The Story Problem

I gots prob­lems. You gots prob­lems. We all gots problems.

They’re usu­ally ter­ri­fy­ing mun­dane. Not enough money. Not enough love. Not enough time.

Sometimes, don’t you just want a big­ger prob­lem? Not more, just more… epic?

I know I do. I know that I want a prob­lem that means some­thing. They (the face­less, name­less ‘they’ respon­si­ble for so-​​called con­ven­tional wis­dom) always say, more money just means a dif­fer­ent kind of problem.

I could come to appre­ci­ate dif­fer­ent kinds of problems.

Sometimes, it feels good to write just to explore a life where the prob­lems are big­ger, more impor­tant. The uni­verse is at stake! The lives of every first born child are on the line if the magic whut­sit does not return to its right­ful owner! You know the drill.

But even those can seem ter­ri­bly dull after a while. It’s hard to relate to those kinds of prob­lems. Hard to wrap your own heart around them and really feel them, you dig?

So we (as writer, as read­ers) return to the prob­lems to which we can relate: not enough money, not enough love, not enough time. We cir­cle back again and again.

The inter­per­sonal, the per­sonal, the extrap­er­sonal. The cycle of prob­lems we seek, we desire.

All good fic­tion edu­cates. Stories, are, at their core a les­son in sur­vival. Ug went left instead of right and the saber­tooth ate him.

So the prob­lem is cru­cial. The prob­lem makes us for­get our own for a while. Or under­stand our own bet­ter. Or teaches us a response to a prob­lem we may yet have.

I gots prob­lems. Real and imag­ined. I bet you do too.

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