Friday, August 18, 2006

I think in Story

I think in Story. All the time. Day, night. Waking, sleeping.

I think in Story.

Doesn't matter where I am or what's going on, it's the way my brain works. I can't turn it off.

Truthfully, I don't want to.

Scenes, characters, plotlines, motivation, story. They run through my mind unhindered. They bring order to the chaos of my thoughts. They inform the decisions and choices I make.

Whether I'm in a grocery story, walking down the street or sitting at my desk at work, I think in Story.

When I see a waitress at a restaurant, tired, but smiling, I wonder what she is thinking. I could ask her, I guess. But I won't. I don't need to. My mind fills in the gaps.

When I'm at a concert, the music intensifies the process, becoming a soundtrack to my thoughts. The scenes are sometimes so intense it's as if I am really there. If there is snow in the scene, I can feel the cold. If tension fills the air, I can feel the electricity prickling at my skin. But often it is stories of sadness or contentment or melancholy that the music evokes, and these emotions wash over me, submerging me and carrying me away if only for a few moments.

When I'm at work and a problem arises, I see the back story, I see the motivations of all the players, and I see the through line to the climax. From this I often know which path we should take. In this I am the office problem solvers. But if they only knew. It's not problem solving. It's story.

It's the way I've always been. It's the way I will always be.

I think in Story.


mai wen said...

I know exactly what you mean. I'm a huge people watcher and bring a mini-notebook with me where ever I go. If I hear good dialogue or see interesting characters I jot them down (see how I don't see them as people and call their speaking dialogue?)

I think I drive my husband nuts sometimes because I'll see something, a fight between a couple perhaps, and I'll drift off into my mind where a story begins to play out and I start creating these people's backgrounds and their desires. I create scenarios on Why they are fighting and What their relationship is like. And during these daydream stints I'm utterly unreachable, responding to my husband's conversation with only, "Uh huh" or "Hmmm."

He's learned to leave me alone when my eyes gloss over and I'm staring dumbly into the distance.

Sandra Ruttan said...

You've expressed something a lot of us can relate to, I think. Nicely put!

Elizabeth said...

Fascinating! I’m trying to imagine what it’s like to think in story. I think so differently -- in motion, a kaleidoscope of moments, present and dreamed, that tell their tales through sight, sound, action, touch, feeling. I would see your waitress and feel what she feels -- her weak smile, her aching feet, the weight of the coffee pot she carries, the heaviness of her unpaid bills. I would see the train wreck she left behind last night and the fire she’ll ignite tomorrow morning. But story? The story comes later, sometimes much later, when the images and moments and feelings finally fall into place…like actors finding their marks on stage ready to begin a scene, a plot, a story.

JT Ellison said...

Nice, Brett. It's so good to know that I'm not the only one.
Elizabeth, beautiful comments.