It’s been a month! I needed to take a bit of a screentime break due to an abundance of Zoom meetings burning straight through my eyeballs. I have also been dealing with depression, something I have dealt with for my entire life, and when it enters the picture my energy takes a nosedive and it’s hard for me to find motivation to do anything but the bare minimum (work, eating, etc). I’m sure many of you can relate to that experience, and we simply carry on as best we can, hopefully without shaming ourselves about a lack of productivity. We are all more than our ability to generate capital, and I’ve had to realize again and again that mental health *should* be prioritized above all else, as much as that is possible in this society.
Speaking of the dreaded productivity, I intend to hold a daily Zoom meeting at 3PM MT throughout the month of November to encourage friends to set aside time for writing, whether you are starting a new project for NaNoWriMo or finishing one you started last November (that’s me!) - if you are interested in joining this Zoom group, let me know. It’s completely free. Just reply to this email or leave a comment on the Substack website with your email address and I will email you the Zoom link before November 1st!
We’ll have some time at the beginning of meetings to check in, chat for a few minutes as people enter the room, and then we’ll get down to writing toward our personal word count goals.
I’ve recently received a few requests from people on Instagram who would like to order erasure prints from me, especially of erasures I’ve made over the past few months, so I decided to set up a Redbubble shop to make that easy for everyone! So far I have five erasures listed, all from my collection all this can be yours, and over the coming week I’ll be scanning and uploading newer erasures.
Each design can be ordered as art prints of various sizes and materials, stickers, and magnets, and some of them (depending on the erasure format) can also be ordered as t-shirts, tote bags, coffee mugs, and even pillows! I’ll let you all know when new erasures have been added to the shop, and I hope you find something you’d like to pick up for your loved ones this holiday season.
One of the best things that has happened during the pandemic is that I got reunited with a lovely ex-boyfriend who has been involved in the development of a fun artistic project: Telephone: An International Arts Experiment - once you have signed up, you wait for your “assignment” to arrive, which will be two pieces of art in any medium, and then you work to create something that “translates” those pieces into a work of your own. Your work is then paired with another piece and sent to another artist to be “translated” itself. You can browse through the map and the archives on the site to get a feel for how this game started, what piece kicked it off, and how the work continues to evolve through each artist’s particular way of seeing. I received my assignment three weeks ago and sent off my “translation” last week. You’ll have to wait for it to appear on the Telephone website to see it.
READ / WATCH / LISTEN
Scare Me (on Shudder) is like Misery if both characters were writers. Honestly, it’s delightfully bonkers and hilarious, and Chris Redd is the highlight of the film for me. It’s a great watch if you like milder scares during the spooky season.
Horror Noire (on Shudder) is a history of Black horror (both films with Black directors and films throughout history that have depicted Black characters). This doc goes way back into film history and gave me a list of classics I’d never seen. Plus you get to hear from Rachel True, Tony Todd, Keith David, and many others about their experiences working in film, their critiques of the industry’s portrayals of Black people, and their hopes for its future.
After I finished reading The Haunting of Hill House, I watched the Netflix miniseries and fell in love with its version of Theo. I found much to love in its apparitions and use of non-linear time, and I always love a good haunted house as metaphor for haunted family, and all the opportunities that creates for explorations of grief and generational trauma.
Once I finished Hill House, I took a dive into The Haunting of Bly Manor, and I loved that one for all the same reasons and a few more. Despite the doomed lesbian romance trope, it also felt to me like it had a San Junipero feel mixed with the spookiness, so of course I adored it. One review I read responds to critiques that the follow-up isn’t “as scary” as Hill House by asserting that it is actually scarier, and I think I agree. It lacks the abundance of jump scares Hill House provides, but it forces the viewer to reckon with the amount of time they spend living inside their own memories, and at a time like now when memory and nostalgia reign supreme, it’s oddly prescient.
“Tsunami Spirits” - this is an episode from the newly released second season of the reboot of Unsolved Mysteries, and it’s my favorite one from the season (yes, I have already seen them all because of the aforementioned depression, thank you for asking). It’s a beautiful exploration of ghost sightings from multiple perspectives, and it asks us to reflect on whether the reality of ghosts is as importance as the reality of those who claim to see them; it requires us to imagine grief in new, physical, all-encompassing and embodied ways.
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado is one of my favorite recent reads. A memoir told in vignettes, Machado shares the story of her experience in an abusive relationship with another woman. She acknowledges her own trauma as well as the villainizing of traumatized queer people, and particularly women, whose experience as “villains” erases their own formative trauma.
So you see, there are many haunted houses to dive into through these recommendations. I hope you do and that you find something that brings meaning to your personal spooky season this October.
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