This post started off to be about hiking again. I was going to write about going with four or five other women into the wilderness for a week, and how that rite of passage will bond us together as friends like nothing else.
But then I started thinking about ensemble casts. Reruns of Friends, stuff like Band of Brothers, like all of those dwarves in the Hobbit. I thought about how drawn we are to write about groups, and how impossibly hard that task truly is.
The group dynamic grows its own life – the group itself is a force, and entity. As a group, the unit moves in a different way than it does when the individuals are somehow separated.
The reader can’t relate to the whole group. And individuals within a group can’t really relate to one another until they are interacting one-on-one. They don’t get to bond until two see a bear no one else sees. Until two others have to hitchhike to the next campsite. It doesn’t become an adventure, really, until the group is drawn apart. There is no tension until the leader is drawn away. Until Bilbo is lost in the tunnels and stumbles upon a ring….