I've been remiss in writing to you; I blink and a new Friday's rolled around, I blink again and it's midnight, and it always seems more correct to wait for the next Friday than to break the cycle over the weekend. No more! Here we are on a Saturday.
But would you believe – I scarcely can – that I've been writing? Fiction? Every day? That I'm a hair's breadth away from finishing the first short story I've written in actual years? That it's about a witch and a man with a hollow back, and that I first started writing it in (gulp, gasp) 2010?
And that you can hear me read from it tonight, in the company of all these fierce and splendid people?
Some friends listed above I've known now for over 20 years. We're all really looking forward to an evening of short reads and long talks; there'll be a Q&A at the end.
It's at 8PM EST tonight over Zoom, but make sure to register first! It's free!
Hope to see you there, and that you're having a good weekend otherwise,
- Sam J. Miller's first collection of short fiction, Boys, Beasts & Men, is out now! I was honoured to write its introduction. The book seems to currently be a victim of its own success (and likely supply chain issues etc) and the paperback is temporarily out of stock at a lot of the big e-tailers, but ebooks abound, your local bookstores may have it, and meanwhile you can whet your appetite for it by reading Lee Mandelo's gorgeous appreciation of the whole here.
- Cat Manning – who has no shortage of tremendous accolades but is most notable in the context of this newsletter as the person who introduced me to blaseball – has published a Shakespeare game in an academic journal, a thing I did not previously understand was possible, and which makes me feel like my own protracted time in academia has been one giant missed opportunity. In her own words, "thrilled to be able to say that my first peer-reviewed academic work is [checks notes] Shakespeare fanfic".
- I've fallen in love with The Cornell Lab's Merlin app for identifying birds by sound or sight. Its UI is so smooth, it's so accurate, (a sizeable category difference from Song Sleuth, which I'd been using previously), and it led directly to me spotting a warbling vireo. Its interface pings the same parts of my brain that read music, and consequently I find it much easier to remember songs and calls and associate them with the correct bird. Or maybe it's the part of my brain that learns language, and recalls the sounds like vocabulary? Or maybe they both ping together like parts of a chord. I don't know, I just love the app.
- Speaking of songs: I love Rina Sawayama's music, her chameleonic aesthetics, her whole deal, and the new video for "This Hell" is no exception. It's a delight, it's funny, it made me a little weepy. The signs! Her new album comes out September 2 and I simply cannot wait. Also I long to embody the look and energy of the following image.