Thoughts on Being LOST

tulips

I watched the LOST series finale last night–and can I say it? I *KNEW* the island was Purgatory years and years ago! But the writers denied that the island was purgatory, so I dismissed the theory (even though it seemed to hold up). The thing is, knowing this did not make the finale any less meaningful or significant for me, because I still enjoyed the journey with all the characters, and I still savored all the plot twists and details and detours; those details are all that make made the show unique. (Note: that the island is purgatory is still being debated–The Marquee Blog on CNN says the island is not purgatory).

We can all write stories about A Stranger Coming to Town, one of the biggest archetypes in literature (and essentially all stories are either about a stranger coming to town, or a man/woman going on a journey), but in the end, the details make each story unique.

Still, I have questions about the finale remaining–but then again, a story has no obligation to answer every single question, just the big ones. And a story has to focus on its characters first and foremost to capture an audience.

I loved that all the characters were happy in the end. I know there are some who didn’t like the cheez-fest of reunions, but I loved it. It made me feel satisfied. I didn’t stop at wanting happiness for Desmond and Penny or Jin and Sun, I wanted them all to be happy because I just spent 6 years rooting for every single one of them. They were joyful when they realized what being LOST was.

***

I’ve been lost these days. I’ve been feeling lost about my novel revision and one big personal dream.

Feeling lost culminated in resentment and self-pity and bitterness and sadness and grief. I don’t like feeling, or being, those things but there I was; crying in bed, walking around lips pursed, feeling un-generous, selfish, sorry for myself, not conscious of any way out of the hole. Maybe, because I was lost, I wasn’t even in a hole; maybe I was out in an open field, surrounded by pitch black darkness, maybe there was a door. I was just too lost to notice.

And in this vastness of being lost, I became what I hate: I became…envious.

Is there any worse poison than envy?

I wanted to be cured. I happened across my friend Ericka’s blog post entitled, “The Envy Flu and Its Cure.” I laid in bed, hopeful of being cured, of letting the feelings wash over me. There were a lot of feelings. And even more recently, Tayari measured out some tough love on “penvy,” and its dangers, on her blog. All of what they wrote is true.

But me? I wasn’t just dealing with envy and penvy, I was…lost. After the envy dissolved, I discovered I had no sense of direction, no clarity. Being lost was the root cause of my grief.

Part of my struggles with my novel revision is that I feel so utterly lost. It is the same feeling I’ve experienced at points of my first draft, but more pronounced, because–shouldn’t I *know* what to do by now?

There are those who love being lost–but me? I’m the kind of person who obsesses over the weather, and who is well versed in the future 10 days of weather, precisely because I don’t like being caught off guard. I love the invention of navigation systems, and before GPS, I always had a Thomas Brothers Guide in the car. I equate being lost to lost pets–something akin to death, a state without love or home or safety. Being lost is purgatory. I will fight being lost. In the world of LOST, I’m Jack.

I was once given the advice to SAVOR being lost–that it was NOT the worst thing in the world to have happen to me. I have to tell myself to savor being lost. Being lost can be an incredible story. Being lost is rich with emotion. Being lost is beautiful. Being lost brings lessons. Being lost can be a good thing. Once, I was lost in the Japanese countryside, unable to speak a word of Japanese, having overshot my destination of Nikko via train. Instead of freaking out (something I’d normally do), I doubled over with laughter on a bench at the train station. I want to feel that. I want to savor being lost like THAT.

...but then we weren't in Nikko
(that’s a picture of me laughing when realizing I was LOST in the Japanese countryside)

So that’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve decided to open my eyes, disconnect from my distractions, and look around. So I’m joining Nova: I’m taking a break from Facebook, from Twitter and exploring. I’m making way for something amazing, too.

I think it will be good for me.

I’ll update you on what I’m doing to explore being lost.

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13 Comments

Filed under Helpful, Life, Writing

13 responses to “Thoughts on Being LOST

  1. YouKnowWho

    Well, I can’t begin to understand the revision hell you are in, although I think I am going to find out in a week or so.

    As for LOST: I am in the same boat. I always suspected it was purgatory from the beginning. I liked the twists with the parallel universes, although I suspected that it was really a diversion for the characters to distract them from the things that were important. I thought the reunion thing at the end was a little weak, but fitting all the same. Ben deciding to sit out the party was especially poignant, I thought.

    As for being lost, I think we’ve al been there. Since I finished my rough draft and have let the manuscript “mellow” for a month, I have gone through weird fits of inconclusive creativity. I want to write, but now I don’t know what to write about. It’s hard to dive into another universe when the current one I finished is still incomplete. I found myself going into deep funks where I felt zero creative spark. It can be depressing.

    In the end, however, I find that these valleys can sometimes give way to surprising results in the form of new ideas and angles.

    Don’t beat yourself up too hard. Remember, it’s suppose to be fun.

