The Eighth Storyline: losing the plot; finding community.
There are those that say there are 7 basic plots or seven basic stories, apparently they are Orpheus, Achilles, Cinderella, Tristan and Isolde, Circe, Romeo and Juliet, and Faust. All other stories are adaptations of these.
Or if like most you haven’t read these, the following plot lines apply:
- Overcoming the Evil nemesis — defeating some force which threatens. e.g. James Bond.
- The Quest — typically a group set off in search of something and (usually) find it.e.g. Lord of the Rings.
- Journey and Return — main character leaves home heading out on a journey to some far away and very different place. Faces some challenges on the way and finally returns home more often than not having learned some valuable lessons. e.g. Wizard of Oz, Gullivers Travels, the Prodigal son, It’s a wonderful life.
- Comedy of errors — avoidable set of circumstances that prevent people suited to each other seeing the connection, journey through a serious of unfortunate events that seem fated to drive an even great wedge between them. But in the end they see each other’s gifts and the strength of their connection brings them together, forever, e.g. Bridget Jones Diary, Most romantic comedies, in fact I can’t think of an exception.
- Tragedy — The flaws, or fallibilities of the main character are shown up, be they greed, miserliness or whatever. but their flaws ensnare them and often become the reason for their undoing. E.g. Faust, Hamlet.
- Renewal/Rebirth — here the heroin is seduced into a compromised situation by a jealous rival and forced by sorcery of one kind or another into a period of suspended animation. e.g. Rapunzel.
- Rags to Riches — e.g. Cinderella, Maid in Manhattan.
So what’s all this got to do with Asset Based Community Development? Well what if asset based stories provide an eighth plot line? The untold story. Where there is no one hero, no false dichotomy between good guys and bad guys, no zero sum game.
A plot line where the quest is to get to know your neighbours, where leadership and heroism is distributed not siloed in one person-where everyone contributes. Where comedy and tragedy are distinguished by time and distance, and each are understood through the lens of complex and dense social networks. Where the ‘happy ever after’ is a culture of community that we work on every day.