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"Creating" a Movie: Notes Towards Day 18 (Thurs. Nov. 3)

Anne Dalke's picture

I. coursekeeping

Rachel is "setting the scene" in the Pem west TV room
Toni to select for Tuesday
reminder to Morine, Princess, to post about your decisions/the consequences....

* reporting in from your mid-term evals (still need to hear from Cathy, Toni)
--many glad for very regular writing practice, and esp. for talking w/ others
writing on similar ideas; appreciate our giving space now for revisions,
as allowing you to go deeper with your thoughts and analysis;
1 request to move deadline for essay to midnight on Fridays--done!
(however: Monday postings are still due @ 5,
because J&I need time to work through them for Tuesday morning classes)

--lots of celebration of in-class dynamics
of our "freestyle discussion,"
of "sitting in a circle and asking each other to speak";
esp. appreciation of small group work/workshops,
"where people are more honest about what they
have read which leads to better discussions";
and of "really digging deep into the readings,"
"learning to think differently";
one comment that when I ask a specific question,
it's hard to keep the discussion going on smoothly,
because some new ideas that come to you
aren't related to the question (I can work on that!);
one request to connect the reading more to our own lives,
another for more one-on-one talking before we share w/ whole group,
one appreciation of using our postings as starting points for our discussions.

another lament that sometimes "people don't share @ all unless
they are picked on...would love to hear more," and a similar request
that the quieter students would speak up more so that we can hear their thoughts--
so that the more typically vocal students don't have to start and carry the conversation"
(unfair distribution of the burden?)

--only 2 of you reflected on your own contributions to what's happening here--
1 of you said that you were "mostly audience," another that you "need more participation"

--1 of you complained about the reading load, asked me to minimize
the # of pages required on Thursday (you can make that shift yourself?)

1 of you feels like we're not "gaining much from moving locations";
5 of you like this alot:
--"change in environment helps different people open up"
--"we have better/more relaxed conversations when we are somewhere else"

need to consider this, going forward;
after Tuesday,
we'll have gone through the list: do you want to keep choosing,
in pairs or 3s? return to the classroom? try out more dorm common rooms?

other processing? generally, we seem to think
we're doing pretty well as a learning community!
thank you for this!

* By midnight Fri, your ninth 3-pp. web-event, first/second draft on All Over Creation.

No Monday posting (one upcoming next Wednesday instead :)

Mon @ at 4:15 p.m:
English Major and Creative Writing Program Fall Tea in English House Lecture Hall.

For Tuesday, finish All Over Creation.

* check in re: 6-week projects

II. (by 11:45): looking now through all of the novel you've read so far
in an interview, Ozeki said that
"my first two novels...are very concerned with the interconnected nature of our lives and the world.
In Buddhism, we call this dependent co-arising, or 'interbeing'....Nothing exists independently of
anything else. Novels...are a beautiful way to investigate...the way we inter-are."
The way she cuts back and forth from "The Seeds of Resistance" to the Fuller's farm,
from Yumi's past to her present, certainly illustrates this "inter-being"...
[hard to follow? confusing?]

But Ozeki also says, perhaps in countering this idea of "oneness" (?), that "novels are time-based
and need to move through was in the [film] editing room where I really started to learn the
fundamentals of storytelling….I didn’t know how to move a character across a room, never
mind across months or years or a lifetime. Editing film and video teaches you how to do
exactly this…working in film and video has taught me to 'see' novels in cinematic terms.
I think about things like frame size, and focal length, and I use filmic techniques like visual
description, rhythm, and montage when I write…"

We're going to do the reverse now,
and turn this (very cinematic) novel into a film.
Self-select groups of three (NOT the folks you've been working with).
Take a few moments to share with one another which
scenes (or sequences) seem particularly "cinematic" to you:
How would you open a film based on this novel?

Together, design an opening sequence for the movie,
"All Over Creation," which highlights the
environmental aspects of the novel.

What does it mean to do that?
What filmic techniques would bring it alive?
What images and sounds (what voice over) could you use?

If you finish that before the rest of us do,
go ahead and design the final scene, too:
how would you conclude the film?

