Redacting Rosslyn. A concept. An experiment. A risk. A plunge.
And then… an ellipsis.
Stillness. Silence. White space.
Not a pregnant pause. Not AWOL.
Carving out a space for stillness amidst the throng will open up the possibility of stillness. But there must also be room for chance, for stumbling accidentally upon these somewhat paradoxical interstices, and then honoring them… an invitation to wander into the unfamiliar. (“A Cadence of Choice”)
I accepted the invitation, and I wandered into the unfamiliar. For seven weeks I wandered and stumbled in search of stillness. But it eluded me.
I succumbed to the siren call of my sister’s wedding, the Depot Theatre Gala, a bountiful vegetable garden, windsurfing and water skiing and learning to wakesurf, a welcome parade of house guests, #ADK827, and an unforgettable TrekEast cycling excursion.
As the weeks tumbled past I gathered some of the feedback and artifacts into a digital scrapbook (unfortunately Storify.com is now deprecated), and I dipped into the bucket of feedback cards I received from the audience after my August 3 Depot Theatre performance of Redacting Rosslyn. I discovered that almost universally the audience had loved the “Just Google It!” video, and that generally speaking the vignettes that wandered into storytelling and performance trumped those that were read. Long, read vignettes were the hands down least favorite.
I’ve been simultaneously honored and flabbergasted with how much feedback I’ve received. Thoughtful conversations and telephone calls, lengthy emails, and comment cards so filled with handwritten notes they’re difficult to decipher. As much enthusiasm for oral storytelling, digital storytelling, and performance as for a written book. Interest in video and multi-modal narrative, more even than I’d anticipated.
Almost two months later, I’ve sequestered myself in Taos, New Mexico for a week of stillness. Comment cards are scattered over the horizontal surfaces of a small adobe pueblo style home at the tail end of a dead end road where I’m living, writing and revising.
Stillness and solitude.
I’m making inroads, adapting Redacting Rosslyn according to audience feedback, culling material which failed to engage and adding new vignettes that answer questions left unanswered. I’m liberating stories from the page, and tightening the passages better suited to reading.
I’m typing in the back yard, seated beneath a viga and latilla porch, a coyote fence to my right and left reaching clear to a tan adobe wall at the back of the yard. Earlier I headed inside to pace and recount stories to a challenging audience: a kiva fireplace, crepe paper poppies, a collection of Native American pottery, an ancient wooden bowl.
There are siren calls aplenty: uninterrupted blue skies, sunlight that emanates from everywhere at once, the smell of roasting green chile, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, artistic and culinary temptations in all directions. But the stillness fortifies me.
Each new work is unique, and its creation may well require different routines, different methods and habits and rhythms than previous creations. This will to adapt the creative process per the needs of each new creation is not only more realistic than the systematic, procrustean assembly line model, it’s more exciting. Each new creative experience should be an adventure. A journey. An exploration. This is what makes creating and telling a story so damned interesting! (“The Need for Flexibility)
Renovating Rosslyn was an adventure. Writing and editing Rosslyn Redux is an adventure. Redacting Rosslyn is an interstitial adventure tucked into the folds of both, at once familiar and unfamiliar. And it demands new methods and rhythms, new risks, new exploration. In storytelling and writing, silence and white space are as important as voice and words.
Thank you for enduring the ellipsis while I found my way. I’ll be back. Soon. To continue my story…