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Mercy! Has it really been 17 days since Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival wrapped? It feels like it was just this last weekend, and I am still absolutely flying from it. We had a spectacular weekend celebrating poetry on film – you can see all the good stuff here (pictures) and here (the finalists) and here (all the films), if you weren’t able to make it, or if you want to relive it (highly recommended! Omg, so much good work!)
I feel like I came out of this year better than I went into it – it’s been a slammin’ year, y’all.* And I was about a week behind the whole time. And I got super ambitious halfway through when I realized we had a glut of Very Good Submissions, so I decided we needed a second day of showings, but hadn’t really thought about the work that entailed (oops). So what I’m saying is that, whoa – I’m kinda proud of myself for getting it together on time.
But more than that, I’m still awash in all the feels about the the festival itself. In a nutshell, even with a couple of late-presenting snafus, it went off beautifully, and I was thrilled with the shows. But more than that, I was thrilled with the connections that happened.
Friends came from across state and out of state. There were lots of hugs, and people got to reunite and to meet each other – some of them who had learned about each other just online. Makers met makers and talked about the things that makers talk about when you get them together. It was more than I could have hoped for.**
Looking down the barrel of the afterparty,*** I very much expected that when everything was put to bed this year, I would be exhausted. But instead I put it down feeling invigorated, inspired, and excited.
One of the things I do at festival is catch as much footage as I can of people talking about the festival. Mostly it’s because I love a souvenir (and also, it’s for grant apps), and there’s nothing nicer than a moving snapshot, hello. But also, it’s because I am a curious creature who’s generally engaged in some research, and primary sources are the best thing in the world for research purposes. So I asked questions – I asked about process, and about favorites, and about what it’s like to be a judge or a filmmaker, or an audience member. I asked What made you do this? I asked How does it feel on this side of the curtain? I asked What do you think about the short film format? I asked How did you pick your collaborators? And it turns out that I know some super smart people who have super smart answers, and I was bowled over, and humbled, and overjoyed to hear the answers.
This is ridiculous. I have better machine juju than this. I am a fairly up-to-date, tech-savvy woman with a pretty good well of patience and the willingness to troubleshoot. I’m a child of the 70s who grew up with squealing, non-digital modems and those terrible Atari flat keyboards. I started learning back with BASIC on TRS80 stuff, and I have a solid decade or so under my belt of screwing around with external zip drives on some Macintosh business, and I can make an outdated version of Pagemaker stand up and sing. I have ProTools experience. I have been using a PC for over 15 years with a better-than-good success rate. I know how to use a soldering iron. I’m telling you, I have a looooong history with sussing out bugs and getting up to my elbows in workarounds and solutions. Also, I am priveledged to have Our Man Cub’s deep reserve of current computer know-how at my disposal. It SHOULD NOT BE SO DIFFICULT TO BURN A DAMNED DVD, Y’ALL.
Early on in the open submission period for Rabbit Heart 2014, I started to get these emails – submitters wanted to know what I recommended for burning a dvd that would work in the regular teevee-ready dvd player and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I had No Idea. Seriously, sister, I was clueless about the degree of difficulty involved. When I got these emails, I told the senders not to worry, and just send me an MP4 file, and that I’d take care of it from there. Probably the smartest thing I did through the whole festival, as it turns out. Midway through the judging, when swapping out dvds turned into a tedious process,* I turned all the videos into MP4s anyway and stuffed them on a thumb drive. And then I stopped thinking about it.
But the current project on my desk is making Rabbit Heart 2014 dvds. And I want them to be beautiful. I also don’t want to spend more money on software to make them than they will generate in dvd sales.
So I started with the software that comes with Windows 7. The design looks lovely, and I got really excited about it – I picked a front menu template that even has these sweet bunnies on it! It looks great! I can assure you that, but I can’t prove it, because it won’t burn. At 99% the dvd drive pops open and vomits up a blank disc.** The burner literally Can’t Even.
Update from the office: I am stunned. Absolutely stunned. Kneeling in the middle of a valley of chaos, attempting to coax our most reluctant cat out from under the sofa
The office is a wreck. Every carefully stacked pile has been toppled. We will have to replace a carpet. Houseplants have been de-potted and there is dirt in every crevice. Gunther is under the sofa growling and moaning something like no-no-no-no-no, and it roughly translates into I’m Never Ever Coming Out From This Safe Place Ever Again. #catladyproblems
HO Tanager has been here.
It’s not so much HO – really, I’m sure she’s a very nice person – but that she stormed the office to drop off promo material* and a copy of her new book,** and apparently it was Bring Your Badger to Work Day, and no one notified me in advance. Did you know that badgers bark? And did you know, also, that cats do not appreciate badgers?
A badger! She has a badger – on a leash! Or, rather, she had a badger on a leash. Well, technically, the badger stayed on the leash, but the leash did not stay in her hand, and #omigod, sweet #motherofgawd, this office will never be the same.
Needless to say, I won’t be heading into Cambridge tonight, as I’ll be piecing the place back together. #truestory But you can catch up with her at the Cantab tonight, as I hear she’s going to see Cheryl Maddalena perform. #youarewelcome
HO has left for time being. Right now, I think I’m just going to pour more coffee on it. #soblessed
*Please note, Doublebunny Press is not her publisher.
**Autograph Penis. Actually quite good. Did you miss 2011 Nats in Cambridge? It’s all right here, in living, vivid color.
This is the process: You get it wrong. You make adjustments. You get it wrong. You make adjustments. You get it wrong. You get lucky and see something that you didn’t see before, or you make a connection all of a sudden. Something different turns up wrong. You make adjustments.
And eventually, you not only get it right, but you understand how to do it right. And further down the road, you get good at it. Far down the road, you can even claim some mastery.
It’s the process. The process is probably law. Sister Corita Kent knew about the process. When she put together her rules for the Immaculate Heart College Art Department, number 7 was:
“The only rule is work.
IF YOU WORK IT WILL LEAD TO SOMETHING.
IT’S THE PEOPLE WHO DO ALL OF THE WORK ALL THE TIME
WHO EVENTUALLY CATCH ON TO THINGS.”
It doesn’t say anything in there about sussing out printer issues, but that’s likely because she was all about the letterpress.* If she had been a computer user, I’m 100% sure that there would be something specific about the printer.