c ya laterrrr and Dial

When I first opened the Electronic Literature Collection page for “c ya laterrrr” by Dan Hett, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t what I got. I don’t mean that in a bad way, just that the title and the cover image didn’t prepare my mind for the author’s statement. After reading that this was a heavy piece, I steeled myself and got into it.

I’ve never lost anyone in such a horrific accident, but parts of the piece still resonated with me, and it even nearly moved me to tears. First, the receiving of the news via texts and phone calls…that feels like the way all bad news is transmitted nowadays, isn’t it? I remember for a while after Cody got badly hurt back in April that anytime I would get a text or a phone call, I would feel frantic as I picked up the phone, wondering if it was my Mom calling me with more bad news. This has happened to me a few times before: I’ve gotten some bad information via the phone and then for a time afterward, any notification from my phone was met with a fear response.

I feel this piece worked very well as a hyperlink story. When writing about something so personal, I think it’s natural to want to fictionalize it, to try and remove yourself from it just a bit. The inclusion of other paths, one the author did not take, is likely a way for him to fictionalize certain aspects of the story while still telling his truth and, hopefully, healing a bit by doing so. The piece really made me think more about that concert bombing, the one I’d heard briefly about back when it happened. I remembered it when I read about it in the editorial statement, but honestly, I don’t even think I knew people died in that event. I knew so little about it. I still know very little about it, but nonetheless, I’ve felt the tiniest bit of someone’s loss that resulted.

“Dial” by Lai-Tze Fan and Nick Montfort is an interesting piece visually and conceptually, but I’m not quite sure I “get it.” If I hadn’t read the authors’ statement, I’m not sure I would have understood any of the meaning behind it at all. I also don’t quite understand the interactive element, either. I think that the clocks speed up or slow down how fast the messages change? Perhaps it is because I read “Dial” after “c ya laterrrr” and was therefore primed for a straightforward, to-the-point piece, instead of something more abstract and poetic like “Dial.” I’m looking forward to the presentation about this piece so that I can hopefully grasp more of it and appreciate it, even if I didn’t much enjoy it or get it on my own personal walkthrough.


The elit piece, c-ya-laterrr was definitely a heartfelt piece. I remember when the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert had happened years ago and how it made the whole world feel, including myself. It was a tragic event that didn’t need to happen. Not that I have forgotten about it either, but this piece helped bring it to mind again as it created a piece centered around an individual who was going through it second hand. I believe that’s what you woulds say, second hand? Anyways, in the beginning of the piece you have a few choices (even throughout) how you would like to go about the situation. For instance, you could chose between going to sleep, or tweet something. Little choices that would lead differently. I felt in a way these choices sometimes were maybe set up to be positive or negative? But maybe in this instance, it was a lighter choice versus a not so light choice?

In the piece, as you navigate through and get deeper into the readings. The narrator (I assume that’s what you call it, not sure what you would call him) finds out that his brother was at the Ariana Grande concert where the bombing took place. After that it takes you, the reader through a whirlwind of actions, news, emotions, and messages to navigate through as he is unsure what to do but knows his brother was there, and is not being unresponsive. In the reading you see that the man is brought closer to his family during the terrible time and they are all brought to the stadium.

The stories then follows the man and his family finding and having confirmation on his brothers death as well as the days that follow up after that.

I definitely liked this piece, it was extremely sentimental and brought a bit of truth to what actually must have been taking place when the bombing did occur for those families.

Maybe later… maybe not.

Dan Hett’s c ya laterrrr had me considering a number of things I’ve dealt with or been through in my life, or even what I’m going through right now (hence why this post is a bit late). I think in a way it’s served as a reminder for me about the kind of hope I still have through my faith that death is not the end.

