Ever wonder why Old People (TM) make such a big deal about Christmas cards or birthday cards, or calling on the holidays? Or acknowledging each other in the grocery store or gas station? I used to think it was because these were the things you did when your life slowed down and you had time to kibbitz around, talking about nothing. But more and more, I’m noticing that it’s not boredom, lackadasiality, or lack of other motivation that’s pushing these little connections. It’s the connections themselves. And it’s certainly not something happening in the lazy-river end of Life’s Ride.
These little connections are more of a high-five between two furiously churning entities, who are worrying, thinking, focused on, and collating the Big Shit. And they are far from meaningless. They are the interactions of electrons engaged in the Mad Business of Life. They happen at atomic speeds. We reach out to each other long enough for a nod, a smile, a, “how’s the kids” because that’s all we have to spare, but spare it we will, because it’s not the information in the packet that’s important, it’s the photon created by the connection that keeps the bonds permeable, malleable, open.
Little things have more meaning in Act Two. Maybe it’s because there’s more life behind them. The simple pleasure of meeting a friend for coffee means more, because I care more. And honestly, I’ve had enough of empty interaction to want to savor a simple experience of connection.
As a writer, the scenes I write that involve what we call “sittin’n’thinkin’” (or “sittin’n’drinkin’,” as the case may be, are often the Kiss of Death (and first to be up on the chopping block). Nothing happens in those scenes, which is true–there’s little action, and even sparkling dialogue needs to exist outside of a vacuum. But in discovery drafting, those scenes are often where I find the most meaning, the most significance, the most important and inspiring parts of the story, because the characters are connecting.
Act Two is where the Playwright litters the scenes with symbolism and thematic cues. Act Two is where you Get Your Shit Together after stumbling around some in Act One. Act Two is where your connections form your web, so that when you look back (or fall back), you have a life to support you.