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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.
離我家最近的加油站對面碰巧有一家脫衣舞夜總會。這家夜總的屋頂裝了一個巨大的LED屏幕,說不定在太空上都看得見。能夠支付這樣的費用,看來經營得非常成功。不用說,在加油站也能看見那塊屏幕。在加油的時候,我會不經意地往上看,一層樓高的屏幕上顯示著一個幾乎一絲不掛的少女。

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 dancer herself would certainly look at that image differently than a Catholic nun.
今天早上,我又來到這里加油,腦海中突然有一個問題揮之不去:一個女人來加油的時候看到那塊屏幕會有什么想法呢?我覺得那要看她是個怎樣的人。曾經當過脫衣舞者的女人和天主教的修女肯定會對那個圖像有不同的看法。

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 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.
那張圖像對每個人來說都是不一樣的,這個不一樣是指我們會產生不一樣的想法。雖然那個少女的姿勢打扮在每一個男人、女人、小孩眼中都是一樣的,但是我在那圖像中捕捉到的故事是獨一無二的,是由我自身對女人、廣告、甚至是加油站的想法創造的。

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 of the storyteller.
圖像本身什么都不是,故事才是一切。如果你是個作家,你會知道作家并不是描寫現實。那兒有一家脫衣舞夜總會,屋頂上有一塊巨大的LED屏幕,屏幕上顯示著幾近裸體的少女,這是現實,沒有意義的現實。真正有意義的是人看到這個景象時萌生的想法,人的思想是創作故事的土壤。

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 to get the screen changed, but it's faster, ultimately, to tell ourselves a story about what we see there.
而且,思想是創作故事的唯一土壤。講故事的人會有意無意地想去改變現實。我們不是想把現實中大屏幕上惹眼的圖像換掉,大多數情況下我們都是有心無力。我們當然可以游行示威,寫信請愿把那屏幕換掉,但說到底,更快捷的辦法是給自己講個跟眼前的事物有關的故事。

I sometimes forget I have to power to change that story. My mind drifts as 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.
有時候我會忘記自己有改變故事的能力。我的視線四處游動,從汽油管飄忽到半裸少女,我的思維也跟著漫不經心地跳躍。把眼前的事實創作成的自己故事,這就像我的習慣一樣,一眨眼的功夫,我已經分不清我到底是在創作故事,還是成為了故事的主人公。等我回過神來的時候,等我空白的腦海重新回想起自己生活的時候,我又重新成為故事的作者,重新回到了自己的生活中。

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