I’ve been struggling for a while to articulate I’ve been feeling lately, how to pin down this fleeting, transmutable emotion that comes with a dramatic shift but here it is; things are in bloom.
If you’re new here, and you probably are, welcome! If you want an idea for the feel of this blog, I’d recommend this post, but really, this is as good a starting place as any. To steal an apt line for an apt post – Who am I? I’m just a writer. I write things down.
I walk through your dreams and invent the future. This blog you’re reading is a prelude. Everything that came before is scattered dandelion seeds I often forgot to watch settle, and everything from here on out is the ascent towards You Make Yourself Another.
I’ve been teasing it for over a year now, the short story collection I put my heart, soul and much of my organmeat into. A collection six years in the making, bandaged together with lots of hand-holding, bandages and a little bit of surgery. The stories behind the stories will come in a later letters, today is just a skyward scream. I did it. It’s real. I have made myself another.
It feels very fitting that I’m writing to you, now, from a hospital waiting room, counting the seconds until it’s my turn for treatment. So many of the seeds of this book were sewn in rooms like this, places where the mysteries of my body were uncovered, revealed to me in both painful inches and euphoric rushes. Because that’s the crux: You Make Yourself Another, above anything else, is a book about bodyhood. Beyond the magic and strangeness, the violence and the tender, it is a meditation on sickness. An aguished scream at the abyss of mystery illness and a joyous cry for closure. A song about being swallowed whole, a song about being the throat. When the first seeds of this collection began to germinate, I was recovering from surgery isolated and desperately lonely, and now, in the shade of the tree, I am taking a deep breath, because I know the pain is lesser on the other side of the door. It’s a different hospital, but the rooms are all the same, a history of me told in the scuffmarked corridors and disinfectant scent.
If you’re in pain, if you’re squirming and struggling and shrieking into pillows, I’m sorry that I can’t give you a cure, but I hope in some small way, this book might be a balm.
I keep finding myself (even here, in this letter) talking about this process as it it’s an ending, the last full stop on the last page turned. But a culmination doesn’t have to be an ending, and I don’t want this to be. These letters, notes-on-the-text, will not just be a promo in media res, or at least I hope not. What I want is for this to be a beginning. A starting point for building more of a community and telling more stories, and, I hope, landing somewhere completely different to this hospital room I am beginning it in.
Thank you for joining me on the beginning, I can’t wait to see who we have become on the other side.
I plan on ending all of these letters with a couple of accompaniments/media recs either related to the book or the content of the letter or things currently sprawling out in my mind and taking up space. So, in addition to Litany In Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out, mentioned above I recommend you…
LISTEN to roses/lotus/violet/iris by Hayley Williams ft. boygenius, one of my favourite songs from the you make yourself another playlist I’ll share in full in a later letter. And on that note, the new Paramore song is excellent, too.
READ garden of earthly delights, a poem by @mossycoat on tumblr / my beloved friend Izzy that I have been turning over in my mind for weeks and BACKWARDS by Warsan Shire, a poem that never stops haunting
WATCH yhara zayd’s video on I’m a cyborg but that’s okay, which manages to articulate a lot of things I’ve clumsily grafted metaphor onto in this post, and if you’ve never seen the film I highly recommend that, too.
Pre-orders for You Make Yourself Another with the gorgeous and patient and talented people at Half Mystic press are open from today!
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