    • Well–let’s take a lesson from LOST and:
      1) enjoy the journey (I laughed at your line, “Remember, it’s supposed to be fun.” So true).
      2) remember that plot is awesome, but in the end, people tune in for characters.

  2. I loved the cheez-fest reunions. I’m a little unsure about those last fifteen minutes. Mostly because it does become, obviously, Jack’s show, Jack’s moment, Jack’s life. And with such an amazing ensemble cast and so many other arcs and stories happening it felt wrong to me that it narrowed down so much.

    Envy. It will strangle you, given half a chance. I’m sorry that you’re struggling with it.

    I love the idea of you doubled over in laughter in the Japanese countryside. I hope you find some of that feeling this summer, though I’ll miss you on Twitter and Facebook. But hopefully not too many cobwebs will grow over this blog in the meantime… 🙂

    • YouKnowWho

      On the last 15 minutes: I agree that I didn’t really feel comfortable with the way they seemed to suggest the entire thing was about Jack and his own death. It felt a little forced.

      “And he was dead the entire time!”

      *cue dramatic music*

      I could have done without that. Especially since Jack was not my favorite character in the series.

      But then I look at shows like “V: and I figure they could have made much worse decisions.

    • yah, cut that 15 min out. Six Feet Under did a much better job at its last 15 minutes. But I will forgive a story its last 15 minutes if its first 120 hours is amazing, and that it was. 🙂

      Envy, thank goodness, was short lived. It was my wakeup call. I hate feeling that way, and it just tells me something is really awry on my end.

      • YouKnowWho

        I think anyone who has written a story (especially a long one) knows how hard it is to land a bird such as that.

        And I totally forgot about 6 feet under. that was a pretty satisfying ending.

  3. Nate

    I recall a news item about a family that was sent down a logging road in the dead of winter by a GPS –all the while confident in the soundness of their route. The rota fortunae will turn in spite of all our splendid gadgetry. You’ll never overwhelm lost with knowledge, no matter the speed or frequency of its acquisition.

    What makes social networking so attractive is that the transaction is always within the user’s control. Without physical limitations we have it our way, all of the time! We can even completely overhaul who we are, yet so many of us still wind up lost. A sociologist named Zygmunt Bauman has written several amazing books concerning the impact of this stuff.

    When I was little, my mom would load up the car w/ all four kids and we’d go for a drive in the country. Whenever we reached an intersection we’d take turns telling mom which way to turn next (ok ,so we didn’t have cable –er, or more than four stations for that matter). The point: we rarely knew where the hell we were, but we were never, ever lost.

    Bon voyage Christine, don’t forget to write 😉

    • so so true. i think you are referring to the Kim family who got lost in rural Oregon, whose family searched for them, and found them all except for James Kim? that story really pierced my psyche and haunts me to this day. i guess it has to do with my fear of being lost, and how lost can also mean tragedy and death.

      i’ll be posting updates. and i’ll probably be back on twitter in about a week. 😉

  4. Beautiful post. I’m sorry you’ve been feeling so lost. I hope you’re doing better since writing this… in fact, has writing this helped you find your way some?

    Funny how being away from things gives clarity. I’m paring down my many Facebook incarnations and deleting/consolidating accounts. I’m finding that I don’t miss the constant word-count reporting and name-dropping and industry news coming at me from Twitter. Your Twitter experience is shaped by who you follow, of course, so I could easily fix that if I wanted to. So far, sometimes I miss: connection. With people. Maybe I’ll have to try harder to seek it out. Maybe I’ll find it elsewhere, another way. It’s all an experiment, since I know I’ll have to go back to Facebook and Twitter in the future, but I’m just taking a little vacation for my own sanity. I’ve gotten emails asking me why, as if I’m making some sort of puritanical statement about social-networking. I’m not. It’s just like someone who decides to stop eating certain foods because they feel ill afterward. Social networking is making me a little sick right now, but that’s entirely personal, connected only to my own body and my own head. Maybe I’ll explain why I’m doing it one of these days. Or maybe I never need to.

    I hope your week away helps you however you need it to, and you come back rejuvenated and inspired to return to your novel. You’re not lost… you’re just revising. And I know how easy it is to let the end feel so far away, but the fact is you are closer than you were before you had this draft. You have words on the page! They’ll keep you from being lost. They’re there, when before they weren’t. Don’t let yourself forget that.

    • Nova you are so inspiring. I am saying YES YES YES to everything you’ve said. When I was at a writing colony, there was a FamousWriter who came to the dinner table each night and announced her word count for the day. That announcement alone paralyzed me. And I’m experiencing something similar when on Facebook. I just need to disconnect, it was all overload and toxic for me (even though I have LOVED social networking my entire adult life!). Just.too.much.

      Already, it’s been good for me. I’m already feeling better, even if I miss my friends on twitter (I’ve already decided that I’m keeping twitter in my life for sure).

      See you on the other side! 😉

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