Complex Simplicity

My first car  (a nineteen sixty-eight GT Torino) was equipped with a state of the art AM radio. No stereo back then just good ole mono soundcomplete with static, fading in and out, and interference with anything taller than a greyhound…the dog; not the bus. The sound quality mimicked a cat being skinned in a concrete culvert but we were used to it and sang along to our favorite songs as if we had good sense.

Animated diagram representing the difference b...

Animated diagram representing the difference between radio waves modulated by amplitude and by frequency. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now here’s my question and I’m actually asking myself because I know if there’s blame to be placed it belongs in my corner. If FM has been around since the nineteen thirties why was I riding around with a squawk box in my dash instead of a nice stereo to wile away the hours cruising the asphalt? As near as I can deduce (and you don’t have to go very far) is that most teenagers can barely afford gas much less a sound system other than what came stock in their first used vehicle.

As a writer I can relate the mechanics of writing to the operational aspect of the AM and FM radio frequencies.  Even though FM produces a better sound, my writing style will fit more within the parameters of the AM frequency.

When I begin a book I use no outline; nothing but a vague idea and I begin to write. I let the story write itself sending it on its way and allowing it to return, monitoring the specifics before setting it free again. AM works much in the same. The signal leaves the transmitter, bounces off the ionosphere, and then returns to earth and repeats the sequence.  There is also a wave that travels along the ground. Metaphorically speaking the ground wave is me keeping an eye over the whole process.

On the other hand, FM operates differently. Once it leaves the transmitting tower it travels in a straight line eventually leaving the Earth and moving into outer space–not a place I would particularly want to find myself.

Sometimes a first impression can be misleading, as in the case of the superior sound of “frequency modulated” (FM), when the larger picture can actually be seen clearer through an, at first, perceived inferior format such as “amplitude modulation” (AM).

Sometimes simple is best…go figure….

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