Hello, friends. I have been light on the internet use over the past month and last week I was on full vacation, so my apologies for newsletter disruption. I’m looking forward to a quieter, more stabilized autumn.
As a matter of course, I want to use this space for brief essays and Deep Thoughts, but, coming off of vacation and a busy week back at work, I don’t think I have an essay in me. So here are a few updates about recent life:
- I ran my third donut-themed 5k. So that was fun.
- I read a ton of books. See Reading/Watching/Listening for the details.
- Did I mention I went on a real vacation? It was glorious.
I do want to share a few thoughts about the deluge of bad news and general upheaval that seems to be around us all the time these days. You won’t find me mentioning much on Twitter about current events because I figured out a long time ago I’m not very good discussing issues of great weight and importance in 280-character bites. Some folks are, I’m not. That’s one of the reasons I began a newsletter in the first place, so I would have a place to expand thoughts and feelings beyond artificial constriction. But I also have learned that while justified emotions can and should be felt and expressed, there is also little time for overwhelming despair in many people’s lives. If you’re wondering where I put my time if it’s not into something like Twitter, I put it into reading, listening, absorbing, educating and donating. I also put it into the responsibilities of my life, which include preparing a smart, talented and caring teenage girl for the challenges ahead. There are so many ways to care. I hope that you can not only find the ways that suit your own level of resources but also that you can find respect and compassion for those who employ other ways, for whatever reasons.
All that said, if you do have the resources, please consider joining me in donating to the National Abortion Funds Network with a one-time or recurring donation. I would be deeply grateful.
“In short, the whole ethos behind the resort is acknowledging that work sucks and no one wants to do it, but that ethos can only thrive in relation to work. If work didn’t suck, no one would be there.” Margaritaville and the myth of American leisure.
“Many of the problems we face today, such as climate change, will have devastating consequences for future generations hundreds or thousands of years in the future. That should matter. We should be willing to make sacrifices for their wellbeing, just as we make sacrifices for those alive today by donating to charities that fight global poverty. But this does not mean that one must genuflect before the altar of ‘future value’ or ‘our potential,’ understood in techno-Utopian terms of colonizing space, becoming posthuman, subjugating the natural world, maximizing economic productivity, and creating massive computer simulations stuffed with 1045 digital beings (on Greaves and MacAskill’s estimate if we were to colonize the Milky Way).” The dangerous ideas of longtermism and existential risk.
When I was a teenager, my favorite comic book was Robin and back then Robin was Tim Drake. I still feel attached to him. Which is why I think it’s very cool that Tim Drake is now canonically queer.
Ron Hogan: “Art is my own best chance for redemption.”
And, to close out links this week, a song about Columbo’s dog.
- I’m about 3/4 of the way through Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White and I’m almost taken aback at how tense and worried I am about the characters and situations. I’ve had this book on my “classics I should read eventually” list for a while and I picked it up this summer almost on a whim, so I suppose I wasn’t prepared for how involved in it I would get. It is truly an excellent suspense story.
- Megan Abbott is my favorite currently working writer, full stop. I own every novel she’s ever written and I’m certain I’ve recommended every one that has come out while I’ve been sending a newsletter. So it’s no surprise I’m strongly recommending her most recent novel, The Turnout. No one writes the dark inner worlds of women better than she does.
- Stephen Graham Jones’s work has been on my lengthy to-read list for a while, but his two recent wins in the Shirley Jackson Awards inspired me to finally pick up The Only Good Indians and Night of the Mannequins. He’s a hell of a storyteller.
- Speaking of recent Shirley Jackson Awards, I also read the novelette they recognized, The Attic Tragedy by J. Ashley-Smith and it is a darkly lovely little meditation on the ghosts of friendships.
- If you’re in the mood for a solid horror comedy, Vicious Fun is over on Shudder. A tale of an awkward 80s horror film journalist who stumbles into a nest of serial killers. It’s not groundbreaking, but it does what it does very well and has some nicely progressive touches.
- I’m always ready for a new horror narrative podcast and just when I thought I had heard almost all of them, Bridgewater arrives on the scene. It’s produced by the folks behind Lore and so far I’m digging it.
- Speaking of new narrative podcasts, Karina Longworth just premiered a semi-dramatized podcast based on the real-life history of actress Joan Bennett called Love Is a Crime and so far it’s aces.
- I’ve recommended the You’re Wrong About podcast in general before, but I want to note that their “Summer Book Club: The Satan Seller” series is really worth listening to, especially if you’re into the history of the Satanic Panic.
- Quiet Little Horrors took a summer break for August, but we’ll be back this month. For a sneak peek at upcoming films, you can always check in with our Letterboxd list.
- Scarlet Adventuress, my newsletter about underappreciated horror films, will be back next Friday! If you’re into that sort of thing, you can subscribe to get the next essay. As to what film is coming up next, three words: Stuart Gordon’s Dolls.
There's always still time for summer vacation.
This week’s quote is from Maya Angelou.