"I make this stuff up. but then I feel the stray voltage of my rented charisma, hear the jerry-rigged authority in my voice, and I, too, believe. I'm convinced."
-from "Dance in America" by Lorrie Moore
On the bus rides - two per day, ten per week - I listen to stories through tiny headphones and I hear some words and not others. I like the crackle and inflections, the innuendos I'm not listening close enough to untangle, and the way the arch of the narrative always grips me, regardless of my attention to its reason. Monday afternoon, leaving work behind, welcoming the blur of strange faces weaving gently into the seats of the bus at each stop, I heard a familiar Lorrie Moore story come through the speakers. I prepared not to have to fuss with myself over my inattention as I'd read it so many times before, but when the line quoted above rounded out its words, I felt a queer rush of excitement; I felt as though someone had made an addition, and addendum just for me, tucked in the lines on the familiar. I love lines that whisper themselves back to you once they're gone.
I'd urge anyone to read the story in its entirety, to know the words in their origination and not simply my own torn bastardization, but even now, struck free from where they began, less beautiful from the missing lines and more beautiful from the implied possibilities, I cannot help but cheer the notion of rented charisma, the the bits of imaginary that bleed into the observed. I am cheering the notion of believing the unbelievable or uncommon yes, isn't that what every great oration is made of? It's more than that. It's a borrowing against the wealth of one's self and being faithful enough to know it will be returned.
I'm challenging myself to the months of October, November, and December. I am challenging myself to carve a space here each day where even when I believe I cannot, I will rent charisma from myself and be convinced.