The Fence: The Script.
This is a fence. Fences are used to prevent movement across a boundary such as a property line. This is a chain link fence, made of metal with a plastic coating. But this is not a documentary about a lightweight construct often found in yards. This is the story of two kids who grew up within the confines of it, and how things have changed.
"Good fences make good neighbors." is the final line in Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall".This may be true, but has led to the ultimate result that I barely know my neighbors. This fence has served much more noble purposes than this, however.
Once upon a time this fence seemed like a massive roadblock to leaving. I couldn’t reach the latch to get to my best friend’s house a block away, or to leave for the bus stop without assistance.
In recent years, I've hopped it to get to the backyard on days I've forgotten my keys. It no longer seems as insurmountable as it did in the past
On warm summer afternoons, I sometimes watch the neighbor’s cats leap over the fence in an effort to evade each other. On wintry days, it’s achingly difficult to move the icy gate so I can back my car out of the driveway to get to school or wherever I need to be.
When I got my first rabbit when I was 8 or 9 years old, the first place Frisky went was through a gap in the chain link in an apparent quest for freedom.
I can understand that. This fence is the last thing I pass before I leave to go anywhere. The first thing I encounter on the way back. It divides and protected me from the unsafe world outside. What was once used to keep me from leaving home is now letting me know I’m home. There’s something oddly reassuring about hearing the faint clink of the metal fence go into place, as if it’s the one thing left to know I’m home.
Do good fences make good neighbors? Perhaps, perhaps not. But I know two things. 1- It makes for good memories, and 2- It keeps the neighbor’s wandering chickens from coming into my yard.
Where am I going? I'm not sure. But the fence will be here to remind me of how far I've come.
In childhood, almost everything that you encounter seems magical. My younger cousin, Chloe is amazed by an origami bird I can fold for her without even thinking, while I am amazed by her childish imagination and spirit.
As we get older, these moments become less and less frequent. Maybe because we become more jaded. Moments like those described in the essay make it all worthwhile. We cannot prevent growing up, and the world around us reminds us of that. My fence serves as a physical reminder of how I have grown and changed, while this incident serves as an emotional reminder of how much has changed. I tried last summer to replicate it...to no avail. Sometimes lightning can only strike once. I created these projects to show and emphazise that. The Beatles said it once about pools of joy, and I believe in that wholeheartedly.
Toughest thing about this project? Doing the voiceover. Like most people when doing this project, the sound of hearing your own voice freaks you out, never mind hearing it over and over again while trying to make the sound work. Luckily, my brother got annoyed with me screaming explicitives while trying to make it work, and swept in to save me with Audacity. Everyone needs help sometimes, and this project is no different.
My first draft was horrible. Absolutely horrible. I was trying to change my writing style from dialogue heavy and short punchy descriptive sentences to something like a mockumentary style of interviewing people to get their idea at adulthood. My peer reviewers, correctly came to a unanimous decision that it wasn't working. So I scrapped most of it and went back to basics and writing what I think I do best and I think it worked out better this way. Lesson learned, that some things we can't fundamentally change about ourselves.
Most importantly, I realized that sometimes its better to show than to tell. I told my readers about how frustrated I was talking about adulthood to a friend of mine who berated me for not moving out. In telling about it, it came off as being judgemental and resentful rather than the sadness that I felt. I used dialogue to show this, and it completely changed the mood of the vignette.