Thursday, March 10, 2011

What Do I Know?

In going to a karaoke bar more times in the past couple of months than I had in the rest of my life, I've heard a lot of good performances . . . and a lot of bad ones. I remember the last time I went, wincing through a performance of Bon Jovi's "It's My Life," thinking that if the guy only stopped and listened to what key the song was in, and matched it, instead of barrelling on with his own off-tune rendition, it would be far less painful for everybody. But when the number (mercifully) ended, the audience clapped, and nobody else seemed to have noticed the desecration of John Francis Bongiovi, Jr., I started to wonder if I was the only one who suffered through it.

What if it sounded fine to everybody else? What if I'm only musically talented in my mind?

The other day, at Jeff's house, his daughter (who is at that lovely know-it-all-stage, constantly telling me it's "Wingardium Leviosa, not Levio-SA") told me that some animated characters on the television were green, not yellow as I had referred to them. Her mother also told me I was wrong, and that, just like construction equipment on every building lot in America, the creatures were green. Well, I expected Jeff to get my back, but he sided with the girls, claiming that women have less colorblindness than men, and that I was as foolish as ever. I wonder why he'd have me as a friend all these years.

It did get me thinking, though: what if summertime lawns, and treetops, and bullfrogs, and the Hulk, and limes, and Polaris's snatch, and crayons marked Green really are yellow, and I've been wrong all this time?*

A thought I don't like to dwell upon.

And today, I was outside raking the lawn, listening to a fiction podcast--one of those that have hundreds of times more listeners than my own and hence must be much better--and found the story to be anticlimactic, unsatisfying, and ultimately pointless, and realized that this was the fourth or fifth one on that particular show I had listened to in the short three months of this new year that I felt that way about, and yet every one of those stories had made it through slushpiles, received praise, and every one of those authors were paid more money than I am for my work, and I started to wonder . . .

What if I have no idea what makes up a good story? What if I've been wrong all this time, and a story doesn't need enjoyable dialogue . . . or a sense of character . . . or a good first and last line . . . or a climactic action toward the end . . . or even a point to them being told? What if everything I know is wrong? Black is white, up is down, and short is long?

It's chilling to think about, really.

Rish "Is That Even My Name?" Outfield

*Of course, I asked my mother when the commercial came on a couple of days later, and she said they were yellow too.


Unascertained said...

a) A couple of the big podcasts I listen to seem to be going through a slump so I'd say it's not just you.

b) Your podcast has a cult following, that's better than popularity ;)

c)The green/yellow thing just depends upon perspective. If you think of green as Grass Green then Pears seem Yellow. If you think of yellow as the colour of Lemons then Pears seem green.

d) Don't worry about questioning certainties. People who don't probably have no imagiation.

Big Anklevich said...

They *are* yellow.