My little cave is a mess. The final rush of editing always sends me back to re-shoot a sequence.

MK loved the room with all the faces hanging in it. She loved the busyness of packing boxes and going up and down stairs. I shot 7 hours of footage for a video that is less than 6 minutes long from stem to stern. The editing process was intense and made more so by having to chase MK through all the footage and edit out happily curled tails and gummy little paws smacking at the faces, the boxes and me.

I still laugh when I watch ‘Cradle’ because there she is, as a kitten, madly chewing on my arm as I emote. I make one motion in that video, where I am shifting my legs and adjusting the dress and what I am atually doing is booting her, kicking and chewing, out from under it. You have to look closely to see her helping.

Making “The Executioner’s Song” ( was an entirely different process from my other videos. I have talked about using a shot book, but the main difference was in the editing.

Usually, I edit in a very linear fashion, building the whole story as I go from beginning to end. This time, I took the main performance and edited it as one whole piece. Then, I went back in with the understories and characters and worked them around the main performance. All in all, it took me 17 hours to edit this. The floor is littered with characters that didn’t make it and aspects of scenes that weren’t up to snuff.

And, more importantly, I made good on the promise I made to myself after the Requiem was done. There is not one “inadvertently inspired” shot in the whole damn thing. For the first time I was able to apply the rules of the sublime to a video. Typically, I reach a point where I sort of wander around with a camera shooting things that appeal to me and later, find a connecting rationalization to it all. This time I knew exactly what I wanted. The moment of inspiration came in picking out the strongest points of the sequence.

Inspiration and creativity, and I harp on this all the time, are not full of secretive things that our unconscious mind hides from us and then suddenly reveals. The unconscious, with all its connections to what is seen and unseen, is constantly trying to be heard by our waking minds. We are just usually too busy or dismissive to still ourselves enough to listen. Hence flashes of inspiration, it is when the unconscious finds a break in our conscious walls and bursts through. But it is always there. Always there, wanting to be heard and included in our waking lives.

Things like “writer’s block” tend to occur when we become resistant in our waking states to making that connection to our unconscious sides. It is easier, sometimes, to believe that inspiration comes from outside of ourselves in flashes and bursts; but think about it. Do you honestly think that (fill in the blank – God, the Divine, the Universe) only wants to communicate to us sublime things on special occasion? Or would they prefer we chose to be willing to listen, learn and do all the time? That way they could communicate other, deeper and more advanced things.

Writer’s block, or really any kind of block, rarely occurs because the idea is so devastatingly deep you are shying from exploring and bringing it to life – all though that does happen. Usually, it comes from the act of – or the idea of – touches on something that is a reminder of something else that you are avoiding. To write of villains, we must face the villains in our own lives. To write of the loss of love, we must face the love we have lost. To express our selves creatively, we must face what we have accepted in our lives that does not want us to be free and healthy.

Look to what you are avoiding in life that is similar to the act of creating when you are blocked and you will find a way to lift the stone. Often, the easiest way to do that is to just sit down and do, not everything we create will become a finished piece. But everything we do create involves symbols, whether they be letters or colors or specific images or abstract shapes and all of that starts to allow you subconscious to surface and speak with your waking mind.

The worst thing you can do when blocked is announce you are blocked and do nothing.

Choose to do something.

I’ll deal with Libya later. That is developing in interesting ways.

c.2011 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.


About cassandratribe

"There are few artists that can do what Cassandra Tribe does. Whether with her poetry, her videos or her blog, Cassandra examines the truths that most of us can never come close to realizing and shows it for what it is, both beautiful and frightening at the same time. She exposes our inner-most workings like the cross-section of a powerful but flawed machine, our gears and springs, nuts and bolts removed and laid out before us. She is a true artist. Her new video, Requiem for a God, is the latest example of Cassandra's willingness to tear open and examine the very things that make us human. Shooting the film entirely by herself, she also eliminates all the little excuses we come up with to keep us from ourselves and our truth. You see, even when she's not trying to be, Cassandra Tribe is a beacon of truth and humanity in this darkest of worlds." (Michael E. Quigg, The Culture Network, June 2009)
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