This summer’s newsletters started out on a “Feeding Your Monsters” theme. If you’re catching up, here’s what got covered:
• Corpses and anatomy and digging into the past with Leonardo da Vinci.
• What Jack the Ripper had to do with the Victorian profession of the cat’s meat man.
• The choker resurgence and Angela Carter’s Bluebeard story “The Bloody Chamber.”
• Vampires and flying, childhood fears and slaying kits.
• Using the Spirited Away character of No-Face as a model for how to treat yourself when the insecure spirit-monster is you.
• Looking to the ancient Greeks and Romans for advice on the proper care and feeding of your creative daemons.
• The creepy marvelousness of “The Summer People” of Shirley Jackson and Kelly Link.
• Then over at The Toast, I wrote about the life and times of Miss Havisham, that fantastic spinster/ fairy-witch-queen of Charles Dickens.
I’d intended the monster theme to feature more forlorn graveyards and resurrection men, etc., but truth to tell, the news this summer got so grim and sad that my taste for that sort of thing was at a low ebb (and I thought yours might be too). So instead we veered more bookish, in the form of:
• Digging into some great old Colson Whitehead pieces, including his very funny “How To Write” essay.
• Strolling through the amiable vocabulary of Jane Austen (best Austen word: “nidgetty”).
• The origins of Jane Eyre in a lonely, terrible summer break of Charlotte Brontë’s.
• Revisiting a glorious conversation between Toni Morrison and Gloria Naylor that took place while Morrison was writing Beloved.
(This was the second arc of the newsletter. The first one was focused on getting unstuck and that catch-up guide is here.)
Where To Next!
Yesterday when I was out on a walk I saw a bear in a neighbor’s orchard getting an apple off a tree so while it may not feel true—you may, even as you read this, be melting all over the place like a cheap wax candle—it is true: fall is coming. It really is! (Typing that on a day like today reminds me that I was always the kid on the first day of school who was too excited about it and so wore fall clothes even though it was still 95 degrees out: “Comrades of Jefferson Elementary, let this wool sweater, grossly impractical and way too hot, be a symbol of my high hopes for our coming school year…”)
For this next chapter of the newsletter, I thought it’d be fun (and sometimes useful!) to focus on journeys, adventures, wildness, mapping, starting out and getting where you want to go. Onward!
Until next week,
wishing you all the apples in the trees,
p.s. If you haven’t subscribed to this newsletter and would like to, go here.
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