Choosing to Die


Brittany

I just learned several days ago about the young woman in Oregon, Brittany Maynard, who has chosen to end her life on November 1st of this year. If you don’t know the story, you can read the rest of this piece or go to her web site.

Her story started with headaches, minor at first, and then stronger and stronger until they were unbearable. Who knows how many times she went to see a doctor. Think about it, every time you go to a new doctor, you just want him/her to tell you that the previous six doctors didn’t know what they were talking about – you’re gonna be fine.

But it’s not, at least not according to the seventh doctor. Maybe an eighth?

Brittany’s condition was one of those rare beasts which asked the medical professionals to reach into the dusty section of their bookshelves, and thereafter figure out how to tell the family the unpleasant news.

“You have cancer – one of the worst.”

And then…

“Six months at best.”

From a social standpoint, can it get worse? Sure. She’s 29, and she just recently got married.

The short and sweet of it is that Brittany thought about it and thought about it, and in the end decided she didn’t want to put her family through that. With the support of her family and friends, she came to her own decision, that she would end her life on November 1st this year.

In understanding Brittany’s story, I look again at the silly notion that some countries have suicide is illegal, or at least any attempt at suicide is illegal. Why? I don’t get it. Okay, don’t kill anyone else; yeah, I get that. Every person life is their own and no other person has any other right to take the life of another. Got it.

But what’s the deal with making it illegal for someone to take her/his own life? What do you care? I don’t mean that disrespectfully, but if someone wants to go, there’s no one, family or otherwise, who has any right to tell them that they’re not allowed. Their life is their own.

I find myself in admiration of those who see their road ending prematurely and choose to ride it out to the end, simply because its their road to walk and no one else’s. They don’t want to switch paths; they don’t want to ride on someone else’s path; and they don’t want to spend the time trying to go against the Universe and make a completely new path – one the Universe never intended them to have in the first place. There is a great deal of admiration I have for these people. Aside from Brittany’s tale, how many of these types of people have you heard about? It’s not all that often that we get to hear of people who take full responsibility of their lives at all costs.

The reason I say this is because the goal for most in our society is live a long life. We often forget that along with the ‘long’ bit we want to live a healthy live. It’s not so much important to live long as it is to live well. But that’s beside the point. The thing is, in her video she talks about what she’s doing to enjoy life before she passes.

She talks about what it is like going through this. Her parents talk about it, how hard it is to deal with it, and amid all of it, there is a constant return to how much pain there is involved. But the pain mostly comes from her parents (her mom). Brittany herself seems to be at peace with it all, which seems natural in a sense. It’s sort of the kind of strength one would expect her to show considering her state.

She has talked about what she has decided her final resting place to be, where she will pass, who will be there, the music that will be playing. It’s almost romantic in its finality.

We wonder, when we hear stories like this, what it must be like for the family, her husband, certainly, to whom she has been married for a year now. What is it like for them, those who will be around her when she passes, being there with her, to hold her hand and watch her transition from the world of the living into whatever comes after that.

It’s weird even for me, to write this about her here and now. I’ve never spoken with this girl, never heard of her, and if she weren’t terminally ill, I probably wouldn’t think twice about her. I don’t mean that in a disparaging way, of course, but just seems like it’s the truth. But here I am writing this about her now, and I feel somehow connected to her. Not that we understand each other, but that there is a wavelength, a thread, somewhere in the picture, the picture that none of us have been able to make out in our human history. I feel connected to her in that I’m connected to all of us, as we all are connected to one another, and I am saddened by the forthcoming loss of a piece of my spirit. John Donne said it so poignantly in his poem No Man is An Island.

                        If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,

                                                                        …

                      Each man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind,

I write this in celebration of Brittany Maynard. You inspire me and I have a great deal of admiration for you. Thank you for another reminder of how beautiful and precious life is. May blessings and love sing you into eternity.

 

 

NaNoWriting


There are traditionally two ways to write….(at least so say those who have been writing for a while). The first way to write is to outline and plan. Without getting into all of the details, this is basically where you plan everything before you write all that good stuff you want to write.

