“And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves.”
3 min read

“And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves.”


This Week

Lately I’ve been thinking about newsletters.

The longer I continue with mine, now in its seventh year of digital life, the more I realize it’s a different creature than what most people think a newsletter is these days. The newsletter has gone the same way the blog did: now they tend to be packaged and polished publications, slickly designed, expertly written and carefully edited.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with packaged and polished publications. But mine is … not that. Mine is the newsletter equivalent of a Geocities website, cobbled together with HTML and animated gifs and at best several years behind the curve. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, either. I’d like to see more newsletters and websites that exist as individual expressions, un-curated collections of thoughts and discoveries and bits of curiosity. We’ve got social media, and on some of those platforms creativity is flourishing—but that is a different thing from the formless, independent creative anarchy of making your own space.

I’ve been trying to figure out my place on the web for a while. It feels like the web has already lived several lifetimes. I’ve had a website in some form for twenty-one years now. The form keeps shifting and reimagining itself, but, essentially, the function is the same: sharing my perspective of the world.

All of this is to say sorry my newsletter is weird and sometimes late and always unpolished. If it helps, imagine every edition comes with this gif:

Tiny stick figures bring in a ladder and paint the words "Under Construction"

Aren’t we all.


Links

The women who built the horror genre.

The best vampire movies.

If you want to catch the very difficult-to-see, legendary psychological horror film Possession, Metrograph is screening their 4k restoration on their website until the end of November.

Ellsworth Kelly is a favorite modern artist of mine and his postcards collages reveal some of his most accessible work.

TypeTown is a new newsletter about typewriters.

The heartbreaking ingenuity of the mother-writer.

“Just as anxiety is created in your head, it can also be squashed in your head.”  Worth a shot, at least for the mild variety.


Reading/Watching/Listening

  • Gemma Files’s Experimental Film is haunting in every sense of the word, a Jackson-level dive into a woman’s obsession and familial bonds, all bound up with the dark magical capacity of film.
  • Midnight Mass took me a long time to get through, or, rather, it took me a long time to get through the first half. Once the narrative threads started tying together, the themes became clearer and I could hook into the story more easily. If you’re not already on board with Mike Flanagan’s trademark mix of horror, grief and faith, you might not groove with this one, and even if you are, it might still be an uphill climb—but in the latter case, it should pay off for you.
  • The Manor is a solid little film with an excellent performance by Barbara Hershey and a worthwhile commentary on ageism and the horror of mortality. I think it deserves more attention than it’s getting.
  • The Medium scared the hell out of me. The ending tips a bit into cliche, but the first three quarters are so well done and they so thoroughly ground you in the reality of the film’s world that when the story starts to go sideways it’s already got you along for the ride. Produced by the director of The Wailing, by the way.
  • If you’re in the mood for 90’s indie vampire movies, the The Addiction and Habit are both on Shudder and make for a pretty great double feature.
  • Because it must be said: Last Night in Soho is a bold, beautiful throwback  ghost story that devolves into a thematic mess, inadvertently but fundamentally misunderstanding the reality of women’s fear, trauma and exploitation. It ended up being kind of a bummer for me.

Around

My flash fiction piece, “The Lake Michigan Monster,” made it into the Molotov Cocktail’s Flash Monster issue for Halloween. which I’m very pleased about. Give it a read if you’re so inclined.

Last weekend we released a new episode of Quiet Little Horrors about Karyn Kusama’s 2015 film The Invitation. Catch up on all of last month’s cult discussion with the earlier mini episode on Midsommar.


shiba inu rides on top of a slow-moving tortoise

Take your time.

Love,
Jen

This week’s quote is from Virginia Woolf.