This is a very old project that has become relevant to my current work, so here it is — a Google Maps essay about the neighborhood I spent so much time in as a teenager.
In interrogating my own fascination with video essays as a creative form, I’m leaving this list of notable video essays that have influenced me. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and it will likely grow longer as time goes on.
Grandpa by Steven Chen
That Kind of Daughter by Kristen Radtke
Baptism by Marilyn Freeman
Wolfvision by Robyn Schiff and Nick Twemlow
Estrellada by Vanessa Angelica Villareal
Some relevant articles:
On the Origin of the Video Essay by John Bresland
On The Form of the Video Essay by Marilyn Freeman
What is a Video Essay? Creators Grapple with a Definition by Paula Bernstein
What a strange, wondrous book. A blurb on the back cover draws attention to its post-apocalyptic literary cousins, Oryx and Crake and Station Eleven, and those comparisons ring true. While The Rending and the Nest is less interested in the why and the how of the apocalypse, there is a similarity in the quiet pace and menacing atmosphere. The few possible explanations that come out of this book are tempered by reader interpretation; this is not a story to be passively read. The lingering message of the book is that Mira and the other survivors will never know why the Rending happened or why their Babies are not flesh-and-blood children, and it doesn’t matter why. All that matters is the stories they choose to tell themselves about what happened.
Something that struck me at the end of the book is the respect with which the women of Zion are treated after giving birth to their Babies. In an impossible situation that no one else understands, other characters still respect the love and attachment that Zion women feel for them.
This is definitely a book I will want to read again. Another win for my post-apocalyptic shelf.
“She Who Cannot Be Contained” (excerpt):
“A barely-born daughter, I was wrenched from my cave, slipping loose from the outer skin. Behind me is the memory of another body, never born at all. My squall splits the silence; my layers peel back and away, off my shoulders like hard wings that flicker behind me in the wind. The word that comes to mind is muscovite. It splits into sheets, thin panes to peer through, glass-like. Peel away the lacquered exoskeleton, and the light shines through.
Later, I hang skins over the cave-mouth, wish I had never left.”
“Red Tides” (excerpt):
“It was a long spiral back to the bottom from the surface of the tide, and now it is not a confession I am choking on, but karenia brevis, bitter on my tongue. I am dragged beneath, hair tangling like red seaweed in the water, and it occurs to me that this has been destined all along.”
“Red Tides” (excerpt):
“I am stuck on a memory of filth, seeing the red bloom of karenia brevis on the Gulf Coast tides, but most likely, I never saw this anywhere but my own mind. Toxins have already choked the vitality from our cells, everything slowing down inside the lines of our skulls, our brains, biochemistry betraying us.”
“Flora Mala” (excerpt):
“…walking in the street miles away from home, bougainvillea ripped out from Brigid’s shoulder blades, broke the skin with sharp red-tipped thorns.
The branches twisted around her until she found her voice, breaking an unintentional vow of silence. Her confession was hidden inside the stories she told to wide-eyed children in the street, stories about parents who were carried away on a northern wind and never returned to the small child left behind.
No one could look away…
‘Sinner,’ they whispered.