“If I get through this year, no matter how badly, it will be the biggest victory I’ve ever done.”
— The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, November 5, 1957
Looking back on the events of 2020 is surreal — January feels like a century ago, some months have blurred together into non-existence, and others contained a constant amalgamation of mundane stress and anxiety that bubbled through the walls of my apartment space.
I find myself asking, what did I even do this year, anyway? Does it even mean anything?
Let’s be real, 2020 came along and kicked us all in the sensitive bits — and then kept on kicking. Like many people, I’m grateful to have just survived. This year has been brutal and normal measurements of one’s accomplishments seem inadequate. It’s enough to just be standing (or sitting) here, having made it to 2021.
At the same time, I want to dig through the mushy mess of this year and pull out the good things — because there were indeed a few good things that happened.
Creativity is a strange, nebulous thing — shifting between vast emptiness and the glorious noctilucence of starlight.
I’m currently in a state of vibrance, and Neil Gaiman’s quote about writing novels has never felt more appropriate. The world at large is facing massive challenges (to put it lightly) on a number of fronts, struggles that should be acknowledged and addressed — but, hey, I’m also in a state of vibrant creativity, so as far as my brain goes, it’s not all bad.
Here’s a few of the news and projects that have me in a state of joy right now:
• My chapbook, Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale(forthcoming from Interstellar Flight Press) has been up on NetGalley for a few weeks now — and the responses coming in have been mostly positive, such as this lovely review.
• For a long time, I’ve wanted to have my own places to write about horror movies, TV shows, video games, and dark lore. Although I’ve written about some of those things here, I’m finding it a bit too cluttered and I would like this blog to be dedicated to books and writing. Thus, I’ve finally created Once Upon the Weird, a place for all things unsettling and strange. A website is in the works, but in the meantime I’ve launched a newsletter (first issue to go out tomorrow). I’m honored by the early response. Thank you to everyone who has already subscribed.
• I’ve returned to working on my YA apocalyptic horror novel (which I started in November), progressing into the third act. A part of me feels like this should be the final section of the book, another part wonders if I need to explore the characters more before I wrap up. But the important bit is that the work is progressing and I’m feeling good about where it’s going.
• I’m starting work on a new horror movie script idea that swooped in and smacked me upside the head. Last week, I cleared my bedroom story board so that I could start putting up characters, scenes ideas, and other notes in order to begin preliminary work on the script. Movie scripts are such a different and interesting beast from any other kind of writing, and I’m fascinated by the unique challenge.
• Another new horror novel idea also came to me in the form of a Stephen King-esque nightmare, in which a girl with psychic powers takes up residence in a small town, where there’s a haunted apartment block. The idea is in the early, early stages, but I’ve started taking notes and have even dropped down a few loose scenes. This may be what I work on after I finish my current novel.
And that’s just to name a few ideas and projects that are in progress right now.
Moments of creative flight can be fleeting. Just as quickly as creativity floats into view, it can drift away again. I’m attempting to seize the moment and engage with the work as much as possible while this spark is present in my life.
As I’m in abundance, I send this blessing out to you, friends. May your creativity spark with new life, may it thrive and grow, may it cultivate and bear fruit. May your art, your words, your craft, your cooking, your endeavors gather and linger in your days and fill you with joy.
This was first published in A Seed to Hatch, my newsletter on the writing life and things writers might find interesting. If you enjoyed reading this, please check it out and subscribe.