Monday, January 14, 2008

A Dose of Reality

By C.L. Beck
© 2008

I’m not a big fan of reality shows. Somehow, watching people eat bugs and vote each other off an island never seemed like real life to me. The closest I’ve even been to that was the time a bug flew up my boyfriend’s nose and I voted to take him home so his mom could get it out.

I will admit, though, that occasionally I’ll sit down with my husband, Russ, and watch a game show—and as amazing as it may seem, those programs are now included in the category of reality shows. All I know is that when you’re too tired to think, much less write a blog, there’s nothing like a game show to enliven the winter stupor into which your brain has sunk. If watching someone hop, scream and boogie around the floor while trying to guess the lyrics to a song doesn’t make you feel alive, nothing will wake you from the zombie state into which you’ve obviously slid.

Tonight I watched a woman win $100,000 only to lose 75% of it in another round. The next contestant came in and almost tanked on the first song. He managed to pick himself up off the floor and sing his way through the next two—only to blow it with overconfidence on the third.

That wasn’t the most interesting part, however. Although I felt sorry for those poor folks, who were trying to escape life’s rut by appearing on TV, what got me going was the preview for the upcoming show. The wild-eyed woman of next week bounced up and down and pointed aggressively at the board, her eyes widening into giant orbs. Then she screeched in a voice that would shatter windows, “Lock in those lyrics!” And Russ said, “Brought to you straight from the mental hospital.”

I don’t know, maybe you needed to be there. But, you couldn’t get more real than that—and I just had to write it down.

What books C.L. recommends:
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)
Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction by Jon Franklin
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Browne & Dave King

View C.L.’s other work:
Newspaper Column
Photography Website

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