My journey as a writer took me down another road this summer. Again, I feel blessed to have been in such wonderful company and to have pushed myself out of my comfort zone to learn.
The Center for Digital Storytelling offers classes to teach you how to turn a story about your life into a movie. They supply all the equipment and for three days take you through a story circle to write your story, create a movie, and then share the work. Three teachers and eight students make a perfect ratio. It was an exhausting three days but the outcomes are inspiring.
There were many reasons for me to take this class. I wanted to find another outlet for my writing. I’ve seen some digital stories on YouTube and was fascinated. Because I am a performer at heart, I knew there was more I could do to share my work. I really enjoy my blogs, so I decided this was the next step. But what turned out to be most important was my story about my mom.
Since I began serious writing last summer, stories about my mom keep coming to the forefront of my work. She is in almost everything I’ve written over the past year in some way or the other. But I wanted to give due justice to her story. Mine, too. And this was the perfect place to do it.
Daniel, the lead facilitator, contacted me at the beginning of the summer with information for the class and all the prep work that was required. I needed a rough draft of a story of no more than 250 words and “assets” to go along with it. I was to scan not just pictures but artifacts of any kind that would add to the meaning of the story.
Well, 250 words is not much, especially for me, as you can see. So I knew I would approach this as a poem. But I also knew I would not have artifacts, just photos. I have a few great family photos and wanted to use them.
All my worry about whether or not it was okay to use a poem and not narrative and having just photos was quickly put to rest with Daniel. He made it very clear that this was my story and he would honor that. He was there to help us all and honor our vision. He created a safe place for us to open ourselves and share memories that touched our souls.
What an amazing group of women. All were willing to openly share their personal stories. We had lost our mothers, father, husband, and beloved car. An American citizen shared being abused because of her name and what she looks likes. A writer turned rocker turned writer and one on a new life journey completed our circle. These were not easy stories to talk about, yet alone with strangers in the house. A safe haven was created for us. Some of us had experience writing, while others would be coming back after an absence. Daniel and crew were there to be sure there would be no obstacle to silence anyone’s voice.
This workshop was not about the technical side of making a movie, although I learned a tremendous amount of technology and had a lot of fun. This was a time for growth and, for me, coming to some closure with my mom.
Thank you Daniel, Stina, Amy, Elyse, Courtney, Nicole, Deana, Michelle, Mary Ann, and Shauna.
I see many more movies in my future, although none will ever touch the importance nor sweetness of this first one.