Today, I'm going to start out the writing new year with an underrated animated film called Epic. Ever heard of it?
At the center of this fun film is a magical pod--the last thing the kingdom of plant men and women have of their queen, and their only hope of defeating the enemy Boggans who'd like to rot their entire kingdom from the inside out. That pod is placed in the hands and care of Mary Katherine (MK) by Queen Tara as the queen's final act.
Only problem? MK is a human, mysteriously shrunk down to the size of the plant warriors. She has no idea what she's doing there. She just wants to go home, if it can be called a home. She doesn't belong there.
Or so she thinks.
See, MK works better alone. It wasn't really her first choice--with her mom gone and her father, shall we say, distant, she had to adapt. "You may be connected," she tells Leafman commander Ronin. "But I'm kind of on my own."
As for Ronin, he should be the expert on working with others. "Many leaves, one tree," is the Leafmen's motto, of which he is a leader. But no matter how hard he tries to protect anyone and everyone, he seems to lose everyone he cares most about--his best friend; Queen Tara; and his best friend's son, Nod.
Nod is just tired of the Leafmen in general--or more accurately, just Ronin. He wants to do his own thing his own way, and usually does, no matter what anyone else says.
The perfect trio to guard the kingdom's last hope.
Changing gears here for a second. Writing has been aptly called the lonely craft. And it is. No one else can write our stories for us. We have to put on the noise-cancelling headphones and do it ourselves.
Our stories are a whole different world, where anything can happen. Where things happen our way.
Sometimes it's hard to remember that while we have to do the writing, we shouldn't do it alone. We need family, friends, readers, editors, and more to see us through.
Some of us have people to support us. Some of us don't. Some of us can't even figure out what the people we call our team are even doing. It's so easy to hide our story world away and do things our way.
How do we change that?
Accept your strengths and weaknesses. Accept your uniqueness, what makes you you. No, MK didn't belong in their world, but that gave her unique advantages and connections to the human world. A different perspective that could turn the tides of battle.
Yes, Ronin was over-protective. But perhaps it was that--the hurt he had seen--that made him such a good leader, willing to give anything for those we cared about most.
Yes, Nod was reckless. But is was his spirit of adventure that stepped in and pulled the Leafmen together for one more battle when the odds were slim.
You be you. You've got something no one else has. Use it to its full potential.
And remember, everyone you're working with has their unique strengths and weaknesses, too. Maybe where you have the disadvantage, they excel. Find a way to bring them in. To encourage them to make the most of their abilities. Nod wouldn't have come along if Ronin hadn't asked. MK's dad wouldn't have helped them if she had given up on him.
There will be mistakes as you and your team mates figure out those strengths and weaknesses and how to use them. Throughout Epic, all three characters make pretty big mistakes--multiple of which cost lives. While our mistakes aren't likely to do that, they can cause other problematic fall out. There's nothing to do but to climb back on your bird and fly again. To sort through the fall out and try again.
This is not a feel-good post that says anything is possible when you work together. People are weird creatures. Some people reading this may truly not have anyone to support them. It's tough. It's really tough. But don't give up. Look for people who can help you, and people that you can help. Get connected somehow, even if it's not quite in the way you thought it would look.
It's good advice for all of us--don't give up. Epic is a little over ninety minutes long. Imagine if even one of the trio of characters had given up thirty minutes in. Imagine what could happen if you give up now.
Many leaves, one tree. Now climb your tree.
*Ever seen Epic? What did you think? What's your team like? Share your adventures in the comments below!*
1/29/2021 02:27:43 pm
Though I’ve watched almost all of “Epic” twice, due to —well, life, I guess— I actually have never gotten to finish it! 😔 But it’s one of my siblings’ favorites and I love the parallels you’ve drawn here. Thank you for such an inspiring post, Rachel! It’s definitely motivated me to establish more of a ‘team’ for myself.
2/6/2021 12:59:52 pm
It's a fun movie--do watch the ending! Yet another movie we were loaned due to quarantine and wound up loving. It's got a good blend of the adventure element and the just pure fun element (and some of the animation is so incredible!). I'm so glad this post inspired you.
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Hi, I'm Rachel! I'm the author of the posts here at ProseWorthy. Thanks for stopping by!