Tomorrow, Saturday, is my recording session with Jared Mooney to re-record my voice-over sections. My Friday night will be re-writing my lines. I was hesitant to even involve myself in this piece at first (which must sound silly considering the project). As such, my initial narrations that I recorded were quite detached (as my Sound Design class pointed out). While my new narrations will still have a not-totally-emotionally-invested flavor, they’ll be just a titch more personal. I am so grateful to Mooney for his help—this piece will be infinitely better because of it. This was on my Facebook wall THE DAY AFTER I gave him my session:
Your levels are officially balanced out. I also recorded the cassette tape sound effects you need and did lots of fades and pacing. I busted some phone hiss and tape hiss and eq'd the snot out of your skype tracks. We should also find some space in your tape of the siblings together that is quiet enough to use for room tone/handles. And let's figure out a time when we can record ya lovely pipes bustin some narration up in the dirty dirty. (Meaning his recording studio.)
“Appreciative” is nowhere near an adequate word to describe how I feel on that front. We start work at 11a. I am somewhat nervous because I normally record my narrations alone. It is easier to feel silly when you know someone is listening. Also, I have come down with some sort of allergy attack and/or cold symptoms of doom. I sound nasal and my ears are clogged. Worst timing ever. I have 12 days to make everything happen, and I feel like my hearing is damaged. Whatever. Today is the first day that I actually feel really good about my piece and being able to finish it and get this production book completed. HUZZAH! I am so excited for April 28. I will actually be able to sleep! Even when I try to fall asleep (as opposed to my working-through-the-night habits), I wake up every 2 hours or so. So ready to be done with that. And I’m sure my friends and family will be pleased that I will be able to do something other than talk about my piece and complain about how stressed and busy I am all the time.
When I’m not editing, I am absorbed in reading about children, siblings, divorce, and romantic and familial love. There is so much written on these topics that I couldn’t possibly be exhaustive, but I have done my best to read everything I can get my grubby little hands on. All sorts of things have been speaking to me lately. I thought I would share a few. The first was quoted a while back by my cousin Chanelle. I scribbled it on a piece of paper and shoved it in my master’s project notebook. The reasons why are obvious. The others are poetry that came up in my quest for titles and further inspiration.
From The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager by Thomas Hine
The point of looking back is not to observe that everything that happens is for the best. History is far too horrifying to support that point of view. What looking back does tell us is that all sorts of things can and do happen. It shows us that even the family, that institution we so often identify as the bedrock of human life, has changed significantly several times during the relatively short span of American history.
Driving by Dina Ben-Lev
The summer our marriage failed
we picked sage to sweeten our hot dark car.
We sat in the yard with heavy glasses of iced tea,
talking about which seeds to sow
when the soil was cool. Praising our large, smooth spinach
leaves, free this year of Fusarium wilt,
downy mildew, blue mold. And then we spoke of flowers,
and there was a joke, you said, about old florists
who were forced to make other arrangements.
Delphiniums flared along the back fence.
All summer it hurt to look at you.
I heard a woman on the bus say, "He and I were going
in different directions." As if it had something to do
with a latitude or a pole. Trying to write down
how love empties itself from a house, how a view
changes, how the sign for infinity turns into a noose
for a couple. Trying to say that weather weighed
down all the streets we traveled on, that if gravel sinks,
it keeps sinking. How can I blame you who kneeled day
after day in wet soil, pulling slugs from the seedlings?
You who built a ten-foot arch for the beans, who hated
a bird feeder left unfilled. You who gave
carrots to a gang of girls on bicycles.
On our last trip we drove through rain
to a town lit with vacancies.
We'd come to watch whales. At the dock we met
five other couples—all of us fluorescent,
waterproof, ready for the pitch and frequency
of the motor that would lure these great mammals
near. The boat chugged forward—trailing a long,
creamy wake. The captain spoke from a loudspeaker:
In winter gray whales love Laguna Guerrero; it's warm
and calm, no killer whales gulp down their calves.
Today we'll see them on their way to Alaska. If we
get close enough, observe their eyes—they're bigger
than baseballs, but can only look down. Whales can
communicate at a distance of 300 miles—but it's
my guess they're all saying, Can you hear me?
His laughter crackled. When he told us Pink Floyd is slang
for a whale's two-foot penis, I stopped listening.
The boat rocked, and for two hours our eyes
were lost in the waves—but no whales surfaced, blowing
or breaching or expelling water through baleen plates.
Again and again you patiently wiped the spray
from your glasses. We smiled to each other, good
troopers used to disappointment. On the way back
you pointed at cormorants riding the waves--
you knew them by name: the Brants, the Pelagic,
the double-breasted. I only said, I'm sure
whales were swimming under us by the dozens.
Trying to write that I loved the work of an argument,
the exhaustion of forgiving, the next morning,
washing our handprints off the wineglasses. How I loved
sitting with our friends under the plum trees,
in the white wire chairs, at the glass table. How you
stood by the grill, delicately broiling the fish. How
the dill grew tall by the window. Trying to explain
how camellias spoil and bloom at the same time,
how their perfume makes lovers ache. Trying
to describe the ways sex darkens
and dies, how two bodies can lie
together, entwined, out of habit.
Finding themselves later, tired, by a fire,
on an old couch that no longer reassures.
The night we eloped we drove to the rainforest
and found ourselves in fog so thick
our lights were useless. There's no choice,
you said, we must have faith in our blindness.
How I believed you. Trying to imagine
the road beneath us, we inched forward,
honking, gently, again and again.
Family Reunion by Jeredith Merrin
The divorced mother and her divorcing
daughter. The about-to-be ex-son-in-law
and the ex-husband's adopted son.
The divorcing daughter's child, who is
the step-nephew of the ex-husband's
adopted son. Everyone cordial:
the ex-husband's second wife
friendly to the first wife, warm
to the divorcing daughter's child's
great-grandmother, who was herself
long ago divorced. Everyone
grown used to the idea of divorce
Almost everyone has separated
from the landscape of childhood.
Collections of people in cities
are divorced from clean air and stars.
Toddlers in day care are parted
from working parents, schoolchildren
from the assumption of unbloodied
daylong safety. Old people die apart
from all they've gathered over time,
and in strange beds. Adults
grow estranged from a God
evidently divorced from history;
most are cut off from their own
histories, each of which waits
like a child left at day care.
What if you turned back for a moment
and put your arms around yours?
Yes, you might be late for work;
no, your history doesn't smell sweet
like a toddler's head. But look
at those small round wrists,
that short-legged, comical walk.
Caress your history—who else will?
Promise to come back later.
Pay attention when it asks you
simple questions: Where are we going?
Is it scary? What happened? Can
I have more now? Who is that?