Sunday, January 4, 2015
"I can't help myself."
“I can’t help myself.”
Sometimes your secondary characters can perfect your story (or run away with the story only to be your hero or heroine in the next novel). Screen writer, Nora Ephron, in You’ve Got Mail had an exchange between Meg Ryan playing Kathleen and her about-to-be-ex-boyfriend, Frank (played by Greg Kinnear), that plays with my mind like a fine wine.* The entire script was pure perfection, written by one of the greatest of all time.
You’ll see in the clip below how easy the flow of the scene is, how they don’t exactly answer some questions directly (a very important technique, to give life to your dialogue, IMO). You’ll notice the ease they have with each other, borne of intimate struggle.
*From the male POV, Frank has an easy grace and honesty around Kathleen that I admire. He’s a renaissance man whereas Tom Hanks (Joe) tries to be. Joe is crazy for, empathetic to and in love with Kathleen and that carries the day for our hero.
For me, this line, "I can't help myself," should apply to my New Year's resolutions. See my Jan. 1, 2015 post for insight and an Emily Litella scene. There should be at least one true passion for 2015 that had not yet been accomplished and you should not be able to control yourself when confronted by it. If you run away from the truth when faced with something difficult, something you don't understand how to accomplish, you will have continued to do what you did last year and can expect the same result. Name it and find a way to do it.
Extra Credit: Anybody remember why it didn’t work out between Kathleen and Frank?