The Millay Diary

Seance

Days 12 and 13

Dear Diary,

Yesterday was Friday the 13th so naturally I was standing on my toes keeping my eyes peeled for ladders, black cats, mirrors (no cracking), and corks (no stepping on them) but one thing I didn’t know to keep an eye out for was traitors, Diary—the most dangerous threat of all because you don’t have to walk underneath them, step on them, let them cross your path, or break them in the bathroom for them to ruin your day or even your month. Well I guess they have to cross your path, but still it’s not like one is going to dart out in front of you and you know you’re hosed afterwards.

Also this treachery was extra treacherous because Friday didn’t start out too terrible, I ate an entire box of Lucky Charms at eleven to be on the safe side which was real nice and filling, plenty of marshmallows FOR ONCE, seriously is there a marshmallow shortage or something? I feel like when I was a kid the oats were pretty much swimming in marshmallows but now finding one is like trying to find a writer who isn’t an alcoholic. But anyway after breakfast I checked with Laurel and Heather to make sure they didn’t hate me for the whole Louis CK fiasco the other night and they seemed to have accepted the long apology email I sent them, they said everything was fine and it wasn’t a big deal, so I went about my writing like usual—with the kind of passion most people reserve for athletic competitions and sexual endeavors. Instead of the standard five pages I wrote like NINE (!!!!!) which was really excellent, this script is coming along real nicely although I’m sure it’s just awful, first drafts always are, that’s a little insider’s nugget for you, Diary, writing is really a whole lot of revising and that’s no foolin’. But early on you can never tell how awful something is, when you’re writing it you always think it’s the be-all-end-all to literature and then you read it a couple months later and you’re like, How gorged on Lucky Charms was I when I wrote this, I must have had one foot in a food coma because it’s a load of junk and the characters’ motivations are cloudier than the milk at the bottom of the bowl.

Still I was pretty jazzed about the nine awful pages I wrote and really wanted to celebrate Friday the 13th even though it also scares the macaroni out of me, I have a love-hate relationship with Friday the 13th, Diary, on the one hand it sticks me squarely on the edge but on the other hand I like being spooked and spooking others too because being spooked kinda makes you feel alive because you feel like you might be dead soon. Yesterday I really wanted to watch a scary flick like Friday the 13th or Friday the 13th Part 2 or Friday the 13th Part 3 or Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter or Friday the 13th: A New Beginning or one of the forty other Jason movies but I was so gun-shy because of what happened with the Louis CK standup, I mean I don’t want to be known as the guy who puts really offensive stuff up on the projector, nobody wants to be that guy and that’s just not me and I took what Heather said the other night (“I wish you’d chosen something more positive to watch”) to heart because she pretty much has an all-access pass to it so everything she says makes a beeline for the left side of my chest, thankfully her words aren’t actual bees though because I am deathly allergic.

Anywho before I could even consider asking everybody if they wanted to do an eighty-hour Jason marathon Heather told me that everybody was going to Edna Millay’s grave that night to do a séance and consult with Millay’s corpse or whatever and glean some wisdom from beyond the grave which sounded pretty spooky to me, maybe too spooky, Diary, I was a little hesitant about the whole thing but then Heather said everybody was doing it and more than that I just can’t really say no to her because of her face and the effect it has on me and also because she was going to be conducting the flipping séance, so I agreed and decided I would save my Jason marathon for July because there is a THIRD Friday the 13th in July, WHOOOOOA!!! Three Friday the 13ths in seven months is pretty much unprecedented, Diary, which means 2012 is a real special year, you can also tell it’s special because I’ve actually made a couple friends at artist camp for the first time ever and also because it’s an election year. A lot of people don’t know this but I was born on Election Day in 1984 so I only get to celebrate my birthday every four years like someone who was born on February 29th—pretty interesting, huh? My mom says I’m a very special boy.

