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there is always something (why I shoot film)

There are maybe ten shots left on the roll. Outside the metro, a collection of pigeons sit on minuscule ledges above two old men. They talk as all old men do, with operatic waves of their hands, sour expressions, belly laughs, eventually scratching their chins as they stare off at nothing in particular. I am pretending to take pictures of something near them, then swing across when they are not looking to shoot a few frames. At one point I surrender to the afternoon and move on.

And now, the courtyard that leads to the film lab. A great old building rests here, a school of architecture where students mill around dressed in black sucking on cigarettes with giant portfolios tucked under their arms. A young man approaches me. I am ready to tell him I have no idea what he is saying, but he wants to know where the film lab is. I jut my chin, telling him the door is just beyond a few bushes. He nods his thanks.

There are screens set up in a jagged line, sheathed in filthy white plastic to …

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There are pockets, absences. In them, histories are hidden, memories stamped down under dry earth. There are episodes that have never been shared, fights and screams never repeated. I carry them in silence for a number of reasons. Some things are forced into shadow by warped law and influence. Freedom of speech is a privilege, and a vulnerable one. Some are edited by choice. Some are edited by necessity. The result is the same - an incomplete picture, a book missing pages, a song missing a second verse. 

There are dogeared boxes of papers that are too painful, too embarrassing too forgotten to yank from shelves, the smell of yellowing paper, the hot pang of failure on them. I cannot throw them away just yet, but plan to. Maybe I save some of them for E, scraps of evidence from a life she was too young to commit to memory, a life of wild-eyed desperation and daily drama. I don't know what she will do with them, but maybe they are for her to destroy, not me.

The past and present are both obscured, hidden behind drapes, unspoken. 

So much goes unsaid, I wonder what good it is to speak at times, to be play along with such lies, such deceptions, such over-simple truths. I used to get excited about theories about where truth exists, in hidden spaces between the known and the unknown - the gaps, the lines scribbled out of love letters. They were theories that inspired years of work, but only now do I understand the price paid for experiencing them first hand. To be mute is a prison I could never have imagined, a punishment that bites into fresh skin every day.

Comments

invisible woman said…
In honour of the burden of your silence, I shall leave you here a silent comment...
Anonymous said…
save them for E!
Breathtaking. Again.

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