This is a different sort of post. I don’t know even know what to call it. A meditation, maybe? I’ve just been thinking a lot lately and chasing down my thoughts in circles, and I want to put some of it out there.
As a writer, I can divide my writing into “eras.” There are common themes, tropes, even similar characters that appear over and over again in every era. It’s like I’m constantly trying to work out the emotional knots in my brain. Repression has always been my response to trauma, and maybe that’s why all my anxiety and hurt gets channeled into my writing like this.
When my grandmother died in 2014, it was a trauma that took me three years to be able to talk about with anyone. It took another year and a half before I could acknowledge it publicly. But even as I kept my public silence, that grief found its way into my writing constantly. I had a “grandma” writing era.
I’m so proud of this poem — “Red Tides.” I’m so proud of verbalizing a grief that took me three years to accept. But still, I’ve never read this poem out loud. I’ve never performed it, never even shared it with anyone outside of workshop or my closest friends and family. There is so much symbolism layered into this piece. The idea of picking it up and saying publicly, “These are the things that haunt me every day of my life” feels so daunting.
And then there’s my “family dynamics” era. For the past three years, everything I’ve written can be traced back to an obsession with family sagas and dysfunction. I can’t stop trying to heal these fictional families and bring them closure.
Anyway, the main point is this. The first half of 2019 was rough. It felt like my life imploded in the spring, which is a very dramatic way to describe it, but there it is. My relationship ended badly, and a friend violated my boundaries, and both incidents — and the resulting gossip — left me reeling.
I didn’t love this one *quite* as much as I loved Practical Magic, but honestly, given how much I loved that one, that’s a pretty high bar. At any rate, this book has a lovely beautiful and believable backstory for the aunts, and I understand more why they are as they are in the original book. I think I would’ve liked to have seen more peripheral story, because this story does take place r an interesting time in history, but where history does enter, it’s always very meaningful and deliberate. I’m looking forward to rereading Practical Magic sometime with my new knowledge.
I wish I’d had read this all in one sitting as opposed 2 sittings with many months between, but this was a lovely book regardless. The stories manage to capture the vagueness and peculiarity of classic fairy tales while still turning the narrative on its head. It’s fascinating to see the varied sources that inspired each story.
I’ve been thinking about the concept of “remixes”, especially as it relates to visual media, and reading this book while keeping remixes in mind made for a different, more critically engaging experience. I would say this is an example of a high art remix vs. the kind of remixes I’m used to thinking of like fanvids and fanfiction.
This collection of essays was well-worth the read! Obviously, I’m a literary nerd, so my favorite points of entry revolved around literary points of entry — oh my god, the Yeats essay was phenomenal. But this opened my eyes to so many different readings of BtVS, and I love that the editors weren’t afraid to include contradictory essays within this collection, sometimes even right next to each other. Overall, I think this collection is at its best when delving into character analyses, but all parts of it were interesting.
As someone who is interested in analyzing television and movies in this way, I feel like I’ve learned so much just by engaging with this text.
In an effort to be less precious with my words, I’m going to start posting reviews even if they are less intellectual and more my impressions of books. So, here goes.
This collection was a little darker than I expected — somehow, I wasn’t expecting actual horror stories, and I thoroughly regretted reading some of these at night. While it wasn’t quite my cup of tea, I really appreciated the fact the queer content in here was expansive in its definition of “queer.” Whereas other collections I’ve read focus very narrowly on the individual letters of LGBTQIA+, a good portion of these explored varied kinds of relationships and kinks as well. That’s not something I see very often, and it was kind of refreshing, even as I wanted to pull the covers over my eyes because I was scared of ghosts.