I had an epiphany this morning while listening to one of my favorite programs, Radio West on KUER with Doug Fabrizio, who, I should disclose, is my brother-in-law. On the show was another favorite radio personality, journalist Brooke Gladstone from NPR’s On the Media. It’s like Christmas on the 27th for me.

And they’re talking about Brooke’s new book, The Influencing Machine, a graphic non-fiction work that addresses our new found fear of The Media and the media. Always looking for the next anti-textbook for my social media students, I downloaded Brooke’s prose and began to read while still listening to Doug’s interview with her. For context I recommend you do both, download or pick up the book and listen to Doug’s interview. You can find it here.

If you’ve been following I’mNoSaint, you know that the boundaries I observe in my writing are hard to discern and I’ve had cause to examine those lately, even to a point of questioning my own motives, even my own grasp on reality. It’s quite undermining; Russell Crowe’s character in A Beautiful Mind seemed more an appropriate self-evaluation than his character in State of Play.

I’ve been faced with the question of why I write about what I write, and to whom am I writing.

In the first pages of The Influencing Machine, Brooke Gladstone provides a diagnosis. She talks about when the World Trade Center came down the catastrophe disabled the radio station for which she reported and her office just a few blocks away, thwarting her ability to report on arguably the most tragic story of the decade. She expresses that she was about to explode. She couldn’t explain it to other people, so she couldn’t explain it to herself.

Then she writes that when her mother passed away, she recorded it. “And that was a relief,” she says.

Therein is the epiphany. I write so I can explain things to myself. That they are explained to you in the process is just as important to me, but the motivation has been intrinsic to simply trying to explain things to myself in an attempt to making some kind of sense. There’s so much in my experience of living that doesn’t.

So, I write. Thanks Brooke.

If you’re a social media student, get her book. It’s available for tablets and in traditional form on paper.

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5 Responses to diagnosis

  1. Ronnie says:

    Very interesting, Eric. Thanks for sharing. I have definitely found this to be true in my own life as well. Explaining things to others always, without exception, solidifies my own understanding of my feelings, thoughts, emotions, as well as concepts I have learned outside myself, but not sure that I’ve mastered. Teaching them to someone else clears the fog for me every time. I love the way you explained it here in your article. Very insightful. Thanks 🙂

  2. You’re discovering things that psychologists and counselors have been saying for years. The journaling and the therapy it provides is enormous.

  3. sarah says:

    Hi Eric. I absolutely believe this to be true and live it every day. But do realize the shortcomings inherent in the internal process of creating the narrative. You write something; therefore you take control and make the judgments about how and what is presented. You *make* the narrative. It will definitely make more sense to you, but it may well be a retrofit on truth, if you know what I mean. That’s why it’s satisfying. And so much fun!

  4. ImNoSaint says:

    Hi Sarah,

    You’re so right on the retrofit. I’m fascinated with memory and recall, learning and application, and recent studies indicate the more often we recall the same event the more that event loses its integrity. The assertion is that the amnesiac holds the perfect memory, expressed when revealed without the retrofit. Thanks for your comment.

  5. sarah says:

    amnesiacs hold the perfect memory: love that line.

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