ALL DIALOGUE AND NO STORY … BUT A LOT OF VOICES

Lately I’ve been blogging a lot about being all dialogue and no story, and I’ve purposely left out why I dropped my screenwriting class, because it’s only half the reason I did (the rest is great). I’ve debated in my mind how that makes me who I am and what I’m about. I mean am I going to wake up one morning and realize that my life has been nothing but a string of conversations that I have all but forgotten, save the profound, and that’s it? Will I realize that I’ve done nothing more than wear a personality and fit into a mold that other people wanted me to be? Will I stare at computer screens endlessly waiting for the words to save me from myself, and my never-ending boredom? Will I have changed anything, or anybody by these conversations and discussions? Will my story be a string of car rides to hear the sound of my voice … or have I ever heard my voice at all, because I know I certainly don’t listen to it.

Writers have gone on journeys of self-discovery and traveled around the world involving themselves in the lives of strangers in order to find excuses to move their fingers on the keys, and partake in the rapture of creating art. Everyone says write what you know, and it’s hard to know something you’ve never done, but I do. I write about things that I’ve never done, or would never do all the time. It’s my style, and my forte to be able to knock down a wall, and discover one thing; one detail that makes my story real, and write about it. But there’s a difference between them and me because I write about things I don’t know, because there is nothing interesting I do know. I don’t have the courage to live those lives. To travel around the country taking notes and creating characters from the people I meet. I don’t have the courage to take drugs and be out of control. In other words, I don’t have stories.

I think the only saving grace was the day I realized that I’m ton of different people. I’m a thousand different voices singing a chorus that I don’t always listen to, but is beautiful in its harmony … mostly. I’m a brother, a son, a friend, a co-worker, a customer, a loner, a writer, and a ton of other things. Even within those sub sections I’m different people. I’m a different person to my mother than I am to my father. I’ve spent my life in a hopeless attempt to win my father’s love, but in the end I fear that it all will have been for not because he feels it a flaw to express it. I do everything I think he wants me to do, never understanding that doing that makes me weak in his eyes, furthering the distance that we will forever challenge. I spend my life trying to make my mother understand that I’m not defective or flawed just because I’m not the same as everyone else. I act extra masculine and extra smart to show her that her fears are unfounded, and in the end I will end up as the failure, because I will never be the son she wanted to give my father.

I have two sisters. I remember one time my younger sister happened to be hanging out with my friends and I, and out of no where she says “I never knew my brother was funny …” My friend responded by saying “That’s odd, because when I describe him to people, that’s the first thing I mention.” I never knew what my younger sister wanted me to be, so I sneak around her life like an afterthought, living on the fly, hoping for an indication that will show me who I need to be. My older sister was easier. My older sister wanted me to be the rock and the anchor that my family always needed. I was that person for her until the day she died, and after, and in doing so I ended up crying for my loss years later, alone … knowing that my anchor was never heavy enough to make her feel safe.

I’m different people to my friends. To my best friend I’m the guy you clown around with and design inside jokes. I’m the guy who gets his wit, even when I don’t. I’m the guy who never is serious, unless the seriousness is pointless and irreverent. And often times I’m on the phone with him joking around, when some new aspect of my life has cascaded into an abyss, and I continue with a mask because I know I’ve sold him the funny guy, and no one falls for the bait and switch. I have friends where I’m the serious one, and others who I’m the shoulder they cry on, or bitch to. To some I’m the guy who sets up the jokes, and maintains the laugh track. To some I’m the guy who gives advice, and to others I’m the guy who receives it, but never uses. To some of my friends I’m the guy who listens even when the subject matter is boring, and still other friends I’m the welcomed distraction from an otherwise busy day. I’m a smartass to some people, and the deeply introspective artist to others. The one thing I’ve never been to anyone is the guy who takes anything. I’ve never gotten anything from any friend except for friendship, and that’s all I ever wanted. Neither of my boyfriends had ever gotten me a gift that was worth more than twenty dollars, and I always paid for things more than they did. My inability to accept gifts is another person I am.

I’m the guy who spent his childhood being the butt of jokes, and the receptacle of random violence for being different. I’m the guy who grew up not knowing friendship because everyone who called me their friend made fun of me, only had me around to be the odd man out, and dropped me on a dime when I wanted more. I’ve taken those things, and become aloof, funny, sarcastic, distant, cold, arrogant … anti-social, lonely, and afraid. And all those things are me. All those voices make up the chorus, and when I write, I use all those voices, and all those personalities to weave a montage of an event that tries desperately to express things I’m about, but I’m never really sure how.

So maybe being all dialogue and no story is good for me at times, but perhaps I need to add another voice to that choir, and live some events, and engage in things outside my comfort zone. Perhaps I can express an opinion that isn’t contrived, and designed for approval, and perhaps I can speak in a voice that I care about. And perhaps I need to hide out somewhere other than in the stories I write. Or not … it’s hard to say.

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