Back at It
Catching Up After Thanksgiving and a Week Off
It’s getting cold in Central TX. We’re hoping that, for the fourth year in a row, February doesn’t bring an ice storm that puts a hefty chunk of Austin’s population without power. We bought a small generator just in case.
The days are shorter now. And rainy.
Rewrites on Barn Door to Hell are going slow. I’m having the most success if I wake up around 4 or 5 in the morning. The inner critic isn’t awake yet, and the words flow like honey from a jar that’s just spent fifteen seconds in the microwave.
Or something less pretentious.
Not gonna lie, friends, your boy is going through it (as the cool kids say).
I tend to struggle this time of year—a lot of people do—but there have been some bright spots.
Our oldest just took a month of dance classes. The kid’s got some moves.
Our youngest is starting to speak in complete sentences. When she forgets certain words, though, she’ll resort to something like baby babble. It’s funny when she does it mid-sentence, then finishes the sentence with the last few words perfectly articulated.
I’ve been taking both kids for walks at night, even though it’s darker and colder. We look at the Christmas decorations, the moon, and Jupiter, which shines like a nearby star over the Texas sky in the autumn.
Jean and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner. She cooked and I cleaned. Her penchant for entertaining others is almost alien to my introverted self, but I enjoy seeing her in her element and helping where I can.
I recently read the book His Pain by Wrath James White. It’s about a child born with a horrific condition where everything hurts, so he spends his life nude and in complete isolation. When he’s a young adult, his mother hires a yogi to help the boy turn pain into pleasure. Because it’s a Wrath James White book, things get gnarly from there.
I have long been fascinated by the concept of taking pain and turning it into something else, essentially erasing the discomfort it causes. This isn’t a new idea; it exists in various religious movements and subcultures. When I imagine such concepts, I often think of how they apply to physical pain.
But what about psychic pain? Mental illness?
Or what about simple adversity? What about hard work?
Food for thought.
I’ve got two new stories out in anthologies. The first is “Face-Melting Disaster Porn,” which is in the anthology Dark Disasters, edited by Candace Nola. You can grab it in paperback right here. The second story, “Something Pagan,” is in the anthology Splatterpunk’s Basement of Horror, edited by Jack Bantry. You can get it on paperback right here.
The former was originally supposed to portray a splatterpunk or extreme horror scenario against the backdrop of a natural disaster. My story sees a family taken hostage during a volcanic eruption. I leaned into the absurdity of the scenario because I wanted my story to stand out, and I wound up taking things into more of a bizarro direction. The result is something a little more playful than what you usually get from me—probably not a bad thing!
“Something Pagan” is a classic revenge narrative, but I take things in some unexpected directions.
I know those are vague descriptions, but it’s hard to talk about short stories without spoiling them. Anyway, I hope you’ll grab both anthologies. Both editors always put out a solid product, and I’m glad I finally got to work with each of them.
I still plan to do more videos, but I learned very quickly that doing them weekly isn’t possible for me at this stage. And you know what? That’s totally fine. I’m a writer, not an influencer.
Sometimes I get excited about things, and it leads me to spreading myself too thin and overcommitting myself. One day, I’ll remember that before starting a new project or agreeing to something to which I have no business agreeing.
I make videos because I like making them. And sure, it’s still “writing.” Sort of.
But it’s not books. Books are what I’m most interested in creating.
That’s it for this week. Thank you for reading and sticking around. I appreciate it more than you know.
Reading: Meander, Spiral, Explode by Jane Alison
Watching: Godzilla Minus One (this movie might need its own post—it’s that good).
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