Snow Day to Create!: #sol15 6/31


One more draft and I could cross another project off my March list and then it kept snowing all day and I didn’t even bother to get out of my pjs.  I can’t even remember if I brushed my teeth.

I had just a few things left to do on this piece I shared above.

Usually, I’m in total control of these pieces but for this one it wasn’t just my story to tell.  I had to create in collaboration with my SUNY New Paltz team because this piece was for them.  It was their story to tell to N CATE, the team that moves onto the campus to observe and determine their continued accreditation.

I bristled a bit, annoyed that I had to wait for Tom’s revisions and when they arrived the process slowed down as I tried to honor their requests and do justice to the process.

I’ve been at this for 15 years, maybe more and it never gets boring.  I always  procrastinate before I jump into a new project,  adding some unnecessary pressure,  so I’m forced to race to the finish line, making it dramatic- heading to bed in the early morning hours.  But I love it when one of these creations (OLW-create!) goes live on You Tube, a new addition to my channel.

I love this storytelling format, using Final Cut software on my Mac, editing with their razor blade, condensing  the heart of the story, the story of teaching… making what we have kept hidden for so long, public.

In this piece three teacher voices proclaim the power of the Hudson Valley Writing Project.  I hope I did everyone  justice.

Before it Disappears.. Our 2014


There’s one more thing left to do before I put a wrap to my latest Our 2014 collaboration. I have  one last post on the process to compose and that’s been a challenge in itself.  This is my third draft and I’m hoping to sit right here, at our kitchen table, while it’s still dark outside to get it done.  So here I go!

First, thanks to all my collaborators who were willing to take time out of their busy pre-holiday season to search through their photos for this year, to select 1-2-3-4-5-… for images that captured the year and then label them for me. What a wonderful variety of heartfelt stories to showcase!!! I hope I did justice to each voice.

At first contributions came in slowly,  I waited a few weeks before I started putting out reminders.  My email bin started filling steadily, but the biggest flood came in the last week, when vacation began, post-Christmas was the final burst and by then I was already organizing, listing the group and I had more than I thought, some many that I wondered if one song would cover everyone respectfully .  Just in case, I found a second song from James Taylor.  Another all-time favorite, Walkin’ my Baby Back Home, a nice companion to Stand By Me and another tune that was non-traditional.

I opened my Final Cut software and started reconnecting with my old friend.  I’m always rusty to start and I took a break to visit my local Apple store for a one-on-one with my FC guru.  I was interested in new generators, holiday titling, new masks- He suggested a 3rd party plug in that looked good and I bought a few of their packages.  Not sure it was worth it because as I moved around FC effects etc.  I found new options offered by Apple and used some of them even more.

It was time consuming getting used to the program again.  It took me time to get a flow going and I sat with my computer for probably 4 days working with the images, the captions, the music, effects, editing.  Tuvia was a good excuse to walk away for showers, food, exercise, movie breaks.  Without the breaks, I might have made big messes for myself.  Even when I thought about working beyond 1am, I stopped myself, knowing it would be counterproductive.  Editing is still a slow process, fun, really.  In fact I miss that process now.  Tuvia doesn’t.  When your in that process you’re always distracted, thinking about what you’ve done and what you have left.

I love being inside a piece, don’t you?

Finally, 48 hours ago I had a new video piece ready to drop on the world.  It had passed the Tuvia test:for the 6 minutes, the two songs, the 43 stories of 2014,  his eyes didn’t move away from the screen; he didn’t look down at his watch.  And when it was over, even though I know he didn’t read all the captions, he turned to me with a smile and said” Excellent!! Really excellent!”  Next to me, he had lived through the creative process just living with me, a distracted me and even though he probably resented my time away from him, he watched the final product, open to it.

Excellent.  I needed that excellent.

Thirty minutes later, when it was published first,  unlisted on You Tube, I sent the link to Tara  Smith for her thoughts.  Minutes later,”Loved it!  Moving!  I watched it once, all the way through and then I went back to it and digested each story.”

Each story, yes! I was breathing calmly. I needed that too.

After my process of living with this piece for the last month I was letting it go. I composed a short email to my wonderful group of contributors and I put it aside, waiting, if I could for midnight, 2015.  Romantic!  For Sharing 2013 I had tried waiting for midnight but I couldn’t but maybe this year.

By 4:30, I knew I couldn’t wait. I had to put it out there.

Click…Public status of YouTube and off the email went with a swoosh!  Seconds later it was up on Facebook and Twitter and by 4:30 I had  immidiate responses from Nancy Letts., Robert  , Joseph McCaleb etc.

Kim Douillard and Margaret Simon. who used their comfort with and support for this digital project, getting it out to their communities by retweeting and sharing the piece on FB and Twitter.  Wow!

25 views, 40… 70… 80

Publishing, audience… we have come so far from the days of the mimeograph machine.

So yes, it will be good to break myself away from a steady diet of strong coffee and get to wash my pjs that I’ve been living in for the last week, but I will miss this piece and look forward to a 2015 wrap up.

Thanks again, everyone.