The gas station nearest my house happens to face a strip club. It is apparently a very successful strip club, as they could afford to install a LCD screen on their roof that might be visible from the Space Station. It's certainly visible from the gas station. At some point my eyes will drift up while pumping gas, and there will be a one-story image of a young woman in some stage of near-undress.离我家最近的加油站对面碰巧有一家脱衣舞夜总会。这家夜总的屋顶装了一个巨大的LED屏幕,说不定在太空上都看得见。能够支付这样的费用,看来经营得非常成功。不用说,在加油站也能看见那块屏幕。在加油的时候,我会不经意地往上看,一层楼高的屏幕上显示着一个几乎一丝不挂的少女。 As I was getting some gas this morning, I wondered for the first time what a woman pumping gas thought when she looked at that screen. Though it would depend on the woman, I thought. A woman who had once been an exotic dancer herself would certainly look at that image differently than a Catholic nun.今天早上,我又来到这里加油,脑海中突然有一个问题挥之不去:一个女人来加油的时候看到那块屏幕会有什么想法呢?我觉得那要看她是个怎样的人。曾经当过脱衣舞者的女人和天主教的修女肯定会对那个图像有不同的看法。 The image would look different to each of us. And when I say look different, I mean we would be seeing what amounts to a different image. For while the young woman's pose and attire that I see are identical to the pose and attire that every other man, woman, and child sees, the story that image tells me is told uniquely by me, by my own ideas about women and advertising and maybe even gas stations.那张图像对每个人来说都是不一样的,这个不一样是指我们会产生不一样的想法。虽然那个少女的姿势打扮在每一个男人、女人、小孩眼中都是一样的,但是我在那图像中捕捉到的故事是独一无二的,是由我自身对女人、广告、甚至是加油站的想法创造的。 The image is nothing; the story is everything. Good to remember if you're a writer. Writers don't report the facts. The fact that there is a strip club with a giant LCD screen blazing near-nudity for all to see means nothing in reality. All that ever matters is what a person believes when they look upon it. What a person believes is the terrain of the storyteller.图像本身什么都不是,故事才是一切。如果你是个作家,你会知道作家并不是描写现实。那儿有一家脱衣舞夜总会,屋顶上有一块巨大的LED屏幕,屏幕上显示着几近裸体的少女,这是现实,没有意义的现实。真正有意义的是人看到这个景象时萌生的想法,人的思想是创作故事的土壤。 And by the way, it is the only terrain of the storyteller. Storytellers, whether they are conscious of it or not, wish to alter reality. We are not so interested in changing the image that flashes on the great LCD screen of the world. Mostly that's beyond our control. We could march, or protest, or fill out petitions to get the screen changed, but it's faster, ultimately, to tell ourselves a story about what we see there.而且,思想是创作故事的唯一土壤。讲故事的人会有意无意地想去改变现实。我们不是想把现实中大屏幕上惹眼的图像换掉,大多数情况下我们都是有心无力。我们当然可以游行示威,写信请愿把那屏幕换掉,但说到底,更快捷的办法是给自己讲个跟眼前的事物有关的故事。 I sometimes forget I have to power to change that story. My mind drifts as idly from thought to thought as my eyes drift from gas pump to pinup. What occurs in this exchange between the world I look upon and the story I tell can happen so fast, can be so habitual, that I can lose track of who is telling the story I am hearing. The moment I remember, the moment I see my mind as a blank page on which to write my life, I am the author once more, and my life is mine again.有时候我会忘记自己有改变故事的能力。我的视线四处游动,从汽油管飘忽到半裸少女,我的思维也跟着漫不经心地跳跃。把眼前的事实创作成的自己故事,这就像我的习惯一样,一眨眼的功夫,我已经分不清我到底是在创作故事,还是成为了故事的主人公。等我回过神来的时候,等我空白的脑海重新回想起自己生活的时候,我又重新成为故事的作者,重新回到了自己的生活中。