Thursday, May 27, 2010

Big Girls

 I have a kooky story up in Jersey Devil Press, a kooky lit mag.
Here is the link:
Big Girls


I had a conversation once with a girl I used to be friends with about what we would do if we found out we had days to live. She said she would go out and wreak mayhem, do heroin, rob banks. I said I would just want to hang out with my friends and family. She said, that says a lot about who we are. I agreed, but I didn’t get it. I didn’t get why anyone would want to rob a bank. I think LOST would say that she would rob banks for a thousand years in purgatory until she realized she just wanted to be surrounded by the people she loved. Maybe this is why I loved this show, and this finale.

I'm aware of the gripes people have with the series. I've heard about frustration over manufactured mystery, and that the show was too confusing, so people stopped watching. The season finale had too many unanswered questions, and people are pissed.

Of course that was going to happen.

I experienced the first three seasons in quick succession on DVD (thanks to a friend who, thank god, forced them on me.) I loved it immediately and steadfastly through the 4th and 5th seasons (I'd wait for them to come out on DVD and plugged my ears and sang la la la when people talked about it.)
For the sixth season I wanted to be part of the zealous zeitgeist. I wanted to analyze. I wanted to DISCUSS.
I knew from the beginning that there was no way for all, or even the majority, of the mysteries to be answered. The mysteries were a bridge, to connect one episode to the next. I learned this lesson after realizing I would never know what happened to the Russian guy in what is now my favorite episode of the Sopranos- The Pine Barrens. I was was in a state of rapture after that episode. WHERE DID HE GO? HOW DID HE ESCAPE? DID HE CLIMB THE TREES? And after he never resurfaced, I learned to deal. I would never know what happened to the Russian.

So as LOST went on, I assumed that there were many, many questions that would go unanswered. From a storytelling standpoint, after a certain point, it seemed impossible to ever answer them all.
There were some that didn’t bother me- the polar bears and Walt come to mind. I was under the impression that the Dharma Initiative brought the polar bears over. And I can accept that Walt just had powers- whatever, so what. Big Whoop. Sooooo season one.

There are bigger things going on here, and that is what the finale tackled. The really big issues. The really big mysteries.

I am also the sort of person that just goes along with things when it comes to TV shows, movies, select aspects of life. I am along for the ride. If I love a show in the beginning, I stick with it. I become attached to characters. After awhile, the world seems real to me and the characters seem real and I just go along with it. (Unless it's too contrived. I stopped watching Grey's Anatomy after the whole Christina not marrying Burke season finale because I felt I didn't know the characters anymore. And Toby from the West Wing, never, ever would've did what the writers made him do in that last season.)

Whatever I do, even if it's just watching TV, I am always thinking about LIFE. I think in some way or another, every art form, even the purely entertaining ones, exist to help us get through life. It only works if there is truth behind the art form- if it doesn't ring true it just won’t work.

What rings true about LOST is that life is fucked up and crazy and we have no idea what the hell is going on. One of the best things about life is its mystery. Once you think you have things figured out, guess what? You’re wrong.
And things you thought were fraught with meaning? Like that time you had a feeling you would meet a guy tonight, then you do, and you think it REALLY MEANS SOMETHING but then he turns out to be an in-the-closet gay nurse that wasted a month of your life? Ring a bell? No? But you know what I mean.
The mystery keeps us going, even the boring myseteries of our every day lives. When I was in college I had a bad semester- I just wanted to run my car head first into a brick wall. But then I read FIERCE INVALIDS HOME FROM HOT CLIMATES and it cracked my world open and I still remember the line that really did it: “There might be red-eye gravy for dinner.” That’s what keeps us going. The little things we don’t have the answers to.

So this is a long convoluted way of saying that I am OK without answers because that’s how it is in real life. One of the main things I think about in my own writing is HOW DO I LIVE LIFE. Or, HOW DO OTHER PEOPLE LIVE LIFE, then HOW THE HECK DO YOU TELL A STORY THAT MIRRORS THE WAY YOU LIVE LIFE.
Anyway I am now going to watch LOST for the second time and write as I do. I am also going to eat fava beans.

A few General Words about LOST:
I am incredibly invested in this show. I love how intelligent and crazy it is. I love the multidimentional (literally) storytelling. I love the incredible amount of risks the show takes. I was walking around on Sunday and thinking about series finales and about Six Feet Under, little did I know how similar they would be. I still love Six Feet Under and I still love the Sopranos, but I don’t really understand anymore exactly what I saw in Sex in the City—why did I care so much about that series finale? Maybe because the movie ruined it for me. Anyway I hope LOST will always have a special place in my heart, because it weirds me out when things change too much.

1) Beginning montage of sideways world and Island world:
Both of these realities are so important to me. My base feeling is that I so badly want them to merge.
It took me awhile to understand Desmond's place in all of this. I can now see that he had to lift the cork so that the Man in Black could be killed. But then Jack had to put it back. I am quite pathetic in that I need to write things down in order for anything at all to register in my brain.

2) I LOVE the way Hurley looks at Charlie. He loves him-- his long lost friend. For the record, I knew Hurley would take over Jacob’s post. Hurley was the only pure one. The good one. The Uncorruptible one.

3) What would happen if the Man In Black left the Island? Anything? Why could Jacob leave? Is he evil personified, and that’s why he can’t leave?

4) I am happy to see Juliet. I thought she was bad news in the beginning. Ms. Not To Be Trusted. But she became one of my favorite characters-- I think because of her relationship with Sawyer.

5) Jin and Sun remembering their lives: I forgive them for leaving Ji Yeon. I didn’t understand before. Now I can see that these poor people were just desperately trying to be together their whole lives. Ji Yeon has a different fate. Jin and Sun just need to finally be together for once. I’m crying all over again.

