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Posts Tagged ‘Redacting Rosslyn’

Redacting Rosslyn v1.0

In Daily Munge, Monologues on September 24, 2011 at 3:46 pm
Hiatus Interruptus: Rosslyn 1822-2011

Hiatus Interruptus: Rosslyn 1822-2011

Redacting Rosslyn. A concept. An experiment. A risk. A plunge.

And then… an ellipsis.

Stillness. Silence. White space.

Not a pregnant pause. Not AWOL.

An interstice.

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, 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 v1.0 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, a wander into the 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…

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See you at Depot Theatre Tommorrow

In Daily Munge, Monologues, What's the story? on August 2, 2011 at 8:52 am
Rosslyn boathouse, Essex, NY

Rosslyn boathouse, Essex, NY

Adirondack storyteller and writer, George Davis, needs you to help him kill a few stories on Wednesday, August 3 at The Depot Theatre in Westport, NY. Prepare for a pell-mell parade of vignettes, monologues and readings ranging from a wader-wearing Amazon named Rosslyn to a perennially pickled bathtub yachtsman… This solo performance pokes fun at the idiosyncrasies (and absurdities) of renovation, marriage and North Country life while inviting the audience to participate in editing a memoir… “Along the way I collected too many stories to fit in one book. The audience will help me decide which stories live. And which stories die. Basically, I’m asking otherwise compassionate, peaceful people to commit story-cide… It’s quite a unique opportunity!” (Adirondack Almanack)

I’m almost ready to redact Rosslyn Redux tomorrow night in Westport. Still playing with timing, transitions, and trimming. Always room to cut it shorter, shorter, shorter. If you come, you can help by “gong” editing… What? I guess you’ll have to come to see what I mean…

When I step onto the boards at the Depot Theatre tomorrow night, it will mark the first time that I’ve shared any of the material from the Rosslyn Redux manuscript, much less asked my readers to help me figure out what direction the final draft should take. Of course, much of what I’m reading will not make it into the final draft, and some of the vignettes aren’t even in the manuscript, instead created specifically for the performance. Suffice to say, this is an experiment, inviting readers and audience into the creative process, into the revision and redaction process. It could get very messy… Or it could be wildly successful. I’m gambling on the latter. In either case, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

An exuberant Adirondack bear hug to the good folks at Adirondack Almanack for posting “Storyteller, Writer George Davis at Depot Theatre August 3“.

Update: I’ve just received some dapper Rosslyn Redux embroidered caps that will find their way onto the pates of some participants, and a stack of gift certificates to the finest dining establishments in Essex sit on my desk beside me. Participants will be entered into a drawing for caps, gift certificates and one-day-some-day books!

The Voice of Redacting Rosslyn

In Monologues, What's the story? on July 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm

For the last few weeks I’ve been working on Redacting Rosslyn, a solo performance of vignettes, monologues and storytelling from Rosslyn Redux. Join me on Wednesday, August 3 at The Depot Theatre in Westport, NY. (Did I mention there’s a cocktail reception?)

Lights, stage, audience, action! I’ll morph from storyteller to author right before your eyes. With a little help from the audience…

I love to perform, but I always apologize for my voice.

It’s funny. When I rehearse — aloud or in my head — my voice is Bourbon and caramel. Resonant. Enveloping. It’s the secret weapon of a guerrilla storyteller!

And then I hear a recording of myself or watch a video, and I’m certain the sound isn’t working properly. Bad mic? Is the equalizer busted? Probably the speakers are blown. I don’t have that pre-pubescent, one-dimensional voice that scurries for the rafters every few minutes. Really, I don’t.

Only, I do. It’s me. That voice is my own. And though I’ve come to terms with it, I do have moments when I’m preparing to perform that I daydream… What if I woke up sounding like James Earl Jones?

This video is a response to a question from Al Katkowsky’s Question of the Day (@QOfTheDayBook) book:

What is the most important thing you want, that you didn’t grow up with?

I’ve always longed for a deep, velvety radio announcer voice. A disk jockey voice. An actor voice. But no dice or wrong DNA or something…

After almost four decades of vocal shenanigans I’ve accepted my lot, but if I wake up tomorrow with the voice of Darth Vader instead of Luke Skywalker, well, let’s just say that I’d be okay with that!

Vintage Adirondack

In Adirondacks, Daily Munge, History & Heritage, What's the story?, Where's Rosslyn? on May 24, 2011 at 11:11 am

My bride and I credit the Adirondack lifestyle for luring us away from Manhattan in 2006 to become North Country full-timers. But what exactly is the Adirondack lifestyle?

Actually it’s not so easily defined, perhaps because there are so many different perspectives on what makes living (or even vacationing) in the Adirondacks desirable. High Peaks, Great Camps, cozy little lodges, Champlain Valley, agriculture, hunting, fly fishing, ice fishing, back country adventures, extreme sports, and the list goes on. Although a portrait of our Adirondack experience will evolve out of these blog posts, I won’t attempt to define the Adirondack lifestyle. Though often attempted, any single face of of the Adirondacks is an abstraction. The real Adirondack experience is vast, rich and dynamic. It is precisely this richness and diversity which appeals to us. It is precisely this evolving character which inspires us to get involved with the people and organizations that have welcomed us.

Griffin by Lake Champlain

Image by virtualDavis via Flickr

The video above, the first in a series of three, is called Land of My Dreams and it was apparently created by Joseph J. Harley in the late 1940’s. It captures a nostalgic (if extremely dated) caricature of Adirondack rustic “camp” lifestyle during the mid 1900s.

The story takes place on Bluff Island in the Adirondacks, Saranac Lake, New York. My great grandparents had a house that Joe built himself from scratch. The DEC took the house down after a law was made that people could only camp on certified islands in the lake. Joseph J. Harley was an amateur film maker who made many other movies and won awards for them. (YouTube.com)

Douglas Yu (@tourpro) over at Adirondack Base Camp put me onto this quirky vintage short, but he wasn’t able to share much more about the film or Harley.

I couldn’t find much information about the filmographer, but at one point he was President of the American Cinema League.

Many of the artifacts that I’ve collected since purchasing Rosslyn fall into this hazy no-man’s land of vintage collectibles (postcards, magazine advertisements, newspaper articles, brochures, videos, etc.) It’s challenging or impossible to determine the background for many of the artifacts, and they occasionally include dated or peculiar elements such as the “black face” character in the the second video. And yet, taken together they provide a context for the quirky tale I have to tell. I’ve decided that this blog is the perfect way to preserve and share these artifacts, characters and stories which don’t find their way into my Rosslyn Redux memoir or the Redacting Rosslyn monologues.

By collecting these artifacts into a “digital museum” I hope to showcase some of the esoteric ingredients of the Adirondack lifestyle which seduced us, aggravates us, intrigues us, perplexes us and inspires us in this new chapter of our lives.

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