The second way of writing is to listen to the Muse, for lack of a better phrasing. You just ride the natural creative roller coaster on the track that it has laid for you, and go with it. You listen to what the characters are saying and to the story that they tell you. Some people believe in it and others think it’s a complete load of horse hockey, but others totally swear by it.

These two ways are followed amateurs as well as professionals, and the best part about all of it is there’s no right answer.

Where am I going with this?

In about one week’s time writers around the nation (as well as parts of the world) will kick off National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo (pronounced NA-NOE-RYE-MOE). It’s a challenge to get 50,000 words down in 30 days. Doable. Certainly doable. I enjoy this challenge and it’s one I’ve participated in four times and am considering a fifth go.

For the beginning writing this is a fairly tall order. It’s nothing to balk at, and nothing that the verbally faint of heart really would go after, but it’s not something that just a few people can do. Year after year, people from around the world (young and old, novice to experienced, aspiring novelist to professional screen writer) come in flocks to get their words down on the digital page.

The facts and figures of it all come down to making sure that you average somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,700 words a day. For the newbie, that’s a crap ton, but for the professional writer, this is negligible. However, most participants in the challenge are not in either extreme. That is to say that it’s not just sitting there for most people to be at either end of these sides (total novice, writing professional). NaNoWriMo is built on quantity, not quality. It’s designed for the writing to actually get down all of the words that she said she was going to in a given amount of time.

What’s the point?

The hardest part of writing for many is getting the words down. If you’re a writing, you know what I mean. Easier said than done could probably be a motto that is best used here. Why? Well, for many of us, we like to call ourselves ‘writers’ when we don’t really write anything. Let’s face it; it sounds good. So, we’ll talk about writing, listen to podcasts about writing, read about writing., all the things that allow us to feel like we’re writing, except actual writing.

Writer’s Write.

We’ve seen, heard, read, even advised others of this trite motto, but how often have we followed it ourselves? Writing is so paradoxical in many ways. I won’t name them all here (mainly because I don’t know them all), but one of the biggest paradoxes lies in how difficult writing is (one of the reasons we want to do it) because of how easy it is to do it – just sit the f*** down and write.

We love our distractions too much. Facebook, Twitter, E-mail, maybe some Reddit in there, or OOH, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. Mental Masturbation, as a former community of mine used to refer to it. It’s true. We would rather be distracted and talk about being what we’re not, than doing what we should do and not be distracted. We would rather play than work, is really what it comes down to.

Writing a novel (even writing some short stories) are harder than they seem, especially knowing that we actually have to work at them. They’re big projects that can only be achieved one letter, one word, one sentence, etc., at a time.

NaNoWriMo is a way for us to get our work done (with high output/productivity) in a short amount of time.

Back to the Topic

Yes, NaNoWriMo. <<ahem>> It’s a blast. Sign-up is free, profile/book/friends/community creation is free, and ….. yeah, everything is free! It’s just a place to go and write. So, the only hard work you have to do is all the bullshit writing that you say you do and NEVER do. We’re giving you one month, ONE SINGLE SOLITARY MONTH. Grab some coffee, some Skittles, or whatever other BS writing food you like to eat but never eat while writing, and come join us. Let’s see if you got what it takes, but really.

DC or Marvel?


superhulk

Before you read any further, I think you should cast your vote in this poll:

I think it’s a fair question. I’ll go a bit further to say that it’s not one I’m sure I would be able to answer with all the facts, but hey, we’re probably all at varying levels on that one out there. The full gamut of fans exists among us in the multiverse. Some out there have their ammo fully stocked to DC Stun with the safety off, while their opposing members are die-hard killers of the Marvel army. And everyone’s got her/his story, don’t they. Everyone has a background – a reason as to why they are members of whichever side.

Fine. I’ll start.

Those closest to me know that I spent my formative years as a member of the Green Lantern Corps. No, seriously, I was a member. Green Lantern was my favorite Comic Book character. I didn’t know the dude’s name, didn’t know that there were different members of the cosmic corps, didn’t know that there were girls (although when I found that out, if I wasn’t fully committed, that sealed the deal – have you seen those girls?), and didn’t know that there was anything called Marvel.

