I’m supposed to write about my feelings today. My childhood dog died on Tuesday night. I processed it. I planned some deep-thought attempts about the value of presence and how the end of it is a harbinger of mortality that hollows us out, albeit temporarily.
I wasn’t ready. I sat down, turned on some tunes and started to type. The flow wasn’t there. Instead, this paragraph came out.
I just finished listening to a Taylor Swift song. Not by choice, mind you. It came on a thing called the radio. Not spotify or iTunes or whatever people who like music prefer these days. It was radio. An archaic form of music delivery that ignores your personal agency in regards to audio. But life is unscripted, so why shouldn’t our music be the same? I like radio. It’s natural. Call me analogue. I consider it a compliment.
It’s no Faulkner, granted, but there’s a nugget I liked. Life is unscripted. It has some merit. So let’s turn this into an old-fashioned, diary-style blog post.
In a 30-day period, I’ll have lost my dog, my girlfriend, and my roommates. I’m pretty sure the “telemarketer” I hit the ignore button on every week might be George Strait sourcing me for song ideas (I’d imagine it as some ode to the everyman drifter of 2013. Like a suburban “Amarillo by Morning” but with even less direction. “T-Shirt Blues” is a good title). And you know, I feel okay. I feel okay because life is unscripted.
I embraced the beauty of story a long time ago. And I don’t mean the usual BS about “life’s a journey” or anything like that. There’s one single element that is a writer’s most powerful tool. That tool is all the words he doesn’t write. It’s what’s not said that creates the bond between a writer’s words and a reader’s imagination.
Example: I can write, “Tommy wore dark skinny jeans with a pressed, white oxford tucked into them. A perfectly loosened Charvet slim knitted silk tie hung from the collar, and the sleeves of his grey Members Only jacket were slightly pushed up his forearms.” Or I can write, “Tommy always dressed like someone who was trying too hard.” [Editor’s note: no co-bloggers were actually insulted during the formation of this post]
In the first, you know exactly what Tommy’s wearing. In the second, he could be wearing anything. The answer is worth a little bit. The question is worth so much more. Every reader can put Tommy in different clothes. The possibilities are nearly endless. All of a sudden, the reader has created Tommy as much as I have. We’re building a world together, bonded in imagination. I call that place where we meet The Space Between, partially because it’s as ominous and open to interpretation as our imaginative union is, partially because I like that Dave Matthews song.
When I tell people that life is unscripted, they think it’s a “wanna see God laugh?” kind of advice. There’s a bit of that, sure, but it’s not really what I mean. I mean that what you don’t put on the script is usually the best stuff, the most powerful. It’s where you give your life a chance to connect with the rest of the machinations of this universe. It’s functional enlightenment, 21st century zen.
Signing off because I think George Strait is calling,
Dusty “Telemarkted” Riedesel