Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How to be a Hero, Saints Style

Saints went all the way, Saints went all the way!

You should have seen the parade yesterday for Lombardi Gras--or Dat Tuesday, whatever you want to call it. People came from miles around just to lay eyes on their heroes with the hopes of catching throws from Drew Brees and the boys. (#60 is the Saints' center, Nick Leckey, isn't he cute? I like my guys big and burly, lol) The whole city closed early to allow everyone to either see the parade or get home. All because the masses wanted to thank our boys for winning the big one for us. Marching bands played Saints songs and even the Marine Corps Band "got crunk". Everyone at the parade had a blast despite delays and strong winds and low temperatures.

But people who didn't go to the parade weren't so lucky. It stopped traffic for miles, took people hours to get home, apparently even delayed flights out of Armstrong when a van carrying some pilots was "accidentally" misdirected. The crowds were bigger than any Mardi Gras parade I've ever seen, to celebrate what was "just a football game".

Only don't say it was "just a football game" too loud.

See, to the people of New Orleans, it wasn't just a little game. The win means more than just a year's worth of bragging rights. It means hope and maybe some empathy from the rest of the country who don't know why we stay here in this city full of murderers and hurricanes.

Okay, tangent over. To make a long story short, this got me thinking of my writing--everything seems to boil down to that lately.

How can we as writers create heroes that the masses will love? Will adore, will endure horrible traffic and biting winds just to get a look at them?

Well, as the Saints have shown, everyone loves an underdog, especially when they work hard to surprise everyone. (There's a difference between surprising the reader and acting out of character, though, so be careful)

And it doesn't hurt to have a few devoted fans who stick with you through thick and thin. (Like a trusty sidekick/best friend/loyal steed)

Hero authority, Joseph Campbell emphasizes that a hero does more than just conquer the problem, he returns to society to "bestow boons on his fellow people."
Boons, beads, whatevah! ;) (Your hero needs to share what he's learned with his society or else his legend will never be passed down generation after generation)

In The Power of Myth, Campbell says heroes are necessary to "pull together all these tendencies to separation, to pull them together into some intention." I've never seen so many New Orleanians get so excited about a parade before. This was more than just a good time, it was a chance to show their thanks, no matter what part of the city they come from. (This is why most heroes are also good leaders. People want to do things to help them)

There are lots of lessons the Saints can teach us about being heroes, but I'm too exhausted to figure them all out right now and someone just sent me an email saying there's a Saints cake in the lunch room.

Mmm, cake. Thanks, Saints. Y'all ARE heroes! ;)

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