The first time I heard of the ‘prose home movie’ I was in Will Hochman’s Major Authors course studying my beloved JD Salinger. I remember it was a seminar course and we sat round robin style and Will made fun of the white socks and black shoes I was wearing at the time. He admitted to me later he didn’t think I was a strong student from my first appearance. Maybe it was my oversized shirts with the cuffs that covered my hands or my winged tipped shoes I wore trying to be like my Uncle Jake or Kramer the hipster dufus from Seinfeld. But from that reading in his course I was taken with the concept.
And that term we read Franny and Zooey–along with every other collected and uncollected work by Salinger–and Buddy informs the readers that he is writing a prose home movie or a home movie in prose. And after I referred to all my writing that way, though I knew I had nothing similar. It would take me years to comeup with decent material–to take the time to wonder and speculate on my own family and the connections I had lost or yet to appreciate. I only had the talk of it. The questions for family. And now every single piece of writing since my MFA thesis defense has been consumed with family connections and imagings.
And more recently, since translating some home movies to play on my computer and playing with Windows Media Editor, I do feel as if my work on these little films has tried to give more intimate moments into the fictional Ortiz family. The family I write about that is very close to my family and my relatives…a way to blend non-fiction and fiction in more powerful ways. A way to blend the Jaramillo Family as the video is titled and the fictional Ortiz family. It has made the writing more clear and given me some sort of a understandable means of perception for not just one story but several projects. And I am finding such joy and wonder inventing the family tree.