Rendered Fat Content

XTimes 1.10-InhabitingStory

I love listening to the radio because it projects better pictures than television or movies. I rarely feel a part of television or a movie because the roles are too finely cast—I can never escape being merely an observer. Books are better, but they demand my active participation as translator. Radio seems the perfect medium to fuzz the separation between here and there. Piped directly into my head, I simply close my eyes to close the distance between the story and me. I can inhabit a radio drama’s story almost as if it were my own.

When I hear you telling your story, I sometimes experience a taste of story envy. I want to inhabit your story. Your adventure might have been mine, if only I’d been there at the time.

Some people seem to inhabit alluring stories. Everything they touch pops added dimensions: depth, color, and texture. I’ve experienced that space, too, where others seemed to hang on the edge of my story, a touch envious, a touch proud to hear the tale. For I’ve been an adventurer in my time. I’ve discovered lost continents and settled wild ones. I’ve stumbled and recovered, then gone on to make a decent showing at the finish line. I’ve invented wholly novel perspectives and freely shared them. I have even invited a few into my stories, transforming them into collective experiences; no longer mine, but ours.

And there have been times when I seemed to inhabit no story at all, as if trapped in an endless twenty-four hour, skid row movie house, aimlessly watching the same scratchy, low-budget, black and white second feature: perfectly predictable plot, wooden performances, uninspired direction, uneven soundtrack. I suppose we each inhabit some story all the time. Make mine a tight noir with crisp dialogue and a surprising ending. Make that mine every time.

Who am I asking? I might be the writer, director, and star of my own story, not merely the passive audience to whatever the booking agent dropped off this week. No ticket required. The price of admission a simple admission: I’m producing this entertainment. Every day, all the time. Since I’m more comfortable in the audible space, the pictures don’t much matter to me. I can wear the ratty Carhartt The Muse says has been a rag for years, even though no cuff has actually fallen completely off yet. It’s all about the story I tell myself, for that matures into the story I might share with you, and that will either prove inhabitable or not. I want to live within an inhabitable story. Don’t you?

Some days, the three block walk to the library and back awakens my most inspiring angels. Others days, my darkest devils barely raise one eyelid from their nap on the way. I think the world deserves to have one decent divot chipped out of it every single day by every single living being inhabiting this space. There are no passive observers, not even me on my worst days, for I am always inhabiting my story.

In a time surrounding us with opportunities for passive observation, I try to turn off the television, even the one in the backseat of the cab. I do not need to be entertained. I’m supposed to be entertaining myself, and I am capable of this no matter the noise. No matter the competing media. Sometimes I can hear the radio in my head. Familiar call letters. Brand new program every time.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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