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Moment Mondays: “Just a Man” by Nadja Cada

Monday, May 16th, 2011

By Larry Smith

Each Monday, we’re featuring a story from our upcoming book, The Moment, coming out in January 2012 from Harper Perennial. What’s a “moment”? It’s a story, told in words, images, emails or even the occasional poem or tweet (or sometimes a poetic series of tweets), about something large or small, playful or profound, that changed a life.

The image above and story below comes from Nadja Cada, a student in Ramona Pringle’s Visual Studies course in the New Media department at Ryerson University in Toronto. This second-year class encourages students to explore the nature of narrative in the digital, visual age, and experiment with multi-platform production and non-linear modes of storytelling. This “moment” feels especially relevant in time between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and given the topic of SMITH Mag’s May 18 Story Show.

“The Moment was our first assignment of the year, a way of getting to know each other as individuals, artists and storytellers,” says Pringle, who was recently featured in a New York Times story about how virtual connections in gaming culture are fueling real-life connections. “Students were first asked to write a moment and accompany it with an image for print (of any media) and then asked to create a time-based piece (video, animation, etc), based on their moment.”

Just a Man
By Nadja Cada

On my thirteenth birthday, my mother handed me a letter and said, “I wanted to wait till you were older to give you this, but I think itʼs time. This is a letter that your biological father wrote on the day you were born.” I looked at her wide-eyed, took the envelope and opened it with care and caution. I began reading the thoughts of someone who, up to this point, had been just a man I never knew.

In tight, cursive handwriting he sang praises of love and pride for his beautiful new daughter. He said that everyone adored her and that she had captured his heart. He described her dark, full head of hair and deep grey eyes and the joy of knowing this was his daughter.

I finished the two-sided letter and looked to my mother. She was calm. “He really did love you,” she said. At that moment I had questions. But the man who could answer them had been gone for twelve years.

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