One of the biggest attractors for me initially was that he was green. Yeah, I like green, so what? Next that his green suit looked really cool. Arguments? But the one that really took it over the top for me was his ring and what it could do. Okay, so wait, this dude can think of whatever he wants and he has that power? And once you know that, you pretty much realize that nothing can top that? So, if he meets whichever other hero or villain, all he has to do is think of something better, something that can top the other guy’s power, and he’s got it made. It was a love-at-first-sight kind of thing. I started reading the comics, purchasing the figurines, and that was pretty much it.

I later learned that Marvel and DC were two different things with different characters, stories, and fanfares…and when I say fans, there are some serious fans out there. It wasn’t until many years later that I was able to meet some of these people, one of my friends in particular has comic knowledge only to be labeled as encyclopaedic. And it doesn’t even have to be DC or Marvel, it’s both, and then some. T***** knows stuff about comics in general all over the world that people don’t know about. I had no idea. I would be flipping through comic characters (in general) in some shop and I would ask him, “Hey T*****, who’s this?” And BOOM! He would lay it on me – name, powers, storyline, who he/she is related to, when they came about, year of their emergence into the world, strengths, weaknesses, and over and over, and he would keep going, one right after the other. I was blown away. T***** would tell me some stuff about there being people in the world who knew more than him, and I just shook my head. No way.

But everyone’s got her/his preference. So, let’s chat about the two for a bit.

DC or Marvel – what’s the difference?

Well, I don’t know and I’m not going to make this a research project in which I list all of the similarities and differences between the two, but let’s just go with basic observations.

I have to be honest in that the first time I saw a Marvel comic book, I thought the art work was better. Subjective, I know, but that’s just what I thought at that moment back in 19-WHENEVER, but that was the case. It’s not anymore. Now I’m smarter about things, knowing that a name doesn’t just contain a degree of quality in itself. The artists make the good stuff, and whichever company hires the artist, that’s the company that will get the quality.

What about Characters?

Some of my friends told me that there are some great Marvel characters out there that I should really take a look at – one of them being Deadpool. I must say that when I first looked at Deadpool’s outfit, it was pretty sweet. But, man, when I started reading some of his stuff, I was honestly turned off by it. To me he just seems like a guy who tries to be funny in a sarcastic way as he goes around killing at random. He’s kind of a dick.

But there are all kinds, aren’t there? And with Hollywood’s movies coming out one after the other, it sort of (sadly, I think) paints a picture of which one we should like more. We’ve had X-Men shoved down our throats, and Iron Man slapped across our senses. But we’ve also had our share of Batman and Superman over the years….and the…umm…..(*cough*SHITTY*cough*)…Green Lantern movie as well.

 

I am not the comic connoisseur of the world, nor is it my intent to act as such. I am just a dude who loves some Green Lantern and wanted to see what the rest of the world loved or knew about comics.

 

So, let me know what you think. DC or Marvel? …or something other hidden comic treasure which the world doesn’t really know about but should?

 

Let us know.

Ebola or Not – You’re going to die anyway


Why are you worried about Ebola? Why?

Seriously, the whole world is worried about Ebola. Everyone’s freaking out, but at the end of the day, what’s the point of worrying about it? Let’s go over our options.

Option A: You get Ebola – If you get it, then you’re probably going to die, after which point, you won’t be worrying about it anymore.

Option B: You don’t get it – Hey, great news. You’re still alive. Get back to work.

The Media sensationalize things. It’s their job. That’s what they do. How many of us really know what the deal is, really know what’s going on in the Ebola-ridden areas of the world. Hasn’t it recently been confirmed that Spain does NOT have Ebola? There were all these reports going back and forth about Ebola traveling (first class) to Europe and now the rest of Europe’s going to have it, and we’re going to go back to the Black Plague and the Spanish Flu and there were screams and crying going on world-wide.

