The process of deciding where to go and who to research will be as much a process of elimination as selection. Case in point: Sylvia Plath.
I'd like to visit Massachusetts -- Wellesley, Smith College, Boston -- and trace the footsteps of this famous woman. Yet, would a documentary intended to be more or less evenly about an array of American writers suffer at the inclusion of Plath and all the inevitable import her fame would bring to the film's tenor? On the flip side, can a documentary about American writers be considered comprehensive in any manner when it leaves out one of our most famous poets?
I'm also debating documentary vs. serial at this point. How could I possibly pare this down to a three-hour feature? I need to devise a narrow unifying thread. A common denominator. Even then it will be vast enough to taunt me.
The obvious choice being only those who wrote directly about the American landscape.
Or those who were extensive travelers themselves. Whitman, Kerouac. The vagabonds.
Those who died of suicide, alcoholism, or overdose. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Plath.
I could simply choose the movements that I find most compelling -- the Lost Generation, the original Confessional poets, and the Beats.
Funny how I deemed this project so important to undertake, ever since its conception almost exactly a year ago -- and now, after the span of one year, it strikes me as more immense than important. Rather lost. I'll find it though, I will.