(But first, here’s the locked Patreon post of part 6 of “The Ghastly Spectre.”)
All sorts of news and announcements, also life does go on.
There’s an early-stages website, so it’s official: I am writer guest of honor for the 2023 World Fantasy Convention! Kansas City, 26-29 October, 2023. This is an amazing honor for me. There aren’t a lot of details yet, but the other guests of honor (so far) are Elizabeth Leggett and Vincent Villafranca. I am delighted and so excited!
Also nice news: I am in the endgame of finishing a short story collection, which (if all goes well) should be out next year — before WFC. I have one final story to revise.
And some more nice news: My short story, “Five Sphinxes and 56 Answers,” was taken by DIAGRAM, and will be online in a couple of weeks!
School starts tomorrow, with a graduate fiction class. I love this class every chance I get to teach it.
Moods are funny things. Two weeks ago, I felt limp and unfocused. Then last week, I was angry and depressed about some stuff that I subsequently realized aren’t important (which is why I’m not itemizing it here). Negative ongoing feelings, both of them — but at the same time and even simultaneously, I felt content or happy or excited about other things: getting the dishware I ordered online, watching squirrels, reading a delicious new book, making dinner, zooming with friends, thing thing thing thing thing.
I remember this as well from when I was seriously depressed, many years ago. I would be simultaneously in a black black place and doing something wonderful, climbing or driving through the mountains or whatever. I could even feel joy in the midst of suicidal depression, though it never seemed to change things. In the intervening years, I’ve figured out that you can feel a dozen things at the same time, all equally valid. Originally it seemed to me that the depression or anxiety or grief or anger trumped all the other, kinder feelings. But some of that is because I thought the bad feelings negated the positive feelings: feeling happy wasn’t real, couldn’t be real, because I was depressed, goddammit. But weirdly, it didn’t go both ways: joy or contentment did not in return negate depression. Why? Because that would mean the depression wasn’t real, and it felt so so so real. I knew it was real. And anyway, if I was suicidal but somehow “not really depressed” (because of that moment of happiness as I listened to Kate Bush), how could I possibly reconcile those? This is bullshit, of course. Both feelings — all feelings — were and are authentic and real, and deserve attention.
So why did depression get to win that showdown? When I was feeling both happiness and depression, why didn’t I throw myself behind the happiness instead? There are a lot of reasons I can identify now: family of origin, brain chemistry, among others. But these days, I feel more and more that a major factor in our individual depressions, angers, and anxieties, is that our culture is designed to keep us this way, keep us scared and struggling and buying things.
(But I have to admit, I really like the new dishware.)