Living in a civilization that offers no clear rites of passage to adulthood, we are left to craft our own. And this is often less of a craft and more of a crash, a clash with conditions that no longer fit our growing anxiety about who we are. Stranded without a vessel, abandoned on the continental shelf of your future, you are left to deal.
In “Ghosts of Venice” we are privy to the inner thoughts of Gil, a man living in Venice Beach. He starts his day trying to mend his relationship with his girlfriend after fighting the night before. Gil has two powerful forces acting within him: his analytical/logical thought system, and his irrational impulses. Gil tries to understand the dynamics of what makes himself and others happy, while ironically causing his own pain. The story asks these fundamental questions: Who are we? Do we choose our identities or are they chosen for us? And, do we get to choose what we want?
“Flight of Fancy” explores themes of adolescent attraction, personal freedom, disappointment, and misunderstanding. There is a strong focus on the ego as part of the human experience and the way it disrupts relationships. The protagonist is guided via his perception of supposed “signals” of attraction and acts according to what he believes is expected of him. There is rarely a display of his honest feelings; rather, he often interprets the behavior of his female companion in terms of what the other boys at the school yard have told him. There is a mode of behavior, a template, which he believes dictates female displays of attraction. That mode is of course incorrect, but the protagonist is too young and inexperienced to escape that mentality. This exploration of the protagonist’s expectations is relevant today because it speaks to the very human difficulty of establishing stable relationships early into one’s life. Due to simple inexperience, a potential relationship can be abandoned or ruined based on perception and a lack of open communication.
Everything we do on this planet has expectations in one way, shape, or form. Deviate from that, and everything starts to fall off the rails. What happens when we keep pushing against that barrier? On the brink of an alcohol/drug-induced bender, the main character feels herself slipping further and further away from the habitual norm of society’s day-to-day life. The question is, is this so wrong? In “Living Room,” we explore what it means to have these sexual, political, and social transgressions in today’s climate.
Dissociation is an experience of human existence that affects one’s sense of identity or perception of time, and can create a feeling of disconnection from one’s thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. How does a dissociated state impact our youth, our development, or (more integrally) our personalities?