Interview transcript for the American Dreams Show “Holding the Sun, Poems of Inspiration from the Travels of DeAnna Morgan”:
Your husband, Randal Morgan
, has a documentary film degree out of Stanford, how did get involved in helping with documentaries and what role was that?
DeAnna Morgan: I always was in the background with the work that he was doing, but then there was an opportunity that I had that I saw come up to direct a film. We were doing a film for Youth Homes, a wonderful organization that helps at risk children. Randal was working on another project and so I said would you mind if I directed the Youth Homes film? So I got to step in and see what it’s like to make a film and I found out it’s really fun. It’s very creative, you do some really interesting things, you meet interesting people, you put it together in interesting ways and I found that very creative very interesting and such a good project.
Alan Olsen: What is the process required to put a film together?
DeAnna Morgan: I think the process is first to have the vision, that that’s the way I would work at it and work backward. What is it you really are wanting to say and then what are those elements that are going to express that best? So kind of in your head you’re putting it together. For instance the Nez Percé, film I don’t know if Randal talked about that, but being at Bear Paw in Montana, in the snow on the very day that Joseph surrendered in 1877, it was very moving. And so as you look over how is this film going to be put together, you see what you want to say and you see the snow and you see Joseph so you got a vision going, and then it just kind of goes from there.
Alan Olsen: How many years have you been doing documentaries?
DeAnna Morgan: 45 years, 30 of which I was working with my husband, Randal, in the back ground, and then for the last 15 or so years I’ve kind of stepped up the pace a bit.
Alan Olsen: You’ve also written a Poetry book, Holding the Sun, what was the inspiration behind the book?
DeAnna Morgan: If you’re a poet, poetry is something you have to write, I don’t know if you can overthink it. It’s just you have the feeling, you have the experience, you just have to write it. Life itself is so fascinating, people are so interesting. Our walk through this is so amazing that you have experiences that you just think, I got to write this down.
Alan Olsen: What effect you want the poems to have on your readers?
DeAnna Morgan: That this is an amazing adventure and although we go through our ups and downs, ultimately there’s triumphant end to it. So we keep that hope, we keep that vision, we know that as we travel through this journey we’re watched over and so we take comfort and strength from that and are able to move through it with the situations and circumstances that happen. For instance we were in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, so we’re in Port-au-Prince, hundreds of thousands of people have died. The town itself is in shambles. We didn’t know what we would find when we went to the orphanage, so many of the parents had been lost, hundreds of thousands we walked up to the steps of the steps to the orphanage and what we heard was singing and the song they were singing was, I am a child of God and he has sent me here has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear. As we walked in there and heard that singing it was a very tender experience. What we felt in the room was love and the sense of the tremendous resiliency that we all have, the children had that we share through all of the difficulties and crises of life. There is an incredible resilience that the human spirit has. We’ve made friends with people in west Oakland, hang out with them. The resilience again is astonishing, every everywhere you go, you don’t sell the human spirit short because it’s amazing and it’s intact through the most amazing situations, so that’s one thing that we’ve learned in film and in poetry, is to value admire be in awe of the human spirit. All the proceeds from the book go to Foyer De Sion, orphanage in Haiti for which we did these films, and it’s great because a little bit of money goes a long way in Haiti.
Alan Olsen: Where can someone find the book?
DeAnna Morgan: You can find the book on Amazon, just search, Holding the Son, DeAnna Morgan, it’ll take you right there.
Edited for concision and clarity
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