World Enough, and Time

For a couple of years before I left the corporate world, I had a film in my head: I’d interview my grandfathers–two men who lived within a couple of miles of each other yet who led rather different lives– seeking advice on whether I should get married and, if I did, whether I’d get divorced someday. I’d explore the extent to which our families affects us, the ways in which we are likely/prone/destined to become like our parents.
But there was an IPO, a huge gig in Europe, etc, etc, I kept putting it off. Make a little more money, I thought, and making films’ll be that much easier. I got engaged, so one question of the movie was already answered, but some big ones remained. Then in 2000, one grandfather passed away; followed, within a couple of months, by the other. I’d waited too long.
After my grandfathers’ deaths, completing their film became an imperative, a way of dealing with (our/my) their loss. I started shooting, not quite sure how it’d turn out. I figured it’d become clear, eventually. That was August 2001.
All through the Fall of 2001, I could barely bring myself to screen the tapes I’d shot. Indirect explorations of personal loss seemed a little, well, it seemed like there were bigger issues to deal with at the time. Souvenir November 2001 was, in part, a way to make sense of things; SJ03 is a first attempt at returning my attention to my earlier questions: how do our family and our past influence us? How do we deal day-to-day with someone’s absence?
With a little more mental bandwidth this summer, I started re-viewing the earliest footage we shot for my grandfathers documentary. A little time has helped, and I think I can see a way to cut some of it into a Souvenir-length short. In the mean time, however, I’ve had to revisit the whole idea of timing.
It seems the Andrew Marvell phrase, “world enough, and time” is popular among those who find themselves on the short end of the time stick. This week, I and my family have suddenly joined that crowd. And all the “understanding” I thought I’d gained gets wiped clean, and again, I feel the raw imperative that I have to do something. For a time, I feel like I have to focus, not on memory, but on living, before it is, again, too late.