Life overheard

Opinion by Hannah Broderick
May 16, 2018, 5:00 a.m.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, someone living an isolated life with nothing but time to focus on the craft of creating stories. I took this separatist approach during the early years of my writing, safely tucked away at my desk scribbling down poems in the requisite moleskin, my door closed, my thoughts growing in the silence and without the associations and inspirations of the world.

After 18 years in this vein of creation my studies began to suggest there could be something more. Perhaps life is the greatest means of stimulus, the richest means with which to delve into moments for the purpose of understanding them. Various courses at Stanford have helped me to better understand this idea, including Pavle Levi’s Introduction to Film Studies class, Alexander Nemerov’s American Photography Since the 1960s and John Evan’s Creative Nonfiction. These courses challenged me to enmesh myself in my world, à la street photographers like Garry Winogrand, and Professor Evans himself, who wrote his first book, “Young Widower: A Memoir,” from his personal experience.

Taking this approach has allowed me to overhear, witness and transcribe the intricacies and beauties of life as they unfold. A bathroom trip during a San Francisco afternoon resulted in the following snippet, saved in the notes section of my phone. “Jesus is supposed to meet us here at 5.” “That’s what your mom said.” “She said stay here and talk to Jesus.” Taken out of context these sentences produce a whole host of associations and mental tangents. Overhearing this conversation as I was, from behind the closed door of my bathroom stall, I had no sense of who was speaking. And although they were clearly discussing when a friend was going to meet them, their casual mention of Jesus, a figure with the capacity to materialize before them at specific time/place as instructed by their mother, had a profound impact on me. Taking this approach, I have written a number of borderline stream-of-consciousness (for all its lack of obvious connectivity) narratives. I have found that this formatting allows me immense freedom in terms of spacing and line breaks and also enables me to utilize dialogue in new and inventive ways.

This method of creation has also enabled me to experiment with a mixture of media, creating visual and written pieces in an effort to capture the complexities of experience. What’s more, I have felt the urge to create a blog to consolidate and disseminate these new works, and to reach out for collaboration with fellow creatives. This desire to be seen and heard stems from a belief that the beauties of life, represented this way, are inspiring and diverting and a reminder of all we have access to in our everyday.

I feel a new sense of vigor each morning, as I look forward to what’s to come in my day of events.  My motivating concept is “daily dose,” the idea that memories are made in the daily, and although the mundane can feel like a challenge, it’s the reality we have, and what a wonderful one it is! It is only through observations and celebration of the daily, via writ and visuals, that we can begin to appreciate it.

Contact Hannah Broderick at inbloom ‘at’

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