Here at the end of the first week of our quarantine, two books made it over the wall, across the moat, and through the door of Library of Winkelman Abbey.
On the left is the new issue of the Boston Review, and the first of my newly-acquired subscription. They publish some seriously good stuff, and I am looking forward to digging in to this issue. On the right is the latest from Two Lines Press/The Center for the Art of Translation, Lake Like a Mirror, by Ho Sok Fong, which is only the second book from Malaysia in my collection.
I’ve been collecting works in translation for a while now. According to LibraryThing I have 197 books in translation, from 60 countries. The plurality, of course, come from Russia. At some point I may do a post about them, but for now, they serve to help alleviate the slowly growing feeling of isolation and cabin fever.
Poe feels it too. This afternoon my partner and I went for a walk around the neighborhood just to give the cat some alone time. I think she appreciated it.
As of a few days ago COVID-19 has made landfall here in West Michigan, so we are all hunkering down for a long haul of avoiding significant social interaction. Fortunately I have several hundred books in the house that I have not read. They should last me a couple of weeks. I also have a job where I can work from home so, until the toilet paper runs out, I have no real reason to interact with other human beings beyond my wonderful girlfriend. She is a school teacher, so she will be hanging around the neighborhood for the next three weeks until the schools reopen.
On the left in the above photo is the latest issue of the superb Rain Taxi, because of which I will undoubtedly order several new books in the upcoming months. On the right is the latest delivery from Deep Vellum, Girls Lost by Jessica Schiefauer. 2020 is starting out with a much slower acquisition rate than the previous several years, and for that I am kind of happy, as I was beginning to feel the pressure of insufficient shelving. I mean, I still feel that pressure, but it is not an immediate concern.
In reading news, I am hopping randomly through volumes III and IV of The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny, published by NESFA Press. These stories are just wonderful! I have been a Zelazny fan since I first read Nine Princes in Amber back in the early 1980s.
I am also reading Tentacle by Rita Indiana, one of the books from my subscription to And Other Stories. One chapter in and I am fully hooked.
My writing game has been significantly off these past few weeks so I am switching over fully to editing several short stories. I have four so far which I think will be worthy of publishing.
Assuming there is such a thing as publishing as we work our way further through this very stupid timeline.
Since you’ve made it to the end of this post, here is a picture of Poe.
This week Poe dreams of more cultured climes as she browses and also nibbles on the new issue of The Paris Review, which was the only addition to the Library of Winkelman Abbey this week.
I finally made it to the end of Sayak Valencia’s superb Gore Capitalism. It was a difficult read, not because of the writing, but because of the subject, and also because I have not had to put my head into the space of deep theory in a long time.
Between Gore Capitalism, Jackie Wang’s Carceral Capitalism and Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism, I believe I now have the proper perspective to begin writing a series of Lovecraftian horror stories where the eldritch abomination is actually the free market.
In other words, they will mostly be non-fiction.
February was a fairly good reading month though I was sidetracked by a long weekend away, some family stuff, and the act and aftermath of getting the kitten fixed. Turns out that the drugs they use to anesthetize cats for surgery sometimes turns them into psychotic Tasmanian Devil beasts for about a day.
Most of the short fiction for February came from three sources – The Long List Anthology volumes 3 and 4, and Kolyma Stories by Varlam Shalamov. The rest were random picks from journals, both print and online.
I am also pushing through to the end of Sayak Valencia’s Gore Capitalism, which I started reading back in January. I hit a point where I had to put it down, and fully expected that to be the end of it, but there was something about the book that just would not let go of me, so I picked it up again and am going to try to get to the end in the next few days.
Here is the list of short prose I read in the month of February 2020.
- “Waiting Out the End of the World at Patty’s Place Cafe” – Kritzer, Naomi (The Long List Anthology, vol. 4)
- “Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue” – Anders, Charlie Jane (The Long List Anthology, vol. 4)
- “Confessions of a Con Girl” – Wolven, Nick (The Long List Anthology, vol. 4)
- “Utopia, LOL?” – Wahls, Jamie (The Long List Anthology, vol. 4 )
- “Lullaby for a Lost World” – de Bodard, Aliette (The Long List Anthology, vol. 3)
- “Terminal” – Tidhar, Lavie – (The Long List Anthology, vol. 3)
- “The Scholast in the Low Water Kingdoms” – Gladstone, Max (The Long List Anthology, vol. 4)
- “Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands” – McGuire, Seanan (The Long List Anthology, vol. 3)
- “Things with Beards” – Miller, Sam J. (The Long List Anthology, vol. 3)
- “On the Slate” – Shalamov, Varlam (Kolyma Stories)
- “At Night” – Shalamov, Varlam (Kolyma Stories)
- “Carpenters” – Shalamov, Varlam (Kolyma Stories)
- “Paradox” – Kritzer, Naomi (The Long List Anthology, vol. 4)
- “A Personal Quota” – Shalamov, Varlam (Kolyma Stories)
- “The Parcel” – Shalamov, Varlam (Kolyma Stories)
- “Sour Meat” – Tse, Dorothy (That We May Live)
- “Gonzales, California” – Berardino, Christopher Seiji (Blind Corner Literary Magazine)
- “Aquacultural Appropriation” – Glanzman, Kimberly (Blind Corner Literary Magazine)
- “Angel of the Blockade” – Acks, Alex (The Long List Anthology, vol. 4)
- “The Fisher of Bones” – Gailey, Sarah (The Long List Anthology, vol. 4)
- “Crispin’s Model” – Gladstone, Max (The Long List Anthology, vol. 4)
- “The Atheist and the Angel” – Buckell, Tobias (Patreon)
If you made it this far down the page, you deserve a picture of a kitten.
February ended on a cold note but here in the first day of March I walked along the river with my honey in late afternoon sunshine and an air temperature in the upper fifties, Fahrenheit. We still have three more weeks of winter, technically, but fifty degrees in winter is much better than fifty degrees in summer.
The library of Winkelman Abbey only saw one delivery this week, from Apex Publications, with the two books pictured above – Winterglass and Mirrorstrike, both by Benjanun Sriduangkew.
In reading news I rounded out the month of February with a little over twenty short stories completed, which put my brain in an excellent space to start revising a couple of first drafts. I will post the list later this week.
Writing for the past week was about on par with writing the week before, to wit: Not a lot started or finished. I was just completely brain-fried and needed to take a little time off. But now that we are in a new month I intend to get back into my daily routine tomorrow at 5:30 am sharp. If I can keep that up for the month that should be enough time to get another story to a point that I can begin shopping it around to some lit journals. And maybe give me time to start working on a new short story for one of the thirty or so calls for themed publications I have bookmarked for the rest of 2020.
That’s all for now; time for bed.