I met Ashley Pruneda while a student at Texas A&M, and knew she thought the world of her little sister Lariza, who she described as a princess. I never would’ve imagined that over a decade later I’d be filming the little Pruneda Princess on her wedding day.
The evening began comically as I was overwhelmed by the smell of WD-40 upon opening up my gear case. Sadly, the cap had popped off and the nozzle had pressed itself against the side of the case, and a pool of lubricant resided just below my gear. George joked that he loved the smell, and took him back in time, so maybe the wasted WD-40 lubricated his mind before we even got started. Regardless, I wiped out the bottom of the case and moved it out into their yard so we wouldn’t all develop headaches.
I’d DVRed a show called “Memory Hackers” that ran on PBS a few nights ago and got around to watching it last night. Crazy-fascinating show.
The first time I interviewed someone with Alzheimer’s I knew that I had done my best, but was still afraid I hadn’t done a good job. After three hours of interviewing, the storyteller had launched into the same stories repeatedly, and I couldn’t help but feel that I’d allowed time to waste. I treated the woman with dignity, and transitioned her out of stories she’d already told into new subjects as politely as possible. But after the interview had concluded, the storyteller’s daughter (who’d been listening in the next room) was elated by how much her mother had opened up during the StoryKeeping process. I wasn’t afraid anymore. I’d gotten her mother to speak in depth and with more energy than she recognized.
Storytelling can be a powerful thing, but just talking doesn’t do the trick. Certain elements need to be there, like detail and sincerity, in order for your words to register in the ears and minds of your listeners.