In BURNT on July 27, 2010 at 9:34 pm


Lucas James pauses to scan the crowd.  Of the Fortune 500, he’s got a good 100 of them here.  Their wardrobes are a near perfect blend of rustic and expensive, much like the lodge in which they sit.  Most of them have his book in their laps.   And he’s got them in the palm of his hand.

“After ten days of study, of work, we prepare to return, transformed, to the world.  It’s a world full of changing attitudes towards love, towards sexuality, towards monogamy, towards traditional family structures.  It’s a freer world.  Are we to be denied these freedoms because of our standing?  Our success?  Our wealth?  These will no longer be barriers to us.  We have learned the power of Self-Actualizing Narrative.  Using the Four Life Principles, we now know that every life is a story and that how we tell that story is up to us! Does the story of Icarus have to be about a man who flew too close to the sun? Or can it be about a man who dreamed the impossible, achieved the impossible, and gladly gave his life to do so.”

He lifts the book.  “My Story, Your Story.”

“Let’s look again at my life. My story. Age 24, full professor at Yale. Head of my department before I was 30. Awards, money, recognition as a man of knowledge and accomplishment. Life was going great. Coasting. Content.  And then my wife, my beloved Marie, became sick. And my money, and my titles, and my stature in my field couldn’t do a damn thing. I was trapped by societal expectations, I was emasculated, forced to play the prescribed roles.  The loyal husband.  The selfless father.  The grieving widow.  And then, one day, I realized what I had to do. I had to…”

The group speaks as one, “Get Over Myself!”

“Principle four.”

“Denying Joy is Denying Life.”

“Number three.”

“The Past is a Prison.”

“I retook possession of myself. I took a step back, and saw myself anew.  I understood myself not as a man who had lost his wife, but as a man who had survived his grief. You’ve all faced loss this week! Learned humility in the face of pain!”

“And climbed back out!”

“Dug your way out, tooth and nail, back to the light!  You’ve done this! You’ve read my book. You’ve adopted my principles. And now you have completed this program. You are over yourselves.”

Lucas summons something close to Grace.

“So go and enjoy your wealth!”

The Story So Far

  1. you write fantastic villains

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