I just wrote this to another 'storyteller' (author). After I finished it, I thought it would put a smile on everyone's face and after all ... that's all I'm really interested in! It's also an insight into the way I really look at things and since this blog is 'The world according to yours truly,' I guess it's okay. So keep reading and smile!
(I'm already opining where this starts ...)
Re: importance of story/voice and what we (fiction writers) should call ourselves – I’m creating my own science here but hey, it’s my world – I think of storytellers, songwriters, artists, sculptors, engineers, etc. – all of the genus: Creators. This is my Judeo-Christian faith speaking now but I consider all who create beauty (the definition of beauty is in the eye of … well you know who) to be doing something our Creator does (hence calling Him Creator) and that is very powerful!
My point and what I’ve learned from a few decades of creating music, machinery and stories is that the very best creators never focus on the tools … and to a creator EVERYTHING becomes a tool that they may use to create their works.
I learned this as a journeyman mechanical engineer from one of the greatest inventors of our time (his name is Venerio J. Rigolini, an Iwo Jima Marine who holds 22 patents in everything from cameras to plastics). What I found fascinating was how he utilized everything around him as a potential tool, in order to create/invent.
At first, his cavalier attitude towards the way he treated his tools really upset me. For instance, he would be staring at something on a machine he was inventing and without even looking up, he’d grab basically anything resembling the tool he needed. So in order to pry a gear loose, he may grab a brand-new shiny phillips-head screwdriver (that he just had me clean) and proceed to bend it by using it as a crowbar. The bottom line … he fixed the jam, the machine started working and that’s where the beauty (and profits) came from.
In other words and something I learned … the bent screwdriver didn’t matter (I still battle with that). My point: to storytellers, words are merely tools, just like the programs, machines or pens we use, the paper we use, the reference materials, etc. So there is NO misusing of words (grammar, punc., blah blah blah) IF their misuse produces beauty.
As old William S. would say, … the story’s the thing!
Words for storytellers, musical notes for songwriters, clay for sculptors, paint and brushes for artists – all just tools of our creativity.
I shall now return to the top of the mountain upon which I was sitting and meditate some more (grin).
On another note, I really do struggle when someone asks me what I do for a few reasons. First, I’m not even sure what they mean by ‘do.’ Do they mean, ‘do to pay my mortgage?’ or ‘do to pass the time?’ or ‘do when I’m not watching Star Trek reruns?’
Then I stumble over my answer. I tried ‘I’m an author,’ but my wife, in her South Philly bravado and wit added, “So, now your a friggin’ author?” <sigh> I confess, I don’t feel worthy to say I’m an author, since people like Tom Clancy and WEB Griffin can call themselves that.
Then I tried ‘I’m a writer,’ but every time I said that, this mental picture of my wearing a fedora with a press pass sticking out of the band and rushing towards a phone booth with a little note pad and pencil in my hand made it feel … wrong.
So I’ll try your idea Kris (Kris Rusch is the author to whom I wrote this), the next time I’m asked, “What do you do?” my reply will be “I’m a storyteller!”
Then I’ll ask them if they wouldn’t mind dropping a nickel into my tin cup. (grin)
Social networking … the term sounds cold and wicked to me. Every time I use the term it makes me feel like a 'greasy' used car salesman (no offense to all you 'greasy' used car salesmen out there). The other connotation makes me feel like a gigolo trying to put a high-tech spin on … being called a gigolo …Yikes!
You know what, when I thought about it, all we did in the old neighborhood was social networking. We ran into each other at delis (mine was 'Cozy Shack'), at parks (mine were 'The Car Barns,' 'Cleveland' and 'Starr' parks), at the candy store and at school. We sat on each other's stoops and hung out at each other's basements and backyards and on our street corners … and we bent our arms at our local pubs (like 'Eagles Nest,' best hamburgers in 20 miles of Ridgewood).
…And we did what social networking really is …we communicated …we yapped …we complained …we joked and commented and opined and gossiped.
So now it's the year 25-25 (sorry broke into song). Try that again … so now, it's the year 2011 and we are all married, divorced, single, divorced and re-married, divorced and single, etc. with kids or no kids, pets or no pets, kids that act like pets, pets that act like kids, day jobs, night jobs, in-between jobs, house-cleaning, dentist appointments, nail appointments (threw that one in for my wife) - and NO time to sit on stoops! Add to that, the fact that many of us moved away from the old neighborhood, which means we have no stoops to sit on, even if we wanted to sit on one. Where I am, the closest thing to a stoop is a cactus and I definitely DON'T want to sit on one of those!
So what do we do? We 'social network.' Basically, go online, find a place to sit and mingle (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc.), look for friends and yap! Nothing wrong with yapping - some like to yap, some like to listen, some like to stare at their computer screen blankly (the latter group doesn't count in this blog).
My point is … I think that we should drop the term 'social networking' and let the online dating services take it over. For the rest of us, why don't we come up with a friendly, more old-neighborhood term for it? How about Cyber-Stoop …haha!
Can you come up with a better term? I'm all ears!
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Dean Wesley Smith