 

My gosh, people, settle the hell down. Just because the Media say it does not make it true. That means, just because it’s all over every magazine on the shelf at Barnes & Noble does not mean you should believe it. In fact, I would argue that there are many other wondrous areas of B&N that you should be exploring that are much more interesting than the magazine racks. Ephemeral literature has its place, sure, but that’s all stuff that’s going to be recycled and old news within the span of a week or so, but the books on the shelves, those are the ones that are (more-or-less) timeless. I guess I would much rather get caught up in fiction than anything non-fiction out there. It’s much more interesting.

How many of you remember Y2K? The Hauntavirus? Al-Qaeda? And now ISIS? Some believe that the U.S. Government will take away our 2nd Amendment? ..and the list goes on.

You can find all kinds of things on the Internet these days. I’m not saying any of them are true, nor am I saying they’re false. I’m saying they’re all there. Human beings have this strange fear of all kinds of things. Some believe that Aliens will invade us, that there’s a strange Planet X (or whatever the planet’s new name is) out there to destroy us all and then Earth’s civilization will be no more and we’re all going to die! AAAHHHHHH!

Okay, well let’s look at it in a different way, if you die, so what?

Seriously. So you die…..

Okay….

So?

Whether you die today or in fifty years, guess what. You’re still going to die. So, if you don’t know when you’re going to die, isn’t I a better idea to get all the shit done that you want to get done knowing that your check-out date is unknown?

Stop Reading and Believing Dumb, pointless shit! Go out there and live your life. I don’t care if you like knitting, playing video games, soccer, eating pizza, studying languages, spending time with family or friends, as long as you’re enjoying what you’re doing, isn’t that the point?

You’re going to die. So, either you can spend from now until they nail up your coffin or dust out the still-cooling crematorium cell to worry about it, or you can just enjoy what you got and go out they way your natural life has intended for you to go out. I really don’t care about what you decide. I just want to whining and the bitching to stop. I mean, if I get Ebola, then….well….I guess I have Ebola.

You do the best you can and that’s all that you can do. You take steps to avoid certain dangers and the game will play out the way the game plays out. I’ve heard the complaint ‘I don’t want to die,’ I don’t know how many times. I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re gonna die. I don’t know of anyone in human history who’s evaded that obstacle.

But, think about it, we have the potential of dying at any given moment in our lives. We could go out there and get hit with a car, an asteroid, a bullet, a random flying blade, or a coffee cup tossed in the heat of a fraternal or sororal dispute. But the fact remains, we are all mortal (at least for the most part), and we do have our frailties.

Can we please just stop caring about when, where, and how we’re going to die? When we’re dead, we’re not even going to have to worry about it. So, why worry about something that we’re not going to have to worry about anyway?

Ebola or no, I’m going to enjoy today.

 

Shut up and Write


Again, a message from Chuck

-LP

SHUT UP AND WRITE (OR: “I REALLY WANT TO

BE A WRITER, BUT…”)

Yes.

You.

*waggles accusing finger*

Shut up and write.

No, no, I know. You just wrote me an email and in this email — like in so many other emails by so many other ‘aspiring’ writers — you informed me that you really want to be a writer, but. No, it doesn’t matter what follows after the but. Something about time. Or family. Or fear. Or lack of knowledge. Or lack of practice. Or bees. Or facebees. Or how your hands were gnawed off by winged, mutated piranha leaving you with those lumpy fish-chewed stumps.

I don’t care.

I’m writing.

You’re not.

End of story.

Shut up.

Shut up shut up shut up.

And write.

Sure, yeah, some days it is fucking hard. Some days it feels like performing rectal surgery on a cantankerous bridge troll. Some days writing is running blindfolded through a maze made of pricker bushes. Writing is an act of creation, and creation is hard. It’s volcanic. Tumultuous. These creative atoms smash together clumsily, violently, destructively. You give something to get something with writing.

But also, it’s not that fucking hard.

