#2: I started and dropped several projects this month, but I made some lists, wrote about how noisy my brain gets and have read some great stuff.
My first newsletter that came out last month was a bit long. With this month’s newsletter, I thought I’d try a slightly different approach in an attempt to simplify and truncate information. This time, I’m limiting myself to 10 points of note in total.
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Without further ado, here’s a round-up of my September…
On the blog, I wrote about how noisy my brain gets as well as how writing lists can be an effective way of turning the volume down.
Several drafts of my current fiction piece have failed to reach completion. Overthinking the end result rather than enjoying the journey was sucking all the fun out of the process. Going forward, I’m fully embracing writing for myself first and worrying about whether the story is shareable later.
To procrastinate productively, I drafted some poetry pieces — although none are in a fit state to share as of yet. Also, I had a go at making some blackout poems — like the kind Austin Kleon makes. So far, I only have a ruined sharpie to show for it. But I enjoyed it and think I might attempt some digital blackout poetry so I can correct my mistakes and destroy fewer sharpies.
I most recently finished Patricia Lockwood’s Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, a very interesting and fun poetry collection. It includes her viral hit “Rape Joke” — my favourite from the book. I read this alongside Rutger Bregman’s Humankind and Jordanna Jade’s Choosing Divinity. My reading habits have been a little inconsistent this month so I didn’t finish as many books as I would have liked.
But it was Tim Kreider’s essay collection We Learn Nothing that evoked my strongest reactions. At times it was frustratingly disappointing, but then some essays moved me in ways few other writings have managed. It prompted me to write a stupidly long review in response.
Of all the things I watched this month, the most impactful was Sam Gainsborough’s excellent short film Facing It. The best way I could describe how it affected me is: “I felt seen.” Here is the synopsis to persuade you to set aside 6 minutes to give it a watch:
“[In] Facing It, a young man of perhaps college age named Shaun grapples with the feeling of being trapped in the cage of his own mind, helpless to escape it. The viewer is given access to Shaun’s eyes and ears. His sensory perspective is dreamlike: imaginative, yet brushing up against a recognisable reality. But, as you might expect, it’s not a pleasant dream – his world is populated by characters with strange clay faces that sit atop human bodies, and their muffled voices echo incomprehensibly. As if submerged underwater, Shaun is out of his depth.”
I read a number of interesting articles this month, such as the lyrical and funny art of Mary Ruefle’s erasure poems. Jill Louise Busby wrote about the writing residency industrial complex in “Writing Black Essays in White People’s Houses”. Calvin Kasulke talks about his new work from home novel Several People Are Typing in “We All Live On Slack Now”. Whilst Andrea Abi-Karam discusses Sarah Kane — a playwright very close to my heart — and how ekphrasis allows us to talk to the dead.
There were several great issues from my favourite newsletter, Mic Wright’s Conquest of the Useless, this month. A couple of highlights include “So long, farewell, we Hadley knew you: The real function of columns vs. what columnists pretend they're doing...” and a breakdown of The Guardian’s new ‘Saturday’ magazine and why it’s beyond parody.
Finally, check out this Twitter thread of 24 underrated websites.
That’s all for my second newsletter, folks! The next will arrive in your inbox at the end of next month. Until then, if you have any feedback or want to get in touch, please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you haven’t already then I’d be super grateful if you subscribed. Otherwise, I wish you all a spooky October! :)