About LAF

I was born on July 22, 1993, in Los Angeles, CA. I am the youngest of four sons. My older brothers consist of a law professor and blogger, a filmmaker, and a neuroscientist. I am a writer and a gamer. My parents are obviously proud of me.

I’ve been writing stories ever since I was very young. Mostly, they consisted of weird tales of what happened if Mario and Luigi got caught in the Spawn universe, but at least I was on the track to come up with my own original stories. And I did. I wrote and wrote and wrote, coming up with fantastic worlds with interesting creatures and back-stories. Most of my tales were based in fantasy or science-fiction worlds, which probably helped influence my passion for gaming.

I remember the first film I ever saw: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Most kids my age started off with The Lion King or Barney. Not I. I dove head-first into the galaxy of Jedi and Sith, of Republic and Empire, and never came back. From that first captivating text scroll, I became a nerd, obsessed with fantasy, science-fiction, computers, books, films, and especially video games. The first game I ever personally owned was Pokemon Pinball, but I remember sitting with my older brothers watching them play Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. These games were not only extremely fun, but they created experiences more powerful than books or movies could ever hope to achieve. By direct interaction, the audience is causing the events of the game to occur, and through that interaction, the audience can experience stories and characters that reach out and touch us at our very core, at what it means to be human.

As Carl Sagan once said, “What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding people together who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic” (Cosmos, Part 11: “The Persistence of Memory). Writing is one of the most essential forms of human connection, to be able to reach out and touch someone only with your ideas. That is why I love writing, and that is why I decided to post my writing here, online, so that, even if I only reach out to one person, I have influenced them in some way and touched the very core of what makes us human.

But enough with all the serious stuff. I hope you enjoy what you read here and come back for more.

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Era

At the beginning, before I blamed myself, before the rage and the resentment, I just cried. Tears mixing with the snot flowing out of my nose, getting everywhere, attempting to vacate the failing system of my body. It was a shut-down, plain and simple. I couldn’t believe it. How could these past years lead up to this? What went wrong?

#

Some people say that depression makes you feel like a ghost, a shell, trapped in darkness. I certainly can see why one would say that, but for me, it was different. Depression starts like a backpack, slugging around a meager, yet bothersome, load. But as you think about going somewhere or doing something, the load starts to get heavier. It just weighs down on you, dragging you lower and lower, making everything strenuous and unpleasant, even those things you used to enjoy. That weight sinks into you, replacing your marrow with concrete, until the point where the thought of getting out of bed becomes unbearable. Even your mind feels like it’s drowning and unable to reach the surface. Like Sisyphus, I had an unbearable burden placed upon me for eternity.

That’s what you left me with. A burden of just being alive.

#

I spent so long trying to figure out what I did wrong, what I could’ve done to make you leave behind our future. I picked at my personality like skin, nipping away at the surface layers and peeling down through my viscera and fascia to reach the core essence of who I was. It was tearing my consciousness apart, until I finally understood.

Although I didn’t want to admit it to myself, we just didn’t have the right bond. I always thought that the perfect relationship lacked the petty fighting that tore otherwise good people apart. I was wrong. Rationalize as much as I wanted, I was swept up in the maelstrom and failed to realize the truth: we were idealistic. The idea of high school sweethearts who were madly in love and lived a happy life together was romantic. I so desperately wanted that life with you. But somehow, my greatest fear had come true. Did we hide our resentment from one another? Did we fail to recognize the futility of our endeavor?

I don’t know, but one day, it ended. Like death, only worse. You were still here; you just didn’t want to see me anymore.

#

It’s weird. I hate you and I still love you. The thought of returning to your embrace fills me with a euphoric fuzziness, and at the same time, it disgusts me to the point where I want to vomit. How is it possible to hold both utter adoration and utter contempt for the same person?

See, this is why I try not to think about you. It just gets way too complicated.

At the same time, it’s hard not to. I mean, we spent nearly every day for four years in each other’s company. I’ll miss spending evenings trying out new recipes. I’ll miss just relaxing and playing video games for hours on end. I’ll miss lying naked with you, basking in the afterglow of our passion. Most of all, I’ll miss feeling wanted. That was the best feeling in our time together. I could look into your eyes and feel the same intensity of ardor I had for you, only greater than the day before. I really did want to spend my life with you.

You were everything to me.

And then, you were nothing. That was it. You just cut the cord and walked out, acting as if nothing had really happened. Without so much as a crinkled eyebrow of a warning, you blocked me from every form of communication and pretended as if I no longer existed. How could you do that to someone? No, not just someone. As far as I could tell, we were enamored with one another. I know I loved you, but the way you ended things…I’m still struggling today, trying to determine whether any of it was real. That really fucks with you, you know? Trying to figure out if any of those years meant anything. Now, I can’t even hear your name without cringing, and the slightest glance at a photo of you fills me with dread.

That night, when we were dancing in moonglow, listening to John Coltrane, before collapsing into a hammock. That was the first time I ever felt truly content.

#

I never did get to say goodbye, so I guess this is how I’ll have to do it now. This will be the last time I write you, and even though you’ll never read this, I don’t care anymore.

