It’s winter now. Happy Winter.
I’m in my makeshift office, which used to be my Amanda’s makeshift office, sitting at my desk, which is surrounded by some hastily purchased home gym equipment which I have not touched since two weeks after the pandemic hit. You remember that week. We all bought gym equipment or made sourdough. The week we realized that all that had been holding us back from profound self-improvement was a global pandemic and a wildly indifferent government.
Anyway, it’s a good office. My wife was nice enough to transfer ownership to me. She works in the kitchen, which is drafty and cold. The kitchen holds 80% of the windows in our weird old house and none of them are sealed properly. I know this because my window overlooks the chimney which is bellowing steam and cannot keep up with the heat losses. It’s a weird old house.
I wrote a few paragraphs about the ongoing coup, but have now deleted them. It boils down to: Holy shit, right? January is going to be bonkers.
Last week, Anvil hosted the virtual launch of my book and a few other books that were released over the last few weeks. It was nice. If you came out for that, thank you very much and I’m sorry I didn’t practice what I was going to read before the reading and stammered so much. I’m not a strong reader.
Writing is a weird mix of needing attention and hating attention (“Please look at all the things I think, but under no circumstances are you to look at me.”). Depending where you fall on that needing/hating spectrum, you are either a very good performer or a very bad performer. I’m more towards the hating side. Reading publicly is several layers of anxiety triggers for me. I still do it whenever I can, it’s something that I think is good for me to do, but it sucks so much in the hours preceding the event.
A few years ago, my friend Tupelo invited me to read at an event. She’d won a contest with a local literary group and got to pick some other authors to publish in a chapbook and read alongside her. In the moments before the reading, when Tupelo was in the process of introducing me. I was completely falling apart on the sidelines. The host of the event, some guy I’d never seen before or since, noticed I was pale, I guess. He started trying to hype me up, put his hand on my shoulder and reminded me how silly this all was, it would be fine. He was very nice, very outgoing. It was so kind of him, but the ease with which he was talking to me, a stranger, somehow made me more anxious and I felt my heart pinch. I don’t know how else to describe it. Like something in my chest actually broke and for just a second I thought “I’m going to have a heart attack” then, from the stage “…Dan Sanders”. And I teetered up and it was over in five minutes. So much wasted energy. Every reading I’ve ever done has been some measure of that, but that was probably the worst it’s ever been and it’s been getting better since.
I just found the video of it, I did fine, apart from the nervous beard scratching. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIGPgjE2SK8
All that is to say: readings are weird, but I’m enjoying the zoom format though. Standing in front of a dark room, reading a story to strangers who don’t know how to react (“Do we clap, is it weird to laugh, what is my role here”) is more difficult than doing it in my makeshift office and occasionally being nosed by my bored dog. I’m hoping the zoom format sticks around, not as a pure replacement, but as an occasional alternative.
Other writing news. My flash piece WOLVES was nominated by The Hong Kong Review for Best Small Fictions 2021. It caught me off-guard and was really lovely news. You should go read WOLVES and pick up a copy of HKR while you’re there. They were really kind to me throughout and the editor, Tonja was a good and patient editor and really just a good person overall. Also, she’s a brilliant writer, follow her on twitter and read whatever she puts out.
This update feels a little thin after I removed the coup chunk, but I haven’t left my house in months.
Oh, my standard new years resolutions are as follows:
- Read More
- Write More
- Submit More
- Stop doomscrolling twitter all day
That’s it. Especially the submit more. I submitted once this year. One time!
Anyway, happy holidays everyone.