Over the last several weeks I’ve taken up studying writers and radio producers whose skill and stories I admire. I listen to their stories and read their articles, and watch anything I can find on YouTube about them.
I’m doing this because I want to learn. Learn more. Not just about the craft or the people I reveer but also, because, I think, I’m hoping to learn more about myself in the process. I’m hoping that discovering far away people, both distinct and ordinary from seemingly distant or different places, will somehow remind me of something I feel I’ve lost over the years spent hustling in corporations and startup’s for the almighty dollar. Sure, doing something I happen to be really freaking good at. But without any of the soul. I’ve got a storytellers soul. It craves freedom and growth, it’s creative and inquisitive. Sometimes impolitely so. And it hates to be put into boxes.
So far I’ve discovered that I love everything @scott_carrier writes. I’m listening to stories he recorded all the way back in 1997. Actually, I’m willing to bet he wrote them even earlier than that, as many of the stories I find from his years spent contributing to This American Life have come from books he’s previously written.
His writing has a distinct voice and tone. His sound is rough and raspy. It sounds the way a shot of rye whiskey tastes. Authentic and smooth. But, as much as I’m drawn to his rugged sound and authentic sense of adventure, I find what really compells me to want to find more of his work so I can keep listening is his pitch and tone. Words with meaning and power, and vigorous description spoken with a calm and casual demeanor. It gives me a strange and unexpected sense of comfort and safety. It doesn’t seem like he’s trying so hard to be all animated and enthusiastic like everyone you see on TV or Instagram, or really anywhere these days. I think I find that reassuring. Scott just seems to be himself no matter what adventure he’s divulging to you.
The rhythm of his sentences is soothing and predictable, while the words and descriptions keep my brain heightened in suspense. It’s strange, this mix of warmth and safety, and western adventure. When I listen to him I can tell he’s a kind person. At least, I think he sounds like it.
Scott tells stories just as they are. That’s something I’ve noticed about him. Simple but, at the same time, he brilliantly and eloquently illustrates how life, and humanity, and nature, and relationships can all be so complex. I think he’s able to create such a good balance in his storytelling because he is extremely detailed.
Scott’s voice is one that you hear and immediately want to imitate, because it’s that good. I fool around with my writing, I try to make my voice sound like his. But I know I’ll never pull it off. Not like he does, anyway. I am not him and he is not me, so I could simply never see the world how he has seen or experienced it. You can stand in someone else’s shoes, for certain. But you can’t write the world as you see it wearing someone else’s rose colored glasses.
You need to get your own glasses. Paint them blue or black, or whatever color you like. Just as long as it represents you. Who you are, where you’ve been, who you’re becoming.
You must find your own voice. That’s the goal of all this anyway. Remember? That’s why you’re doing any of this in the first place. To discover something. Whether it be about yourself, or about humanity. Or maybe just life in general. You’re searching for something, searching for gold in people.
Stay focused, and be determined. But, also be careful. Be careful not to be so focused or determined on finding one specific thing that you miss out on all the other amazing things you could be, and should be, discovering. Things you never even imagined you’d learn about people and the world, and the relationship that exists between man and destiny.
The Soul of A Storyteller
by Kat Lisciani