It seemed simple enough to tell the tale of returning to places you once called home. Go tromping into that snowy Vermont dreamscape forthright, carrying your camcorder about. But there is no such thing as mere document in those treacherous countries. Time forsakes its clock-like boredom and walks through walls. Ghosts play the pianos. It's like a meeting on the operating table of a sewing machine and an umbrella. So watch where you step children. The Lost Year may record my camcorder's maneuvers, but the timeline has gone haywire. I just can't quantify it. It's overrun with ghosts and I have let them have their way. They have written my whole story for me, and it certainly is an odd one. The rooms are full of birds, those augurs of the sky, while the landscapes are populated by cemeteries. I returned to all the stomping grounds seeking grand old stories, but I can't even play the piano in them anymore. I called in a poet to prop it up, give it structure, make it glorious!, but it's no use. The roofs caved, the summer beach froze over, and the man who loved the girl I was back then are both vanished. Even the ground is rotten. So much for happy fortune.
*Video was shot during my residency at the Vermont Studio Center (particularly on the third floor of the house where I lived, and where I was told by staff they had stopped housing people because of multiple complaints about ghosts, and where I myself heard a piano being played, although there was none), as well as on my first return trip to a farm I lived on in nearby Shelburne, on Lake Champlain, five years ago. I also shot footage on the drive back to Miami, while staying at my family home in North Carolina, at two nearby abandoned locations I have known since I was a child, and have watched slowly deteriorate. One is a cabin far up a mountain and believed to be from the 1800's. The other and final location in The Lost Year is a small country church which still functioned when I was young. I even used to play the piano inside the church, but it is now unplayable, as it slowly deteriorates and is enveloped by the trees. The writing is partly by a poet, Michael Thurston, whom I met while at the residency, from his small book of 12 poems, There Are Things More Interesting Than Us (one for each month, and the inspiration for the structure of the video, which creates a false year out of one month of actual living). The majority of the words in the video, however, are my own.