(How is At&T not getting sued by those Christo art people? I don’t get it. That’s the real mystery here.)

6) You can’t expect the writers to know everything from the beginning. I didn’t want the writers to know everything from the beginning. I loved the idea of them figuring things out as they went along- so of course there has to be inconsistencies and you must forgive them for that.

7) HA! Jack explaining to Sawyer how he will kill Locke using Des as a weapon: “That’s a hell of a long con, Doc.” You’re telling me. But I guess Jacob and Poor Man with No Name had thousands of years to figure out how to kill each other.

8) “All of this matters.” I believe Jack when he says this, not Zenned out Desmond. What we do in life does matter, even if in Death everything is hunky dory.
It seems like it would be fun to wander around limbo sideways land knowing that you are dead. Like a lucid dream.

9) “You’re not John Locke. You disrespect his face by wearing it.” Love that line. Love Jack's reverence for Locke.

10) My mind is very flighty. I am not sure when I became so stupid but maybe I was always this way. Maybe my brain becomes mushy when out of school, or perhaps my mind was never one for details. Maybe that's why it's easy for my memory to fudge LOST details and just experience the story.

11) Another great line. “I was shot by a fat man.”

12) Kate’s reaction to her Island memories (Evangeline Lilly's acting) is fabulous. I love that Kate and Claire remember their lives during the birth scene. These women were both mothers to Aaron. And I am sorry but I love that Kate’s name is crossed off because she “is a mother now.” Maybe all this motherhood stuff gets to me so much because I believe how important it is, and how I, on a regular basis, feel my children in me somewhere, in between Mark and I, I know that they are there, and I can’t wait to meet them, and that being a mother is and will be a vital, integral part of who I am. It’s not that I want kids- it’s that they already exist somewhere. It’s like being a writer. It’s just what is. So I am a sucker for the motherhood stuff.

13) Claire and Charlie remembering each other. We all want to believe love is real. We want to believe it will save us. We want to believe it is what is important in the end because it is exactly the unknowable, unreachable thing that we can, and do grasp.

14) As a side note, on Monday I got a migraine. Mark bought me Excedrin, and shut the blinds, and rubbed my head. He watched a basketball game on mute and rubbed my head as I drifted in and out of sleep. I felt enveloped in a cocoon of love and very, very lucky. Not long ago, I don’t remember why, he asked me, “what if we can’t find each other after we die? That would be so sad.” Sometimes I kid that he is dead inside, but sometimes he is mushier and lovier than I am.

15) Right, so I can see now that after Des took the cork out, MIB couldn’t turn into the black smoke anymore.

16) John Locke waking up from surgery: I did not realize how much I missed John. The real John Locke. The peaceful and quiet way he speaks what he knows is the truth: You don’t have a son, Jack.

17) Are those real cliffs they filmed on? Why can’t they get away from the edge, for the love of God?

18) I love the way Sun and Jin look at Sawyer. It makes me want to invite everyone I have ever loved to the wedding.

19) Kate and Jack: fucking heartbreaking, and relieving that I no longer have to worry about her getting her grubby hands on Sawyer. I wish Kate and Jack could’ve made it work off-Island, and on Island, but at least they have the afterlife.

20) Juliet and Sawyer: this is what I have been waiting for. On so many levels. What she said as she was dying in his arms on the Island captivated me, and I knew it was a mystery we would come back to, and a major clue of the Lost Universe. “It worked. We should get coffee sometime. We could go dutch.” This will be a defining moment of LOST for me. Those words led you to believe that she was talking about an alternate reality- one where the bomb went off, the plane never crashed, one where they were all alive, and they would find each other again. You could never guess that Juliet was referring to her candy machine trick, and that they were dead.
It rings completely true that this moment of epiphany happened as she was dying and I totally and completely buy that there is no time, or no time as we know it in the afterlife. I think that this is a concept that feels intuitively true--that a second and a thousand years are the same thing.

21) Jack, “I am already dead.”
Ben, “If the Island is going down, I am going down with it.” If anything, if there is anything defining of Ben, it is that he loves the Island.

22) I’d love to see the Hugo of the Island. Hugo Superpowers. What Hugo did on the Island. How Hugo and Ben died. Who took over after Hugo and Ben. Can there be a spin-off? I’d watch it.

23) “I don’t know how to be a mother.”
      “None of us do. But you’re not alone. Let me help you.”
This is an integral message of the show as well- helping each other. We need each other. We need to ask for help and accept it when it is offered.

24) Cork? Light? Cave? Lame. I don’t think its necessary to make metaphysics so blah. But whatever. I forgive you, LOST.

25) Ben in agony outside the church: “I have some things that I still need to work out. I think I’ll stay here awhile.”
This tells us a lot about Ben and a lot about this world, and a lot about life and a lot about death.

26) John walking into the church, John’s smile, John’s forgiveness. I can’t.

27) On first viewing, I was miffed and freaked by the church- but I didn’t need to worry. We soon see a Buddha and a Menorah next to the cross. And the stained glass of the church is revealed to be images from all religions.
It makes me think of Selma Hayek in Dogma: it doesn’t matter what your faith- only that you HAVE faith.

28) Who cares about Boone? Not me.

29) I was angry after the first viewing because I took the tennis shoe and plane wreckage to mean that none of this was real- They all died in the crash. I was angry because I needed the Island to be real. ABC now says that they added that footage on for no reason, not knowing the hubub it would cause.

30) We all knew it would end with Jack’s eye closing. But even though you can simultaneously see everyone reuintied after death, it is crushing to watch Jack, our hero, die. I was a bawling mess the first and second times I watched Jack die and I can't write this without tearing up. I don't think I will be able to watch this again for a long time.

What I learned from LOST:
It matters. It will be OK. Mystery keeps us going. Cultivate love.