Z is for Zoetrope.


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I had one when I was a kid. (Yes, there were history buffs in my family. No, I’m really not that old.) It was a do-it-yourself paper and cardboard version held together with scotch tape. When you spun the cylinder, a horse ran around in circles. That’s it. The whole movie, the whole plot. And honestly, I think the horse was just trotting. Not sure I remember.

The animation was something like this:

The device, itself was closer to being a shoe box.

And I did flip books with stick figures moving–my own drawings–most of the time, they just ran, too. Or kicked a ball. Or some simple thing.

There wasn’t a lot to them. Simple things. Just the joy of seeing something you’d done–something you’d made–come to life in front of you. It’s amazing how many times you can watch the same animation, if you built it, yourself.

I still enjoy that feeling. The did-it-myself, believe-it-or-not feeling of art and writing.


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