C’mon, son. Really? Really? I mean, nobody’s asking you to send a man to Mars. You’re not tasked with desalinating an ocean or training a komodo dragon to cure ebola. Shit, I’m not even asking you to mop up some kid’s puke or wait tables at a five-star restaurant. Or a three-star. Or a fucking Hardee’s off the turnpike.

I’m saying, sludge yourself into the ass receptacle and peck keyboard keys like a hungry chicken until it makes words. Tap tap tap. Click click click. Or pick up one of the tools used by ourdistant ancestors — it is a tube filled with the liquid black souls of all the animals we’ve made extinct — and use this “pen” as a scribe would to etch scribbly heretical word-shapes onto dead tree pulp.

In other words: shut up and write.

Don’t talk about writing. Stop reading about writing. Don’t even come here. This place will be here later. When you’ve done the work. This blog isn’t meant to be your distraction — a warm pool in which to wade so you never have to swim out to the big bad scary ocean. It’s not here so you can feel productive and seem like a writer. Fuck that. No no no no no. You go write. Then you come back here. You gotta start first. Everything else is just masturbation. It’s fuck or walktime, hondo.

Shut up and write.

I really want to be a writer, but…

But.

But what?

But nothing.

It’s on you. You wanna be a writer?

Easy! Write.

Ta-da! Zing! Bing! Bang! Boom.

The writer writes. The writer writes! THE WRITER WRITES.

Hell with aspiring.

To aspire is to expire.

But it’s scaaaaary, you say. Sure, sure, yes, it can be. That sacrificial component can be terrifying. It feels like exposing yourself — some kind of intellectual, creative nudity, like running through somebody else’s mind, naked. Stripped bare. To the skin. Maybe to the bone. What might you say? What might you reveal? Who are you? Who will read you?

I know! I do! And I still don’t jolly well fucking care! Shut up! It’s not like I’m shaking a box of wasps at you. The act of writing isn’t a bedroom closet stuffed full of eyeless clowns — the stink of greasepaint, the honking noses. We can slap whatever metaphors we want on the act: writing feels like jumping out of a plane, oh my oh my, and while that metaphor holds water, it still isn’t actually you jumping out of a plane, is it?

Nobody’s jumping out at you.

No sharks or animated scarecrows with pointy knives.

Write.

Write now, right now.

Shut up.

What’s that? You don’t have time?

Well, who fucking does? Everybody thinks writing is some happy horseshit anyway, and life does not automagically provide you with an allotment of hours in which to creatively dick around, so — welcome to the club. We’re all snatching minutes from the mouth of the beast.

Oh, oh, you’re afraid of rejection. Of course you are. I am too. I hate rejection. Who wants that? Who wants to be told no, this isn’t right, this isn’t good, this isn’t all there. But rejection is how you know you’re doing the work. Rejection means you’re putting words to paper and you’re throwing them out there for all the world to see. Rejection is your battle scars: proof of your fight in the arena. Nobody wants to fall down and go boom but falling down and going boom is how you learn not to fall next time. Or at least fall differently.

Or, is it that nobody respects that you wanna be a writer? Yeah, get used to that. You’d get more respect as a juggler hired out for children’s birthday parties. Who cares? Get shut of it. You’re not doing this for the glory. If this is just some fantasy, pinch off that artery right now. The fantasy of writing isn’t that glamorous, trust me. (If I turned on my webcam, you’d flinch and ask yourself, WHAT KIND OF MONSTER IS THAT HUNCHED OVER IN THE SICKLY GLOW OF A COMPUTER MONITOR OH MY GOD IT’S LIKE A FURRY BAG OF TRASH CAME ALIVE AND DECIDED TO BLOG — JESUS, GOD, THE EYES ARE HAUNTING, THE MOUTH IS HANGING OPEN, I CAN IMAGINE THE SMELL OF DEATH AND COFFEE.)

I want to be a writer, but.

Stop.

Stop there.

And start writing.

You’re either writing, or you’re not. Stop obsessing over all the things that come later. Fuck publishing, marketing, audience, writing advice, writing blogs, tweets, reviews, book covers. This is a pure, untainted time between you and the manuscript. This is unfucked snow. So go, fuck that snow up. Write! Write. Create! Tell stories. Put it down. Carve something out of nothing — you’re given a wide and briny sea of pure imagination, so draw upon it.

