Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Beginning....

So how do I start my story. I've already based it on someone I know and that is my dad. He was a complex guy who said little, but still waters ran deep. The one event that transformed him into the person I know as daddy was the war. My dad was a soldier in World War II, and he was in the German army. He was a radio operator, and he had some stories, but they are few and he rarely talked about his experiences. Once in a while I caught a glimpse into the nightmare when he would talk about people he knew. He would go silent when too much of the memory came back, and the wall went back up.

So it's hard to write about someone who didn't share. Even if I would known how important those memories were back then I still wouldn't have gotten much out of my dad. Here where I work we've been video taping World war 2 veterans and their experiences. We've also been chronicling other soldiers experience from the various wars American has fought in. I directed a series of these early on called "Bridging the Generations through oral history". The series covers the Korean war, the Vietnam war, and world war 2. My mom was suppose to be interviewed for one of them because she lived though the American bombing of Germany, and she was an American citizen which was ironic, but she never did because she was in the hospital.

I even have audio tapes from my dad which I've been trying to get to play, but have had problems with it because of a format incompatibility. I've translated letters and have notebooks from my dad when he was a young man. All this material and yet their is still gaps in the collective memory.

So where do I start my story? I've come to the conclusion that it has to be from when I knew him, and go from there. In the end my dad suffered from dementia, and Alzheimer's, so in the end when we were close it was hard to get through the memories which were clouded, and lost to the disease, but there were bouts of clarity that I saw and heard of, so its from there that I have to jump off on.

I've been writing memories and stuff that I know of. I also go back to old photos of the family for reference, and inspiration. The film I envision is NOT a documentary. I don't think I can do justice to the film as a documentary. Too many facts uncertain, and I don't want to spend time dissecting events and get facts right. I want feelings to come through the film. The loss we all go through, and the things that make us us. It is the collective experience of fathers, mothers and children that make us who we are. That's what I ultimately want to cover, and its very frustrating to write about, but there is some progress.

Like I said before this is going to be really hard, so I better get it right and do it right.

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