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no invitation

We are at a 3 year old's birthday party in the back room of a cafe. Music is pumping from a tiny speaker. Balloon animals are popping, and waving in the air. A man in a yellow dinosaur costume dances wildly. Parents snap pictures with satisfied smiles on their faces.

A little girl approaches gingerly and stands in the doorway, straying from her parents somewhere inside the restaurant. She cannot be more than three. It must be hard to ignore all of the noise coming from this room packed with celebration. There is a perfect little pony tail at the back of her head. She hesitates, as one foot poises in the air and then rests back down. How to understand that she was not invited. How to understand the laughter, the loose jumping bodies, the presents piled high on the window. None of this connects to her. There is a little plate of food waiting for her back there, in the quiet restaurant. Maybe a warm bowl of soup, thick with noodles. I watch her for some time.

That night, her empty e…

no one wears white


Dick Rogers leaned in, right up to my face.
"No one wears white." He said, the words separated by angry pauses.
I swallowed, embarrassed.
"No one." He added, his hand waving around with a flourish.
My cheeks ran red. I could feel every hair, right up to the top of my head. I suddenly felt like I smelled terrible. My stomach made an empty noise. A pen hung limp from my hand, then rested on my notebook.

Later in the hallway, he smiled at me. A tiny encouragement.

The film was about my father and my brother, as much as myself. There were heartfelt sessions in front of the camera, the film whirring slowly, the microphone perched just out of frame. There were trips home to shoot my father ice fishing, or painting, or just having a coffee alone at the big kitchen table. Then my brother, doing chin-up after chin-up. The story was wandering, turning blind corners.

In the end, I animated a story that my brother mentioned. A parable.
A deer and a lamb are in a field, eating fresh green grass. The deer's antlers fall off at one point, and he puts a bag over his head, embarrassed. And then the bag falls off. The sheep looks at him for a moment.
"You aren't as important as you think you are." He said.



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