Jerry Stahl is a novelist and screenwriter. His memoir Permanent Midnight was adapted into a feature film.
It’s as if there’s a landscape — we’ll call it childhood — which exists in our mind. It’s completely familiar. Unspeakably familiar. Until in the middle of the night, when the sky is blackest, lightning cracks through the firmament. And in that crush of sound, amid the madness and the blinding flash, you see your world: home, trees, rooftops, your own hand, in an entirely new way. Illumined by fire. Flashed for half a second and then gone. And it’s that image, that savage, rip-through-the-curtain vision, that lingers. Not the reality you see every day. Not the world you walk around in. No, it’s that spookhouse glimpse, the scorching peek through the blackness, that stays in the brain.