Speaking of special my best friend at artist camp is Laurel and she seemed fine in the morning when I asked her if everything was fine but later in the day at dinner she was acting kinda weird and not really talking much to me. I wanted to ask her what was going on but I was pretty distracted by Heather and all the hoopla about the séance, apparently we each needed to bring an “offering” to Millay’s grave to appease her ghost or some nonsense like that, I mean I’m not saying ghosts don’t exist, they definitely do, but they are intangible so they have no use for our physical objects because they can’t even grasp them or anything. But I guess this was more a symbolic gesture than anything and since Millay was a poet she probably had a real strong appreciation for symbolism (barf-o-rama), not that it really matters, I’m gonna pretty much do whatever Heather asks me to at any given moment because of the effect I mentioned earlier which renders me grinny and obedient like a golden retriever on a hot day.

It was real dark and cold when we all left last night around ten, every artist at the camp came, even Jason which was surprising until I remembered that I don’t know anything about him, for all I know Jason is a professional séancer or a ghost himself and he totally lives or died for this junk. Laurel still wasn’t talking to me which was a little worrisome (did I still step on a cork earlier???) but I was walking with Heather so I couldn’t complain too hard. We walked down the Poetry Trail (SOOOOO typical of poets to name the flipping trail after themselves) and it was pretty foggy and spooky and when we got to Millay’s grave Heather lit seven candles, one for each of us. The drunks set their wine and cigarettes down and we all held hands in a circle and recited some mumbo-jumbo about “the other side” and “the spirits” and I swear, Diary, the things I do for pretty girls.

After Heather said that she had made contact with Millay (doubtful, Diary) she asked us what we’d like to know and so everyone started chiming in with questions like this:

AGNES: What is the key to writing indelible poetry?

“MILLAY” (via HEATHER): Vivid imagery and a discernible message.

ABRAHAM: What is the meaning of life?

“MILLAY”: To live fully to the point of excess.

LENNON: Don’t farm animals feel pain?

“MILLAY”: I am not an animal.

JASON: (silence)

“MILLAY”: (silence)

ME: Can you see the future and if you can do you think I’m going to get a girlfriend soon or what?

“MILLAY”: I know only what is and what has been, not what will be.

ME: Nuts.

LAUREL: How does Evan get into the Colony every year?

“MILLAY”: Uh… That is for… Evan to reveal.

Yeah that last question from Laurel seemed like a real cheap shot which of course the drunks LOVED, they giggled their drunk butts off but it really frosted my mini-wheats I looked at Laurel and she glared right back at me, so there was no question then that she was steamed with me for something, not that I had any clue what it is unless she was still mad about the Louis CK thing which would be a little ridiculous if you ask me. Anyway after all the questions Heather said it was time to let Millay’s spirit rest again but before we did that we should present our offerings, so people started walking up to Millay’s grave and setting things down on it. Heather sprinkled some herbs on there, Jason put a little pencil he’d worn into a nub from writing so hard, Agnes put a page of her poetry on there (like the ghost of Edna Millay doesn’t have better things to do than read Agnes’s poetry which all reads like it takes place in Snooze City—gimme a break, Diary, there are houses that need haunting, pronto), Abraham poured wine on the grave (real nice), Lennon left an old pair of glasses that I guess he didn’t need anymore (maybe they’re “passé”?), I stuck a white chocolate macadamia Clif bar even though I knew a bear or moose would eat it and then hide from me, I didn’t know what else to put so I just grabbed something on my way out the door.

The real shocker though was Laurel’s offering. She walked up to the grave and looking straight at me the whole time, pulled a book from her bag and tossed it onto the ground right in front of the headstone and it landed with a soft thud. Somebody asked what it was but instead of answering Laurel just kept staring at me, so I guess I was supposed to answer so I did.

“That’s my diary,” I said.

Obviously I didn’t leave you out there in the woods, but I’m too drained from all this drama to explain what happened right now so I guess you’ll have to wait a couple days.

Thanks for listening, goodnight Diary.

Sincerely,

Evan

Evan Allgood's work has appeared in McSweeney's, The Millions, LA Review of Books, The Toast, and The Billfold. He lives in Brooklyn and contributes regularly to Paste. Follow and maybe later unfollow him on Twitter @evoooooooooooo.