A day late, a year late
What's the difference?
Oops. Missed sending out a December newsletter, on account of…well, let’s just say I sent someone a link to a piece of fan fic the other day and said, “you might have already read this, it’s been out for MONTHS,” and then looked at the day it had been posted, which was…two weeks prior.
I was also too busy contracting Arcane brain-rot, and too busy trying not to contract COVID. And planning last minute holiday stuff, and then canceling last minute holiday stuff as everyone seemed to come down with Omicron.
It was a weird end to a weird year. But you probably don’t need some random author newsletter to tell you that.
FIRST THING’S FIRST! If you have access to Amazon First Reads, Base Notes dropped…TODAY! I was under the impression it would drop a week ahead of the formal launch date but I have Swiss cheese for brains and I guess it’s being released to those in the inner circle a MONTH ahead of time. My editor wrote some really lovely things about it:
Okay. With that out of the way:
I think I’m going to give up on the have-you list and just try to check in with some maunderings monthly (ish). Maunderings this month include:
I rewatched It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time since I was very small, and something I found really fascinating and endearing about it was the way it generated narrative tension//conflict: there is a villain, in Mr. Potter. But he doesn’t actively create conflict until rather late in the film when he (spoilers!!) steals the money from Uncle Billy. Before that, almost all of the narrative tension is created not by conflict between characters (everyone is so nice! They are just doing the best they can!!!!) but by the conflict within George Bailey, who wants two irreconcilable things. Absolutely heartbreaking to watch him choose between the two of them over and over.
We watched this ^^^ a couple of nights after watching Rope, which was pretty funny. Not Rope itself (though it had some moments!), but the juxtaposition of two Jimmy Stewarts. Also funny: I kind of forgot Jimmy Stewart was in Rope, and when he walked onto the screen I burst into laughter because his vibe just seemed so out of place. Honestly have a hard time imagining drama queen Brandon idolizing Jimmy Stewart-as-Rupert. Like, no.
Severe Arcane brain rot, honestly. It’s bad. It sucked me back into fandom. I am trying to reconcile this with any remaining shreds of dignity I might have possessed. This show definitely falls into the category of “media with imperfections that invite obsessions and inventions,” a phrase I have just coined to sum up a friend’s opinion that the most fandom-friendly pieces of media are the ones that are flawed in such ways that they leave gaps for transformative works to fill. The biggest flaws for me revolved around inconsistent character motivations (screenwriters sometimes seemed to go “what is the MOST dramatic thing a character can do in this scene, regardless of literally anything they have done before???”) and the political procedures of Piltover, which had me in spasms of frustration and hilarity. And while I would love to see a Sorkinian take on Piltover’s conciliar power struggles, let’s be honest: we’re all just here for bad daddies, sad boys, and ladies with big biceps, all having a lot of feelings at each other.
Clive Barker’s Imajica! I am trying to reread this. I am currently 1/3rd of the way through, and reading it now as opposed to reading it at 15 or 16 or whenever I first read it is pretty weird. I remember it being mostly incomprehensible and mysterious and full of sex magic and philosophical meditations. Now it’s perfectly comprehensible, which has frankly taken a little of its lustre off (for me! and only because of my personal experience, probably). Definitely still full of sex magic, at least. But what’s WILD is that reading it NOW, I can PERFECTLY envision the aesthetic. I guess as a teenager I had not seen enough 1980s horror/sci fi movies. Now when I read certain passages of this book I’m like “reading this book is the same as watching Poltergeist or Beetlejuice or similar.” The prose does an excellent job of conveying that precise aesthetic, which is not something I’ve noticed prose doing, before? More investigation required.
Ehhh so that was December! And now, because I’m addicted to bullet points and actionable whatevers, I will wrap this up with a couple of links and gentle suggestions for spending you money and raising your children!
Base Notes is coming out FOR REAL in a month (kind of—like I said, it actually launched on Amazon First Reads TODAY, so if you have access to that…Leave me a nice review!), so December was time to start working on those little promotional essays they always ask you to write for various blogs and publications. I love coming up with the ideas for these pieces but truly loathe executing them. If every essay could be a conversation? Marvelous. But my brain processes ideas much more grudgingly when I’m having the conversation with a blank page. Anyway! Hopefully I can get through the essays in time for them to come out before the book, at least.
Action Item: Preorder that shit, man!
The teen writers workshop I help to run, The Alpha Workshop, incorporated as its own nonprofit after nineteen years as a program of our fiscal sponsor. This made me feel extremely adult, as it involved lawyers and stuff. 2022 will be the twentieth year of the workshop (now older than any of its students!!), but our very first year as an independent organization.
Hoping we all have a much smoother, sweeter year in 2022. Chin chin!