I can do nothing for you if you’re not writing.

I can’t make you write.

I can’t puppet your indolent, inactive hands.

I can yell and kick and flail and flounce.

But all this is on you.

Shut up and write. Right now. Literally. Leave this page, go and open a notebook or a word processing program or grab a Sharpie and turn the pale flesh of your left arm skyward and start writing. Write 100 words, bare fucking minimum. No, I don’t care what, though it’s probably better if you aim for something, if you have a purpose in mind — but even if you don’t? Who cares. Pluck those words out of the dark like catching fireflies — fling them into your jar and admire their glow. And then, if you can manage it, write 100 more. And 100 more after that. As many as you can write today and then some. Push! Bite the belt. Swig the whiskey. Grit your teeth so hard you can feel the enamel crack. You’re not lifting a car off somebody.

Point your fingers downward and fling words into reality.

HACK IT OUT.

Then: stop and be proud.

Crush doubt beneath your boot-heel because you’re doing it. You’re writing.

Cackle. Go ahead: cackle. Like a supervillain.

I SAID CACKLE, GODDAMNIT.

And then tomorrow?

Do the same thing.

Don’t tweet about writing. Don’t read this blog. Don’t opine about writing or give writing advice or worry about who will publish your book or oh god will you self-publish or will you find an agent and how will you weather all that rejection and will your book cover just be some girl in leather pants with half-a-buttock turned toward the reader no — stop, quit that shit, stomp that roach, cut those thoughts and those actions right off at the knees.

Tomorrow, write more words until you can write words no more.

Then the next day.

Then the day after that.

Until you’ve finished something. Until you’ve completed the first pass. It’ll be an ugly baby, probably. It’ll be some squalling thing full of slugs and grease, moaning in the mulch. That’s okay. No mad scientist creates the perfect monster on the first go-round.

You’re doing it.

And once you do it long enough, you can say that you did it.

Shut up.

SHUT UP.

Shuuuuuut uuuuuuup.

Halt den mund.

Užsičiaupti!

¡cállate!

And write.

Then you can email me.

Then we can talk.

Jay Lake – You Inspire Me


JayLake-artI must admit, I was pretty bummed to hear of the passing of Jay Lake. He was one of the writers I have followed for some time and a true inspiration. He had cancer. Everyone knew it. We knew it, but we couldn’t really experience what he was going through. We just wanted to encourage him to get through it, get healthy, and keep writing.

Well, he did keep writing, and he did get through it, though not necessarily in the fashion we have wanted him to.

I was first turned on to Jay back in the day when I subscribed to a fantasy magazine called Realms of Fantasy. It has since gone extinct, but hey, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Anyway, it was full of all kinds of cool stories and other fantasy geek shit that I got off on.

One of those stories happened to be one about a family of superheroes, much like The Incredibles,, or I don’t know, do Superman and Supergirl have kids at all? It was comedic and dramatic all at the same time. It was a quick read and completely worth it. Damn, I thought. Who wrote this stuff? I had no idea who the author was, but I had to go and look him up.

Meeting Jay at Norwescon 35
Meeting Jay at Norwescon 35

In the months that followed, I read some more of his fiction, and even met him at Norwescon in Seattle one year. I hadn’t heard of any of his books, but I decided to purchase one to have him sign. It was entitled “Green” and he graciously autographed it for me. He seemed in good spirits and I thanked him and wished him well. It was my first convention, and I thought that’s pretty much what you did at conventions – say ‘thank you,’ and wish people well? I didn’t know that he wouldn’t be around in the next coming year.

Time played out the way it always does, catching us off guard and whatnot, and before I knew it, I had left one job, gone back to school, and been employed in a different area of the country before I found myself surfing online one day coming across the bad news. Jay was gone. No papers, no press, no really big deals (he just wasn’t big enough); just gone.

