Wednesday, September 05, 2007


How Media Inspires Our Stories

Throughout the day we experience media overload, whether it’s TV, radio, newspaper, or websites. But how many times do these things help you draw within yourself to find story?

It may not seem apparent, but I began noticing the connections between news and memories. I guess it’s safe to say that anything can produce a memory or a story, but so can the local news if you think about it.

For instance, take Owen Wilson, and his recent suicide attempt. Right when I heard about that I felt really sad and mentioned it to my hubby. He replied, “Why are you feeling bad for him, the guy has everything.” Well, I suppose that is true, but if he really did slash his wrists and take a bunch of pills over Kate Hudson, or otherwise, it’s still sad. “Don’t you remember he hit on you?” My hubby added. I’d almost forgotten!

Two years ago we were at the premiere for the film, "Lords of Dogtown," where we got to walk down the red carpet—what a thrill! One of the skaters my hubby sponsored was paid to destroy the huge vert ramp outside the Chinese Man, so we had all-access passes. After the show ended and we were hanging out in front of the theater behind the velvet rope, my hubby nudged me and told me to check out Owen Wilson because he was staring at me. I looked over, and he was giving me that patented look he has—the one with the puckered lips and the squinty eyes.

Later on that evening we went to an after-party where Social Distortion and Perry Ferrel from Jane’s Addiction played. I happened to take a walk to the upstairs bar by myself and ran into Owen, who was alone, standing against a wall. I ended up having a brief conversation with him, got a drink, and quickly returned to my hubby. I could’ve gotten into trouble right there! But I played it cool.

The news story on Owen Wilson didn’t only remind me of that encounter, it reminded me of the people I knew who have attempted suicide, or actually committed it. It also brought to memory some tragic breakups and the feeling of heartache. And it reminded me of how my high school English teacher made us watch the early 1968 version of "Romeo and Juliet," which contained nudity, as well as the 1977 movie "Equus," which of course contained intimate situations with a horse. I was in Honors English, btw, and this was in the eighties. A different time, a different era... although that didn’t make it any less embarrassing.

Rounding it out: it doesn’t matter whether it’s a story about a celebrity or something that you heard on NPR, there’s always going to be a reminder of something personal... something that affected your life at one point and time. Just realizing it and taking notice, perhaps jotting it down, will help you mine your resources and create story, as Annette Fix mentioned in this month’s article Drawing From Your Life to Create Story.

Have you ever heard a story in the media that reminded you of something from your life? We'd love to hear your stories, no matter how big or small.

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