Stories don’t have just one ending

I’m a pretty huge fan of The Walking Dead.  It’s more than just a zombie show, but it has lots of zombies which is cool.  Because I like zombies.  My kids always want to watch it, and I say not on your life.  You have to be old enough to not get nightmares.  Since I’m 36 and still get nightmares after watching an episode, they may never be old enough.

But as I said, it isn’t just a zombie show.  If it had never changed over the past four seasons and I was still seeing the group fight horde after horde, I don’t think I would have continued with the commitment I have.  But it hasn’t been the same.  Each season has a new danger, new characters, and new ways to look at a broken world.

After the first season, I started reading the graphic novel its all based on.  And for the first time ever, I can honestly say the graphic novel isn’t better than the show.  But I can’t say the show is better than the graphic novel.

They are both awesome.

At first I had a hard time with the differences.  “But Andrea isn’t like that!”  I would yell at the screen, when the TV series demoted one of my favorite kick ass characters to role of whiner.  “That person doesn’t die!”   or “When is Tyrese joining the show?”

But if the show had followed the graphic novel I never would have seen Daryl and Merle and the powerful story they told about redemption.  Carol would have been a throwaway character instead of the leader she became.  Michonne, well, thankfully Michonne is as awesome on the show as in the graphic novel.  The stories about these characters are as powerful as if they had been part of the original.

Leading me to now know, no story has one perfect way to be told.  There are multiple paths and endings that can paint the picture a writer tells.  And that’s really cool.  Especially now that I consider myself an author.  (although an unproductive one)

I used to believe every story had one perfect ending.  The hero or heroine succeeds.  Not only do they succeed but life is better than when the story started.  If it wasn’t the case, I truly believed the story had no other ending.

Which is why I’ve stuck with George RR Martin for so long.  He’s got to have a point to all of it, right?  He can’t just keep killing off my favorite and most developed characters.

I even lived that in my life for a long time.  Fighting the course my life was taking, trying to get back to the goal I had as a 21 year old girl out of college.  Finally after 13 years of fighting against the tide, I realized my story had a different ending.  And it might even be better than the original.

Walking Dead continues to teach me a lot.  It reminds me what it means to be human, what morality is, and how to hold on to right in a world that falls apart around you.  And now it reminds me, every great story has more than one ending.

It isn’t *just* a show about zombies.  And it proves that the book isn’t always better.  The story of our lives isn’t written in stone.  One choice doesn’t define what happens for the rest of the path.  Thankfully my life continues to take turns I never planned or anticipated, because if I had the life I had already written at 21, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

And I kinda like her.

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