You look at his situation and you think, Here’s a guy who’s got it the worst. He didn’t have all the fame (which subsequently probably leads to him not having all the money in the world), didn’t have his health, and didn’t really have much (according to the writings of his blog and his cancer) other than his writing. And what he did have, he sailed with it. He wrote and wrote almost every day about what he needed to write about. He wrote a lot about his cancer, his health, but also did some writing on writing. This is all, of course, outside his job and his passion – writing the stuff he loved to write about.

That’s the kind of stuff that really gave me inspiration. I would read other authors commenting on Jay’s stuff and talk about how much they loved him. They talked about his style and how it was all his own, and from the stuff you heard and found about him, you knew that all of his stuff that he had produced had, grain-by-grain, led to him being the person the fans knew him to be.

He worked through it.

And that’s the inspirational part. The rest of us claim to want to write, and we don’t, and we’re healthy. Why is that? Then, you got the guys who don’t ask to get hit with the body bombs and they just shut up and do it. He was young. It makes me look at myself again and ask myself if I’m anywhere ready to die. Am I? I don’t think any one of us would answer yes. Well, few, if any. We all have the same old story to some degree. We all have something we claim we want to do. But then the years go by, and when the question comes around, “How’s it comin’ with that thing?”

“Yeah, I’m still working on it. I’ll get to it one day.”

Jay died at 49. I’m 37 and I’m asking myself, “How close am I to that ‘one day’?”

You’re missed, Jay.

Night Lights


It’s been quite some time since I felt uneasy, in an odd, frightful sort of way. Legitimately unnerved. This morning was when that happened.

We have to put it into perspective, of course. I’m not talking about me feeling completely petrified. Nothing like that. This was more a feeling of just uneasiness and lack-of-knowledge, something which I couldn’t at the time rationally put my finger on, and thereby created a sense of strangeness inside me. Freaky – that’s the word.

I woke up relatively early. The sun hadn’t yet risen and so my bedroom was still dark. Kerrie was still fast asleep beside me, and I decided to go to the bathroom and start getting ready for the day.

When I walked around the bed and turned down the hallway, I saw light coming from underneath the bedroom door. To give you some sort of idea of the set-up of the house, our bedroom is all the way at one end of the house, leaving only one doorway between us and the house proper.

My first reaction was, Great, one of the guys left the light on before they went to bed last night. Still, another voice inside me thought, Hmm, that’s odd. Odd in a way that distanced itself from human reasoning. Again, I had just woken up and my mind was not sure what to make of it.

I opened the door, resolving to nip the matter in the bud. The main living area of the house was illuminated, but, from my vantage point, I could see only down the hallway. I walked to the end of the hallway, where there was access to the light switch and cut the lights. The house went dark again and I waited, expecting to hear voices of displeasure (if it really was one of the students up doing whatever they weren’t supposed to at that hour).

There was nothing.

I waited a few more moments, chalked it up to forgetfulness on someone’s part from the previous night and began walking back down the hallway to return to the bedroom.

Two heavy thumps from upstairs. I stop.

            Hmm, I think. Strange.

I shake it off, close the door again to the bedroom, and walk back to the bed. Kerrie’s still asleep and I’m clearing my head to figure out how I want the day to proceed. Oh yeah, shower. I head back to the bathroom and stop again when I’m in view of the bedroom door. The light is on again in the house.

That’s weird.

Okay, cool. Let’s just take a trip back to childhood when we got to challenge the ghosts under our bed and in our closet. I walk to the door, open it, walk out to the middle of the house and check out what’s really causing this.

Staircase. I go up.

At the top of the landing, I see one of my “kiddos” hanging out doing his homework. All phantasmagoria dissipates.

“Hi Levi,” he says, arching backwards over the arm of the small couch waving awkwardly.

“Hi Adam,” I say with a sigh as I turn back downstairs.

So that was it, at least as far as I can tell. That was the haunting of my house. Humans – big and small. There’s not much else to it.

I can deal with that. I mean, I’ve been training myself to not be afraid of the dark for all the years since I was, I dunno, eight-ish. I can get over the rest. All these guys have to do is turn out the lights.