Brittany Ackerman, “THE PERPETUAL MOTION MACHINE” w/ Davy Rothbart

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, essays by skylightbooks on January 23rd, 2019

When my brother was in high school he attempted to build a perpetual motion machine to save the world. That machine was my brother's experiment; this book is mine. It is in the text where I dissect our relationship and try to understand myself. In undertaking this project, I had to research, which meant looking at photo albums, interviewing my brother and parents, asking friends and family what I was like when I was little, etc. Like my brother once said after reading my work, "We color these memories differently," I knew that in order to methodically calculate the moments I had to meticulously plot out what it was I was trying to say. In this way, the collection is like a science project. This book is how I will try to save my brother, or more largely how I will attempt to save the world by making people understand the pain we've all been through, the visceral pain that accompanies longing for some past impossibility. My preparation has been "in the field" and living through it, gathering notes, experiences, and findings; it has all been one giant experiment--to see if we could make it out alive.

Ackerman is in conversation with Davy Rothbart, a bestselling author, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, creator of Found Magazine, and contributor to public radio's This American Life.


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