One of the questions I ask myself when I read a book, watch a film, or talk to someone about their lives, is this: what is it about?
Perhaps I can explain . . .
For some 10 years now I have spent my Wednesdays writing fiction. I published my third novel, The Vanishing Point, earlier this year.
I’ve started work on my fourth novel, but I don’t actually know what it is about yet. That realisation tends to come around halfway through.
Why Jaws Isn’t About A Shark
Let’s take an example – what is the film Jaws about? You may think it is about a shark. Actually, it’s not. Not really.
Jaws is about many things;
It is about corporate greed – the mayor who won’t close the beach on fourth of July because of the money they would lose.
It is about redemption – the Richard Dreyfus and Robert Shaw characters who have long history with sharks, facing their fears.
It is about the different skills needed to solve a problem – intellect (Roy Schneider’s character), science (Dreyfuss), dumb bravery (Shaw).
It could even be an allegory for the threat that America felt during the Cold War from Russia and the atomic bomb.
The Rio Grande
This concept is best explained in a book called The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick. In it she explains how she, her husband (they would later divorce) and a third man, all three journalists, took a canoe trip down the Rio Grande where it borders Mexico.
At one point, some Mexicans appeared on the bank and started firing at them.
After the trip, all three wrote articles about their experience.
She wrote about what the tension had exposed in her husband and their relationship; her husband wrote about issues with immigration; and the third person wrote about the canoeing trip and white water rafting.
Each had experienced exactly the same events, yet takes something completely different away from it.
What Is Your Money About?
The Ovation strap line is that we ‘help clients use their money to accumulate life’.
What does this mean to you? What is the purpose of your money?
A £1 million lottery win would mean different things to different people. Just like that trip down the Rio Grande, everyone sees life differently.
There are some universal truths to follow to get the best out of your money. For example, we know that the value of being materialistic, of seeing the accumulation of money as an objective in itself, will lead to a reduction in wellbeing.
There is a great deal of research available into what makes us happy, something we’ve been exploring for some five years now in our Financial Wellbeing Podcast.
This is based on the principle of understanding of what your money is for, not just focusing on investment returns and saving tax.
We call this ‘Know thyself’, gaining an understanding of what your life is ‘about’ – and therefore what your money is for.
Jaws isn’t about a shark, just like life isn’t about money
Chris has a web site for his novels, with lots of blogs about writing, and links to buy his books: https://www.chrisbudd.co.uk/