“My body feels like it’s vibrating all over. A feeling like all the cells in my body were dancing.” These were the notes I had typed on my phone as soon as the interview was over.
I wanted to remember the sensation after I had interviewed Jude Higgins, a death doula based out of Salt Lake City.
Looking back, I would have never imagined that interviewing people could be so exciting and rewarding. “This is cool. I can do this,” I thought to myself.
The catalyst that developed this story idea came after I had begun writing a screenplay about a death doula. I wanted to get more background on the profession so I thought interviewing one would be helpful for my screenplay. I located my source through a Google search, and I was fortunate enough to interview the first person who came up in the search results for “Death Doula Salt Lake City.”
The results led me to Jude Higgins, who was a great focus for this story because not only is she the first to appear in searches, but she is also knowledgeable and experienced in the field. She along with the other death doula I interviewed, Katrina Klinge, were very cooperative for an interview and helpful to answer any questions I had.
The biggest obstacle I faced was following up with my sources and maintaining the connection after the interview had passed. I was so grateful for their time, that any additional requests seemed like I was taking advantage of them. This was something that I had to overcome and with some words of encouragement from Professor Mangun, I was able to overcome this fear.
The pandemic did not pose any problems conducting the interviews. Two of my sources did not live in Utah so our interviews took place over the phone or email. The source who lived in Utah was able to meet me at a coffee shop to conduct the interview.
I always knew that I wanted Jude to be the focus of the story. The challenge was finding a way to have my two sources fit into her story. I think they contributed well to the focus while also giving them a chance to be a part of their own story.
I have pages and pages of quotable lines from all three of my sources and If I could make a larger story, I would have loved to include the stories they had to share. Jude Higgins had a story about working as a death doula in a hospital during the peak of COVID.
The thing that surprised me the most was how much I enjoyed every step of the process. Even the parts that made me nervous were still exciting and I would really enjoy writing more stories for fun. Because it is fun for me. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a great writer or journalist, but I do know that I’ll try my best to get better and make engaging content for readers.
To conclude, this experience has given me the realization that even stories that don’t include me, have a piece of me in the writing. This was the first time I’ve had to write a story objectively. All my writing prior to this story has been deeply personal and influenced by my own experiences. The challenge to write a story without expressing how I was feeling, or what I was thinking was an interesting challenge and one that I feel I learned a lot from.
I hope to write many more stories in my life. It was fun and I would say my favorite part of the entire process is the interview. Meeting people and getting to know who they are, where they’ve been, and what they’ve experienced is a wonderful way to connect. I want to connect with more people and if I could make my ability to connect a career, I will be happy.
Alfonso Belloso is a filmmaker, photographer, music producer and novice journalist living in Salt Lake City. Alfonso Belloso is originally from Los Angeles, where they studied audio engineering at the Musicians Institute. Alfonso is a Latinx music producer who has worked with Grammy Award-winning engineers in the recording industry, composed music for films, and produced records for independent artists.
Growing up in LA, Alfonso always had a love for movies and music. Their father was a DJ and would take them to work at parties in LA.
Alfonso’s family moved away from LA after their uncle was murdered in their own home. A bullet that was meant for Alfonso’s father. Their family ended up in Salt Lake City, where Alfonso started a punk band. This band would lead to Alfonso recording multiple studio albums and living in a van traveling North America to play music for strangers.
After some time playing live music on the road, the cold and hungry nights were difficult to find exciting. Alfonso left Utah and their band to try to find success in different cities. However, much like the treasure in Paulo Coelho’s novel “The Alchemist,” the treasure was always right under their nose the whole time. Back home in Utah.
Alfonso now studies journalism at the University of Utah. They aspire to be a filmmaker with an interest in cultural journalism writing about stories such as their own or other people’s. Stories that drive connection and make people feel seen and less alone. A strong influence from enlightened mystics such as Ram Dass or Eckhart Tolle, Alfonso believes that we are all one and brought into this life to honor the present moment. Alfonso hopes to encapsulate this feeling in everything they do.
Alfonso said, “I only aim to make a positive and memorable experience for the people of the planet. I hope that I can inspire my community and the next generation of disenfranchised creators.”