When youtube became popular last year I found it intriguing. Even though I had been making and sharing videos on the web for years without a problem, the youtube mechanism lowered the bar for everyone. Anyone with a computer and enough creative spark to push start on their camera suddenly had an audience, a video management system, and a community to play to.
I bought an Xacti video camera. Small enough to fit in a pocket, and fairly inexpensive, it could give me the option of recording things I might want to share. All my experiences could be sharable. Everyday we live stories, why not tell them?
The problem is, having the instrument doesn’t give you something to play. I think telling stories and sharing human experience is fundamental to how we connect with others, and in general, we’re all terrible at it. I realized I have no idea about how stories are constructed. I like hearing the stories of others, and it’s easy to criticize stories in terms of how they could be better, but when it comes to starting from scratch, I can’t see the shapes in my own building blocks. Stories have patterns, basic elements, that blend together into a yarn. I suppose the best way is not to overthink it, but just start doing it. Learn by trial and error. Bring some kind of structure to it and see what happens. Like anything else, with practice, the patterns will begin to emerge.

Look Closely

Yesterday may have been the warmest day until next spring. It was supposed to be 72 degrees – but for most of the day it was in the 60’s. I think I finally regained a sense of hope for motorcycle riding around Kansas City. I rode North for 20 miles to end up on some roads near Smithville Lake. Small beautiful country roads with only one or two lanes. One of them almost kicked my ass as I approached a corner with a 15 MPH speed marker that I neglected to see. I was going a bit faster than that and almost ran of the road. I only noticed the sign because I had a camera strapped to my head and saw it in the video replay.
Further up the road I found myself riding into an amazing phenomena. A swarm of hundreds of black birds were covering the ground around a curve in the road ahead. As I road towards them they began to lift up from the ground but there were so many that they formed a cloud all around me like a giant cloud of bats. It was an amazing feeling to feel cradled and swallowed by a cloud of flying creatures. I went up the road, turned around, and came back and they did it again. I was really glad to have the camera on for that.
I was also glad to have found those roads. I had begun to lose hope. I like taking motorcycle rides, and was beginning to conclude that there was nothing interesting nearby. But a few minutes on the highway is all it takes to get out into the country, and I can deal with that. I turned around and came home a little early. Daylight savings time had set in the night before and I wanted to get home to help Kim with the yard. But when I got home she was all finished.
Another thing I discovered this weekend is that what I thought was a new brood of two black mollies turned out to be five on Friday night, and then 7 on Saturday night. So Kim’s two fish have now turned into 11 over the last two months. It also serves as another reminder that the closer I look at things, the more I discover about them.