Friday, January 6, 2012

Narrative

If you didn't know, here's how I spend my year:

February - September:  working for the Lansing Lugnuts as their media/broadcast department

October - January:  traveling, applying to move up within the broadcasting field, working for the local radio stations, and doing a ton of creative writing

It's my ambition to broadcast during baseball season and put out books in the off-season.  So far, I've got the baseball down.  This is my writing time.

I don't, frankly, like nonfiction as much as I like fiction.  Nonfiction is gray and hazy in reality, no matter how much people want to make it black and white.  Nonfiction can be dull or interesting or both or neither.  It doesn't care.  It's simply life proceeding right along, and whatever happens happens.  There's no fade-out end to a romance after our two lovers get together; there's life every day afterwards, and then every day after that.

It's true that nonfiction can be turned into a narrative, and then we sculpt it however we want.  We can add in heroes and villains and morals, making things far more black and white.

For instance, there's no great reason that the NFL playoffs this year have to be interesting or well-played.  We just want it to be that way.  Jim Rome on his radio show today talked about how excited he was for the playoff weekend and how much he loved every game.  Well, of course:  It's his job to turn sports into a narrative.  Rome then specifically gave the storylines as he saw them.

(Personally, I'm far from enthused about any of the games.  It doesn't help that I think the Bengals stink, and the Falcons and the Giants aren't all that great, and the Texans stink, and the Lions have major deficiencies, and the Broncos stink... and I'm hoping that the Steelers are better than they've looked recently.  The NFL this year, for whatever reason, is a mediocre product.  There's the Saints and the Packers, and the Patriots and Ravens some of the time, and that's about it.)

But there aren't really storylines in games, aside from - perhaps - who won and who lost.  Everything else is created by folks looking down from the outside.

This was where Tony Kornheiser failed in large part on Monday Night Football.  As a columnist, he wanted to tell the narrative of each game.  Each night, therefore, he decided upon the headline and he stuck to it.  He'd talk Brett Favre the entire game, for instance, or yammer on and on about the greatness of Tom Brady.  It was true, and it was mind-numbing.  After a while, you just said, "Enough, Mr. Tony.  Enough."

The worst part is when reporters take it upon themselves to create the narrative -- taking quotes out of context, asking insulting/inciteful questions, and generally seeing what they can do to create a story.  There's always that player in the locker room who doesn't know any better and takes the bait.

Basically what I'm saying is:

I prefer watching sports and writing fiction.

I'm trying to write a novel right now.  It's an often frustrating process that goes in spits and spurts, and I'm blogging right now instead of working on it.

Eh, there are worse things.  I could be watching Tim Tebow play quarterback.

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