Many Americans (and others around the world) are shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. And by shaken, we mean that many are without work. Income streams are not as plentiful as they once were and the sobering reality that things may not go back to normal soon has become a real fear. 

So with that in mind, what becomes of art and literature? Do our favorite paintings, stories, music, and other forms of expression have a place in the midst of a crisis such as this? A crisis that genuinely requires material resources to keep us going? 

This episode is dedicated to looking at just that. 

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting every human being on the planet. And in the midst of this crisis, voices are speaking to the pandemic in one way or another. Some are telling a story of fear, others a story of hope. It's caused me, a storyteller, to take pause and ask a question, "What story do I feel is being told right now?" 

In times like these, there are servants, leaders, and voices waiting to step up and cut through the panic. Cut through the haze. It's what every great story is made of. So in this episode, I spend some time talking through that and how we might put our sights on a bigger picture as we move day to day through this storm. 

March 11, 2020

Mulan and #MeToo

In case you didn't know, Disney has been remaking its animated classics into live-action films (well, sorta. The Lion King isn't exactly 'live action' but you get the idea). And if you're still tracking with me, Mulan is the latest film to get the "live action" treatment. It's currently slated for a release later this year. 

So far, the film looks good. The cast is impressive. The cinematography appears to be top notch too. So what about the story? You know, the one where a woman sneaks into the highly elite Chinese fighting force, pretends to be a man to save her aging father, is found out, but ends up saving the whole kingdom? Yeah, that one. But wait, there's more: she falls in love with her commanding officer. A man named Shang. And yet, this part of the love story, at least according to this most recent news story, is not gonna happen.

Why do you say? Well, that's what this episode is all about. So tune in, enjoy, and if you feel led to do so, let me know what you think of this latest creative decision by Disney. 

 

It's another Narrative Wars! And this time we're talking about one of the oldest institutions of human experience: marriage

There are a lot of narratives out there about marriage. There's the fairy tale, there's the broken-but-being-repaired, there's the "it's going to be another 1-in-2 divorce for these two" - the list goes on. So with this episode, I'll be zeroing in on which particular narrative I've found to be a myth. The myth being that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Say what now? You're saying that they don't? 

Short answer: yes. 

In addition to that, we'll be looking at how our culture develops these narratives. And what is a marriage anyway? What is the significance of it? And why would there be so many stories surrounding this ages-old commitment? 

These are a few of the topics covered in this episode's #NarrativeWars. 

Question: can a story about a fawn teach us lessons about what it means to be a man? Well, I happen to think so. In this episode of The Writer's Lens, we're taking another deep dive into an oldie but a goodie. It's the story of a baby deer and his coming-of-age journey into...um, staghood.

And as we work our way through this story, how can we humans - specifically those of the male gender - learn a thing or two from Bambi's journey? Tune in to find out. 

Lastly, be sure to bring some tissues. We'll be talking about that infamous scene with Bambi's mother too. 

 

Did we evolve from some breed of advanced hominid? Or were we plucked from the dirt by a divine being and made into the people we are today? 

The origin of mankind is one of the most hotly debated issues of our time (or any, for that matter). So in this episode I attempt to solve all of those quandaries in a mere 30 minutes or less. Kidding, of course. Or am I....

Some chief questions to consider in this episode are: who is winning the culture on Evolution vs. Creationism? Who has the better narrative? Which is more appealing to you? And why? A lot of it comes down to story. How effective is the story being told from either side and how effective are the ones listening to these arguments. As always, a worldview can be at the center of the conversation. 

Hope you enjoy. 

 

For the sake of keeping algorithms in my favor, here's a brief update on what's going on with The Writer's Lens. I promised it would be brief and it most certainly is. 

Catch all of you sooner than later! 

It's one of the most iconic; most recognizable; most pilfered-for-all-its-worth franchises of all time. If you were born on or after 1977, then you have probably heard of the film, "Star Wars". And for this episode, we're talking about the OG Star Wars. That's right, Episode IV - the one that started it all - A New Hope. 

But this discussion isn't going to be about wookies, lightsabers, or warp travel. No, we're talking about why human beings have such a fascination with deep space. What's out there? Are we alone in the universe? And perhaps most pressing of all, what if there is nothing out there at all? 

This is my deep dive into the world that is Lucas' original moneymaker, "Star Wars: A New Hope". May the odds be ever in your... wait, no. That's not right. Wrong episode.

"May the Force be with you". Yeah, that's the one. 

Enjoy!

Rudolph is as synonymous with Christmas as the jolly elf himself, Santa. But is this timeless tale of overcoming the odds really just a pale cover for a story that encourages bullying and non-inclusiveness? 

Well, I have a few things to say about that. Stick with me as I do a rather thorough analysis on one of my favorites from my childhood - and now my adulthood. Just in time for the holidays, no less. 

Credit to Burl Ives for his rendition of "Rudolph: The Red-Nosed Reindeer" and 1964's television special of the same name. 

The Narrative Wars returneth.... 

You may have never heard of Amelie Wen Zhao (or maybe you have?) but just in case you did or didn't, this episode was catalyzed by a recent ordeal involving the up-and-coming YA fiction writer. Ms. Zhao was the subject of some harsh criticism for her new book, Blood Heir, which hadn't even hit the shelves yet. Her book, as described by her earliest of critics, was said to be "racially insensitive" and was encouraged to the point of not releasing her book. Here's the catch though: many of her detractors had not even read the book. Apparently hearsay and a few buzzwords had caused many to take to the social media to block the Blood Heir release. Much talk and discussion over Zhao's ordeal followed. 

Yet after the social media mob settled, she decided to move forward with her book anyway and not give in to earlier pressures to not publish it. Her book was published mid-November 2019. 

This episode is an attempt to talk through artistic expression and how creatives can face a lot of external pressure - even before their idea is off the ground. 

Hope you enjoy. 

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