V. By 12:10: share your movie!
to discuss: what dimensions of the book are we highlighting?

These are literary/filmic techniques.
Re-reading the book from some other p.o.v.s will highlight other dimensions of the book:

economics [and its presumptions of scarcity?]-->
p. 172: Adjunct teachers are the professorial equivalent of the migrant Mexican farm laborers
hired during harvest. If you can score a good contract at the same farm every year, where the farmer
pays on time and doesn't cheat or abuse you, then it's in your best interest to show up consistently
from year to year....The nontenured faculty form a downtrodden, transient underclass,
inferior in everyway to the landed professorial gentry.
p. 221: "but most farmers settled. Guys around here operate on pretty tight margins. Can't afford to go up
against a corporation...and they're not worth suing, not for damages anyway--they're so far in debt a
court case would bankrupt them. The idea is to slap 'em back down but keep 'em in business. It's just maintenance."
p. 270: The fact was, some things had to die so that others could live, and the idea was to try to
maximize your chances of staying on the living side for as long as you could.
p. 327: "Love is not free, Elliot. It costs. And you're just a fucking stingy bastard who's too cheap to pay."

Education [and its presumptions of capaciousness/possibility?]--> 
(function of Frankie's "cluelessness"--> capacity for learning/"saving the world"?!)
Relation/negotation between the two?

Cf. Andrew H. Wallis, "Toward a Global Eco-Consciousness in Ruth Ozeki's

My Year of Meats." Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment
20,4 (Autumn 2013). 837-854: postcolonialists tend to focus on hybridity displacement,
cosmopolitanism, and uncovering history, while eco/environmental critics foreground
purity, place, nationalism, and transcending human history/time.

the environmental movement [language of conservation and sustainability]
has some of its roots firmly planted in the logic of natural and cultural domination‚
the "deep ecology" movement has been at times woefully oblivious to human suffering.

Nature and environmental writing is justifiably replete with the "poignancy of the local‚"
paeans to a river, a mountain range, or a small town, or writing that attacks...
the de-naturing and abstraction of a place and space. Such approaches can seem
insufficient in an ecologically, economically, and culturally interconnected world.
present circumstances seem to be calling for [larger] narratives, are seen by some
as a lynchpin of the ecocritical enterprise‚ challenging assumptions about border and scale.

examining the local-global dialectic requires a framework for understanding space not merely as a physical/material object
and set of relations, but as a heuristic concept that shapes and is shaped by an imagination informed by geography, cartography,
financial networks, shipping lands, free-trade zones, and dumping grounds.

Ozeki's plurivocal, palimpsestual logic of engagement
uses the cosmopolitan and the vagabond‚

to tie the regional to the global while providing
a critique bound up within class implications

the tension between displacement and an ethics of place needs to be situated in terms of
cosmopolitanism and bioregionalism‚ recast as "placeness" within a global consciousness

Anne's scenes:
pp. 3-4: It starts with the earth. How can it not? Imagine the planet...
On one small section of that crust...there streched a  vast tract of land...
Imagine that you are a seed, spit from the lips of one of Lloyd's crossbred grandchildren...
And then imagine the triumphant moment when you crack the crumbly crust...
how vast Lloyd Fuller's acreage must look to you now...
[how to play, visually, with perspective--zooming out/then in?]

p. 226: "I like the feeling that this is just the thinnest of crusts, covering the earth...
In can walk right out onto an active lava flow...
if you take a wrong step..your foot wil go right through and that'll be the end of it.
Burn your foot to a crisp.. A charred stump. That's all you'd be left with.
Maybe I'll take you there sometime."
[how to handle the desire for violence?]

p. 245-6: a fairly modern landscape, formed by volcanic eruptions...
Imagine all the infernal popping and spluttering, the ozzing and seeping,
as the magma welled and the lava flowed!...with rich depostis of volanic ash
that proved to be ideally suited to the growing of potatoes...
p. 124: the pea gives off oxygen, creating a platform to support the life of other organisms,
like bacteria, or us. In a sense we’re just by-products of that program…
pp. 245: The irrigators walk the earth in summer. Like huge aluminum insects,
they inch across the contours of the land...Rainbirds, they're called.
Robotic and prehistoric, mechanical yet seeming so alive,
they span the fields and stretch to the horizon. Emitters...
spray a mix of water and chemicals..which catch the light and
create row upon row of primatic iridescence, like an assembly line of rainbows...
pp. 416-7: "it's a class war, Tibet, and we're fighting for the planet...
Daddy's going to save the world."
[lens isn't big enough here? reduction to the human dimension?...
wouldn't end on this note...too sentimental...]