You begin to run out of ways to tell a story. I have noticed this over the last fifteen months here on the web. I have also noticed it over the years of my life. Anyone who has had the notion that they could write, tell a story or spin a yarn knows you have to think about things like tense and voice and the like. But, and here's the kicker, you have to consider your perspective, your own, mind you, not the story receiver's, you, the storyteller.
I can think of stories I've told where the whole damn point of the thing changed from one telling to the next. As an example, I used to tell a story about me and the neighbor kid growing up. We got it in our heads to "run away" not, as I recall, because of some egregious act perpetrated against us, not because of some ideological parent/child rift, not because we were angry at the injustice of childhood, no - we were just bored. I'd guess I was maybe ten, he eleven.
So, we got some peanut butter, stole some home-made jars of pickles, snagged a frozen loaf of bread, filled a couple canteens, grabbed a couple sleeping bags and headed off, thinking no one would be the wiser. I think all and all a good two dozen people knew we were sneaking off, and, of course, indirectly so did our parents. It was a muggy night in August and we went to our favorite pine grove, off the road a bit and settled in. Well, just add mosquitoes and ants and DARKNESS and low batteries - those giant twelve volt jobbys - and a lightning show Wagnerian in pitch, we, well, we got scared.
We could smell the rain in the wind as it began to whip through the white pines above us and we bugged out. We were maybe a mile and a half from home, most of it on the road but the first part was down a farmer's path, rutted and uneven. We tripped and plodded our way through the raspberry brambles and thistles by the light of the fainting battery lantern; chiggers at our ankle and mosquitoes at our necks. There was a rise just before the farm path met the pavement and before we could see the road we heard low voices and I could smell the cigarette smoke in the air.
I doubt we could of slowed our momentum as we charged up the hill and we nearly crashed into the taillights of a station wagon flanked by the glow of a couple Camels hanging in the hands of both our dads. We were relieved and more than a little afraid of what kind of trouble we were in.
Now, here is where the story road diverges, right there on that yellow road. I used to tell that story from the perspective of that ten year old kid who got busted, grounded and given extra chores for doing what he shouldn't have. I'd paint a picture of those angry dads and I'd get a laugh or two, leaving out the terrified dash down the lightning lit path and the ants and all that.
But now, now that I am a dad I see it as the act of love and dedication it was. My dad mentioned it a couple times when I was older and apparently they'd thought it a lark, laughing and enjoying the storm and the wind as they waited for their wild sons to come screaming from the woods, as they knew we would.
They knew we were not being stupid or rebellious; they understood that we'd left enough hints as to where we were going should we need rescued. They knew we needed to do what we did, they understood that, they remembered being the boys they once were. They also knew, as that summer storm came up, that they should go get us.
As they lectured about pickles and responsibility and fresh batteries and the ways we weren't prepared, I remember getting into the car, glancing into the backseat and seeing the flashlights and blankets and even some flares and the corner of a first-aid kit sitting neatly on the backseat. They were prepared to go in and get us, more than willing to, I'd guess. They probably saw our faded light and heard us flailing down the path and just decided to have us come to them.
I reckon we got in more trouble for stealing the damn pickles more than anything else, Mr. B loved those pickles.
So, you see, you can come at any story a number of ways. In a favorite post of mine, "My Your Song Always Be Sung," I touched on the different interpretations of one particular Bob Dylan song I have played over the years. A different understanding, a different perspective, with each playing.
I must have a point here, and I do, but it is a bit difficult to articulate. I have something I want to show you, but I don't know which way to go with it. It is simultaneously touching and sweet and really, really odd and...
Here, I'll show you:
|In concert with "The Fuzzy Roundups"|
|Backstage dressing area|
|Band parking under the stage, mod bugs and a monster truck|
|The keyboard player with a dancer in the foreground|
Honestly, what I am inclined to do here, is just be cute about all this. I mean how deep can I go with this. It is a diorama of a pom-pom-googly-eyed-pipe-cleaner-band. It is silly, beyond silly even, absurd. And the conversation that went on for the maybe ninety minutes they worked on this was so earnest and comical:
"Hey, they're gonna need a spotlight on the dancers."
"I'm on it"
"Hey, how many dancers can I get in these beetle cars?" (An age old question.)
"I dunno, all of them?"
"Do you think this drum set looks alright"
"Dude, it's awesome!"
"Where's the stage-manager gonna park her monster truck?" (Another question for the ages. I'm sorry but that's just funny in about ten different ways.)
"Do you think this speaker is big enough?" (Never.)
"Oh yeah, there are some hanging too."
So, that's one way I could go with this. Actually, a couple of people have asked me if I was making fun of Nick and Zack in some of these posts. I worry about that, I am never mean-spirited here, on purpose at least, but I could see how you might think I am. Honestly, it would be a lot of fun to do that, but, it doesn't feel right.
Mostly, I want to show you them or, as I've said before, "show them them." Show them the spark that they once were, show them the fun they once had, show them the silliness and whimsy that is childhood, so easily forgotten.
I know I will look back on this and remember that hour and a half, fondly. And, I must add, I probably never would have remembered except I wrote about it here. Perhaps the simple earnestness of this will move me to tears one day. Perhaps they and I will remember that it was this simple and beautiful and loving and silly once. Once a upon a time, when The Fuzzy Roundups came to town.
From Marci's "...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat..."
"Did Shakespeare write the book Harry Potter?"
You know, I've been wondering that myself...