Apr 01

An Earlier Life

Front cover FULL for web or screenDear Friends,
It’s a lovely spring day here in Bellingham, and I’ve just returned from a 10-day writing retreat on San Juan Island (10 days seems just about the right length for me these days for anything: retreat, vacation, exercise plan….) Before I left, I had the great pleasure of seeing my latest collection of lyric essays be “born” into the world; it’s called An Earlier Life, and the book has been released by Judith Kitchen’s Ovenbird Books. I made a book trailer video that you can watch here.

Making a book trailer was an interesting experience. I needed to think about the visual and aural tones I felt would represent the book most accurately. I had to choose a small essay that would give viewers a taste of the book as a whole. I spent hours searching for images, video clips, and music, then more hours at my computer, with iMovie, fitting all the pieces together.

Though this was highly technical work, I found it to be some of the most contemplative, and focused, work I’ve ever done! Hours would go by as I worked to create satisfying transitions or to match the soundtrack, voice-over, and images exactly. I honed in on the smallest details.

This process also allowed me to see my work in, literally, new dimensions. The writing came alive in a way that could never be achieved on the page alone.

I highly recommend that you try it, just for fun. Take an already existing poem or short essay (or an excerpt from a longer work) and allow images to come to my mind. Sketch out a “storyboard”: what images would go with which words? How would you transition between them? You can start by using still images (your own or copyright free images you seek out online) in a collage-type slide show, and/or look for stock video clips or create your own video footage. (For this video, I bought the video clips, because they were so perfect.) Find copyright free music online. You can use iMovie, or any video editing program; the learning curve is a little steep, but once you get it, you have a new artistic process at your fingertips!

Passings-trade-cover-2-Expedition-Hughes-768x960Holly also has good news: She is celebrating the fledging of Passingsher letter-press chapbook about 15 extinct birds, with several readings in the Puget Sound region during April, National Poetry Month. Check out the events page to see what Holly and I are up to.

We wish you a renewing and invigorating spring season.

With love,