When we first met, B made a Skype video call from his apartment to mine, half a mile away. It was my first. And it was strange.
Falling in love is an experience lived twice. You’re intensely present in every shared moment, every moment of separated longing. All the while your sharp, vigilant awareness of every thought, gesture, and word weaves in and out of the rushes. You live and you observe. You feel and you interpret. The fall in falling in love is felt in every nerve as raw and real; it’s also state of profound alienation.
Add to that the displacement and mediation of a video call. The fact that you are looking at yourself or at your lover, and neither of these looks into his eyes. To do that, you have to look at the camera and imagine that you see him looking back at you.
We spent the entire call talking about the strangeness of the call, and by the end of it, I wanted to write a series of very short films done as video calls between two people who fall in love that way. We came up with a plot and a structure and I sketched it all out on big index cards, and then when we realized it would probably require real actors, it seemed like too big a project to squeeze in between the novel I was writing and the business he was starting.
I just found the notecards, written with a plastic fountain pen and now faded by consequence to look older than they are. The notes are lovely. The idea is outmoded.
Two things did come out of that abandoned project. I taught a class later called “Mediated Intimacy" and I wrote a short story in the form of a series of IM conversations between separated lovers.
And in our Cult of Done Manifesto, point 12 is “If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.”