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Walk In The Park Series
Michael Kimber was a frequent contributor on mindyourmind for many years with his popular coming of age website Colony of Losers. He spent years fighting against the stigma around mental illness before finding his way as a filmmaker.
He’s been working on a new web-series with a bunch of talented actors, writer/directors with his co-creator Elias Campbell. It’s called “Walk In The Park” and has twenty-one episodes.
Check the whole series out at Walk In The Park Web Series on YouTube.
He reached out to us to talk about an episode in his series within a series, the Jaredium (The Tragedy of Jared). Jared is a character haunted by the death of his sister. She drowned when they were kids and he’s always believed he should have saved her.
In the episode “I know How You Felt” he’s dealing with his own impending death. He goes to the beach where she died to take his own life so that no one will have to be there for him as he succumbs to his illness. Only as he makes his way down to the water a young woman grabs his arm. And tells him that she’s his sister and they only have two minutes to say everything they wished they’d said. And little does she know that she has just two minutes to convince him to live.
We asked Kimber what inspired this moving and beautiful depiction of complicated grief?
I’ve been trying to figure out how to do deal with death. And my own complicated association with it. The reason I made the Jaredium (the series within a series the episode is a part of) is that it sort of combines two different tragedies I have lived through in my life.
In my early 20s a friend of mine took his own life. And suicide is a really difficult thing to deal with because you can't just say there was nothing you could have done like if they died in a car accident. Because you don't know. And the grief is complicated because the person you are missing is the same person who took that person away. There's this idea that if you kill yourself you take away your pain but from my experience that pain continues to live on outside your body inside of the broken hearts of the people who loved you. So in this piece are some words I wished I'd had the chance to say. The second thing that happened to me that is in this piece was that I was in fire just before I turned 30 and experienced complicated grief. Where I wondered if there was something I could have done to save someone who died in the house fire in a building I lived in.
This piece also speaks to a person living with that sort of survivor’s guilt and says that blaming yourself is not proof of your love. In fact, it's the last thing the person you lost would ever want for you.
Walk In The Park features incredible work by everyone involved. 6 Guest writer/directors gave their own spin on the series. And I wrote and directed seven episodes and my co-creator Elias made 7 incredible episodes. My part of the series is called the Jaredium for a dumb reason. I wanted to sort of make it sound like a classical story yet also have the lead character have a boring name. So Jaredium is sort of like the Iliad. It was meant to describe the Tragedy of Jared and give it sort of classical tragedy proportions. It’s seven parts and “I know How You Felt” is the sixth. It’s a crazy ride and it’s about trying to find the proper way to deal with the fact we are all dying and that isn’t fair. And trying to find compassion in a world that's become cruel.
It’s hilarious, insane and made to reflect the strange surreal world we’ve come to live in over the last couple years. Where you are trying to be a good person when the world doesn’t seem good anymore.
It’s meant to pull the nightmares out of your head and show you that there’s still love there and there’s still laughter. You’ll definitely laugh and cry if you watch this series. You’ll probably see parts of yourself you don’t talk about with strangers.
Go to YouTube to watch the Jaredium in order.
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