The Stories I Tell

I think I was born with a genetic predisposition to tell stories. From a young age I imagined many a fictional story and used imagination to frame my physical world as well. Even though you "hear" me through writing, I speak many more stories in everyday life. Despite a poor memory, I somehow make thousands of connections each day between what I observe in the present and what I remember from the past. The grout in between is a vast panoply of trivial facts, emotions, and other stuff. These connections form the frame of my stories.

Whatever the reference - personal, work, current events, music, art, etc. - I automatically consult the overstuffed memory notes I keep in my head. And these are no Cliff's Note memories either. They frequently come with an astonishing texture. I can vividly recall not only sights, sounds, and snippets of conversation - I also experience smells, tastes, and subtle feelings on my skin. Sometimes, my memory of a particular event is more "real" than the reality of writing this post or drinking my morning coffee.

When I remember childhood stories they aren't through the eyes of a child, but a curious composite me who is simultaneously adult and child. The kid fills in the sensory details recorded in the moment and the adult brings voice to thoughts I lacked the language to speak at the time.

Before I birth my stories, I experience them as nothing more than random thoughts. Sometimes I begin with the thinnest shred of an idea - possibly no more than a catch phrase or sentence that spontaneously pops into my head and beckons. I start with no real beginning or map to the end. I find the story only when I arrive. It's a splintered trail of false alleys and edits that I sometimes wish I could form into a different story. But, the true story always seems to push the other ideas to the side so it can emerge. The final period at the end of my stories is like the buzzer at the end of a game. When it's over, it's over and I suddenly realize it's time to hit the showers.

The facts of every story I tell you are true, but the secret of a good story is pacing and length, memorable turns of phrase, and a logic that isn't always there in a spontaneous and unedited event. So even though the facts are true, I sometimes edit them slightly by trimming away fatty details or slightly changing the order or importance of the facts. Because I have a vast library of stories, they all evolve based on new experiences and new stories. Each story illuminates another so that each retelling ages all the stories as a whole, like a fine wine. What you read here is the result of years of polishing that will continue until the last time I tell a story. The job won't end until I do, and that's a fitting enough end I reckon.

Besides, I could do no more.

Note: By way of example, today's post came from a comment that Dr. Zaius left for The Last True Moment of Silence. As I said to him in my reply (excusing my ham-fisted typing skills), I find myself incredibly lucky to have readers who take the time to read unreasonably long posts. I suppose I make you work awfully hard for it, but I can't tell the stories any other way - that's the true significance of omnipotence. Thanks to the Doc for the inspiration and to you for your patience as an audience. In the business, you're what we call an easy room.

The Poobah is a featured contributor at Bring It On!

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Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Friday, February 16, 2007

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