One of the creativity theories out there – and recently forwarded by Elizabeth Gilbert – is that an idea or a story can find you, and charge you to help it be expressed. Some ideas have you. That responsibility can be overwhelming. The bigger and more important the story, the more likely you are to water it down, confuse it or fear it.
Jamie Stein is a coach and script consultant whose work it is to help you get your story out as it was intended to be told. His goal is to help you tell this story that is yours, as it wants to be told, through you. To do that he has to get you and your fears out of its way.
I spoke with Jamie on this big hairy topic during the Storytellers Summit 2016. You can listen to his interview there. Jamie Stein has a background with Sundance Writers’ and Directors’ Labs, and has had his own script consultancy for over 10 years. He can help writers using traditional script consulting – or he can help you with Core Energetics. Core Energetics is a therapeutic modality that helps you get into your body and feel what is blocking the flow and the power of the idea or story that is in you.
That sounds very woo, it’s true. Especially if you – who are reading this – are a writer, because you likely prefer to live in your head, and rely on language for your ultimate expression. We, as writers, tend to trust our thoughts and stories – which is one reason writing can be soooooo haaaaard. We create drama to ignore fear and fear to hide true drama from coming out on the page.
We can get up in our heads – in a big way.
Because of this interview with Jamie, my curiosity was piqued. I went to one of his Core Energetics day-long seminars. When it came time to begin using the Core Energetics tools, a young woman stood with a tennis racket, at the edge of a big soft cube. As we held a space for her, she expressed her anger by hitting the cube rapidly, repeatedly with all of her strength, and strongly stating what she wanted from the world. She wanted to be seen (like most of us). I was on the floor to her left, watching the anger in her whole body – arms, legs, neck, back, even her feet were tense and “loaded.” She whacked and yelled as long as she needed and I considered it a rare privilege to sit so near such anger, with no relation to it. I didn’t cause it, she wasn’t mad at me. I didn’t have to fear it. I couldn’t even help her. It created a stirring in me that became simultaneously my work – to sort and own those feelings. Let them in, let them through. I cried.
The mind is a terrible master – said Lao Tsu – but makes an excellent servant.
We writers have incredible minds. The thoughts we share in writing are often admired, followed, quoted. We live to have our ideas capture and fascinate our readers. We cannot however let our own minds capture and fascinate us. If we do, the real depth of the story or screenplay will not come forth. In service of the brain, the story will stay as ephemera, its true power still held, trapped, in your body.
Make sure to listen to Jamie’s interview about this phenomenon, and allow your work to tap into your whole self. It’s powerful stuff.