I've found it so difficult to write a newsletter lately. So much has happened since last I wrote – big life-changing things, small quiet things, changes of scene and season. I've felt suspended, often, between the desire to write a heartfelt outpouring about the river and the forest and the meadow and the sky with which I kept close company all April, and the equal and opposite desire to write a sensible, robust accounting of how I spent my time last month and the first week of this, to offer updates on work and general circumstances.
In the past I've made vague, hand-wavy attempts at bifurcating these postings between Letters of News and a more haphazard wilderness of writing whatever I'm feeling, usually but not always on a Friday, sometimes an actual essay, sometimes slipping back into the musing, earnest, letter-to-the-world wonder that was blogging in its early days. I don't want to write less than once a month; I don't want to write more than once a week; I still crave an elusive schedule that I will find generative rather than restrictive, more like a sonnet than a sestina.
While I figure that out – some news!
First: I'm thrilled to share that I've contributed to Star Wars canon!
“What I have told you was true…from a certain point of view.”
Since 2017, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s quotable line from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi — a defense of his own retelling of Anakin Skywalker’s death at the hands of Darth Vader — has heralded an anthology series celebrating each 40th anniversary of the original trilogy films.
Today, StarWars.com and This Week! In Star Wars are excited to reveal the third installment in the collection, From a Certain Point of View: Return of the Jedi, including the cover art by artist Will Staehle.
In honor of the 40th anniversary of the film’s debut on May 25, 1983, 40 storytellers explore the story of Return of the Jedi through the eyes of supporting characters, including heroes, villains, droids, aliens, and creatures.
I'm in tremendous company, and very proud of what I wrote, which was a departure for me on several levels – but I hope to share more about that soon. The anthology comes out September 5; in the meantime, you can pre-order it here, or from your favourite indie.
Next: a new Otherworldly column went up last month, covering Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Fairies by Heather Fawcett, The Lies of the Ajungo by Moses Ose Utomi, and Infinity Gate by M. R. Carey. (It's a gift link, so feel free to share it with anyone stymied by paywalls!). It's another one of those delicious columns where I fully adored everything I covered, and I'm always so grateful when that happens.
Finally, the biggest news: we've moved house.
The last time we did this was the autumn of 2020, moving from a 2 bedroom apartment in a walk-up to a 3 bedroom apartment in a high-rise. It was a vast improvement on our previous circumstance; Stu and I had separate offices, we had balconies on which I could grow things in pots, the kitchen had a stove I could open all the way. There were things to adjust to, living in a condo, but overall I found it to be a haven for us, one in which we endured pandemic immurement and I figured out remote teaching and the cats murder-chirped at pigeons to their hearts' (dis)content.
This time we've moved into a house, and we (and the cats) hardly know what to do with ourselves.
There's a yard! There's a kitchen so good that one of our movers nodded "dope kitchen" while walking through it. We've doubled our daily step counts merely by existing in a place with stairs.
There've been challenges too: the house is old and venerable, which means subsidence, which means I'm engaging my core as I write this to keep my office chair from rolling away towards the door. There are lots of little ramshackle problems to solve; we've been here two days and are already wrestling ants in the kitchen. And as ever with renting, we don't know how long we'll be here, but we're going to do our best to make the most of it. Like Millie's doing:
Wishing you all a sweet, gentle easing into whatever you have coming next,
- The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is on strike. I urge you to read the announcement here, stand in solidarity with the union and support striking members however you can. I joined the WGA last year, and this was my first strike vote, but given the truly amazing contempt the studios have shown the union thus far, I very much doubt it will be my last. Here's a recent New Yorker piece offering a glimpse into TV writers' lives.
- This profile of Kelly Link by Lila Shapiro is so beautiful and so worth reading. Also Kelly has a new collection out called White Cat, Black Dog which I can't wait to tuck into.
- Speaking of new collections – the marvellous Kathleen Jennings' first collection of short stories, Kindling, is forthcoming from Small Beer Press in October! I've long adored everything of Kathleen's I've read, and she's tremendously generous with her own reading and insights into creative work; she's an artist as well as an author, and my brain absolutely tingles in the wake of her posts. You can read a ton of her stuff for free at her website, or sign up to her Patreon.
- Back in March, Max Gladstone and I were In Conversation about Dead Country, the latest instalment in his Craft Sequence, under the auspices of Mysterious Galaxy Books. There's video of that event available now, and you can watch it here!
- A while back I saw this video of the B-52s performing on SNL and it has not left my mind. I'm simply in awe of how anyone could curate this much chaos into so immaculate a structure.
- My very dear friend Jessica Wick had a bad accident recently and has had to take two months off work to recover. This is a fundraiser to help support her and help her (literally) get back on her feet. Any amount helps, but so does boosting stuff on social media if you're so inclined.
Also, welcome to new subscribers! For reading this far, you deserve a photo of Devon as he helped me write this letter.