Good Dialogue and the Zombie Apocalypse
Good Dialogue and the Zombie Apocalypse. There’s a connection, I swear.
I’m living with a 9-year-old lawyer who tried to convince me that one day, there very well may be a zombie apocalypse. Which really got me thinking about good dialogue.
But wait, let’s back up a minute.
My son was a total sh#% all Mother’s Day. Impatient. Frustrated. Reactionary. Over dramatic. Annoying. Pestering. Hungry at all the wrong times. Full when all the food was served.
On the way home from our seriously annoying breakfast—a little voice pops up from the back of the car.
“So Mama…I know I was pretty bad this morning, and I was saying and doing all the wrong things… but I really think we’ll laugh about this one day.” To which my husband and I bust out laughing.
“See Mama, you are laughing about it already.”
Have I told you I’m raising Woody Allen?
These are some of the typical questions I get in a day from him:
- What if god quits?
- What if god hires new people?
- Are humans the smartest creatures on the planet or the dumbest?
- Did Hitler think he looked good in that mustache?
- Why does no one put on a suit and just pretend to be Batman?
- What if we existed before the Big Bang?
- What if World War IV happens and they just skip World War III?
He usually asks me these questions around 6 am before I have had any coffee, say like when I’m pouring the Cheerios.
About a week ago he woke up concerned about the serious possibility of a Zombie Apocalypse.
I told him that this is one future scenario we absolutely 100 percent do not have to worry about.
However, he was not deterred. He brought up multi-verses and the possibility of experiencing every possibility. I held my ground. And we argued. I heard myself saying things like:
“Even in a future galaxy with undead creatures that roamed the earth in search of brains they probably would not try to take over the earth.”
But he wouldn’t hear it. Our argument continued while he brushed his teeth, got dressed, I made his lunch and drove him to school. Then, finally, the only way I got him out of the car and into his classroom was to concede: yes, it was true, that I couldn’t know every possible outcome for every possible scenario that would ever exist on earth and so yes, I guess, a Zombie Apocalypse was, in fact, possible.
After I dropped him off, I really felt like capturing some of that discussion. I had this experience often with my son. After one of our nutty conversations, I would often feel like I could just hear good dialogue in my head. He was sort of an inspiration for dialogue. Why? He often has pointedly specific things to say, and he often shakes me up until I am forced to see the world in a slightly different manner.
I then realized I had the same experience whenever I got off the phone with my wacky but lovable dad, my Santa Cruz- sweet hippie sister, or when I thought about my judgmental and narcissistic crazy old Aunt Liz.
Why? Because great dialogue comes from distinct points of view.
Look around your life—who in your life has a distinct point of view (good or bad)?
Don’t shy away from these people. These relationships may be your secret weapon to kickass dialogue.
How to tell if your mother, your cousin or your nutty Aunt Sue can be a dialogue inspiration…
- Perceive the world in a specific and often unique way.
- Make you think.
- Make you question reality, as you understand it.
- May drive you nuts.
- May see the world in black and white.
- Struggle to see the points of views of others.
- Are not afraid to share their opinions.
Pay attention to people in your life who have a pure, 100-percent unique point of view on the world. Follow them around. Listen to how they speak, what they say to friends or strangers. No longer dread the family dinner with kooky extended family or the four-hour brunch with the in-laws. Soak it all in happily – knowing this is a source of inspiration.
So the next time someone tries to convince you that there might be a Zombie Apocalypse, don’t argue. Just take out your pen.