This Week in Review 9/11/23-9/15/23
Less Than Pulp, Issue 64
The day job kept me pretty busy this week. That’s not a complaint, just a fact. I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years, most of them dealing with the public. In my current gig, I fortunately only work with words, editing technical reports and such. It’s a nice change of pace. I don’t dislike people, but in customer support, you’re almost always dealing with unsatisfied people, which can weigh on you after a while. My current work does no such thing. I’m able to log off and be a father, husband, and writer with little decompression needed.
With Barn Door to Hell finished, I spent much of this week on non-writing stuff that is nonetheless related to the writing life. This included posting on social media, finally working on building my store, recording a new episode of Make Your Own Damn Podcast, and editing. While we as writers are more or less required to do some or all of these things to stay relevant, I have a hard time doing them while actively working on a book. Even though a novel or novella is usually fun to work on, it takes a lot of mental energy and headspace. If I’m spending that energy and space to come up with clever social posts, it leaves little to devote to fiction, and that shit ain’t okay.
But that’s just me.
Editing on Barn Door to Hell has been interesting. It might be the most rigorous I’ve been with my edits since maybe my first novel. Part of that is I see it as a relaunch of sorts. The hope is that I’ll time the release of it with the opening of my online store near the end of the year. If I’m reintroducing myself to people, I want to make a good impression. While I haven’t gone away or anything, Barn Door to Hell feels like a synthesis of everything I’ve been aiming for with previous works—a refinement of everything that worked without some things that might not have. I get that this is subjective, but believe me when I say that Barn Door to Hell is the book I’ve always wanted to write.
That’s not to say I dislike any of my previous books—on the contrary, I stand by all of them and always aimed to write that book—but this book feels different. I hope my excitement for the project is shared by readers new and old.
On the family side of things, we’ve been slowly but surely getting back into schoolyear routines. This means early bedtimes for the kiddos and early mornings for everyone. Our son’s started getting homework, mainly related to spelling and reading. Let me tell you: these words they’re assigning are a lot harder than the words I remember from second grade. While it’s totally possible that I’m misremembering, Jean also echoes that these words are hard. Maybe it’s a Texas thing.
Our son struggled the first week, but he’s getting better every week. I’m surprised, happy, and a little sad to see how hard he’s working. Part of me just wants him to get to play forever, the way I wish I could’ve kept playing forever. The hope is that if we work harder, we can play harder, and maybe there’s truth to that. I have noticed his creative side coming out again. He’s been drawing monsters—the way I used to draw monsters—and cutting them out to use as toys or hang on the wall.
Our daughter is two-and-a-half. Any parent reading this knows what I mean. She’s a lot, but she also has that peak toddler cuteness. On Saturday, she helped me bag up fallen leaves. Her big brother drew ghost faces on the white trash bags we used, and I set them up out front.
That’s right, friends. We just put up our first Halloween decorations of the year. Spooky season is nearly upon us.
Are you someone who writes to music? Are you as excited for Halloween as I am? If you said ‘yes’ to either or both of those questions, check out that DEAD MALL: HALLOWEEN MIX I linked above. It is exactly what I want to hear this spooky season, and I’ve had it playing in the background while I edit Barn Door to Hell.
Here are some things I’ve enjoyed reading this week:
- continues his bizarro, surrealist Choose Your Own Mindfuck series. He’s someone who I used to take the time to read each week on Substack—I just never subscribed because he subscribes to me and Substack Notes used to conveniently show me my subscribers in my feed. It was cool because I could read what my subscribers were up to without inundating my mailbox. Substack no longer does this for reasons I still don’t fully understand, so I’ve been making it a point to properly subscribe to William and others I enjoy reading. If you like old school bizarro, surreal science fiction, or Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories, definitely check out his Substack.
I’ve never read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, but after reading this breakdown of the book’s themes and how they relate to loneliness, I’m inclined to.does some of the most interesting and sincere essays on this platform, all centered on the idea of loneliness in a super-connected world. If you’re not checking them out, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Friends and followers of Charles Austin Muir know he and his partner Kara have been struggling a lot these past few years following her cancer diagnosis. This week, she unfortunately passed away. In tribute to her, he wrote this heart-wrenching but beautiful blog post that you can read here. He does a good job celebrating this woman who meant so much to him, all while showing what it means to lose someone intimately close to you. It’s a gut punch of a piece but worth reading. That’s just a sample of his way with words, though. I also recommend his books.
Lastly, I finished up Morbid Curiosities: The Collection byon Saturday morning. All three stories have their high points, but for my money, “The Illusion of Choice” is the standout. A tale of alternate timelines and attempts at second chances, it gets dark quickly, showcasing how expertly Beauregard handles worst case scenarios. You can grab the collection (signed!) directly from his store.
The most recent episode of Make Your Own Damn Podcast is live. In it, Jeff and I catch up on what we’ve been watching. As will become apparent to longtime listeners or readers of my Substack, we recorded this one a month or so ago. We talk Psyched by the 4D Witch, The Bear, Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, and the Saw franchise. You can check it out on Apple, Spotify, our Patreon, or YouTube.
We’re in the process of brainstorming how to grow the podcast’s listenership. Does anyone have ideas on how to do this? Anything you’d like to hear us talk about on the show? We’re open to ideas and feedback, even criticism. Feel free to let me know in the comments.
I really appreciate all of you for reading this publication. Please remember to complete the Like-Share-Subscribe ritual to help me become an ascended being. If you want to show some extra love, you can pick up one of my books on Amazon and leave a review. Every review helps.
Until next time…