Of all the characteristics separating us from the lower species, a premiere difference has to be that we humans tell stories. The graphs, power points, and spreadsheets may give us knowledge but not wisdom. Stories offer us wisdom. We think in stories. It was words that created the universe, the first story, and gave us meaning. We need meaning.
Stories give us heroes and villains, conflicts, resolutions, happy or sad journeys, tragic or triumphant finishes. One of my favorite lines in one of my favorite movies is in Casablanca when Rick asks Ilsa if the story she is about to tell him has a “wow finish.” We love the wow finish to our stories. I have never seen a graph or spreadsheet that had a wow finish.
I recently had the privilege of playing two different roles in a new adaptation of The Hiding Place by A.S. Peterson. It was first a stage play, then made into a film, and released in theatres around the world. When I think of the stories that consistently catch my attention and draw me into their web, they are ones where the heroes and heroines are brilliant but flawed, prone to the cruelties of doubt as well and errant personal behavior, but also capable of tenderness and repentance that leads the contrite soul on a path of redemption.
Corrie Ten Boom in The Hiding Place and King David in The Fugitive King are characters of that antiheroic vein. They lure me in because I witness their flawed humanity. Over the course of their individual stories, these two people are forced into unspeakably cruel circumstances, yet through it all, they emerge into human beings with a depth of being that comes only by walking through the crucible of trauma.
The Hiding Place will be released on streaming services in the coming weeks. My new novel, The Fugitive King, comes out on November 15th. Though the stories are told through different mediums, both are well-crafted narratives that will, for a moment, take over your reality and offer you a deeper understanding of the world and one’s place in it. And get ready for a “wow” finish in both stories.