“Bucky’s Dome” on PRX
About “Bucky’s Dome”
One of the biggest challenges I faced was condensing all of the information I had into a manageable story that makes sense. Buckminster Fuller was a philosopher, architect, inventor, author, dreamer – he was multi-faceted in a way that is rare these days. I needed to convey that without giving a long lecture. Jay Baldwin’s pithy quotes were immensely helpful for that section.
Also, pardon the gory radio term, but I had to shoot some puppies.* The two men who worked at The Dome Restaurant for many years had a surprisingly sweet friendship that I expected would be a bigger part of the story. My classmates gave me many gentle nudges to cut this section, which I stubbornly ignored. Rob even said something like “maybe you don’t have time to talk a whole lot about these two guys in your story.” I thought: of course not. I talk about them exactly the right amount. There also used to be a section of the story where Bucky contemplated suicide. He was 32 and considered himself a failure and a disgrace to his family. I thought this made his accomplishments more interesting and weighty. I even had archival tape of him talking about this part of his life. Ultimately, I realized these tangents caused narrative whiplash. Suicide! Norwegian exchange student! Disco music! What?! You can’t cover 4,000 topics in a ten minute story. It’s too confusing, and the goal is clarity.
*To shoot your puppies means to cut moments you love out of your story. It’s tough, but if something’s really not part of the story it often has to go.
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