Archive | November 2012

Affinity for Darkness – Chapter One

afd1imagesThere were nine of us before the party, the one time we all were together before the trip to Justin’s cabin in the woods. By the time we left, there were only six of us. We were all friends. A group.

I guess we didn’t really know each other well at all. We were not exactly all best friends to begin with. We were all connected. We all knew and respected each other. Let me explain as I go along. I have no time to waste.

The only way the six of us who made the trip to Justin’s cabin were really all connected was through the deaths of three of our peers a year ago, and at a party the year before that. At that party, all nine of us were together. It was never to happen again.

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Breaking Bad Episode 205 “Breakage”

205imagesTime for the boys to get cookin’ again.

So this is essentially their third go of it. Walt and Jesse are in a pattern here. They cook up some shards, as Jesse would say, try to sell it, go to a distributor who inevitably threatens their lives–first Krazy-8, then Tuco–and then have to spend a lot of time cleaning up whatever mess their nemesis made, or the mess they made in defeating him. Their stint with Tuco lasted a bit longer than Krazy-8 so overall, they may be on an upswing. After all, Walt’s time is ticking away, their last mess is behind them, and they are ready to cook.

But other things are bubbling up from under the surface in other parts of their world. Hank is having some pretty serious PTSD after his shootout with Tuco. And this is sorta what I mean when I say Walt doesn’t seem to be affected to the same degree as the others, after going through violence and trauma and murder. Of course, Walt also really believes that this time will be different, just like he did back in Season One before they started working with Tuco. With Jesse, it’s a little hard to tell. He was definitely shocked when Walt said he wanted to start up again. But they’re moving forward.

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Affinity for Darkness – Prologue

afdpro5279374098_5e6571ac92_zI’ve always been enchanted by darkness. It haunts me. It lures me. It holds my deepest fears. My deepest desires. Ever since I can remember it’s been there, playing with my mind.

My heart can melt just by being surrounded by a night scene. It’s inviting. It’s tempting. I wish for nothing more than to be able to become one with the night.

The stars. The skies. The far-off planets. It’s their mystery that intrigues me so. And their supreme beauty. The moon, too. It lights the night. Illuminates all the wonder.

The trees, the ground, scattered street lights, the wind—they fascinate me as well. Maybe it’s simply ply the way they look under the dark sky. It all just makes me think of dreams and nightmares. And oh yes, I love those too.

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Breaking Bad Episode 204 “Down”

204indexI think this episode can be summed up by something Skyler says: “Obvious, desperate breakfasts” just about does it. This is actually one of my favorite episodes of Season Two.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Jesse fan (freakin’ <3 that dude, totally Team Jesse) and whenever I think of this episode, and how much I love it, I think of my friend Lissa. When we were like thirteen or fourteen and first starting to hang out, she was telling me about TV shows she used to be really into, and how she was an “Evil Lucas Fan.” Now I don’t know what show it was, or who the fuck is Lucas (maybe Lissa can come by and clarify), but I remember her telling me that being an evil fan had something to do with loving the episodes where your favorite character is in peril, or as it applies to this case, having the shittiest (literally) day you can imagine. I’m kind of an Evil Jesse Fan here, not because I want bad things to happen to Jesse (not at all) but because I really love this episode. I think it has to do with how freakin’ brilliant Aaron Paul is at making the character of Jesse so compelling, especially when he’s crying into a gas mask in a methmobile RV and covered in blue porta-potty goo.

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Psychedelic Strobe Lights – Dark As Roses 2

Finally, he gets to it and I slump down in my seat, trying to look disaffected. I concentrate on a chalky spot on the board until he’s done with his overview. Slowly, I look around the room and I see a lot of tan, which means boredom. Crowley has a horrible monotone. No one is hardly paying attention at all. Often because I can tell how everyone in a crowd is feeling, I forget that they can’t tell my emotions. Even if they could—after all in a class of five hundred students, it’s entirely possible that someone else has the weird, focused form of synesthesia—I give off a very dim light. Usually a little grey indifference is all I see when I look in the mirror.

