This is where I am, right now. At my desk, in front of my laptop. I've wrapped shooting for my short documentary project, Indie Kindred, and now the editing is full-on. In case you're wondering what this looks like, there are a whole lotta media files to catalog, file, convert, rename--all that jazz. A lot of getting all the parts and pieces in place so I don't spend more time looking for them than necessary when it comes time to assemble.
The metaphor I most often think of with wide projects like this one is quilt-making. My mind loves this kind of puzzle--laying out all the squares and figuring out how they fit together: which ones go in, which ones have some other future, and in what order the ones that go in should be placed.
So I'm neck-deep in quilt-making. There's a physicality to the work, as I transcribe all the audio by hand in a journal with my right hand as my left hand is poised above the pause button. I've gotta have around half a journal of handwritten transcription by now, and if it's been awhile since you did that kind of thing in school (do kids even hand-write their class notes anymore?) I'll tell you--one's hand can be remarkably out of shape. I've woken with sore fingers, and one day the joints in my first finger were a little swollen so I had to take the day off from it.
But hand-writing every word helps really cement in my brain what the verbal squares are, and I can hear as I write what to pull out and I can picture in what part of the story arc it might best fit. (The same happens with the video clips and photos as I go through them one by one, taking notes and filing them.)
Next I'll put together a script (for lack of a better word) of the story, start to finish. This will help me make sure that it all makes sense--that all the smaller stories unfold in a clear manner and that there's an arc overall to the whole.
Then I'll use the script to pull the audio and video clips together and start trimming things, then dropping them in place.
On one hand, it is super tedious work and is taking lots of time and attention. But on the other hand, I have these moments where there's this swelling feeling in my chest and I think, What is this? Is this what it feels like to be the happiest you've ever been?
Maybe. Or maybe it's joy. I keep noticing it, popping up more and more in my body, and there's a way--in this season--I can feel joy remaking me. Like in some program running in the background, all my parts and pieces are being put back together in a new way.
So that's how things are going over here. In the meantime, I'll probably get a little quiet in this space. There will be a new Retrospective interview in February with Caren McLellan Gazley, the author of Ritual & Rhythm: A Guide to Creative Self Care. If you want to read her book before it airs, there's time to do that and you can order it here.
If you want to stay tuned to my shorter online updates, you can follow me on Twitter or on Instagram (@jenleedotnet). Hold me in your thoughts, and I'll be back with words, stories or news when I have them.