social media musical chairs edition

Hi friends,

Okay. It looks like I’m all in on Substack, and I’m feeling guardedly optimistic that it’ll be possible to have an open writing community even if Twitter becomes (more) unusable. Substack feels so much better to me than Twitter, and while I’m struggling to get the hang of Notes, I actually love having linked micro-posts and longform newsletters in one spot. It doesn’t feel like Twitter as much as it feels like Golden Age Google Reader, and having something like that again is a bright spot in a dark time.

At this point, somehow, I have considerably more social anxiety in digital spaces than I do in real life. I love the communities I’m nominally a part of on Discord, but I do nothing but lurk on pretty much all of them except one or two. I’ve never managed much of a social media presence anywhere, and the name change thing completely sabotaged any headway I’d made on Twitter (because somebody is no longer particularly cognizant of how social media works, didn’t know you could just change your actual Twitter handle whenever, and flushed her audience and started from scratch before a good friend gently pointed out that there could have been a much easier way to handle it).

But, I guess I’m going to do my best to awkwardly show up around Substack Notes and hope no one tells me I’m too uncool and I have to leave, or whatever it is that I’m so nervous about when it comes to interacting with other people online. Like a masochist, I also started an Instagram account at avgreenewrites. I’m really not great at visual platforms, but it seems like a lot of writing conversations are happening there and so I’m going to give it my best shot too. At the time of writing, I have three posts up, zero followers, and weird hangups about accidentally freaking people out and making them think I’m a stalker if I start following them out of nowhere with such a menacingly new account, so someone please come rescue me, I guess?

The Writing

I’m working on what I think is going to land in novella / novel territory and involves evangelical coverups and a bunch of chainsaws. It’s coming from a place of overwhelming stress, helpless rage, and a sincere desire to (fictionally) inflict suffering on (fictional versions of) people who deserve (fictional) it. So, it’s very bloody and very angry so far, and regardless of whether or not I ever publish it, it’s had a higher therapeutic value than anything else I’ve tried.

My story “The Monster Fucker Club” is coming out in Apex #139 this July, and this is your advance warning that I won’t be shutting up about it for at least the next fiscal quarter. The cover art is beautiful, my TOC mates are amazing, and I’m still having a hard time believing this is happening.

In other news, I’m chuffed to be on a short list for a contest judged by one of my favorite writers and to have a reprint coming out in an anthology soon (more details there when I have them).

And you know, I am proud of myself for all of this, I truly am. Thanks to some shit truly hitting a very public fan at work, I’ve been at least partially at work pretty much every waking hour of my life (and some of the sleeping ones) trying to manage fallout. It’s a reasonable time for me to drop anything I don’t absolutely have to do in a bid to keep my head above the water. In a way, I’m relieved to know that I was right to start writing seriously—writing actually is something I have to do, and I’m still showing up for it and for what I want my life to be, despite the veritable mountain of bullshit I’m trying to fight in my day job. So there.

The Reading

I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like (see the previous paragraph), but I have managed to get to the end of a few really satisfying books. I absolutely loved Amanda Desiree’s Smithy. The premise is just incredible—a group of researchers are teaching a chimpanzee ASL in a haunted house. It’s epistolary, too, which I know doesn’t work for everyone but really gets under my skin in the best of ways. It’s a slow burn, but come on, how much fun is a scene where a bunch of college kids are completely confused and a little irritated by a chimp staring in horror at an empty doorway and repeatedly signing “bad woman” (heads up about the heartbreaking ending, though)?

I also just finished Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. I’d also read her The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and I just wasn’t the target audience for that one. I was, however, precisely the target audience for Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. I’ve never been a huge gamer, but I am solidly on the cusp of Gen X/elder millennial-hood. I also definitely understand staking one’s future on fictional worlds, and I appreciated how accurately the book depicted an intense creative and partnership without sanitizing its toxicity.

And now I’m on to Erin E. Adams’ Jackal, which I’ve been excited to read for months. I\’m from a small and extremely complicated town in the Ozarks, and the “woman returns to her hometown in the hills with a mix of apprehension and disgust and possibly a dark secret” setup is my FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD.

And I’ve also been trying to do some actual professional reading for my job, specifically stuff about communication, time management, and crisis leadership. I just hate the business self-help genre so goddamn much. It feels like I lose pieces of myself every time I read it (and it also causes me to regress back to being a whiny teenager who just hates all the phonies, man). So imagine how galling it was to have actually come across something in 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think that has helped me most days of my life since: don’t tell yourself you don’t have time to do something. Instead, say it isn’t a priority right now, which is the truth if you aren’t doing it. It can be incredibly clarifying, and it’s had me taking care of some things I care about that I hadn’t been prioritizing properly.

The Watching

Y’all, we watched Beef and I loved it so much—SO MUCH—and I really hated to find out about the absolutely atrocious conduct of one of the actors after we’d finished it, because I’d really thought it was an entirely perfect show. We also watched both seasons of Lodge 49 (recommended if you’re looking for something quiet, sweet, and odd), and we just started Derry Girls (finally) and Somebody, Somewhere. I’m also absolutely enchanted by Schmigadoon/Schmicago but I don’t know how much of that is because of how much of my childhood revolved around musical theater.

The Murder Garden

In a moment of Mother’s Day indulgence, I ordered myself a spoonleaf sundew and a big mouth flytrap, and I’ve been enjoying them both immensely. The sundew even came with two little baby stowaways, so I got extra plants for free if they survive!

I’m trying to figure out how to grow these things without constantly fiddling with them, because I may be causing more harm than good by moving them around so much. At one point, I thought I’d killed my red dragon and damaged my southwest giant flytraps by giving them too much direct sun, but everything I read says flytraps love and need sun for growth, so I don’t know.

The red dragon’s not dead after all, though:

I’m still going back and forth on whether to repot my big boy Southwest Giant, because he’s actually three big boys who are starting to look cramped as fuck. On the other hand, the triplets are all sending out new traps despite their earlier wilty sunburn situation (you can see some of what I think is sun scorch on some of the leaves below), so I don’t want to risk repotting them if I don’t have to.

My pitcher plant is doing great and eating well, judging by the shadows I see up and down its throats, and my cape sundew remains a fascinating little plant who seems perfectly fine no matter what I do and who is a positive menace to the gnat population.

I love you all and I hope you’re doing okay out there.

Keep up with me.

No promises.


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