Do You Wear The Black Hat?

“The villain is the person who knows the most and cares the least.” – Chuck Klosterman, I Wear The Black Hat

In his new book I Wear The Black Hat, Chuck Klosterman writes about villains both real and imaginary. As with everything he writes, Klosterman’s book is an inventive and thought-provoking examination peeling back layers of pop culture to reveal truths that seem obvious until you realize you never realized them before. (There’s a particularly interesting discussion about what would happen if a real life Batman began to fight crime.)

But what sticks out the most is Klosterman’s main theory: A villain is a person who knows the most and cares the least. If you know all the facts about a particular situation, if you know what harm your actions will bring and you simply do not care what happens, then you are a villain in your story.

In a roundabout way, I Wear The Black Hat reminds me of another book about story: Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Continue reading

Advertisements

We All Tell The Story

Last night I watched a wonderfully fun and intimate new documentary called “Springsteen and I”. The film is comprised entirely of video footage and testimonials submitted by Bruce Springsteen’s biggest fans.

These aren’t scripted, ‘reality-show’ type testimonials. These are raw, honest, personal tellings of each person’s Springsteen story. Some are shot on cell-phone cameras (some even flipped on the wrong side of the iPhone). All of them are unique in the way they relate to The Boss.

There’s the blue-collar couple who’ve never been at the right place or time to see Springsteen in person but hold their own concerts dancing in the dark in their kitchen. There’s the young female truck driver who wouldn’t seem to fit into Bruce’s demographic but connects to the working life he sings so soulfully of. There are children. There are seniors. Citizens all over the world who share how much one man’s music means to them.

None of the people in “Springsteen and I” are storytellers for living. They’re not actors or performers. Their stories aren’t rehearsed or well-polished. Perhaps this is why they resonate so well – they’re just real. Continue reading

What Your Vinyl Collection Says About You

photo (19)Did you celebrate Record Store Day?

Saturday, April 20 was the seventh annual celebration of all things vinyl. My girlfriend and I were proud participants. We drove two hours to Criminal Records in Atlanta to dig through crates of used records and seek out limited edition new releases from some of our favorite artists like Bob Dylan, The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, and Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors.

At the end of the day we ended up with just about everything we were looking for. What amazed me though was just how many other people did as well.

When we arrived at Criminal Records on Saturday morning, we saw a line coming out of the store and stretching around the next block. We ended up waiting an hour to get in the store, and then another hour or so to get out of the store.  Continue reading

Be More Like Ralph

nytimes.com

nytimes.com

Do you ever feel stuck in your story? Do you feel like you’re living out the same plot, day after day after day?

Do you ever feel like Wreck-It Ralph?

Ralph makes his living as the villain in an ’80s arcade game. For decades he’s played the same character, living out the same story every day, losing to the same hero of the game in every battle.

Tired of the drudgery of his “day job,” Ralph finally decides to leave his post in the game, sending the rest of the characters into shock.

The concept for the movie is cute and clever. It also reflects our own lives.

Some days it feels like we can’t stop living the same story.

Some days it feels like we’re just going through the motions.

Some days it feels like the author of the story keeps running us through the same scenes over and over again, no matter how boring, painful or difficult they may be.

So how do you change the type of story you’re in?

The answer is quite simple: make a decision. Continue reading