The Surgical Tool Known as Instagram

Here’s a little preview I made. I guess that’s what you’d call it, though it’s not for a movie. I’m tossing it out on Instagram to get folks to check out my mother’s essays here on TWB.

Marketing. That’s what I’m doing. Thing is, I don’t have anything to sell. I’m using Instagram as a surgical tool. That 60-second film limit, it has awakened in me my old love for movie making. And it’s a strict taskmaster.

When I made a documentary eight years ago, called Camino Tamalero (“Tamale Road”), I learned filming, editing, from start to finish. The editing fascinated me.

Because that’s where the story lives. Editing is much like writing a novel or memoir. As I spliced together different film clips for a ninety-minute movie for two years, I used the same tools I work with in writing a narrative–mainly, manipulation of images to create a story in the viewer’s mind.

I already posted this on Instagram; I’m showing you here, because I know that many of you are writers. Which means, you read books, and watch films, but not just for the fun (though that’s paramount–that’s why I fell in love with reading; all the seductions that literature offers up!). García Márquez once said he read As I Lay Dying with a screwdriver in hand. He took it apart, to see how it worked, like my son David did as a kid with his toys. Then Gabo wrote his novel La hojarasca (“Leafstorm”). Read the two together, it’s a fascinating experience.

Here’s what I had: My mother was at the table talking, so I grabbed the phone and filmed for about eight minutes. In all the talk, I got a few seconds of nuggets. I tossed them into Adobe Premiere, threw four or five old photographs in there at specific moments, and spiced it up with a cut from Camino Tamalero. Slap some music from the Free Music Archive. That’s how you tell a story; or here, seduce a watcher to read.

That’s all I want to do: I want people to read. Not just my stuff here, hell no. In all the classes of literature, creative writing, I preach the written word, that novels and poetry are long-practiced tools used to create a more empathetic society. This is The Writing Bull’s Mission–to help people fall back in love with reading. Because I tell you, we’re in bad shape. A people who do not read, that’s so, so dangerous. And we’re almost there. Read Handmaid’s Tale and Fahrenheit 451. They’re both feeling a bit too close to home.

Okee-doke, here’s the clip: (The screen size is funky so it fits on Instagram.)


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