This process has been fascinating…fascinating in its incredible ability to make me a wholesale believer in the Joe Lambert digital storytelling research methodology. Not once had I ever doubted its power. As I have said in class, his process—without the visual component—is something I engage in on a daily basis in my classroom, and it is such an unbelievably fulfilling experience; but, completing this project for my purpose in the visual medium with my students’ collaborative help makes me feel like I can fly. Maybe this is too heated; I am just coming off the high of completion. I don’t think so though.
There are many things that are inspiring this rush of emotion. Part of it is the joy and satisfaction I have of knowing that my work is vocational; it changes lives, my students and my own…I am lucky! But to add another penny to my already very full bucket is the fact that my work bleeds so beautifully into my intellectual interests, my research.
My larger intellectual project is on the 18thC epistolary novel crafted by men and women alike. The genre attracts me for many of the same reasons digital story telling is so powerfully provocative. The epistolary novel gave space to fictional and real women writers of letters carving out an autonomous space in a restrictive world, a space made possible through rhetoric for the purpose of subverting the very structures that forced their hands to write in this genre to begin with.
The affective space carved out through the epistle allowed women, a group previously written out of agency to write/right wrongs through new narratives in much the same way that digital storytelling empowers its creator. Telling my story, working delicately against and with the grain of rhetorical confines and the explosively complex element of my students’ personhoods demanded the kind of suturing of disparate intentions so pleasurable to read in the 18thC epistolary novels.
At the end of the metaphorical day, my piece is not a true Joe Lambert digital story, as it brings my students into the voiceovers. I suppose it is a little more ethnographic as a result, but not. Whatever my Frankensteinian piece’s position on our shattered map from last week’s class—it feels right!