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somewhere over the rainbow (and other stories)

  Exactly two years ago I found myself flying through a corner of a rainbow, and landed in Oaxaca, Mexico. It was the last film festival I traveled to, a brutal and sweet experience in the harshest of realities, trying to wrap my arms around the slipperiest industry and failing magnificently. Surrounded by fresh faces and eager eyes I ran from the rooms and into the street time and again, wandering off with the camera in my bag as a companion. I took pictures of a blind man that sang on the same corner every day, of wedding parades, of an old woman waiting to see the dentist.  Literally somewhere over the rainbow, I met the ugliest answers to questions I had been dragging my feet towards for years. Cramming the most delicious food into my mouth, joking at the nightly rooftop cocktail parties, grinning like the Cheshire Cat it was all coming to an end. Actually, it had ended before it even started though - and on the plane back to New York and finally Moscow the bone-crunching undertow

the fastest NO (a mistake)


E had to go to some official office as part of her change in schools. An appointment was made. She went on her own to collect this document we needed. While she was out, I received an email from some government site that said she had missed her appointment. I called her, immediately cooking up a list of terrible things that had caused this. 

“What happened?” I asked.

“I’m in the street.” She answered, relaxed. “I got the paper.”

“But I just got this notice that you did not.” I reply.

She makes that familiar little sigh. 

“Well, I got it.” She said. “I’ll be home in a bit”

I sit in the empty apartment, wondering what good it does to cram bad news into a person’s life - to tell a lie so easily. Emails, text messages, a cascade of notifications rain down on us - immediate results, no waiting. How quick this world is at telling you what you did wrong, and when they are mistaken, no apology, no denial - just silence. If your personal data is leaked, they admit nothing but when your credit card is going to expire in six months you get nudged every day to update your payment information. 

There was a time when you sent out a pile of query letter to agents, with fresh wet stamps on them and your best handwriting across the envelopes. It took weeks, even months to get the rejections - often just a photocopied half-slip of paper with a bland statement, sometimes an actual two sentence letter with a blue ballpoint signature on it. That gap of time between sending and hearing back let us forget, let us go on with our lives not waiting by the phone but working on something new, or rehashing something old. Now, we apply for credit cards and get rejected 30 seconds later. The noes come faster and faster these days, correct or mistaken leaving us no time to prepare, no time to put things in perspective, no time to soften the blow. 

I imagine a great fish in the murky depths of the ocean, snapping up anything small that passes. Swallowing them whole, they are still alive for a little while - inside with nowhere to go. 


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