12 June 2007

I really suck at storytelling

I'm really an awful storyteller. Somewhere along the way I think you come to a fork in the road; either you're going to be a brilliant storyteller or a good writer. Either you're going to be the guy who's still sitting at the table long after dessert, smoking a cigar and making people crack up or you're going to be the guy who can romanticize even the mundane with a delicious pen.

Sometimes I can identify with Steve Martin in Roxanne. There are times when I feel like I can summons the confidence of Shakespeare behind a typewriter but when I'm talking to someone, I have trouble accessing the words I'm looking for. This is either a product of me writing too much or just not being social enough; or maybe they're one and the same.

When I was younger, I would always vanish from parties. We'd all go out and wind up at some random dudes apartment, everyone's drinking and somehow occupying themselves in this foreign space and I would start staring at the walls. Soon enough I'd slip out the door without saying a word to anyone and go home, write or play my guitar or listen to music; to me, that was fun.

No one wants to be the guy on the trip with the video camera; no one wants to be the guy in charge of documenting everything while its happening, live; instead of experiencing it, you're stuck documenting it. Sure there is glory in the stories of scribes and how without them we'd have no history immortalized; we'd have nothing to study but somewhere along the way, I feel I started seeing everything through a somewhat poetic lens.

As situations unfold before me in real time, in my mind I am seeing the words and synonyms of how I'd describe my surroundings if I was typing on a blank page. Sometimes I run home and I do unload it all, sometimes it just stays bouncing around in my head. But sometimes it almost becomes an out of body experience, like I'm there, in the moment as I'm making out with this girl but in my head I'm seeing it from above the parked car or the bedroom or wherever we are; I'm reading what is happening on an invisible page in my head as it is still unfolding. It's truly a bizarre feeling that I have trouble describing.

Again, I suck at storytelling.

I've been around the world; South Africa to Finland to Brazil to New Zealand to Berlin. I have enough memories to fill a few books, but ask me a detail and I'm lost. Ask me if I've been to such and such a city and I'm clueless. I wrestle with a disgust for details and an obsession with details. I could write you 1500 words on a stainless steel spoon entering a pint of mint ice cream but I can't recall what cities we played when we toured Australia. I guess its selective memory; I remember the details I find important. But not everyone thinks this way.

Some time ago I realised to truly be happy in this world, you have to be dumb. This doesn't mean I'm a genius, far from it, but I know people who seem to just float through life without a care; whether it's in their own lives or their surroundings, they are numb and oblivious to suffering and pain. I wrote a song once called "I Wish I Was Dumb" and as you can imagine, it was rather self-explanatory; about how pretty people don't sing the blues or imagine themselves in someone else's shoes and so forth, and it's so true.

A friend of mine and I were in a Chinese restaurant in Park Slope and there was a guy at the back of the place sitting behind a mountain of snow peas, sorting them, somehow. And the more we stared at him, the more we felt bad for him and decided that he was sad. We decided he had just broken up with his girlfriend and he'd just found The Cure and he was very lonely. I mean we started out just fucking around but towards the end we were on the verge of tears inventing this imaginary scenario for this quiet Chinese waiter. And dumb, happy people just don't do this sort of thing and maybe that's why they seem so goddamn happy!

Another friend of mine and I can make each other feel bad for just about anything, inanimate objects included. We'll see an empty coffee mug and start saying to each other "what did that mug ever do wrong? it just wanted to be filled with a hot drink to make someone warm on a cold day" and so on. And if your head is fragile enough, you can really start to empathize with this empty mug. It's wild and certainly not normal.

But then again, what is?

No comments: