Morning Porch: the movie


Direct link to video on Vimeo.

More and more publishers are producing video trailers for new books. Perhaps it’s time to start making them for websites, too. This action-packed trailer, though, is intended less to promote The Morning Porch than simply to introduce it to new readers — something to embed on the About page.

I shot the video yesterday for my one-minute movies project, and I suppose I’ll still class it as such even though it goes five seconds over with the addition of the Paul Eluard quote (which I stole from a friend’s pseudonymous Facebook profile a while back). This one is definitely more documentary than videopoem. I could probably make it more exciting with a few, brief inserts of other images: you know, close-ups of things glimpsed from the porch. But that might clash with the message of the text, I don’t know. Here’s what I wrote for it:

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be a prisoner, condemned to the same round every day, compelled to do things I had little appetite for, surrounded by others in the same situation, all of us desperate with loneliness and the desire to be somewhere, anywhere else. What would I do? I’m a writer, so I suppose I would write. It would be an almost enviable situation: all that free time. I would take note of everything I saw, immerse myself in the moment no matter how bleak, because daydreaming would only lead to despair. I would write small, spare things 140 characters in length that some would call poems, but that I would see as clauses of one long sentence. I’d be in for life.

22 Comments


  1. I’ve wondered the same myself.

    Here’s my 140 characters:

    3 hots and a cot
    distractions there’s not
    life abounds
    in this dream of a dream
    as shawshank says
    sometimes a mountain of shit
    is there for the crawling through

    Loved this!!

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    1. Good point about the lack of distractions. I guess it’s true that most prisons forbid or severely limit access to the internet!

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        1. I think prisons are fertile ground for all manner of spiritual practices. Hell, even I’d probably take up meditation if I got bored enough. :)

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    1. Hi Dave–
      I went back and used the old vimeo code for embedding and it worked. Thanks for checking in!

      Loved your acorn poem today too. I could make you a video of crabapple mash that covers my courtyard and driveway. It’s not the same as acorn mash, but it’s the best I can do.

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      1. Actually, you know, if you have the latest version of WordPress, all you really have to do to embed a video from YouTube or Vimeo is put the URL on a line by itself.

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  2. Wonderful–the concept of a blog trailer and the piece itself. I love the last lines and the play on sentence as well as the way the words dwell on confinement and the image is a nice shot of The Free (as my kids say.)

    As you know, the kids I teach are locked up, and I’ve seen how daydreaming can lead to despair and anger, but many find hope, purpose and a way through by reading and writing. You caught something really true in this, I think.

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    1. I knew that, but had forgotten. I’ve read a certain amount about the importance of writing to adult prisoners, most notably Richard Shelton’s Crossing the Yard, his memoir about setting up creative writing programs in the Arizona state prison system. I personally don’t agree with incarceration, but I have no end of respect and admiration for those of you helping to make prisoners’ lives more bearable.

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  3. A microtrailer for a microblog site.

    A bit more action than I can handle, though — I counted two toe taps. (Seriously, I miss the old B&W movies in which dialog and camera angle counted for so much.)

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    1. Method acting ruined the movies, man. Do you think my feet worried about their motivation in this scene? Hell no.

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  4. Heh. Very nice. And I’m glad to see the porch is still there.

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    1. Yes, thanks to some repairs the summer before last by my neighbor Troy, it’s holding up pretty well!

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  5. Hey Dave: When I watched this video, I thought you were playing with us: I think we are all in fact serving a life sentence in a prison (our modern civilization) that requires most of us to do the same involuntary routine every day, dreaming of parole (retirement, winning the lottery) that increasingly for most, never comes.

    As for dreaming, we cannot help but do it, just as, as writers, we can’t not write. There is no real volition here I think — the dreams and the ideas and the representations simply express themselves through us, and we have no real say in it. We are only instruments of that expression, which is part of the expression of all life on Earth.

    The only significant choices most of us have in our modern lives, I think, are what we choose to practice (to get better at, instead of staying mediocre), and our choice of recreation — what we do to relax and to entertain ourselves when we’ve finished doing what we must do.

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    1. I think we are all in fact serving a life sentence in a prison (our modern civilization) that requires most of us to do the same involuntary routine every day, dreaming of parole (retirement, winning the lottery) that increasingly for most, never comes.

      That’s part of what I was trying to get at, yeah. Thanks for the comment.

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      1. Me too, trying to get to that point. Thanks, Dave P.

        We’re all in Shawshank. And we all have the river of shit to crawl through to redemption, i.e. becoming aware of the stunning nature of it all.

        Something like that.

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  6. Kia ora Dave,
    You have a great porch. I suppose we do all have our sentences to serve. I am at glad I found a secret hole in the wall and a place to escape to now and again. Kia kaha.
    Cheers,
    Robb

    Reply

    1. Hi Robb – Thanks for checking it out, and yes — you are one of the lucky few, I think. The pity is many people seem to like their nice, safe cells.

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