Category Archives: Lost

Day One – Vlog Nine. Denver and Dinner

While eating and waiting for the sun to go down so that my friend could get out of class and we could get together, I watched the neighborhood children playing, running from one house to the next. Many of the small homes had bars on their windows, but their lawns were neat–not in the neat way that old folk’s and suburbanites yards are neat, but in the way that they were contained, tended to, and not overgrown. There was a general sense of upkeep. Families talking in the evening sun. A gentleman working on a garden.

I’m supposed to be outside because Miguel is getting in trouble. One little boy says, spinning a silver plastic gun with an orange tip around his finger.

Your parents fight a lot, his buddy says.

Yeah.

So do mine. A lot. And for a moment they look distant before the neighbor boy’s sister touches the other neighbor boy on the hand and he jumps back exclaiming that she touched him, She just touched my hand! He repeats himself and laughs and the girl in the skirt ducks and hangs against the fence and laughs.

Back away! They shout. Back away! And their laughter turns to teasing and bantering and running about the yard.And I remember long ago when I was their age and a girl’s briefest touch could mean the world and the game was dancing away and pointing and laughing and stealing hats and chasing them about a playground to get them back, where in the simple motion of running and laughing and smiling with a pretty girl, the world was a rush, a surge of excitement in the smallest things.

And I sat there and I reflected on the past and drank the nostalgia like I’d mixed it in my water bottle and shaken until it was frothy and I shook my head and tried to–

And then the street lamps turn on as if to match the disappearing sun exactly. The kids fade back into their homes. The neighbor boy and his sister’s mother comes out and places her hands on her hips and scolds them for their noise and ruckus and they wander inside before wanding back outside, lingering before closing up shop for good. A lone bat flickers and stumbles about against the purpling sky and eventually, when night has fallen completely, I get the call and drive a few blocks and leave it behind for conversation, catching up, and a couch to crash on.

A Darkness in Itself

Yesterday evening I finally began John Langan’s House of Windows, and managed to knock out a good seventy pages, a reading feat I hadn’t remembered since I read the Shining a month before, and before that – well, I’m not sure I can even remember. It’s been one of those books that I picked up after seeing an author – Peter Straub, if I remember correctly – commenting on it with good reviews, and has since never fully ceased screaming at me from its place on my shelf. Perhaps it was the similarity in title, and to some similar extent, premise, to Danielewski’s utterly brilliant House of Leaves, but I’ve been excited to dive into it.

Finally getting to the haunted house prompt and one scene in particular, where the narrator, Veronica, and her husband, Roger experience a strange, hallucinogenic-like happening, separate for both, but prompting similarities in a kind of stretching imminence, a darkness, a god-like totality of consciousness that speaks of sheer humbling power, in much the same way as the endless hallways of House of Leaves and the arguably derivative Grave Encounters. 

yes, there are bats hanging from my ceiling.

It reminded me of the first week I spent here in my new townhouse apartment. Though the apartment itself is part of a cozy complex and, while close enough to the foothills and arid Fort Collins area approaching those hills, there’s no sense of eeriness or desolation about the apartment itself. While for the first few weeks here, I did have to become accustomed to new bangs and rattles and my roommates leaving kitchen drawers open in the mornings, I don’t believe this place to be haunted. (I have had small experiences of fleeting figures, and one surprisingly detailed shadow figure, but I’m not sure I believe those to be of the house).

What prompted the blog post had little to do with ghosts per se, but that humbling fear of vast empty space. On the fifth night sleeping in this house (alone, my girlfriend was crashing at her own apartment that night), I finally had to dig out my small fountain and shuffle a place for it on one of my bookshelves to give me some sense of sound and light in the room. The basement bedroom is easily twice as big as my last closet (okay, it was a “room” by name only I suppose, which I constantly look back on with awe for how I managed to fit so many books and shelves along the walls in addition to my desk and bed), and my first few nights brought very little awareness of the room when the lights were off. Flip the switch, and despite the touch of blue moonlight from the window well, my room could have been any space, and could have gone on for as long as my imagination could sustain it. Like my bed was lifted at the feet, my head dropped so that I couldn’t make out anything from floor level, only the ceiling, I had the sense of detachment. Of course my things were still here, but they felt far. The quiet almost seemed to echo.

