Posts Tagged ‘ writer’s block ’

I Am Jack’s Nostalgic Narrator

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Nine months.

Am I a gifted writer? I don’t really think so. My blogging abilities do not necessarily mean that I am halfway decent at crafting a professional, structured, magazine quality article.

Instead, I see myself as a modern day philosopher who happens to be an engaging storyteller. In other words, if I’m good at anything when it comes to writing, it’s knowing how to be a captivating narrator.

Fortunately for me, I’m never short on material. I’m a dad; therefore, something new and exciting (and exhausting!) is always going on in my life. I laugh at the foreign concept of “writer’s block.” My journal is full of blog titles just waiting to be written. My only threat is battling “time block.”

I would say my love for narrating life has something to do with the second best TV show ever, The Wonder Years. (The best show ever is Lost.) I sort of grew up thinking that I was Kevin Arnold. As a kid, I looked like him and had the same mannerisms as him. Even today, there’s still a strong resemblance. I easily related to his sentimental and awkward life stories. And man, the soundtrack- Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Nick Drake…

But the strongest connection I always felt to the show was actually the narration, as performed by Daniel Stern. (Yes, Marv the Burglar from the movie Home Alone.)

The narration of each episode of The Wonder Years perfectly built on the idea yearning for the past. Unsurprisingly, the word “nostalgia” loosely translates from a Swiss word meaning “homesickness.” Another favorite TV show of mine that contains flawless narration is Scrubs, as done by Zach Braff, playing the character of J.D. Dorian.

In both of these sitcoms, there was always some understated lesson to be learned from life, as it pertained to the particular story being told. That is the exact format I keep in mind with every Dadabase post: Every story is ultimately summed up by some sort of paradox, revelation, or moral.

Since high school, I have been known as a guy who is “stuck in the past.” I guess it’s a necessary trait for me so that I can be engaging in my writing; it helps create a universal sense of familiarity.

Sure, I’m stuck in the past. But I’m forced to live in the present. And the present instantly becomes the past. So it all works out.

Right now, the most complicated phrase that my son, Jack, can regularly speak is “to-gaht, to-ghat, to-ghat, to-ghat, to-ghat…”. Therefore, I must do his talking for him, by telling his stories through my “grown up” perspective.

I am Jack’s life witness and adult voice.

I am Jack’s nostalgic narrator.

Add a Comment

Jack’s New Cousin has Arrived!

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Seven months.

A new character joined the cast of The Dadabase this week…

I’ve been mentioning that my sister, Dana, and her husband, Andrew, have been expecting their first child: due July 2nd.  Well, July 2nd came early this year… because at 2:07 AM this Tuesday morning (June 21st), my sister gave birth to her baby girl.  She weighs 6.1 pounds and is 19.5 inches long.

Jack has always been a big boy and he’s all I know when it comes to babies.  After seeing and holding my sister’s newborn daughter, it is apparent she will always be a petite little girl.  How appropriate- she will have a strong, protective cousin to watch out for her; even if the two cousins never really look anything alike.

On my side of the family, the only cousins Jack will have are through my sister and her husband, since I don’t have another sibling.  (Of course, this is not the case with my wife’s side of the family, since she is number 9 of 10 kids!) So this is Jack’s first cousin through the Shell side of the family and this means I am officially an uncle, through blood.

For the past seven months, my brother-in-law Andrew has filled the typical uncle role.  He knows how to make Jack laugh better than anyone else. He’s the fun uncle.  Now, I get to be a fun(ny) uncle to his daughter.

Have you noticed yet that I haven’t given the name of Jack’s new cousin?  If not, that means I’m doing a good job of my goal.  Whereas I plaster Jack’s name all over every post I write and have no reservations in making it public, I respect my sister and her husband’s decision to keep their daughter’s name semi-private; meaning I don’t include it on The Dadabase.

It makes me wonder, though, in the likeness of the name “Emma” gaining popularity because of the sitcom Friends, if the name would at all increase in popularity if it was featured in a Parents.com blog.  Because right now the name is virtually unused- the last time it even made an appearance on any kind of popularity chart was the 1880’s.

“Emma” was the 13th most popular girl’s name in 2001.  Then the following year Rachel named her daughter Emma on Friends.  Unsurprisingly, Emma was the 4th most popular girl’s name of 2002.  And every year since then, it has either been the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd most popular girl’s name.

Well I know I can pull this off.  I can feature Jack’s new cousin in my stories without ever saying her name or even using her initials.  It wasn’t until I had seen the movie Fight Club about a dozen times before I realized that you never actually know the narrator and main character’s name.

So this won’t be the first time a story is told without revealing a main character’s name.  What actually matters are the stories.  And for a guy who never suffers from writer’s block, I know I can provide the stories.

Unnecessary Bonus:

To cut down on reader confusion in regards to the resemblance that my brother-in-law Andrew (featured two pictures above this one) and I share,  I shaved my head this week. People are constantly mistaking us for each other.  So I hope the buzz cut helps.

That’s not really why I did it.  I mainly just liked the idea of saving 15 bucks instead of paying for a real haircut.  Plus, I probably subconsciously wanted to be as cool as Bachelorette contestant J.P. Rosenbaum.

JP Rosenbaum Jewish

Add a Comment