Finally we’re dismissed and I’m relieved. I get up slowly and take my time placing my books and notebook in my bag and putting on my jacket. I like to have a little peace without the colors every now and then. I watch the mainly pink haze slowly filter out of the room. That’s when I can guess that they have more classes. Pink is the color for laziness and tiredness, sometimes resignation. I see a lot of pink on campus. In fact, it’s the only other color I see on myself in the mirror. That one can even be bright at times, despite my dim nature. I wish I could make a career of being lazy; it’s the only thing I know I could be really good at.

After lingering for a moment to revel in the relief of no colors, I gather my things and head out to tend to my job, being Dear Abby for the newly formed campus entertainment newspaper. Actually, it’s Dear Lynn they call me here. In high school I was Dear Amanda. Kevin O’Brien, chief editor for the Campus Star, wanted me to use my real name. “But Iris is such a unique name, it goes well with fortune telling and wisdom,” he said. I thanked him for the compliment but insisted on anonymity. I do it for the money and the money alone. I don’t want anyone knocking at my door. It’s bad enough I see their troubles just walking down the street.

I drive to the newspaper office to pick up this week’s load of letters. Kevin smiles when he sees me come in. I know that boy thinks he’s in love with me. Sometimes people can really inflate their own yellow. I never see that happen with any other color, but they inflate their yellow when they think they’re in love and sometimes they try to hide the tinge of green, the lust, by covering it with the yellow of love. I’m not sure why, because yellow love is one of the most dangerous things there is. Kevin has it coming out of his hair and ears as if the sun itself were burning inside his skull rather than neurons—with proper wiring, I’m sure—as he says today, “Iris, you’re the reason we can pay the rent.” He thinks he’s in love with me but I hope he’s wrong. The colors get all messed up when they’re in love, like psychedelic strobe lights.


I haven’t done any more current fiction in awhile, so today I’m posting the continuation of my short story “Dark As Roses.” The beginning is here. This is a story about a girl who sees colored auras around people and is somewhat at odds with her psychic ability. At the end of the first section, Iris was sitting in a college psych class afraid that when her professor mentioned her condition (or what she thinks her condition might be), she might do something to accidentally give herself away.

Don’t forget, you can always check out the Samples section, including Older Works and Published.

~Emilia J

Next Excerpt: A Somewhat Double Life – DaR 3

Breaking Bad Episode 203 “Bit by a Dead Bee”

203imagesThis is the episode in which the mess from the last one is cleaned and covered up. Even before he gets out of the hospital, Walt establishes that he wants to go back to cooking (he has extra hospital bills now, yo), and this surprises Jesse. In just a few days’ time they’ve watched a guy getting beaten to death, were kidnapped and kept in a trunk and were almost killed by Tuco. It might make some people want to take pause, but Walt wants to get back on that crystal blue horse. I think this is another turning point for Walt. It’s the second time where he really could’ve gotten out of the game but chooses instead to get back in. They have no distributor; they’ve just barely escaped their last distributor alive, but he’s itching to get back at it.

But of course, first, both Walt and Jesse have to account for their absences. This teaser is the first one this season that doesn’t play with time. One thing I like about this teaser is how it takes its time. That’s something this show does really well. Things aren’t rushed. Walt and Jesse’s desert trek takes up time on screen, and there are a variety of shots of them walking from different angles and perspectives. The time and the varied shots evoke the feeling of a lot of time passing for Walt and Jesse. Another cool thing is that when Walt gets in the truck, and when Jesse questions if he really wants to follow through with his plan, the actual plan isn’t revealed. Walt never reveals it. Instead we see it through the eyes of the bewildered woman who finds Walt’s shoes and clothes strewn around the drugstore. We get to discover Walt’s plan along with her. And Jesse was right, it’s a bold plan.

