on not finding what you don’t know you’re looking for

Mother Antonia: Sent off draft 2. Sometimes when I’m doing a project that’s heavy on research there will be some little factoid that I painstakingly puzzle out, only to find that it was presented explicitly in some other source I had already read. Today I had that experience with my “discovery” that S. Ste. Helene Guthrie’s birth name was Florence. This is plainly stated in one of the first sources I read for this project, Karen M. Kennelly’s “An Immigrant Drama: The College of St. Catherine and Phi Beta Kappa.”

Everything Looks Like A Face: Email exchange with Elizabeth about the “overture/dumb show” section. In the discussion of one of the characters, I’m reminded of something I once heard about Meriwether Lewis, that he functioned better in relentlessly high-stress situations, but when he was back in the urban workaday world, he couldn’t keep the demons at bay. Hm. You never know what’s going to turn out to be (even briefly) relevant.

comma mater

Everything Looks Like A Face: Sketched out an overture/montage/dumb show to establish the out-of-chronological-order storytelling style of the mosaic version.

Mother Antonia: Did some reading in S. Helen Angela Hurley’s On Good Ground: The Story of the Sisters of St. Joseph in St Paul to try to get back in the groove; new draft due Monday. From Hurley’s Acknowledgments:

I am indebted to many of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the province of St. Paul for critical readings. One half of the sisters going through the manuscript removed all the commas; the other half restored them, and added a few. All of them said that much of what I have written was news to them. They cannot, therefore, be held accountable for my careless inventions and discrepancies, and we may perhaps leave the commas to God. Or to the University of Minnesota, aged but still hard-working mother of the state’s comma placers.

flash forwards

Everything Looks Like A Face: Rough Cuts presentation of the scenes in mosaic order. Last night, for the presentation in chronological order, I felt the audience was almost wholly with us throughout; this time, less so. But judging from the comments, a number of people “got it” – we don’t always experience life in chronological order, we’re constantly cutting out to visit the past or the future. Also, there were things I liked better about this order, particularly the scene between young Kai and Dylan in the quarry at the end, which lands harder if you know what becomes of them later. Don’t know what we’ll end up doing with the scene order but I’m glad we did the experiment of presenting it both ways.