The Art of Editing: “The Ground We Lived On” by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Editing is hard work, so we’re taking cues on the topic from the NGO world and beyond.
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc is best known as the author of “Random Family,” a 10-year documentation of life in the ghetto. That in itself is the start of an extraordinary editing fact (how do you cut 10 years of notes into a readable, bestselling book?) but for another time. As “Random Family” gained more and more attention, LeBlanc’s dad was dying of cancer. She visited her dad often, and taped conversations with him until he died.
The 40 hours of audio interviews and 70 pages of text took two years of editing to become a 12-minute radio documentary, “The Ground We Lived On.” LeBlanc said in a Mediabistro interview in 2006, “The structuring of a radio piece is very interesting. It was really hard because literally, we took pages and pages and we had one sentence like, ‘Language is the ground we walked on, and we were speaking even as he was leaving me.’ There were all these haphazard thoughts, and it took forever to get down to that sentence.”