tortured metaphors edition

Happy Friday, internet friends. I hope you all have something good happening this weekend, even (especially) if it\’s only a few uninterrupted hours to curl up under a blanket with a book and a hot beverage, which is just all I want in life at this point. It feels like whatever structure in my pituitary gland that controls my cortisol levels is basically that guy in 300 waving a sword and screaming, \”tonight we dine in HELL!\”, you know?

I am not even going to pause to consider whether that analogy made so much as a whiff of sense. Onward we go.

The Writing
I\’d mentioned I was working on a flash piece, and I finally got it to a point where I felt happy with it and it didn\’t feel like it was going to withstand much more fiddling. Off to the editor it went, and I\’m so happy she was on board with it. More on this very soon, but it\’s going somewhere I\’m just thrilled for it to be.

I\’m also working on a 500-word nonfiction piece to accompany it, and that\’s been a lot of fun. I used to be much more of a personal essayist (okay, I really mean that I used to wildly overshare on a personal blog back when that\’s what all of us elder millennials were doing in between posting Facebook albums with over 100 pictures in them from the same night out), and I\’ve enjoyed brushing the dust off that version of my voice there and also in this newsletter.

I think I\’ll be able to be a little more specific about that and hopefully my other piece of mystery news (contract is signed!) next week. Actual news for the newsletter! Imagine!

I\’m also working on a rough, rough draft of a story I\’m hoping to enter in Uncharted Magazine\’s thriller short story contest. It\’s nice to have a deadline to work toward. I\’m in that ping-pong phase of drafting where one writing session I am but an empty vessel effortlessly channeling the Golden Muse of Pure Story Tapped Straight From the Well of the Collective Subconscious That Binds Us All and Transcends Time, and the next day I feel like I can\’t craft a bowl of instant oatmeal for myself, let alone an interesting sentence.

It\’s nice to have been doing this long enough to recognize that for what it is (not real), and to know that I won\’t know what I actually think about the words I\’ve written for at least a week or two. Sometimes the pages that had to be dragged out screaming while I wanted to be doing literally anything else are pretty good. We\’ll see. In the meantime, I just have to keep going, one word at a time. 

The Reading
Stop reading this right now and go track down R.J. Joseph\’s stellar collection Hell Hath No Sorrow Like a Woman Haunted if you haven\’t already. Just know going in that Joseph\’s prose does not flinch, blink, or yield. So many real-world atrocities sprout literal monsters with extremely sharp teeth in these stories. There are veins of sadness, rage, and occasionally a very sly humor throughout, and I can\’t recommend it enough. Don\’t skip the introduction, either.

I also read Kate Beaton\’s graphic memoir Ducks about the creator\’s two years in the Alberta oil sands, which was a fascinating read. It\’s a part of the world and an industry I know next to nothing about, and it was a complex portrait of a complicated place that I\’m glad to have read.

I also just started How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix, who I just love. His books are so funny and heartfelt and completely sincere – right up until something legitimately horrifying happens that you see on the backs of your eyelids for weeks. This one made me cry in the first chapter, and I giggled regarding the taxidermy squirrel nativity scene at first, but, uh, I wasn\’t laughing for long.

Finally, I\’m dipping in and out of Matt Bell\’s Refuse to Be Done. Craft books can be hit-or-miss for me, because there is a part of my brain that craves structure and a paint-by-numbers approach, even though it\’s the exact same part of my brain I have to shut off to successfully make something up. My out-of-head life is very organized, and my approach to most meatspace problems is an extremely methodical one, but I need fucking chaos to write thriving fiction, as frustrating as it can be and in spite of all the dead ends I run down full force until I hit a brick wall. I\’m pleased to report that is a craft book I can do something with, though, and if you also need to be in goblin mode to create, you might find it helpful.

The Watching 
We started watching the second season of Vikings: Valhalla. I just get a kick out of watching grimy dudes with movie star teeth and prom hair tossing axes around, and I guess there\’s really not much more to say.

The Living
I don\’t know. I don\’t want to write about work too much, because the whole point of A.V. Greene is that she\’s separate from my day job and not subject to its somewhat claustrophobic constraints on who and what I can be in public. But it\’s been a really hard week. I feel like I\’m in this constant overdraft cycle moving emotional resources out of my reserve savings which I\’m about to completely deplete, and I just want to hide under the blankets a lot of the time.

Okay, fine, you caught me, yes, I am a spy, but please don\’t dig any deeper and risk compromising international security, okay? The consequences could be catastrophic.

On a positive note, though, I\’ve discovered at the age of forty and somewhat to my dismay that I adore jigsaw puzzles. Specifically, I like doing them with my daughter – and not just because I love spending time with her or seeing the joy an experience brings her. I, literally myself, as my own separate human being, have unfiltered fun doing it, which is something I struggle to remember how to do sometimes. We shout and cheerlead each other every time we find pieces that fit, with lots of high fives, \”you\’re a GENIUS!\”, \”We\’re the BEST at this!\”, etc. And we\’re being ridiculous and intentionally hyperbolic, but it\’s still legitimately soul-soothing.

Take care of yourselves out there. The world is scary, but you make it better, I promise.

Keep up with me.

No promises.


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