In the mid-90s I was a huge fan of the sci-fi show “Babylon 5”. I first heard about when creator J. (“Joe”) Michael Straczynski talked about it in his Writer’s Digest column, and I liked what I read. And so by the time finally aired on Australian television I was really looking forward to it.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
This is how it was meant to be done. An entire five-year series planned from beginning to end. No more “Oh, look. There’s a new character on the ship. Guess who’ll be dead by the end of the episode.” Joe thought nothing of wiping out major characters, or entire races.
But what I enjoyed just as much, if not more, were the behind-the-scenes discussions. Joe was a big fan of the Internet, and he talked a lot in online forums about how he created the show, the various themes he used, how some of the episodes mirrored real-world events and issues, and so on. I collected a lot of what he said, and I still have them sitting on my hard drive.
But out of everything he said in those discussions, there’s one paragraph I’ve never forgotten:
“Basically, I have this theory that there are five kinds of truth. (This is Joe’s Theory of the Five Truths.) There is the truth you tell to casual strangers and acquaintances. There is the truth you tell to your general circle of friends and family members. There is the truth you tell to only one or two people in your entire life. There is the truth you tell to yourself. And finally, there is the truth that you do not admit even to yourself. And it’s that fifth truth that provides some of the most interesting drama.”
That fifth truth he’s talking about, the one you’d probably call denial, is one I’ve struggled with a lot over the years. It’s funny that I have real issues about lying to other people, but don’t think twice about lying to myself. Unfortunately running away from a truth doesn’t make it any less a truth. I’ve been trying to out-run it for a long time, but now it’s catching up with me. Or maybe I’m just sick of running.
In any case, it’s time to finally face it.
So I’ve made a few calls, and set up some appointments with people to help me find that truth. Some of it will come from others when I ask the right questions. But a lot of it will come from me when other people ask the right questions. (In my case, the truth is in there.) I may not like the answers (denial is a powerful force), but I think I’ve reached the point where I really need to know.
Of course, what happens from there is another story.