How to Haunt a House

This past Halloween spooky season, I finally followed through on reading Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House after several years of wanting to do so. I was inspired to read it after watching Mike Flanagan’s Netflix series of the same name. To say that Flanagan’s series was loosely based on the book is an understatement. There are very few similarities between the two, although they are both excellent in their own way. Flanagan’s series is about a family consumed by loss and grief, and it came at a time when those themes were particularly resonant with me. Jackson’s book is about a woman consumed by a desire to belong somewhere, anywhere, after a lifetime of never fitting in. It shocked me how much I saw myself reflected in her struggle.

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An Abbreviated List of the Things We’ve Lost

A first love
A last goodbye
A stolen glance
A close call
A movie premiere
A foul ball
A mosh pit
A dance recital
A coworker
A friend of a friend
A diagnosis
A reconciliation
A breathtaking view
A last chance
A birthday party
A funeral
A warm embrace
A one-night stand
A cup of coffee
A confession
A garage sale
A pinball game
A spelling bee
A graduation
A new dress
A reason to wear it
A father
A mother
A sister
A brother
Et cetera
Et cetera
Et cetera

The Infinite Loop and the Authentic Self

In 2020, if you heard someone mention “Groundhog Day,” it was probably in reference to the movie rather than the bizarre annual tradition the movie was named after. Particularly for those of us who were stuck working from home for most of the year, there was a very Groundhog Day quality to waking up day in and day out to the same routine and having little to no in-person contact with the outside world. But beyond the soul-crushing grind of feeling like one was living the same day over and over again, there was the way it forced some of us–or at the very least myself–to confront the ways in which we were living our lives.

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The Stay-at-Home Blues

Let me tell you a realization I had this morning. Actually, maybe it wasn’t this morning. Maybe it happened in my dreams overnight, because it was there in my head when I woke up. The realization is this: I’ve spent the last few days inconsolable with the idea that things will never really go back to the way they were, that our lives and our reality will be forever changed in ways we can only begin to predict.Continue reading “The Stay-at-Home Blues”

Dating Around and the Death of the Ego

Netflix’s Dating Around is a reality show with a very simple premise: Each episode, one person goes on dates with five other people and then decides with whom (if anyone) among that group of five they want to go on a second date. There are some good lessons to be learned from the show, and among them is this: you can’t predict chemistry.Continue reading “Dating Around and the Death of the Ego”

Five Alternate Endings for Last Friday Morning

Last Friday morning was a difficult one. A little over nine months after separating from my now ex-wife, I finally made the soul-crushing journey down to the local circuit court to file for divorce. It was an overwhelming experience in many ways. It was expensive. The paperwork was confusing. And worst of all, it meant I could no longer be in denial that our marriage was over.Continue reading “Five Alternate Endings for Last Friday Morning”

Me, My Mom, and the Terminator

One of my fondest memories of my mother involves killer robots. It was early July, 1991, and by some set of circumstances I can’t recall my father and sister were not home that day. It was just me and my mom. She made me my favorite dinner (spaghetti and meatballs) and asked if there was a movie I would want to go see. I answered without hesitation: Terminator 2.Continue reading “Me, My Mom, and the Terminator”