And through loss or the fear of it, most people have a family they can turn to. Over the past week, my grandma had a fast decline of health and passed away. I had family I could turn to in ways I never had before over the past week, and some family had turned to me in ways I never thought they would, considering I was literally a child last I saw many of them. I got to know people that knew her before she was a grandmother, and before she was a mother, and even before she started dating my grandpa when they were in high school. In some ways, I was looking back to Retratos Vivos de Mi Mamá, but in looking at c ya laterrrr I also thought about the one page that says this:

This is the first time you’ve physically been with most of your family since this began. It feels really, really weird. You and your sisters were the last to arrive, everyone else has been here for hours – everyone looks so strung out. 

Sitting in the middle of this group feels really strange. Everyone’s responding in different ways. Your mother is moving around a lot, talking to everyone. Your stepmum is quiet, wrapped in a blanket. You dad is quiet. Really really quiet. Your brothers friends are in similarly conrasting states. It’s a weird mix of people. You’re not sure what to do.

I don’t have this many siblings, but I do have one and three cousins on my dad’s side of the family. Seeing them after so long was awkward at first, but it didn’t take long for us to realize not only why we were there, but also that we all have different ways of coping with this one big “c ya laterrrr” to Grandma. My brother seemed more willing to open up and ask what everyone’s been up to, but I’m more of the introvert that waits for conversations to come to me. So naturally, of the hyperlinks on the above quoted page, I chose to speak to my parents as the relationship I have with them has really opened up a lot since we all started going to church again and since my dad and I found studies to go to.

Yet for us there was no police, there was no questioning, there weren’t reporters, there were no crowds, there was no mass tragedy, and there was no explosion. But it kept us up all week– knowing that she probably wouldn’t make it out of the hospital but still (perhaps selfishly) hoping she would make it and we’d hear her mumbling or see her smiling again. When I was talking to my parents and my brother about it too, I didn’t say it like Hett wrote of the situation he was facing:

You mention it to your sister, and you agree it felt like a TV show this morning. 

It doesn’t now. 

It just didn’t feel real. It still doesn’t, to be honest. It doesn’t feel real that I’ll only see one grandparent every time I go to the home and former flower nursery. I never imagined them apart.

And the last thing you’d expect when your brother goes to a concert with his friends is that he won’t come back.

What people don’t realize about high-stress or traumatic experiences such as a terrorist attack or losing someone is that being still can sometimes be the only way you start to fully understand what’s going on. You can’t fully understand how your mind is processing anything if you don’t take a moment to slow down and listen. And more often than not, that’s frustrating and even enraging when all you can think about is someone you love is or could be gone. And though I can say by the evidence of my grandma’s faith (James 2:14-20) that she’s truly home now (Hebrews 13:14-16), I still also found myself asking whether or not I should be crying, even though the shortest and perhaps most profound verse in the Bible is two words: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

I think what’s really profound about how Jesus wept for His friend– though already knowing when Lazarus would die and already knowing He would raise Lazarus from the dead and already knowing He would see Lazarus again in Heaven– is the fact that He still loved Lazarus so much that being separated from him was difficult. Do I have the same understanding of the hope found in the work of Jesus that Jesus Himself did? No. I’m not God. But I do have enough of an understanding to know that “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Does this make it easier to not be able to hug Grandma (or for Hett, his brother) again in this life? Still no. But it gives a hope that only One can provide.

Yet still I can’t imagine what it’s like for my grandpa right now, but I think Hett has a line describing the morning after everything that might just scratch the surface: “A morning like every other, but not at all. No morning will be like the others now.”

And before leaving for the youth retreat I’m writing this from, that’s how mornings were feeling but with dramatically less pressure than Hett describes because this wasn’t super sudden, publicized, or terror-driven event. But still, it seemed like this fit my life too well right now:

The house is weirdly busy. You’re not sure what you expected, but it wasn’t this level of action.

You spend a long time hugging and conversing and catching up, you don’t even recognise some of the people in the house. 

More arrive, relatives from fairly far away who jumped on the first flight they could. Everyone wants to be here. 

Your mother is unreal. Endless cups of tea, everyone sorted. Like nothing happened. You wonder how long this can last. 

