Jessica Eve Watkins
8th April, 2014
Extract from a soon-to-appear article on http://www.theideasarcade.com
Now I’m down in New York City, repacking my rucksack again. Tomorrow I leave Brooklyn’s car horns, beanies, hershel backpacks, and $10 smoothies. Impossibly beautiful women reviving clunky nineties fashion. Messenger bikes and poetry readings. I am out-of-pocket from hipster culture. I leave the loneliness of winter etched into faces, into people who have spent months avoiding one another in their haste to get home. I notice the change in pavement attitude. Spring! Babies waving fingers from strollers. Strangers attempting eye-contact, friends stopping to smile and talk for a moment. Someone points to the sunshine. A woman returns to the cafe i’m sitting in, laughing with the waitress about leaving her jacket on her seat. This is it. This is the moment of change. The bleakness over, here are the blissful days of simply knowing the hard part is through.
I have somewhere to be. My friend Harper are I are travelling south tomorrow in her mother’s car, with a video camera. We are making a documentary. It’s the first either of us has ever embarked on, and it has been circulating in our consciousness, waiting to be born into the world for over a year. We are going to spend three weeks staying on communes in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, and upstate New York. A few thousand mile round trip, delving into the world of spiritual choices, community, sharing, and the utopia/distopia this brings. My particular interest lies in feminine energy. I want to meet peaceful nurturing men and women who have chosen to hang up cynicism in favour of nourishing others, caring for the land, promoting peace, and support.
Last night in Roebling Tea Rooms, I asked a film-maker friend for advice.
“What do I do? What don’t I do?”
“Enroll in film school?” Someone said.
“I have two days-”
“No,” my friend interrupted. “You don’t need to do that. Break all the rules. Knowing nothing is an advantage. Be courageous. Find your subject matter. Do things your way. Don’t interrupt the interviewee, even when the silence becomes pronounced and awkward. Just wait. Out of the awkwardness comes the magic. Silence compels them to open up to you.”
His reply filled me with encouragement. I know our lack of experience weighs heavy on our project, but we will find depth in the newness, too. There is always beauty in the unpretension of freshness. I know our enthusiasm and passion for alternative living is enough to pull us through.