Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory
#8: Featuring some book recommendations, "The International Fixed Calendar", why you need to read fiction to write fiction and more
February has been a mixed bag for me so far. I’ve got several things personally, professionally and creatively in the works but have little to show for it at the moment.
Progress has been slow due to spending a week in Laugharne for my mum’s birthday and falling horrifically ill (not COVID) halfway through the week.
I’m still recovering, so my apologies if this newsletter feels a little off, and fingers crossed I’ll have more to share in future.
But in the meantime, here are 10 things I felt worth sharing from the past couple of weeks:
It is Valentine’s Day (or was by the time you read this) and whilst I’m not hot on how overly commercialised this holiday is, I do enjoy great love stories. Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory is a short story collection I happily recommend. Rob Shearman’s Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical is also another favourite. Both are absurd and darkly comic — two of my favourite things.
I can usually get through two books when I’m away from home for a week. But due to sickness, I was only able to finish my re-read of Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky. It was even better than I remembered. CJA seamlessly blends witchy magic with soft sci-fi and wrote compelling protagonists I fell in love with. Recommended reading for urban fantasy lovers.
If you want to read something wholesome, check out the story behind the author of “The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis.” A second-grader from Idaho wrote and illustrated his very own story, then he sneakily slipped it onto the shelves of his local library so he could share it with others.
Mark Larson suggests we should start working on our resolutions in February rather than January, as noted by Austin Kleon in his latest newsletter. Kleon also notes: “Only 28 days in this month. A good month for a 28-day challenge.” It reminded me of what he wrote about the trouble with months, where I learnt there was once a proposal to move to a 13-month calendar called “The International Fixed Calendar.”
It’s Black History Month in the US, so Poetry Foundation curated a collection of poems by Black poets in celebration. Some of my favourites in this collection come from W. E. B. Du Bois, George Moses Horton, Langston Hughes, Evie Shockley, Danez Smith (whose Don’t Call Us Dead was one of my favourite books from last year) and Claudia Rankine (whose poetry helped get me through January).
If (like me) you dream of publishing a collection of short stories, Kate McKean’s valuable guidance is well worth a read.
Despite not using them, I find dating apps interesting to read about. I still occasionally think about Ashley Gross’ guide to app dating for men. I’ve also now learnt there’s a posing with arms-wide-open trend amongst Tinder guys that needs to end. But most worthy of reading is James Greig’s Dazed article on love bombing, gaslighting, and the problem with pathologising dating talk.
Ed Zitron wrote a great piece explaining how Mark Zuckerberg is a liar, and he's lying to us about the metaverse. Also, did you hear that Meta threatened to pull Facebook and Instagram in Europe over privacy laws? Regulators said, “please do.”
I stumbled across Audrey Armstrong, whose blog I need to dig deeper into — especially her “Harry Potter Is Dead” series of essays. But of particular interest to Whovians like me is her take on Doctor Who, the Chibnall Era, and queer representation.
Lincoln Michel on why you need to read fiction to write fiction.
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Hope you’ve all had a better month than I have so far and that it only gets better. I’ll speak to you again come the month’s end. Until then…
All the best,