But who's counting?
The funny thing about writing a newsletter about music and mental health, is that sometimes your own mental health gets in the way of writing your newsletter about music and mental health.
This summer was anything but productive. Things happened. But nothing was ventured. And very little was gained.
Summer, historically, is not my power season. Summer took from me this time around. Between the 4th-but-who’s-counting-wave of coronavirus, double moving, smoke, and record-setting heat waves in Seattle, nary a playlist nor a preamble was written. Or even conceived. It was just a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.
That’s not to say creative things didn’t happen. My short story, Five Signs Your House May Suffer From Possession went live in The Gravity of the Thing. I sussed out the ending of my novel in progress, The Well, The Bell, and The Witch, which I am now drafting with more earnest. And ideas for other longer and shorter continue to emerge, but little took actual shape while the world around me burned.
If I had to sum up this lesson in life and the season of this apocalypse in which we find ourselves in the least eloquent way possible, it would be this: sometimes it be like that.
The reason that things have been so quiet around here, aside from the fact that there has just been *gestures* a lot going on, is that I have not been myself. In fact, I’m not sure who I’ve been. In some ways, unrecognizable. Like a pod person, knowing full well that someone took over my body and I am watching the outside world go by, but being unable to do anything about it. I wouldn’t say that the depression returned, or that I was surrounded by assholes, but I felt a little glum. And the reason I felt glum?
It’s because I felt happy.
This year was Charlotte’s last year in preschool and her first year in public school. It was a culminating event. A true turning point. As if the rest of my life can now begin, if only I take the bull by the horns. Like the PTSD from my pregnancy and the dissolution of my marriage could possibly finally die down. Like I could possibly, finally settle in to motherhood and moving on.
But who am I if I’m happy? I’m so accustomed to living through and with trauma that I’m not sure.
Do I know how to be happy? I’m so accustomed to putting up with aforementioned assholes that I don’t always know.
Does that mean I have to be happy?
Happiness means different things to different people, but what happiness has always meant to me is this: work. I’m not talking about the work on the page. I’m talking about the effort it takes to protect my boundaries, recede when necessary, and practice self care. The time and energy spent caring about myself in a world where it is so easy to let ones self go. Happiness is a four-letter word. Happiness is not a skill we are taught. It is not a spreadsheet we can fill out. It is not something to master. It’s a choice you make to show up and be. It’s a practice, a habit, a ritual.
Like a playlist.
But I come armed to my power season of fall with goals and rituals and a new outlook.
I’m embarking on a new yearlong workshop in fiction. For the first time since the pandemic began, I’m ready to tackle my writing goals.
And with that, I bring you new music.
Because at least new music makes me happy.
As previously mentioned, my story, Five Signs Your House May Suffer From Possession, went live in The Gravity of the Thing over the summer. I’ve been getting really great feedback and messages about this piece, and it’s been so cool to watch it spread its strange little wings.
Yes, I’m still reading horror. I’m reading more horror of course, now that it’s almost Fall. Horror is how we explain the fears that we feel in our real, lived lives.
Mongrels, another addition to my Stephen Graham Jones collection, is monstrous and quirky and the werewolf novel I didn’t know I needed
Astoria, a novella about a woman on the brink after the death of a child and the magic and mayhem that ensues, by S.P. Miskowski
-30-, my first entry into the Laird Barron canon, and the inspiration for the movie they remain, which features Chidi from The Good Place
There is no Death, There are no Dead, an anthology featuring, well, everybody above, plus Gemma Files, Nadia Bulkin, Gwendolyn Kiste, Seanan McGuire, and more
This is a playlist for putting your feet to the pavement and marching straight into your power season, arms poised like a granny walker, treads on your sneakers ready for anything. This is also a playlist featuring songs that were launched in 2020 or 2021! In an effort to drag myself out of the summertime funk, I embarked on a quest for new music — and I meant new. music.
This playlist is a bit longer than the others. I’m not entirely sure why. I was just on a mission, okay?
Sad Cowboy — Goat Girl
Don’t Go Putting Wishes in my Head — TORRES
Fault — Desperate Journalist
Only For Tonight — Pearl Charles
Loner — Dehd
Distant Lullaby — UV-TV
I Don’t Recognize You — New Dad
Crossing Over — Sour Widows
For The Sky — HEARTS, Ed Droste
Stay in the Car — Bacehlor (Palehound/Jay Som supergroup)
Let It All Go — Francis of Delirium
Girl Clout — Fresh
Change — Anika
Kyoto — Phoebe Bridgers
Like A Lady — Pom Poko
Chinese Medicine — Quivers
As always, if you enjoy or are entertained by any of these artists, please consider supporting them on BandCamp.