I don’t have a big post to make today, because most of that energy this week is going into preparing for the US Book Show! But I thought I’d take this time to look back a little, and forward a little.
During the month and a half when I was running through all the author interviews, my life was going through big changes behind the scenes. Nothing completely new or out of left field, but a lot of stuff that started in late 2020 / early 2021, reaching dramatic new chapters. I’m trying to think hard about this because a lot of the big, deep topics I teased at the beginning of the year are in some way to do with all this, topics that I’m still figuring out in my life in practice, and I still love them and want to talk about them but it’s hard to know where to start. Such as:
Autism and Animism. As I clean up the house that I used to share with my ex-nesting partner and rearrange it to suit my own needs, I’m thinking a lot about what it means for something like a house to have a life of its own, for us to have obligations to respect the seemingly inanimate things around us. I really don’t know how to articulate some of this yet. I have inchoate feelings, but they’re a work in progress - like the house itself.
Relationships and Imagination. My ex-nesting partner wasn’t my only relationship, and other partnerships in my life are unexpectedly thriving. I’m thinking in new ways about what it means for a relationship to suit my whole autistic self. I’m thinking in particular about how close relationships for me are often centered around a shared, private world of make-believe. Yet, I don’t know if I can trust my feelings about this at such a transitional time. It’s complicated!
I also have a ton to say about THE FALLEN - enough that I wrote a whole bunch of article pitches about it to my publicist. Not sure yet how many of those are going to end up here and how many will, instead, be picked up by a bigger publisher. But they include:
Rebecca Solnit’s A PARADISE BUILT IN HELL, elite panic, and mutual aid in disaster situations
Neurodivergent communities; the ways neurodivergent and mentally ill characters can support each other mutually, outside the “healthy caregiver / dependent disabled person” paradigm
How autistic people can be vulnerable to manipulation; how people can take advantage of us by strategically offering forms of support and accommodation that we can’t find elsewhere
Burnout and Second Novel Syndrome; how I coped with writing a sequel post-PHD and during a pandemic.
I promise I’ll have a full article for you next week! In the meantime, are there any topics from this list that you’re especially excited to see, or intrigued by? Let me know in the comments.
“Ursus,” one of the concluding poems from MILLION-YEAR ELEGIES, is one of Charles Payseur’s recommended readings from April, over on X Marks the Story
THE FALLEN is available to request on NetGalley.
Animism intrigues me because we do seem to have a special relationship with things. Even those of us who don't personify them so much often seem to find in them a stability that often eludes with people. And I'm very interested in the mutual aid stuff, and relationships centred on imaginary worlds.
All of those topics sound interesting, esp. neurodivergent communities. Regarding animism - and the way you described your house - if you don't already know of David Abram's Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology, it might be of interest. I'm only partway through it - but he does voice the house-as-person experience in the first part of the book.