United States

A Life on Film

head straight to the camera supply store with my father’s wad of cash and pick out some gear. Then onto Route 15 and then 40, by myself, driving to New York. I drive until I reach a motel just over the New Mexico border. It isn’t until I collapse on the motel bed and switch on the TV that I feel it. I watch the special report, and I see him young and beautiful. Close to my age, in fact. And out of that young man comes my boyfriend’s voice. I cry and hold the motel pillow against my face. I see his face as he lay on the gurney and it is that image that makes me feel how lost he is to me. How much I will miss him. How much I will always love him. I sleep.

In the early-morning light, I sit on the motel bed and examine the equipment I have bought. I read instructions; I put pieces together. I lift the camera and look through the viewfinder.

I will make my trip and I will also make a film diary of my trip called A Film Made to Cover for the Lies I Told My Parents. My first film since high school. I will make film after film that spring and summer. In the fall I will briefly attend the college with the excellent undergraduate film program. My life will begin to take an ordinary shape, as if the past nine months never happened. As if it were a dream, an unfinished film, a lost radio broadcast.

I am a hungry young woman, just like thousands of other young women. But I have some ideas. A directive, of sorts. I will work and I will work. I have said this is a love story, and indeed it begins that way: my love of cinema, as pure as any I have known.

Dana Spiotta
Innocents and Others
2016

See more Readings from around the world
SUBSCRIBE »