I want to defend myself, to justify that it wasn’t quite a fear of the dark, no, but that’s close to exactly what it was. Perhaps not fear in the traditional sense, I had no desire to leave my new room, nor did I worry for my safety, but it was essentially a reaction to the darkness, not the darkness that hides boogeymen, but that darkness that in itself is a boogeyman, a pressing force, a kind of eternal blanket where all space and time and perspective stops, in which we could lose even our very most basic nature, our humanity, were we to float in it for long enough.

They talk of men going insane, locked inside small dark holes, confined solitarily in prisons across the world, oubliettes, forgotten. How many of them simply walked away into that abyss?

It’s the infinite, the fear itself, the godlike, alien nature of the universe. There’s a cosmic irony somewhere deep down that I appreciate. If indeed the vastness of the universe as we know it was created necessarily to produce that spark of life on our little planet, and beyond that the spark of consciousness found in our recognition of ourselves, then in some way we should look to this sea of the dark and the unknown the way we’d look into the eyes of our parents, with a kind of appreciation and familiarity.

It’s these realizations and ironies I want to express in my writing and my work, but beyond that it’s the experience of looking into this cosmic eyeball, this infinite terror, that I want to capture in my stories and my writing. I want to capture the moment I lay in bed, awake because the quiet was too loud, turn it up to a point of mortal fear, where life and death come into a kind of epic intersection as one, and bring that to revelation.

But just the same, I turned on my fountain, filled it with water, and to my satisfaction, heard it trickle into life a few minutes later. I’ve left it on ever since.

The Fear of the Finale

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of ABC’s “Lost.”


Starting December 2008 over winter break, home from college, a bit bored at night, I finally decided to rent the first disk of Lost. I watched four episodes that night, went back the next day and grabbed disk two, and the day after drove to the store and bought the first season. I never looked back.

Lost is a revolutionary show, and I am not only a huge fan of the story and everything that goes with that, but for what it’s doing for television.

The evolution of television has gone, in my lifetime, from a time of sitcoms born into the slew of procedural crime dramas. Thanks to shows like Buffy and one of my all-time favorites, The X-Files, shows incorporating heavy mythology (the story arc running under episodes of a show, Mulder’s pursuit of Aliens, etc) became popular, and recently opened the doors for full mythology-based shows like Heroes and Lost. Heroes fell apart when they strayed from trying a radical change in their second season to instead more or less recreate the first season, which turned the show into a soap opera of intertwining characters.

For many, Lost’s plot and mysteries were so complex, tightly weaved, and confusing it seemed as if the writers were just stringing the audience along. But then Lost did something that I’ll forever respect them for and the network for allowing it – they put a finale’ date for the series.

Thank God.

After watching the X-Files, which ran four seasons past the intended finale at the end of the fifth season (in which the makers planned a movie trilogy to finish the story), and instead produced seasons that were far too unsure of themselves in not knowing how to build on their mythology when it could end at any time, dragging their feet, introducing new, expendable plot points – it was horrible, all because the show was getting great numbers of viewers and the network was afraid to pull the plug on a good thing.

Thank God Lost set a date. Not only is the story going to be told as it should, with questions answered (well, MOST anyway – I’m sure they’ll leave a couple open), but the hype for the network is fantastic! The show is generating a ton of support going into its final season. Battlestar Galactica did the same thing, but I don’t (….yet) watch the show so I can’t comment on it, but the same effect was created – lots of hype, and a story that ends when it should.

Obviously I’m a writer and I take the concept of story very seriously. I think television shows are a fantastic medium for telling complex, mysterious, good tales, and I quite enjoy the form, but when good shows are forced to peter out into mediocrity I get angry.

The CW’s “Supernatural”, for example. The creator, Eric Kripke, had his outline for the show planned out roughly through the end of season five, and with their present apocalyptic storyline, it would be the perfect, end-with-a-bang, epic finish this May – but Super is bringing in the best numbers since early in season one and the network doesn’t want this hot item to go yet. It’s still in talks for renewal so we’ll see, but I’m preparing for disappointment. Where do you go from here? Dragging the apocalypse out slowly? Having them go back to normal? No, we need a little bloodshed and tears, a little ground-breaking and sulfur, not some monster-of-the-week.

It should be said that it’s not an issue of faith in the writers. The writers are wonderful – they’re crafting some of my most favorite stories on TV, but I’m of the school that stories are beyond us and are channeled through us – no matter how good the writer, a good story will fizzle if lead too far.

Hats off to the shows and the networks doing this, I hope it’s an upward trend that will continue so that good stories can keep on living –