It hurts breaking up with anyone. It’s a knee to the solar plexus when your fiancée cuts off all contact for no apparent reason. At that point, it’s easy to just sink to the bottom of the ocean and let the tide swirl around you, while you just sit in an inky void. I’m not going to let you do that to me.

We happened to be in the right place at the right time in our lives when we met. Emotional tumult at home, mixed with social awkwardness and a hint of hormones, brews a perfect combination for nerdy teenage romance. I like to think it blossomed into something more, though.

Of course, I’ll still miss what we had. The time we spent together was among some of the happiest of my life and I won’t forget the bliss it brought me. But as long as I let you have this vise grip on my heart and mind, I can’t grow beyond the person I was. We’ve both changed significantly, and I’m sure if we’d never met and just now crossed paths, we wouldn’t give each other a second fleeting glance. Our time together changed us.

I don’t know if I can wish you luck or happiness or anything like that. All I can say is that our time together was an era of my life.

I hope it was for you, too.


To J

Slow Down or You’ll Die!!

What sort of monster would create a video game about falling off of a building?

Me. I would. That’s what I did.

Another project for my game development studies at university, Slow Down or You’ll Die!! is my attempt to create a short, 30-second game. It’s easy to control, but one wrong movement, and you can end up like ketchup all over the concrete. It’s a relatively simple game, made purely to showcase my capabilities as a game designer. I hope you make it to the bottom.

Download Slow Down or You’ll Die!!

Special thanks to Julien Fournell, for his help with the programming.

Happy Birthday

It was her eyes, their shade of burnt ochre that burned its way into my mind. It was when she gazed into my eyes that we embraced for the first time. That’s when I knew. It was not merely their color, but the immeasurable depth of her eyes that filled me with an equally immeasurable sense of awe. All around us was squall, but she was shelter.

The world was a sensory overload, blinding, chaotic, unforgiving, unrelenting. The only reaction that occurred to me was to cry. So I did. Oceans rolled out from my eyes and she was there to calm the tide. She was able to transform the cacophonous carillons crashing in my head into melody.  When all seemed lost, she knew just how to find it.

Deprived of her, my world just seemed so empty and miserable. In honesty, there was nothing seemingly worth the effort necessary to press forward. The instant that thought came upon me was that in which her strength flowed into me. I felt her aura augmenting mine, imbuing me with the capacity to achieve my dreams, to follow my passions, to inspire and intrigue. Ultimately, my actions were my own, but without her as the impetus and wisest influence, there was no reason to fight for the things I now hold dear.

And then, I saw her tenacity falter. It happened in just a moment, but that’s all it took. The rush was too much to handle and the cracks in her innermost self would give way to rifts, from which poured out the essence of despair. All this time, I thought she had an endless amount of vigor which she could lend to others. But that’s when I realized she, too, was affected by the constant bleakness of the world. No one, not even her, was immune. What was I to do? Give up?

No. I knelt down beside her and gave her back the strength she gave me. I returned all of the years of comfort and joy she infused within my soul. She gave me the capacity to stand up to everything life had thrown at me, and now I was there for her.

And when it was all said and done, when equilibrium was once again achieved and a sense of equanimity returned, we looked into each other’s eyes. Amidst the tears, I saw within her eyes the same thing I saw those years ago. I knew, at that point, why she spent all that time imparting unto me the capacity to press forward to the end of each and every day. Her desire was to see in my eyes the same level of devotion, of compassion, of understanding, of exuberance that I saw within hers.

It was her eyes, perihelion to her heart. That’s when I knew I loved her.


For Sonia

Hero

The rumblings of war drums sounded in the distance
He strode across the field of green
Slaked in red
Salt drip, drip, dripping from his meat
When, on the horizon, he saw it
The maw, hungering
It descended upon him
Determined to cut through
White blades consuming the field
Splintering the marrow
Flesh scraping against steel
The rush of fluid like a thousand screams
The quaking rupturing everything in its path
Savoring the lives lost to dedicate this single moment

Yum
A satisfying meal

Inverness

A shade of indifference colored his lap-danced lapel
Ecstasy unforgotten
The wine of his cask spilled forth
Sanguine spots like candy drops
Memories of a sightless age
Of wars on Mars
Winter’s end marched forth
From the aberrant crypt
The hot wash of shame filled him
As steel slept glinting in his eye
Destiny wants to marry him
And can you really stand in the way of destiny?

Tiles

Two dots of brown
A smiling row of white
Patches of red, blue, peach, black
But I only notice the brown

Staring forward, unwavering, vacant
Staring at me
Through me
But not only me

At others, swirling around
Passing by, ignoring his brown
Agendas and luncheons and extra-marital affairs
Occupying more important thoughts
But not mine

Who is the man behind the colors?
He (or she) who creates life from the unliving
Capturing an instant in time forever?
I ask no one in particular
But I know I will never know the answer

Two dots of brown
A smiling row of white
In an ever-moving city
In an ever-moving moment
Frozen, alone
But I am here


For Martin