My wife and I were deeply moved by “Saving Mr. Banks”, the new film about the making of “Mary Poppins” in which Walt Disney struggles to get the movie rights to “Poppins” from author P.L. Travers. Travers is a cold, difficult woman, highly protective of her characters. Through flashbacks, the film reveals her harsh and sometimes tragic upbringing, coupled with her close relationship with her alcoholic father. Ultimately, we discover how Travers became the person she is, and how her childhood inspired the characters and events in her stories.
We also watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” last week for the umpteenth time. The movie is one big flashback, documenting George Bailey’s life and why he ultimately needs to be saved by the angel Clarence. We learn why George is driven to suicide after so many of life’s challenges prevent him from pursuing his dreams.
My favorite story is Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in which the reasons for Ebenezer Scrooge’s mean-hearted personality are revealed as he travels with the Ghost of Christmas Past. He’s angry at the world because of his heartless father, his lack of friends, his beloved sister’s early death, and the loss of his one true love.
In these stories, each main character has a chance to reclaim their lives. Scrooge wakes to an epiphany and becomes happy and caring. George Bailey learns that he’s the richest man in town because he’s touched so many lives–and they’ve now saved his. And P.L. Travers? Well, you’ll have to see the movie.
I believe that I love working in public relations because my mother encouraged me to write. Combine this with occasional childhood loneliness and voila!: it was PR for me. We’re all products of our childhood and when we can understand what has shaped us, we’re better for it. As we reflect and make our resolutions this new year, let’s examine what we hope to change in ourselves while enjoying the wonderful lives we have. And don’t forget that spoonful of sugar!
Happy New Year! Your thoughts?