Experiments on Keeping My Distance

My first two experiments – both based on a letter I wrote to my brother – weren’t much of a challenge for me to write. My first, an animated interview in which I wrote about one of my friend’s stories, was time-consuming but comfortable. Even my second, which was in a genre I’m unfamiliar with, wasn’t much of an ordeal.

It wasn’t until I started on my third experiment that things got messy. My third experiment was a video essay in which I plainly laid out my feelings regarding my brother’s deployment, and I found resistance within myself at every turn. I would write, decide I didn’t want anyone to know a particular detail, rewrite, and decide that it was still too specific. In the end, I had a piece that was vague and confusing.

I guess I just don’t want to share about myself after all.

With some time, I realized that my ease of writing in the first two pieces came from the distance I put between myself and the subject. In the first one, it was someone else’s story. In the second, I was putting a veil of fiction between the story it was based on and my reader.

There was none of that cushion in the third experiment.

Despite this, the third experiment is what I’m carrying on to the final project phase. I’ve been feeling a bit lost on how to improve it, but I might have had a realization this morning over some cold pancakes and runny syrup. I was looking through some pictures of my brother on my laptop for the video essay.

None of them would do.

They were all goofy and weird, and my piece was a serious, lyrical, meditative piece.

That’s when it hit me: in an effort to be serious, I had completely abandoned my usual voice, and the result wasn’t truthful to who I am, who my brother is, or what our relationship is like. We send each other memes and jokes, and make fun of each other constantly. A slow-moving, melodramatic reading about my feelings just doesn’t make sense for that sort of a relationship.

As I’m moving forward, I hope to reflect more of my personality and my brother’s, and to not take myself too seriously.

Leave a Reply