‘m a student of media. I love all sorts of storytelling, from writing to joke-telling to chats with the barista at the local coffee house. My robot question is infamous. Stories aren’t only books or movies or shows. You can see stories everywhere. Even model railroading.
On my own Tuscarora Branch Lines model railroad, I filled up a small siding area (a tiny triangle in something like a diagonal 5″ x 5″) with a junk yard. Specifically, Levine’s Iron and Metal, which exists in my locale (I drove by it but didn’t see it from the road, but I know where it is). Anyway, here is the completed effort.
Now, it takes a lot of junk to fill a junk yard, even one this small. But as I put it together, I began seeing the “story” of the yard. For example, if you look along the fence line, you’ll see a tiny white cat walking along the top cross brace. As I glued that (frustratingly tiny) feline, I could imagine it prissing neatly along, paying no head to the activities in the scrap yard nor the passing trains on the mainline just beyond. And sniffing around his abode (lower right) is the German shepherd that guards its kingdom (not quite sure why he doesn’t run out the open rail gate – possibly superior training). There are piles of scrap, that battered caboose and that strange vertical tank (not sure what it actually is). There is a looser piles of rubbish along the fence (thanks to Chris S for producing that from metal filings, glue, and a lot of paint). A couple of cars along the right wall, rusting and forgotten. In the foreground, there is a post with a light on it – picture the spattering of generations of doomed moths adoring it. Really, you can almost imagine the story of this urban ruin. The smell of the rust. The feeling of desolation.
My own private story is right before this project, I had a turnout break. I tried to fix it in place and failed, so I had to completely remove it. The replacement works fine but I took the old one home and tore off everything with a pair of pliers. These I rusted and consigned to the heaps. In fact, right in front of the caboose you can see some of the old rails.
Anyway, always remember that a story isn’t only just words and images. It’s really anything that sparks our imagination, that has depth and even meaning.
Tell a story any way you can.