by C.L. Phillips
Over the weekend I attended a college graduation and watched hundreds of shiny bright faces as they walked across the stage and collected one of life's great achievements. Except nobody walked.
Some ambled. Others glided. One young man, wearing a fishing ensemble glued to his cap, bobbed across the stage, as if propelled by a mysterious current.
At StoryMasters in Houston, Chris Vogler, author of The Writer's Journey, told a story about his early days at Disney. He mentioned one of the animators that worked with Walt Disney told him that they could not make a cartoon character walk. As I watched each person collect their diploma, I realized the animator exposed one of those fundamental truths about man.
Man does not walk. Nor does woman.
Whatever a person carries in their heart fuels their movement. The heart, the face, and movement are intertwined. Ever see a smiling face shuffle? Or an angry face skip?
When you put a song in your heart, a smile on your face, how do you move?
How do you move when your heart is filled with anger, your face clouded with rage?
What about those times when you are on auto-pilot, focused on the errand and chores you have to finish before Christmas? Does your movement change if you start singing Jingle Bells?
It's official. None of my characters will ever walk again. Amble or shuffle, absolutely.