Friday, May 20, 2011

Finding Oneself in Flight. Or Not.

I like searches that lead to other searches. Existence that lacks resolution. A drift of self that becomes a strange sort of home after a while.

These are the themes I’ve been writing about for the past eight years in a novel titled Elsewhere. I’m fascinated by a placelessness of identity that can overtake, if not guide one, especially in travel. A diaspora of self that afflicts and enlivens at the same time.

It’s difficult to capture such a state in words without becoming too indulgent and losing the narrative thread of the novel, which was why I really enjoyed the coincidence of coming into contact with a film, Volo, that my old friend Jerome Carolfi has been working on. He calls the film “a meditation that blends travel and dreams, confronting travel as an escape from reality and dreams as signposts which reveal our deeper psyche.”

Those words don’t do the film justice, though. What I admire about the film is the way he’s captured the textures of such moments of estrangement and quest, a disjointedness of self in flight, through the layers of his collage of images. He’s truly created an arresting dreamscape.

It’s a reminder for me of the power of experimental film, which is more akin to poetry. As a viewer, you follow the mood rather than the action of a main character. The plot points become internal. The experience becomes the narrative. You drift, in short.

The only weakness of this film is my amateurish voiceover, but I was honored to be invited to contribute. Please watch.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Script Frenzy and Me

What's a blog for if not self-promotion? Or self sabotage.

The latter is more likely the case here, but since this is one of my few onscreen forays, I figured what the hell, I might as well share the video. And I loved participating in Script Frenzy--an event put on by the local Office of Letters and Light, which also puts on the famous National Novel Writing Month--so I'm willing to be embarrassed to support the event. The basics are that you write a 100-page script in a month.

I wrote (or rewrote) a script about the ever dramatic, damnable, alcoholic, love-starved, and sex-starved Hart Crane. Who also wrote quite magical poetry.

The thing I learned in shooting this video (especially at a cafe after lunch) was how difficult it is to talk cogently to a camera. It requires practice. I have much more admiration now for every puffed-up, fluffed-up newscaster (yes, even you, Katie Couric).

Okay, let the rotten tomatoes be thrown...