Wednesday, March 7, 2007

What Commonality Does American Idol Have With Jane Austen?

I enjoy watching people, trying to figure out their story and what makes them tick. I guess that is one reason I can get caught up in reality TV shows.

I started watching American Idol in season 5 and now I’m getting sucked into season 6. If I get to know a contestant, then I’m more likely to root for them. I like knowing that Chris S. and Phil are worship leaders in their churches and that Chris R. is from the same town as where my sister lives.

People are interesting subjects to watch. Put them in stressful situations and they’ll do just about anything. The best books and movies are those that put people through the wringer, and I’m always eager to see how their character will withstand the trial. Take the Pride and Prejudice novel where two people seemingly loathe each other at the start but through the trials in their story their view of life changes, resulting in a love bound for marriage.

Today I read an article titled “Those Who Read Fiction Better at Reading People.” (Read it here.) And it struck me that there is some interesting truth in this. I really do believe when we take time to get to know someone (real or fictional) through their story, we are better able to empathize with them.

But when we are hurrying through life and forget to stop and read the stories, we overlook that people have a reason for how they tick. It isn’t all about us and our needs when the grocery clerk is grouchy or the next-door neighbor doesn’t wave back.

As authors (and editors) we need to continually work on reading the stories that are all around us. As we learn to relate to people through their stories, our social and writing skills should naturally improve.

So whose story have you been reading or watching?


Photo still from A&E's Pride and Prejudice Miniseries Copyright 1995 (U.K.), 1996 (U.S.)by BBC/A&E Production


Jess said...

Interesting post and article. Thanks for sharing. I started watching American Idol during Season 5 too. Now, I'm hooked. But this season is lacking for me. Tuesday night I was disappointed in the reaction of one of our young heroes. Going back to last Thursday night, I was touched by Sundance's tears for those who had been cut, but when he was called on it Tuesday night, he blamed it all on another guy. I saw the look on Simon's face when Sundance 'passed the buck' - he was as turned off as I was. I wish Sundance had admitted he has a tender heart and it was broken for those who were cut. Yeah, I realize he was embarrassed but it sure reminded me of a bunch of kids blaming each other. I was soooooooo disappointed! Is there a writing lesson in my observation? I thought I had one . . . :)

Lacey Sue said...

I've just read "Virginia Hearts" and "Sweet Home Alabama," which are novella collections. I like this kind of book. I also liked both of the "Pride and Prejudice" movies (1993 and 2005). That got my 13yo dd, who is a reader anyway, reading both "P&P" and "Emma."