August, and everything after
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
Well, this is an August isn’t it?
August is, quite frankly, always a weird month for me. I’m technically still on “summer break” (all of you who teach get why that’s in quotes), so I feel I should be enjoying it.
But in most of the places I’ve lived, it’s also the hottest month. Here in PA, it’s definitely not as hot as other places I’ve lived (Granada, Shreveport), but it’s so humid it’s like a bowl of soup out there. And I hate the heat, and I really hate humidity.
So I’m trying to be present, and mindful, and live in the moment but in any given moment I’m like “wow, I forgot shins could sweat.”
It’s also hard to want to be present now. The present is reports on monkeypox on top of Covid, and people almost dying of ectopic pregnancies in states that banned abortion, the DCCC funneling donations to fascists to game our broken system, and having to see Alex Jones’ face.
It’s enough to make you wanna tear your sweaty hair out.
So what are you living for right now? I’m reminding myself that spooky season is on the horizon. And that getting back to work means getting back to more of a routine (which is very, very good for my mental health. Even if I would like to pretend I’m a feral cat, I’m a housecat and everyone knows it). And in the meantime I can read and watch good shit and enjoy the dregs of “break” before the chaos of the semester really begins.
And I’ve been enjoying some good shit!
I tore through Mexican Gothic, and then started chomping through Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s impressive backlist.
I really enjoyed Alex Jenning’s bonkers NOLA-set contemporary fantasy novel The Ballad of Perilous Graves, which was super fun and strange.
Finally, I really loved The Book of Hidden Things, by Francesco Dimitri. He’s a native Italian speaker writing (beautifully) in English, about a group of friends in southern Italy. It’s magical realism, and about masculinity, and aging, and coming to terms with our lived lives. So good!
And I know I don’t have to tell you this, but if you haven’t watched it yet, watch Hulu’s The Bear. It’s such a gorgeous show. It’s about grief, but it’s also about work. It made me think a lot about how America is so bassackwards in our conception of what kind of work should be valued. And how important it is for people to *feel* valued in their work, especially when it’s work that benefits so many (like restaurant work, which is grueling and difficult and we all want and we all benefit from, but we also don’t want to respect people for doing it OR pay any real money for their services). For a country that puts so much emphasis on bootstraps and “hard work” we seem to focus a lot of disrespect on the people actually *doing* hard work at the same time that we reward people whose “work” involves stuff like gaming our financial systems to massive personal reward and the detriment of the rest of the nation (nod to Rutger Bregman’s Utopia for Realists, here).
Finally, anyone reading this who is publishing adjacent or publishing curious should read John Maher’s tweeting of the Penguin Random House/Simon & Schuster merger monopoly case. Basically, the gov’t is asking all the questions authors have been asking publishing for years…but they’re finally under oath to answer. Is it like finally having an abusive ex on the stand? Yes. Is it satisfying? Absolutely. Will you still be shocked, despite thinking you, of all people, knew how bad it was? Yes ma’am. (Also no, I’m not on Twitter anymore, I’m just ogling. If you don’t have an account, you can elude the pop-up “join twitter” box by clicking “sign in” and then closing the pop up window. You have to do it every like five tweets, but it’s worth it to read this glorious thread).
I hope you enjoy the dregs of this sweaty, sweaty summer. Or if not enjoy it, at least survive it with a little grace, a little humility, and some AC.
It’s all we can do. xo