For five hours this past Thursday, I was interviewed on camera for a documentary about the beginnings of Rotary’s commitment to eradicate polio. It’s comforting to know that most of that footage will end up on the cutting room floor.
Documentary film makers, historians, and journalists must always pick and choose. The late Professor Geoff Blodgett taught us Oberlin history seminar students, “The facts never speak for themselves.” No matter how objective you try to be, you have to decide what to include and how to arrange it.
In everyday life, too, there isn’t room for everything. I like the precept “Take what you like and leave the rest.” Without advocating denial, I’d rather give my time and attention to what brings joy, growth, connection, or meaning. The rest can go on the cutting room floor.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.