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A Good Read: An Essay

519546I have tried many times to explain who I am, at all different points in my life. I have used up pages and pages trying to convey all the different and conflicting attributes of my personality. I have used my interests, my reactions to situations, the way I think, what I believe in, some significant experiences, my aspirations, my fears, and my deepest innermost emotions to try to define what makes me who I am and separates me from the rest of the world. I have tried to find what makes me an individual, unique in my own way. Each time I have tried I always have come away feeling that I am too complex to explain, or maybe that I am no different from anyone else.

Then, over the course of eighth and ninth grade I read the six-part series by Christopher Pike called The Last Vampire series. They sound like books that are just simple thrillers for young readers, and for someone at a younger age, that is really all they are. However, I read the series earlier this year at a much deeper level and was amazed at what I found. There is really significant material within the lines of the books.

After the first reading, I finished the last book feeling different, but I could not easily put my finger on the reason why. I felt a sense of tranquility that I was unaccustomed to.

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Breaking Bad Episode 202 “Grilled”

202imagesThis has to be one of the most dramatic and sit-on-edge-of-seat-biting-nails episode of Breaking Bad, although there is hot competition for that category. There’s just such high drama here. Walt and Jesse have been kidnapped by the crazy enigmatic Tuco.

And the writers make us wait. Walt and Jesse and Tuco don’t even appear until more than ten minutes into the episode. How genius is that? We’re dying to know what happens, and they just draw it out, slow, a little like torture, but in a beautiful way.

Even the scenes that do involve our dynamic duo are drawn out at the start. In the teaser, where all we really get to see is Jesse’s bouncing Monte Carlo and some blood and bullet casings, the scene opens on a wide view of the landscape with its low greenery, then moves onto other odd things, including that creepy smiley face, before focusing on the car. This is another teaser that plays with time, a flash-forward to the end of the episode, but this time there’s no lingering mystery.

Then later, when we finally get back to our boys in the desert, the opening shot is the sky. Finally we see Tuco, and then realize that Walt and Jesse are in the trunk. Even in the movement when they transition from car to inside Tuco’s place, there are a lot of wide shots, then the TV, then Hector Salamanca’s face before it gets to Walt and Jesse sitting on the couch. This lingering, building the tension slowly, making us wait? It’s very effective. Tension: Threat Level Midnight.

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Writing as Memory Window – Blue Alchemy 2

Sometimes memoir writing transforms your memory. The summer that I was fifteen, my friend Hope, who I’d known for a few years, ran away from blind camp with three guy friends during an overnight camping trip in the woods. They had planned this escape for a year and once they were found, they were all kicked out of camp. I thought I’d never see Hope again. Years later, writing about my summers at blind camp, I wanted to write about this incident but I couldn’t remember how I found out that Hope ran away. I talked with other friends from blind camp but nothing jarred my memory. I started writing about that summer, starting from arriving at Fox Cabin with its blue vinyl couches and orange, white and yellow checked curtains.

As I got closer in the writing to Monday, the night Hope went missing, I decided to just make it up. How I found out wasn’t that important to the overall story, I reasoned. I remembered that our cabin had shucked corn early that afternoon for a cookout we were having that night and I was just going to write in someone coming up to us while we were in the back of the dining hall complaining about the corn. But then, as I wrote into the scene, felt the New Jersey early August heat, remembered the bales of corn, recalled my friend Robyn doing Beavis and Butthead impressions, it suddenly came to me. It was later that afternoon, after we were done with the corn. We were having free swim, frolicking in the L-shaped, cyan-colored pool when Molly, the arts and crafts instructor, called me over to the side of the pool and asked if I knew where Hope might go if she was upset and wanted to get away. That’s how I found out she was missing. Nothing I had tried had helped me remember except writing right into it.


Here’s another little excerpt from “Blue Alchemy.” Read a previous excerpt here. This is an essay that’s about memoir writing, and how memory and writing both get transformed in the process. And this little snippet is about how the act of writing can help us remember.

Don’t forget you can find other Friday samples here, and you can always read Older Works and Published pieces.

~Emilia J