Way back in June, when I first started to use the Vine app (with its six seconds of video limit) with the Making Learning Connnected MOOC, I pondered how one might conceive of it as more than a documentation of life. I wondered if there were ways to tell a story in just six seconds. I played around with Vine and created this “story” of a letter to the future. It sort of worked. I guess.
I’m still pondering Vine, it turns out, and the #walkmyworld project (of documenting our world in social media) has brought the video app back into focus because organizer Ian O’Byrne has suggested that folks use Vine as a way to do that documenting. I’ve since shared a few Vines, particularly of my house as I wander through my day. And I have kept an eye out for pieces about Vine to help me think about its possibilities. (Check out this post of Six Second Movies and there is even a Tribeca Six Second Film Fest.)
But my friend Molly Shields has been openly mulling over how to use Vine as digital storytelling platform. Me, too. And with the expected future shift of #walkmyworld into digital poetry (in my previous post, I stumbled on the term of “video haiku” to define Vine, and I still like that way of imagining it), I had a few Twitter-based conversations with Molly about how to go about doing that.
You have to think of the limitations: six seconds does not allow for a lot of lines of poetry. The looping effect of Vine is intriguing because it brings the end of the poem right back to the start of the poem. If you don’t consider that effect, the poem could have a jarring effect — stopping suddenly and restarting.
During the afternoon, as I was at my son’s basketball game, a poem came to me. I didn’t have paper, so I had to jot it down in the back cover of the book I was reading. I tinkered with words, trying to make it fit within the limitations and trying to make it resemble a snake eating itself — an MC Escher of a poem that wraps back on itself. I didn’t have my ipad with me, so the writing was the heart of what I was doing, even as I had a mental stopwatch in my head. The people next to me probably though I was a lunatic, mouthing the words and watching my son’s game clock to keep track of seconds. (ha)
Here is the poem:
I think in ink -
I burrow thoughts that shrink
down to the screen
It turns out the writing was the easy part. Shooting the video was much more difficult , and I tried a few different ways to get at it until I decided on taking three angled shots, reading parts of the poem as I looked off into the distance. I’m not sure I like it, though. Not because of the way the video came out but because the visual lacks an important element: metaphor. I realize now that I should have lifted a small screen (iPod or something) in the last frames.
We write. We play. We experiment. We learn.
Peace (along the vines of creativity),
PS — In 2012, at NCTE, I gave an Ignite Talk about short-form writing. I wonder how it might be different now with Vine and other media apps in the mix.