Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Blast of Calendars Past

I use to keep up with an organizer, a leather-encased zippered grid of numbered days that held dreams, ideas and a slew of scribbled digits. Over time, this calendar served as a repository of story 'slugs', three-worded phrases that told the documented drama of the day. From Stokes Tornado to Parrot Surgery to Prostitute Round-up, the curt descriptions made for quick, if not colorful referencing. This helps when you're desperately searching for say footage of unfocused kids on far away playgrounds, heavily-cropped beer guts and cigarette smoker close-ups. You know, the kind of stuff you shot on that Tuesday ... three years ago.

Never one to lay down anything as logical as a plan, it never occured to me to jot own any upcoming appointments in my battered organizer. Mine was a private stash of recently recorded history, crude doodles and scribbled show notes - not a scratchpad for upcoming plumber visits. But as meticulous as I was about my data mining, the entries' brevity began to bother me. Surely there was more to say than the three slurred words I used to encapsulate all those eight hour shifts. Perhaps I could allow my daily downloads a bit more space, room to grow and flourish... A BOOK! Yeah, that's it - a biting, blustery tome about my life behind the lens. I'd call it 'Viewfinder BLUES' and sell a million copies, never wondering why people everywhere were clamoring for the yammerings of a camera toting nobody.

No bother. Before I could dominate the best sellers list, I had to learn to write. Not just stare out the window and think about writing, but actually put ass in chair and line up words in interesting formations. Bereft of any formal training, I took solace in the knowledge that if nothing else, I had the fodder. All I had to do is flip through several years' accumulation of torturous news shifts, inherently weird real-life descriptors that caffeine-addled screenwriting wannabes would sell their Starbucks card for. Sequestering myself in my inner sanctum, I eeked out a few epistles, stuck 'em on my hard drive and waited for greatness to arrive.

While I was waiting, Al Gore and a team of chimpanzees invented the internet. Suddenly, there was a place to ply my lies, if not for a paycheck, at least for chance to actually be read. Heady stuff for a closet memoirist like myself; the very idea of disseminating my thoughts through a technology I didn't stand a chance of understanding rendered me giddy and led me to a place in space called There, the good folk celebrated my exposition and praised my prose, all of which convinced me to keep on writing, even when I didn't particularly want to. I grew to treasure the response I garnered from the on-line readers who sampled my work. I thought launching my own blog might attract even more eyeballs. For once, I was right.

Throughout the year of 2005, I thought about this silly website every freakin' day. And that's great! Writing about my life - something I always knew I'd get around to eventually, has proved most therapuetic. The perspective gained and comments received have done wonders for my pockmarked psyche, granting me the intermittent wisdom to cope with a job that's more than a little thankless. When I began posting my stories on-line, it was an act of near desperation. Emotionally estranged from a job I use to love, ths burnout needed a shoulder to cry on. Through the isolation of my late night keyboarding, I've discovered new friends, grown closer to old ones and acquired a slew of mentors. Consider this New Year's Eve post a personal thank you to all who have given my drivel a moment or two over the past twelve months. If you think this year packed a punch, wait until you see what I have planned for 2006: The Year of Fruition.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to flip through some old calendar pages for story ideas. I remember this one time, a hot summer night crackling with frantic scanner traffic...


Bobbysitter said...

I use to keep my stories in old Far Side calendars my wife gave me every year. I eventually moved most of them to a word document. I wanted to write a great book but realized that I am not a writer but a simple street cop.

Keep up the good work.

Roch101 said...

"2006: The Year of Fruition"

I like that! And I don't doubt you can do it. Best of luck, Slinger.

photogguy said...

"There was this one time, in band camp..."

You write the book, I'll buy a copy.

Billy Jones said...

Not only will I buy a copy but I'll blog it as well, pitching it as if it were my own.

While the story you tell might differ in detail, the narraitive as to how you came to walk this road is not unlike my own. I look forward to reading until my office chair becomes the wheel chair with which they roll me to my computer.

kiggins said...

I love your blog Stew! It certainly keeps me coming back again and again. Sometimes it's hard to explain exactly what we do to friends and family members but you hit the nail on the head everytime! Keep up the great work in 06 buddy! See you on the front lines!

turdpolisher said...

i too would marvel at your prose on b-roll, and keep coming back to the blog for my daily alotment of lenslinger.

when you clipped part of my hurricane katrina article on b-roll, it gave me the shove i needed to sart my own blog.

let me know where i can buy the book.

best of luck in 06.