Story – Robert McKee's Creative Storytelling Magazine Issue 005 – Drew Carey - Page 55

MCKEE INTERVIEWS STEVEN PRESSFIELD RM: When you’re working on a scene like that, do you take a 360° point of view so that you see it and then know what you’re not saying? SP: I guess so. why not? RM: Do you even see a golf game and Bagger Vance as a crucible for… RM: It sure is. SP: Yes, I do. SP: I do. That was a war story, too, in my opinion. RM: Right, so you’ve imagined it from all points of view. SP: Yeah, yeah. RM: Then the third dimension of point of view, of course, is your author’s point of view, which is what we have talked about so far. Your subject is so often war. And so when people ask you the question, “Why do you always write about war?” you just hit it because you think it’s a metaphor for everything. Your book on Alexander is called The Virtues of War, and it seems to me that all of your books somehow are different aspects of the virtues of war, whether it changes politics or not. SP: I think that’s true, yeah. RM: Right, but it is a cauldron for testing that… SP: For the virtues of inner integrity. RM: Right. So your point of view—except in the case of Bagger Vance—is that virtually everything is about the virtues of war. RM: He was a veteran. SP: He was a veteran and, you know, it came from the Bhagavad Gita, which was a battle war and Krishna—Bagger Vance—was a warrior god. RM: Yeah, talk about the inspiration for that first book. You said that it was based on an Indian myth. SP: There’s a Vedic Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, which people maybe have read in their comparative religion classes. It’s sort of the Hindu Bible. It’s the book that Gandhi used to free India, and it’s a great book about a troubled warrior named Arjuna (it’s a very short book) who receives spiritual instruction from his charioteer, who happens to be Krishna, i.e., God in human form. When I did Bagger Vance, instead of a troubled warrior getting advice from his charioteer, I made it a troubled golf champion getting advice from his caddie, and the caddie was God or was God in human form. I just stole that structure lock, stock, and barrel. It’s a great structure, so Story Magazine // Issue 005 SP: I’m a big believer in stealing anything you can. So that was the origin of that. I’ve always loved the Bhagavad Gita. I probably read it 12 times. RM: But still, the leap from that myth to golf? SP: It was pretty easy leap, really. RM: Well, to you, but not to others, really. It wouldn’t be an idea that would necessarily occur to anyone except somebody who has played the game and understands the caddie-player relationship. SP: Let me go back to one thing we were just talking about. RM: Sure. SP: And that is the difference between the ostensible point of view, the narrator’s point of view, the story he is telling you, and what the book is telling you—what the author and what the greater theme is talking about. Sometimes this comes back to instinct for me whereby you finish a book and you go, “Wow, I didn’t realize it was about that.” It just sort of took that form. Like in Killing Rommel, my most recent book is a story of this British patrol that goes behind the lines