by Amy Lowell
Who came upon me once
Stretched under apple-trees just after bathing,
Why did you not strangle me before speaking
Rather than fill me with the wild white honey of your words
And then leave me to the mercy
Of the forest bees.
Camera: iPhone 4, Nikon Coolpix S8100, Canon Vixia HFS200
Editing: Final Cut Pro
Music: Andy M. Stewart, Where Are You (Tonight I Wonder), sung by Jennifer Sharpe
This episode was maybe a little more challenging than the first, because I had several ideas throughout the month but none of them really became complete – as soon as I started one, thinking that was it, I lost its trail and then I was off to something else like a confused hunting dog. In the end I ended up mixing new footage from a beach trip last Thanksgiving that I hadn’t used yet with an older work, My Own Tattoo (Boat Ride). Before I started this project I began to realize after I initiated Still In Utero that I tend to be drawn to certain themes, and that much of my video and photography work can be joined together pretty harmoniously as a result. Adding a short film I had done long ago to this new episode gave that film a deeper purpose. Initially it was a fragment, now it served as a piece of the larger puzzle of Abbandonata.
I also decided I was going to sing because I had been wanting to for some time, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. The Andy M. Stewart song was one I had listened to many times via a June Tabor recording. I wasn’t going to even get close to singing like her, plus my voice is comfortable in a higher range than her beautiful contralto, and I knew that I wasn’t going to have the energy to do accompaniment at all. So I sang it simply, the only way I know how, skipping the ornamental flourishes and adding the hollow feeling of being in a very large space (called “Cathedral” in FCP X’s audio effects), and worked it in to fit the somewhat refined, somewhat rough style I feel is the most honest way for me to express myself. Since I never, ever sing publicly, never mind record my voice in song for total strangers, it was another “what the hell I ain’t got that many years left to live anymore” moments. And since my son, listening to it, really liked it, I posted this episode, song and all, more confidently.
Finally, I added a piece of the story I wrote for this project underneath the film. I wrote a very short story that is the basis of this project, and its jumping off point. That all came out of practicing 100 word stories a few times over the summer. I really enjoy writing but always want it to be a part of a larger project with visuals and sound. That’s what is defined as film, I realize.
… How long had it been since he left for that trip, her own man? The letters had stopped coming regularly as he went farther and farther afield in the world. When they did come now, in no set pattern, they had no return address. She could not communicate back. She thought of the letters as cairns on a hiking path, at first they guided her to a sure understanding about his coming back. Now however, as they came farther and farther apart, they left her in odd places in the wilderness, alone, and not sure if they really marked any path anymore. A dripping faucet somewhere in the cabin underlined her solitude. …
To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage
by Robert Lowell
“It is the future generation that presses into being by means of
these exuberant feelings and supersensible soap bubbles of ours.”
The hot night makes us keep our bedroom windows open.
Our magnolia blossoms. Life begins to happen.
My hopped up husband drops his home disputes,
and hits the streets to cruise for prostitutes,
free-lancing out along the razor’s edge.
This screwball might kill his wife, then take the pledge.
Oh the monotonous meanness of his lust. . .
It’s the injustice . . . he is so unjust—
whiskey-blind, swaggering home at five.
My only thought is how to keep alive.
What makes him tick? Each night now I tie
ten dollars and his car key to my thigh. . . .
Gored by the climacteric of his want,
he stalls above me like an elephant.