books, daily life, fantasy, fiction, Uncategorized, updates

Friday Update

Hi, kids! Having another quiet night. Tomorrow I’m taking the day off from writers’ group to spend time with Fran and her mom, so I’m hoping to get some work done today. Very quiet with just me and the cats; I’m used to sharing Friday nights with someone else now.

Recently I’ve gotten a decent amount of work done. I finished a short dark piece on a fictional species of invasive fish, and have begun several other new projects.(Yeah, I know…). Actually, I’ve just noticed that there are many more open markets for horror than for fantasy, so I’m trying my hand at a few more short horror stories. Lots of anthologies coming out that I’m excited to submit to.

I’m feeling a bit better about the craft in general now. I got a couple of really nice rejection emails last week–you wouldn’t think a rejection would make you happier, but these were really complimentary. Sometimes all you need is for a professional to tell you you’re not a hack. So I’ve started confidently attempting projects that are rather out of my usual wheelhouse. I also have a couple of stories I wrote before developing the new prose style (technique?) that I use now. I’ll probably put them up here, rather than rework them, because I’ve already got plenty on my to-do list, and reworking an old story is just as hard as writing a new one. You’ll see them soon.

Still working slowly through A Suitable Boy, but I’ll probably take another break and read something different. Also still flipping through The Haunting of Hill House, which I reread every couple of years. It still holds up for me. Sometimes you look back at a story that helped to shape your adolescence (and your creative aesthetic) and realize it has fundamental structural flaws that might actually be influencing the way you put your own work together. I guess in a way that’s nice: if XYZ Book has major flaws, but still won several prizes and lingers in the fond memories of many, there’s probably hope for me. I think I’ll try The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton next; it seems like a good choice for the season.

We’re getting into the early-autumn weeks where witchy, spooky things linger at the fringes of daylight and I am very susceptible to Spook. I want real-life ghost stories and dark harvest aesthetic. I bought ribbon to redecorate my front door wreath, and might get to that tonight. Ooh, I could also bring down the glass Jack-o-lantern I bought last year. I’m getting more and more into this kind of light-vintage, 70s-80s domestic aesthetic of deathless wooden furniture, lace and florals, etc. etc. I want a La-Z-Boy chair and an indomitable couch, a wooden chest for blankets, a basket of scarves in the closet. I want lighting with the warm tinge of the old incandescent bulbs, and the kind of quiet you’d hear on a summer night at my grandparents’ old farm. (But I don’t want to leave the city–haha, oh no–and moving apartments with old-fashioned furniture is a bit of an endeavor.)

I think this kind of feeling is pretty common now, at least judging by the popularity of the whole “cottagecore” trend. I guess we’re still trying to imagine there are still insects buzzing outside, that the natural world is still proceeding in ordered seasons the way it’s supposed to. I think everyone wants to rewind the clock on nature (see rewilding efforts, which I’m a big fan of). I’m not sure how successful it can really be, but there’s something comforting in the idea. Maybe aesthetics like cottagecore are also a harmless way to connect to cultural traditions marred by outdated social mores (not to speak of horrific historical atrocities). I think also that, being 37 and likely to remain childless, I might be thinking nostalgically about the continuity of family. I’ve gotten into perfumes lately, and two scents I’m really fond of are one my mother used to wear and one that reminds me of my grandmother. I do think it’s easier to feel that old-timey vibe here in Central Europe, where the landscape seems to change much more slowly than in the places I’ve lived before. And of course, given everything, I haven’t seen my actual family in more than two years.

Anyway. Take care, everyone, and have a good weekend. Let’s move on one day at a time.

Much love,

3 thoughts on “Friday Update”

  1. You are totally NOT a hack 😛 Love the line “linger at the fringes of daylight” and personally also looking forward to the autumn spookiness. Your whole post feels very melancholy 😦 but I hope you enjoy the day off tomorrow!


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