Influence, Confluence, and One Story Short
When I was a kid, maybe eight or nine, I discovered rap music.
My grandparents lived in Albuquerque at the time, and my family in California, so a couple of weeks out of the year, our parents would take my brother and me on long car rides across the American Southwest.
Yeah. You want to talk excitement for a kid of that age…almost twelve hours of blurry landscape outside of the car window. Of course, iDevices were still a twinkle in Steve Jobs’s eye and we didn’t yet have a Nintendo Gameboy (I think that came a couple of Christmases later).
So how did I pass the time?
A black Sony Walkman, headphones with fuzzy orange earmuffs, and a Ziploc bag that I could never close because it held so many tapes.
It wasn’t all hip-hop, but the majority of it was. Run DMC, The Fat Boys, Ice T, Sir Mix-a-Lot, Public Enemy… I often wonder how my parents never confiscated half of my albums. I was fascinated with the drum machines, the guitar samples, and of course the variety of lyrical flow. At any given moment, it could have been Biz Markie, KRS One, or supergroup UTFO pumping into my ears. There was a style to fit every mood.
As I got older, my musical tastes branched out, but when I entered junior high and high school, my dad and I began spending a lot of time together watching science-fiction TV shows and movies. If memory serves, every Wednesday night, we’d sit down on the floor with a large paper sack filled with salted popcorn and blocks of sharp cheddar (sounds weird, I know, but try it) and catch the latest episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This carried over to Babylon 5, ST: Deep Space Nine, ST: Voyager, and so on.
I only occasionally listen to rap these days, but I still find myself mindlessly reciting the lyrics of Slick Rick’s (known then as MC Ricky D) and Doug E. Fresh’s La-Di-Da-Di. And when I visit my parents, my dad and I will usually catch whatever sci-fi flick is playing at the local theater, buckets of salted popcorn in our laps. Unfortunately, the theater industry hasn’t caught on to selling blocks of cheese as a condiment.
All of this to say such cumulative experience is pumping through my veins, alive and well, the confluence of which brought you yesterday’s story. Also, I wanted to show that I’m not always such a serious guy!
Now, an excerpt from the Obvious Files: You’ll notice that I didn’t complete my story this past week. I chalk this up to two things:
- Quite simply, I ran out of time. Now, I know I just got done preaching about the importance of making time. Let this be a lesson to you kids. I prioritized other things when I should have been more focused. So, lucky for me, I made the unconscious decision to deliver 52 stories in 52 weeks, not 1 story a week, for 52 weeks. That’s right. I’m still planning to hit that 52 by the end of the year, but now I have to squeeze it in somewhere.
- I didn’t plan this well enough. I really winged this one and though I think I mostly benefited from that, it shows that I didn’t have the idea scoped to fit a shorter narrative. You know, maybe it’s a good thing? I know I put constraints on myself to make these short stories, but sometimes happy accidents are happy indeed.
Oh, well. Life’s rough. But I’m having so much fun writing this story, I’m excited to see where my other influences conflue(?!).
How about you? Do you so visibly see your own life-experiences seeping into your creative work?
P.S. The story process post is forthcoming, but I won’t put it up until I’ve actually, you know, completed the process.