote more time to my book-writing project, it’ll never happen. And that’s not good enough.
In that light, here’s what to expect. The Drama Review will be coming out more sporadically, but I hesitate to promise any specific frequency level. I’ll still write them, but they won’t be in your Friday or Sunday inboxes quite so often. If it doesn’t arrive some week, just know I’m hunkered down somewhere next to a candle scribbling furiously on pieces of parchment with my quill pen.
Meanwhile, here’s a thought for this week:
Indiana Jones faced a dilemma. If you saw the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, you’ll no doubt remember the scene I’m about to describe. But first, some background.
Indiana’s father, Henry Jones, was a scholar of antiquity who’d spent his entire life studying about and searching for the Holy Grail, the supposed chalice used by Jesus at the Last Supper. As legend would have it, anyone who drank from the cup would receive life-sustaining sustenance and healing. Aware of this mythology, the Germans were also searching for the Grail, hoping to harness its miraculous powers for Nazi conquest. They couldn’t find it but were sure the Joneses could.
So, they shanghaied Indiana and his father and tried to extract from them whatever they knew at the point of a gun. When that didn’t work, they resorted to gunshot persuasion. They shot the elder Jones, figuring Indy would then help them find the Grail so he could use its healing powers to save his dad’s life. But to traverse the passageway leading to it, Indy would have to survive three potentially fatal booby traps. Using what his dad had learned about the Holy Grail and the dangers surrounding it, he got past the first two and came to the third, the most formidable of the three.
As he followed the narrow corridor leading to the cave-like room containing the Grail, he suddenly came upon a twenty-yard-wide seemingly bottomless cavern which was humanly impossible to leap. If he stopped where he was and did nothing, his dad would die. Henry’s life was quickly fading, so time was of the essence. But if he kept walking, he would most assuredly fall into the cavern and die himself. That was the dilemma Indy faced.
As he wrestled with what to do, he recalled what his dad had told him about that third obstacle: “It’s a leap of faith.” Back where he lay dying, Henry weakly uttered the words, “You must believe, boy. You must believe.” With great trepidation, Indy stepped out into what appeared to be thin air but didn’t fall as he feared he might. The camera then panned around to reveal a stone bridge under Indy’s feet that had been there all along—he just couldn’t see it. To make a long story short, Indy found the Holy Grail, he brought it back and saved his dad’s life, the Nazis died, and all ended well.
The point of my story is to illustrate something about sight and blindness. Not the physical kind of sight where Indy first couldn’t see the bridge below his feet but the psychological kind where we fail to see a reality right in front of our eyes. Drama People exploit that human tendency to be psychologically blind.
And we’ve all been fooled at times. Maybe we were manipulated by an individual who appeared one way but turned out to be someone quite different. Or maybe the manipulation occurred in a group setting where f0llowers were collectively deceived by Machiavellian leaders who carefully concealed their less-than-noble motivations behind noble-sounding platitudes. Or maybe the system was rifled through with corruption that went unnoticed because we had unwittingly acclimated ourselves.
It happens to all of us and when the after-the-fact realization occurs, we feel foolish for not seeing it sooner. We pummel ourselves with questions like, “Why didn’t I see it before?” because, like one of those crime shows where a black light reveals blood in the trunk that couldn’t be seen with the naked eye, it was there all along.
So, if you’ve been fooled by a manipulator, you have a very large peer group. The thing is not to beat yourself up for having been fooled but to learn from the experience so that you’re less likely to get fooled again.
And if you can pull that off, that’s good enough.
Till next week.