This Sucks

(I accidentally posted this in a different blog last week)

Aghhh this one was pretty hard for me to get through, I’ve lost a good amount in the past few years, two of which were two of my absolutely favorite people. Neither were soft blows, and both were incredibly brutal to watch – life degraded and decayed these two so suddenly right in front of me, and there was nothing I could do. Or could I? I think so. I don’t know though. Shit is really hard. It was fucking ugly.

Every single time I see a picture I break down a bit inside. I went to the movies and a character had the same name as one of them. This past weekend one of my best friends checked on me after the film to see if I was okay… two hours later and that was the first thing that said friend asked. Said friend didn’t even sit near me, they saw no reaction. But they knew that these wounds still fucking tear. I’m spilled open, defenseless. 

I can’t even imagine compiling such an e-lit work for one’s own mother, I don’t know, I suppose that it’s therapeutic. I have pictures of my last moment with one of my two big losses on my phone, and I will never delete them, but I try my best to scroll past and      avoid them. I just found an old camera from high school, it’s crazy how much has changed in 6-plus years. Those two are ghosts in that roll. 

The pictures here are tender, joyous, and admirable. They represent simple slice-of-life joys and organized social activity based on – the photo. These photos were taken well before the digital camera boom, so I suppose that taking a picture was a cool thing, exciting, lively! An all eyes on us or me or them sorta thing. Now ghosts of a past.

I can’t even finish reading a majority of the text involved here, it pressures me to put my own – their own – horrors into words. That scares me. I still, more than two years later, wake up with a wet pillow whenever I dream about them. Sometimes I can’t see with any clarity when I open my eyes because I guessuppose that I cried too much. There is that search, neverending. Where some have the capability to obtain some sort of closure through creating, I have no idea where to search for mine. Fuck. You’re literally to my right, in my room. I can’t even look at you, guilt is a bundle of hard shit. 

I’m going to submit this, roll over in the opposite direction, and go to sleep. If you aren’t in my life when I wake up tomorrow, please don’t visit me in my dreams tonight. I’m not in the mood to run away right now. I just can’t take it.


This piece was hauntingly beautiful. There’s so much to unpack, but it left me feeling heavy and yet lighter; I don’t know how to explain it. First, I want to start with the title. What’s its significance? The author said that one of the storylines is their own, so was c-ya-laterrrr the last text they received from the deceased? Was that something the two always said to each other? Just food for thought.

This was a page-turner for sure! I was enthralled the entire time, which is kind of hard to do. I want constantly holding my breath, waiting to see what was next. I gladly made it to the end, leaving me wanting more.

I loved how personal this piece was. Not only from it being a perspective piece, but even the subject matter is so personal. As soon as I read the editorial statement, I knew this would be a raw, vulnerable read. I also loved the simple format. I love picking the course of a storyline, so this was right up my alley.

I loved how realistic it was. Depicting the parts of the grieving process felt so real and relatable. Regardless of death happening, we’ve all had moments where we wished we could’ve done something different. We all play it out in our minds and guilt trip ourselves over stuff we have no control over. It definitely brought me back to moments when I’ve been there and faced death.

I found it interesting that this is from a man’s perspective. After reading, I discovered that the author is male, but for some reason, I expected it to be written from a woman’s point of view. I guess I subconsciously associate emotional and vulnerable topics with women.

When reading this, I imagined this is what a modern-day 9/11 would look like. I was only two months old when those attacks happened, so I only know what I’ve seen on screens and been today. Reading the chaos and emotions he went through made me think about what those families must’ve gone through.

On a very personal note, this made me think of my mom. My mom had to bury a child, and she’s told me how she was told to go home and get some rest after spending all her time at the hospital. The moment when the doctors call everyone into a board meeting to say to them we’ve done all we can; the ball is in your court. I couldn’t help but see my mom’s pain and life in this piece.

I’ve never written this much about a piece, which clearly indicates that this was hands down my favorite thus far. I know I’ve said that before, but I mean it this time.