New Dog, Aha Moments, Old Friends, and self doubt.

My Dear Reader,
I've been holding back. First, I got a dog. After much sadness over the loss of our family dog Shane (see earlier post) and several years of reading Craigslist pet posts, I fell for a dog. Her name is Sheba and she is now celebrating month 1.5 with Cam and I. She has helped Cam and I remember to be present in the moment and joyful. Stealing shoes, peeing on floors, and herding us around our apartment, she has done her best to test our dog parenting skills with her puppy dog behaviors.

Second I really haven't talked about a project that I've been working on for over a year now. I've been interviewing my mom and some of her close friends in hopes of making an animation about their friend Connie Carr, whom we lost in the tragic Kirkwood Shooting back in 2008. I started the piece last fall after I received encouragement via a grant through Critical Mass, an online arts community in St. Louis. Starting with a visualizing meeting, where I set out my hopes for the project in a discussion and Powerpoint, I then worked with the group to create mind map collages about their intentions for the films and its message. The following six months I interviewed six different women and then sat upon the arduous task of narrowing down our conversations to a concise and logical one hour.
Wanting to represent the beginning of the creative process of building the animation, I created an animated short based on the women's descriptions of our hometown Kirkwood. Additionally I used my working props to create a wall drawing/ installation of the town around the animation projection. Check out this link, to here how an artist friend of mine experienced the piece.

Since the beginning of the project, I had wanted to figure out how to involve the women in building this film. I intended to hold animation prop building and workshops, which I will still do, but additionally I was getting held back by the "how" to involve. I just had a major A-ha moment, following an A-ha moment about a month ago. Which was I decided to have a viewing session in which the women I interviewed helped to edit the video. This would allow them the agency to shape the story and help me escape the tunnel vision I had been developing about the overall effect of the story. I found that during this meeting, the editing became another aspect of the collaboration that lent to the telling of the story.

I had a wonderful meeting with this group of powerful women and received really specific answers on how I could edit the piece. Additionally their enthusiasm for the project thus far was encouraging. If you out there know any other filmmakers working in this sort of collaboration please email me their names as I'd like to learn other ideas for involving the people I interview.

This past weekend I spent time with old friends who had come to St. Louis for a baby shower. Spending time with old friends was a fantastic and nurturing experience, I remember them cheering me on when I was young and struggling with depression among other issues, to reconnect with them for the night was grounding to say the least.

Finally I had a really nice dialogue at the Luminary panel on art after graduate school. I am still processing this and am going to start some readings that evolved from this discussion, more on this later.

Cam and I found out great news- we learned that this summer we were selected to stay at the Cite Residency. We wrote a proposal together to make a film and will now be able to make it happen! My heart is expanding at the thought of this unexpected opportunity. It reminds me how nice it is to have a trip to or experience to look forward too. Now we just have to figure out how to pay for it, gotta get working. I am also reminded how I experience success also with a degree of guilt and burden. ( i.e. There are so many deserving people...Now we must do something interesting.. )

I am trying to focus on the joy of receiving this news and vote of encouragement. I am looking forward to spending time with my siblings as they return to town. I am hoping to get my Christmas shopping complete and slow down this week after a period of general busyness.

Happy Holidays


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