In meeting with Michelle last Sunday night, we reached clarity about a decision I’ve been leaning towards this whole time.
No audio recording devices for this project.
The only recording/editing technology we’ll employ is the one between our ears.
This is different than saying, well, let’s just see how much of a conversation we can remember.
No! It’s our editing process. What stays in our memory made an impression for a reason. It’s also truer to the nature of sharing stories in a neighborhood. It’s in line with our values of person to person connection.
Now, I’ll still be scrawling some notes in my little notebook, definitely post-conversation and even as I talk with folks, but it doesn’t feel like that’s getting in the way as much between us. I’ve even found that one person seemed honored/surprised that we were valuing their words enough to write them down.
More about the editing: it is more efficient this way too. What rises to the top, well, it rises to the top, the same way it always has when people tell people stuff. Imagine recording a ten minute conversation, then listening to that recording multiple times,stopping/re-listening, etc. How much time would be spent in that process? Might I end up focusing on something (rhythm of speech, mannerism, one set of words) that just would not have had as much import/attention in the normal give-and-take of immediate human interaction? I’m not looking to inhabit/impersonate/take on the character of people we speak with. We’re looking to hear stories, and later share them “as we heard them”. So, while recording s a valuable process that I’ve used for past projects, it’s just not right for this one.
It’s how we’ve been doing it thus far, and how it went today when I stopped over at Atlantic Press and spoke with one of the owners there. . I’m glad I didn’t even have the option of whipping out a microphone, because then I would have had to consider it, and, well, that might well have just gotten in the way of the flow of this wonderful and human and ORDINARY neighbor-to-neighbor, customer-to-shopkeeper conversation we were having. I might have worried, “oh gosh, I didn’t capture every word”, and not relied on trusting that what I received was what I received. Why do that? No need.
So, we’re using the recording device and editing equipment that lies between my ears.