Except, whoops, I kind of disobeyed: I didn’t actually make a Vine account. Here’s the thing: I love watching Vines when it’s 2am and I’m putting off getting a healthy night’s sleep (what college student doesn’t?), but I highly doubt I would use the Vine to create content myself after using the interface this one time. I don’t like to have unused social media accounts just collecting dust in the vast expanse of the Internet, because it looks irresponsible and lazy for me as a master of my own digital identity and feels cluttered. Also, abandoned accounts kind of depress me. Maybe that poor lil’ Vine account feels bad that it never gets used, anymore (I personify way too many things in my life–sorry)!
Anyway, I didn’t create a Vine account to make this video, so if I lose kudos for my digital tendencies, so be it. The hardest part of this assignment wasn’t the careful splicing and measuring of clips, anyway (without the ending shot, the clip is exactly 5.9 seconds long, because that 0.1 second would have been too much for me to drive myself crazy over capturing), but was the choosing of a book!
I didn’t want to do any of my already professed favorite books, because that would be too easy for my audience to guess. I wracked my brain trying to remember books that impacted me throughout adolescence and today, and most of them are either way too complex or a collection of pieces. Finally, I delved into the furthest reaches of my high school memory and traveled to ninth grade English class, and boom, from that British-and-American canon, I found my Guess-that-book!-book.
The response to this book is quite dichotomous: people are either moved or think it’s ridiculously pointless and whiny. I’m a member of the first camp but will be honest: the coming-of-age novel didn’t impact me when I was fourteen as much as it does now, and I’m likely to give it a re-read and appreciate it more in my 20s. The protagonist’s musings tug at my heartstrings, and I can certainly see where the main character is coming from with their point-of-view.
As for the clues I included in the video: the first is a symbol (I include links throughout this post to definitions for those of you who aren’t literature nerds like I am and probably wiped all English classes from your memory as soon as they were complete). I remember this symbol from the book very clearly, because in that ninth grade class, we had to choose something from the book and illustrate it. I chose this green dress that a minor character wears/carries.
Unfortunately, the lighting in my room isn’t fantastic and the green dress I have is a dark green versus a lighter green, but I tried to drape the dress across the chair to allow the viewer the best access to the material as possible. I actually tried a bunch of different positions in the room but decided that standing on a chair and trying to hold a dress up while simultaneously filming with a phone camera is a really easy way to break one’s leg, and broken bones weren’t a goal of mine for this week. Therefore, draping the dress across a piece of upright furniture versus laying it flat seemed like a great way to demonstrate what the clothing piece actually is while getting as much light illuminating the shade as possible.
The second clue is a type of bread (random, yes, but I didn’t want to make this assignment too easy!). I was visiting my grandparents one week, and I was at their dinner table and looked up and asked,
“Grandma, do you have any bread?”
She just kind of stared at me a moment before simply responding, “No, but I’ll be going shopping this week” (I’ve had quite a few interesting art projects this semester, and I think they’ve really just learned to stop questioning my random requests and outbursts at this point). My grandpa started laughing when I explained the situation (and he actually guessed the book right away–go Grandpa!), but I didn’t want them to have to spend any extra money on me.
Thus, later, while out shopping with them, I scuttled to the bakery section, pulled out my phone, and tried to ignore the weird glances tossed my way as I filmed bread. Yeah, that scene was literally as strange as it sounds. It was extra uncomfortable, too, because in order to get the name/label of the bread to show, I had to peel off some stickers and move them. I kept casting shifty glances to make sure no one thought I was, like, trying to steal bread or change bread prices or anything (and now that I think about it, “shifty glances” probably weren’t the best way of encouraging innocence).
Oddness aside, I captured a few seconds of bread and edited out the chatter of store-goers behind me in iMovie so that the viewer’s eye could focus only on the visual.
The final clue is a particularly famous motif/arc word from the book. I filmed the lower half of my face saying the word mostly because it was the weekend and I looked like a lazy mess but also because this encouraged the audience to view me not as myself, Kailey, but as a self-insert-able narrator or un-individualized protagonist (I just made up so many words in that sentence, wow). I tried to throw in a bit of acting, as well, to have the narrator’s disgusted, frustrated tone come out in the clip and even inserted a semi-frown there at the end.
Finally, after the viewer has watched the video and has some idea of the book, I made a final shot of one of my favorite, angst-y adolescent quotes from the book. That way, if the viewer is really stuck, they can search the quote and find the answer to the guessing game.
I know I’m not the only one who likes this book (one of my high school classmates actually got a line from the piece tattooed on her back), so comment and let me know if you can guess the literary work and if you enjoy it, as well!