The story of THE FUTURE.

I was asked recently (as I seem to be asked whenever I complain about my current career or lack thereof) what I would do if the normal constraints of family, friends, finances and talent were eliminated.  Usually I go with some sort of writing, but in this particular instance, inspiration struck.  I would be a wandering storyteller.  I would wander from town to town, sharing stories and telling tales and generally amazing crowds with my talented tale-spinning and imposing persona.  I would be just like the minstrels of old, except without the lute.

It seems, however, that the MIT Media Lab has beat me to it.  They’ve recently created a new ‘Center for Future Storytelling‘ with the express purpose of “transforming storytelling into social experiences, creating expressive tools for the audience and enabling them to embellish and integrate stories into their lives, making tomorrow’s stories more interactive, creative, democratized, and improvisational”.  Hm.  Sounds strangely like the minstrels of old.

But before you get huffy about a supposed ‘tech’ school going old-fashioned, keep in mind that they plan a wide range of virtual tools to be integrated into this ‘modern’ storytelling.  Key features to be newly included are ‘synthetic’ characters (go robots!) and new imaging technologies, both of which are supposed to make stories more interactive and adaptable to audience response.  Of course, all this new stuff doesn’t add up to a real, live minstrel.  But one day it might, putting me right out of the job i never had.

Movin’ to the West Coast

In my future life discussion of the moment (a discussion with myself that’s really a step above talking to myself.  Really.), the topic of where I might go to grad school is a dominant theme.  I’m feeling the urge to settle.  Actually, I’ve been feeling the urge to settle for awhile, I just knew I didn’t want to settle up in Boston and hadn’t planned out my next steps.  So, one possibility for both next steps and settling has been someplace on the West Coast.  Several of my friends are from that area and will probably end up going back there, and it just seems like a nice place to be.  However, the specific location has eluded me, though Portland is the strongest candidate at the moment.

San Francisco or the Bay area generally also has a certain draw, but there are also drawbacks.  It’s basically another Boston cost-wise.  And while social outreach is really strong there (which is good, if you’re broke), it’s also big enough and popular enough to be highly competitive (which is bad, if you want a job in that area).  Of course, that same social outlook is also in the plus column for fostering acceptance and tolerance in the neighborhood.  Soon there may be another plus – a ‘decriminalization‘ of prostitution named Proposition K.  Basically this would mean no arrests or even investigations of prostitutes, though state laws would still call it a crime outside a local jurisdiction.

Responses to the law are mixed.  Some feel it would give added protection, in that groups could organize, remain highly public, and request police assistance if needed.  Others feel that the population of sex workers would explode in the city, bringing in money but also potentially causing an increase in sex trafficking as well.  In addition, when police are restricted from investigating prostitution, it may hamper their efforts to investigate other crime – drug use and distribution, abuse, and violence.  At the end of the day I’m not really sure how much Proposition K would benefit the lower echelons – would it mean more protection or less for those with drug addictions or in fear of injury or death who also happen to be sex workers?

Finally, I wonder at the name.  Really guys?  “I have a ‘Proposition’ for you?”  Gah.