Quick note — Considering that tonight is still the night of 4 August 2013, despite what WordPress insists upon us, I have not failed to keep my end of the bargain made in my last post. However, I have altered the title to better suit the direction I went with the post.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiMy first mistake was asking my aunt for a copy of the book. Actually, my first mistake was asking my best friend Meester Binx (obviously not his real name, but anyone who knows me knows who the fuck I’m talking about) for the Poe album. If I really wanted to boil it down, I can say my first mistake was watching Book of Shadows, the sequel to The Blair Witch Project — which, despite what others say, is a far superior to the piece of shit “scary as hell” found-footage crapfest that was the first movie. (It goes without saying that watching the first movie was a mistake in of itself.) — because that’s where I heard the Poe song “Haunted,” which is also the title of the album. Maybe I’d be a hell of a lot better if I never opened the goddamn book. Maybe I wouldn’t have striven to become a writer, a half-assed one at that.

My aunt bought me the book on our trip to Midland, Texas the summer after high school graduation. My at-the-time, on-and-off-again girlfriend, Jessica, lingered in my mind as I browsed the now defunct Waldenbooks searching the spines for a familiar title. This was after Requiem for a Dream, but before Lolita. And there stood the monolith. Mark Z. Danielewski, you bastard. Did you not know what would happen when a hapless shit like teenage-me read your book? Me, neither. It didn’t happen that way.

Yes, my aunt bought me the book. Yes, I was a teenager when she bought it for me. Yes, I did attempt to read it that summer. No, I didn’t succeed. Johnny Traunt’s introduction was easily swallowed. The rest of the book was beyond me. It wasn’t until Jeanna broke up with me the first time that I cracked open the book. By that time I was twenty.

The book was my longest read to date. Not the size the book, but the duration it took me to read it. Six months spent on one book. Six months of me reading and rereading passages. Six months of me listening to Poe and mapping out her citations. Six months of me starting chapters over. Six months of me losing sleep. Six months. Why the fuck would I ever pick it up again?

The book brought the monsters to the surface. Maybe it didn’t. It didn’t create them. It didn’t even know they existed. Hell, it’s a book. A novel written by a man. There’s nothing mystical about it. It wasn’t written just for me. There were several copies published, sold, and dog-eared much like mine. A cult following created by its pages. And maybe just a handful who were affected like me.

Maybe I need to feel something other than sadness, though sadness was I felt when I started reading this book ten years ago. Jeanna and I eventually reconciled. We lasted nine years of make ups and break ups and make ups, striving toward the eventual final break up where the pieces are just so loose they no longer hold. And still, I crave her like a pathetic twat. Every broken heart I left in my wake is out celebrating. The asshole who could never love finally falls in love with someone much like himself.

I don’t know, but something stood out this time around: “Well that, of course, was Zampanò’s greatest ironic gesture; love of love written by the broken hearted; love of life written by the dead: all this language of light, film and photography, and he hadn’t seen a thing since the mid-fifties. ” (emphasis mine)

Clear as the fucking sun in a thunderstorm.

“There’s only so far I can go, when you’re living in a hallway that keeps growing.”

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