Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Africa: Dancing in the blues of desire

While I dream, brainstorm and make plans for the documentary in Ethiopia, I want to live fully in the present moment. To embrace the desire rather than the object of desire. In hopes that in doing so, I can put aside judgment and find the perfection in what is. And as anyone who has worked on a documentary or followed an unknown path knows, the unexpected twists and turns are exactly what are meant to be; the unforeseen far better than the plotted path.

Six weeks out from our arrival in Ethiopia, our documentary team with L.I.A. has already had one twist in the story. The woman on whom we planned to focus will no longer be involved in the film. When I heard the news I thought, of course not! What would a documentary or any low-budget film be without the unexpected?

“The world is blue at its edges and its depths,” writes Rebecca Solnit in her essay “The Blue of Distance.” “…a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. … the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here.”

“We treat desire as a problem to be solved … focus on that something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire…. If you can look across the distance without wanting to close it up, if you can own your longing in the same way that you own the beauty of that blue that can never be possessed.”

I’ve never been to Africa, never seen with my own eyes the light at dawn, how the dust scatters the sun. Is there a blue to far-off distances there? I lived in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and loved getting lost in that haze of blue, always surprised to find a world of brilliant yellows, reds, oranges and greens upon arrival.

Our film has changed as we now focus on a different story, one of a man who leaves his wife and kids during the week to join his other family, the street kids in the slums and the L.I.A. program that offers them hope. I hope to live in and embrace the unknown, planning as best we can and dancing in the blues of desire and anticipation.

Read more about the documentary and how you can get involved here.

(Photo of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Michael Melford, National Geographic)


Hollywood Jeffy said...

Can we still make a contribution to the project?

Rebecca Snavely said...

Yes! And hello -- I just now discovered your blog. You can donate to the project online here: Your donation is tax deductible,, scroll down to "You choose" and put my name or Ethiopia documentary in the subject line, or make the check out to:

Life in Abundance International
Attn: Ethiopia film (Rebecca Snavely)
1605 East Elizabeth St. Ste U-7B
Pasadena, CA 91104

Justin said...

Great post Rebecca. I am so grateful that you are involved with us in this project. Thanks for your effort, expertise and passion!

Justin Narducci

Dionne Sincire said...

i don't know about blue skies, it rained a lot when i was there. but ethiopia's got lots of beautifully RED dirt. i was so enamored with the terracotta colored soil. in the early morning, just after a rain, we'd go jogging in addis. i was always short of breath. the high altitude felt like a heavy weight on my diaphragm. i thought my lungs would explode, the air was so thin. the mud embellished my shoes and socks like unrefined art. when i look back at addis, i remember the beauty that i found in the simplicity of life.

Rebecca Snavely said...

What a beautiful, descriptive memory Dionne! Thanks for sharing.

I don't know how much running i'll be doing, unless chasing down an interviewee who got away, but I can't wait to experience it all.