Author: Will Westwater
“Believe in the fiction.” Professor John Bouchard says this at least 20 times every class period of his Acting II course. When my scene partner and I were having trouble with a scene, Bouchard implored us to “lose ourselves in the fiction.” He wanted us to surrender to the art; to give in and take the scene personally. Once we did, the scene had life. We yelled, teared up, cried and had the time of our lives as we rode the emotion of the exercise. I had a better time and did a better job when I gave into my passion completely.
Being caught up in passion can apply to many kinds of situations, and—as a theatre major and the Nerd’s Eye View columnist—I believe it can happen with all art forms. Reading a comic book, listening to a science fiction novel, watching a movie and playing video games all take me to a similar place.
Playing games on the hardest level always makes my heart beat a little faster, and watching the Pokémon cry in “Pokémon 2000” still makes me sob, but it has taken me until now to recognize the power of believing in the fiction.
I caught glimpses of this force for years. Last semester I felt it when I put on my Captain America bro-tank and embraced my inner superhero. But now I realize that this belief in fiction can also be brought to the real world straight out of the pages of my favorite comic book.
Because—fictional or not—it is easier to perform better and have fun when you surrender to the passion of whatever you are doing. We have opportunities every day to lose ourselves in whatever it is that mesmerizes us.
I am willing to bet that all math majors have lost themselves in a problem just like I have in a good movie. Similarly, an athlete slows time in a moment of extreme focus just like a singer loses themselves in a song. Ultimately, these activities enrich our lives.
Right now is a busy time for Occidental students. We may not be able to enjoy downtime by watching Netflix or crushing a level in “Call of Duty,” but we always have time to appreciate the little trips we get to take in our work.
So here is my advice: let go and lose yourself in your work. It is not that different from losing yourself in fiction.
Pour yourself into that paper, stay late at the lab and explore all available options on your way to success. It may not be fiction, but it can still be an adventure. Cry and laugh hard. Live it up. Embrace the stress of this time of year, and try to never lose sight of your amazing capacity to enjoy your work.
It will not always be fun, but it will sure be a trip. That paper, mid-term or comprehensive project may be one of the adventures that gives color to your life.
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