People are complex and often their stories have many threads, and this is perhaps even more true for those who have migrated to our island from all corners of the globe. It is impossible to encapsulate all this complexity of a person's life story in a 30-40 minute podcast, so careful editorial choices have to be made.
With Elena's story, there were so many strands that it was a tough choice to decide what to leave out, but it was clear that colour was a good angle to start with, as colours in some way had been part of her identity in one way or another through most of her life. Mexico is also such a colourful culture, with vivid colours being a big feature of everything from the food to fashion and clothing. But, of course, colours have such symbolic and emotional meaning and that is something that Elena touched on when describing some of the events in her life as well.
Although there were some interesting cultural aspects that Elena talked about in our original interview, I chose in my editorial decision-making to go for the more personal elements of the story over the cultural things. When listening over and putting my self in the place of the listener, I think some of these cultural practices may have been a little unclear or lacked real significance without further context. So they didn't contribute to the flow of the main narrative.
I find it interesting to reflect on this editing process and compare to my feelings of hearing things in the moment, as what you think is interesting or relevant can change quite a bit. In the moment you are hearing things for the first time, everything can seem interesting or relevant, although you are trying to think a bit about themes and angles that will pull the story together. Sometimes there are nice anecdotes which seem interesting, but seem out of place when you listen to everything as a whole. Of course, it can be nice to take a nice side tour occasionally but often I have to balance this with length and not letting each episode get too long or rambly ( not that I want to say that any of my subjects ramble, I think it's me who usually does more of that ! ).
At the end of the day, it's important to have some sort of system to help the editing process and I think it's a mix of art and science in coming up with a satisfying narrative at the end and it's something I'm still trying to get better at doing.
The thing I liked about Elena's episode was that some of the themes that she talked about would be relatable for many migrants or even anyone who has faced big setbacks in life. These include the feeling of isolation when an outsider in a new place, recovering from relationship breakdowns, overcoming some major health setbacks, and so forth. These are heavy issues that human beings everywhere may face in their lives and for me this is part of the process of humanising people who may seem, on the surface, very different from ourselves.
Going back to the original theme, perhaps we can say that though people may wear different colours on the outside, on the inside their blood is the same colour.
Please have a listen to Elena's story and find out a bit more about what brought a little bit of Mexico to Launceston !