Winning is Losing

From Mark Winegardner’s Author’s Craft Talk over at The Southeast Review:

“If I’d told you a story about the formative Little League championships my team won­-or, worse, the championships I led us to win­-you would be bored silly and you would think it was some stupid sports cliché and you would presume that I grew up to be a soulless person who uses impact as a verb and says win-win and synergy a lot. You would, rightly, hate me. Winning can be fun and inspirational, but life­-and storytelling­-is all about loss. The Bible starts with miracles and wonder and paradise, and then: boom. Loss. In Shakespeare, the comedies end hastily and happily and with a wink and a smirk that lets us know these endings are not to be taken seriously. Everywhere else, Shakespeare’s plays are about loss. The first two Godfather movies are about victories that are really soul-killing losses. Often, like the first Rocky movie, a good story is about what’s won in a loss (and about making the audience think they are watching some dopey sports movie when in fact it was all a love story). But more often, as in all the other Rocky movies, a bad story is a bad story because it is too much about winning.”

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