So I am guessing that one of the more hilarious things about grief, like any trauma, is that you never know when the feelings will come or what they will ask you to do. Mine have requested that I write a story but, since I’m not a creative writer, my feelings and I have compromised, and I have been working on turning journal notes about my losing my mother into Cardboard Casino, an interactive narrative written in Twine. It’s the only form I could find that transmits the pure absurdity of our 2015 Holiday from Hell, the gift that kept on giving. Writing in this form has helped me think about how things can come suddenly together and then fall suddenly apart, and how we cannot always account for how we get from one moment to another. I’m pretty sure this is something I have always known, that everyone comes to know, but communicating it is something different.
The one part I haven’t quite been able to make work however, is the beginning of the story. Cardboard Casino is all swirly middle, which makes sense, since it’s come out of all the things my husband and I have been trying to process over the last two months, a few weeks of which was spent living with our children in a casino. The beginning, the day it all began, however, has sort of crystallized differently for me. I know there are some meta things I could say here about shock, about how the bright flash of the event’s suddenness made the memory into this weirdly static thing. But let that be someone else’s job. In the meantime, I’ve recorded this memory separately. Maybe later I will come to understand how it fits in. Or maybe I won’t. Cardboard Casino won’t be finished any time soon, but this part might as well live now.