shiny new platform insecurities edition

A few days ago, I kind of impulsively imported my three-month-old TinyLetter account into Substack, without much awareness of what Substack was or what I was getting myself into (there’s a whole Twitter substitute in here apparently?).

Sooooo I hope the people who intentionally subscribed to this thing when I launched it are still here, and that the people who are politely following me back on Substack don’t mind watching me flail around the new space too badly.

There is definite flailing happening.

Sorry to land what is going to be a shaky and rambly mess in front of your eyeballs like this, but you opened the damn thing, and that, friend, is on you.

Uh. Okay, here we go.

The Writing

Do the imaginary viral speeches I give at various local public meetings in my head count? Because I’ve been doing a lot of that. Imaginary viral me is so good at using her position and voice to support marginalized communities and intellectual freedom. Let’s hope that real-world hopeless-introvert-me is as compelling, because I have a work thing coming up this month that’s going to test the hypothesis.

Apart from the aforementioned-work thing, I’ve also been trying to deal with my mental health (in a more meaningful way than just whining to the internet about having some mental health stuff going on that I don’t know how to deal with). That’s been great, but it sort of feels like I’ve been cleaning out the worst overflowing closet in my house, and now there’s shit all over the floor that I have no choice but to clean up.

Long story short, I don’t have much writing news or progress to report. But I haven’t given up, I’ve got a working short story draft going, and I’ve got plenty of active submissions circulating. Still in the game, just stuck in the licorice trap or something. But my next turn will come around eventually, and maybe this time I’ll draw the cinnamon roll.

[I’m having a sick day with a small person right now and there’s been a fair amount of Candyland.]

The Reading

Speaking of candy, I really enjoyed The Candy House by Jennifer Egan, and it was nice to catch up with so many Goon Squad characters. I read A Visit From the Goon Squad around 2011, and reading The Candy House in 2023 was such a bracing reminder of just how different the world is now, not to mention how different I am.

So I followed that up with What Moves the Dead, T. Kingfisher’s mycology-inflected retelling of “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and had a wonderful time there. It was a short read, but there were hints of an absolutely fascinating world surrounding it that I would gladly spend more time in.

Short is good, because I’m also working on my first time through Gravity’s Rainbow. I mean, bananas, cephalopods, and anxiety are all up my alley, so, you know, so far, so good! I’ve also started Amanda Desiree’s Smithy, which is a nice follow-up to Patrick Barb’s excellent ape-centric novella Gargantuana’s Ghost. Charismatic haunted houses, animal communication, and epistolary stories: also up my alley.

The Living

My job basically feels like the Balrog scene in The Lord of the Rings, and that’s really all I’ve got going on in meat space right now. I am clinging like a drowning rat to the prospect of my trip to Stokercon next month, though.

The Murder Garden

Here’s my gorgeous new pitcher plant (Sarracenia flava)! When she arrived and I pulled her out of her little shipping dome, my daughter glanced at her and made a swift decision: “Her name is Mama Tuba.” And she was right, it’s so clearly her name, and I’m just helplessly in love with this hungry lady.

Anyway, the next round of Candyland isn’t going to play itself, so I’d better be done here. I love you, as always, and thanks for reading.

Keep up with me.

No promises.


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