Over this past month, I read both of Mason Currey's collections of artists' daily routines and rituals (Daily Rituals: How Artists Work and Daily Rituals: Women at Work). The older I get, and the more I aim for simplicity and space to think, the more I am drawn to routines. Or, as I suspect, the less I resist the ostensible uncoolness of having routines. In Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Summer People," she writes of the main couple: "Since they were old enough not to be ashamed by regular habits..." and that fragment has always stayed with me. I am finally old enough not to be ashamed by regular habits. Now, I have learned to not only use them but enjoy them.
And so I also enjoy learning about others' habits, especially those of artists. I am fascinated by how people have managed to make art around a range of obstacles and restrictions. Even those with fewer restrictions have to put in the time and effort. In a society that consistently devalues art and tells lightning-bolt myths about the process by which art is created, it's fortifying to read about the tremendous commitments people have made to making art. Rarely do people who create have the optimal circumstances for creating. The real work is taking it seriously enough, and believing in it sincerely enough, to use the resources you do have.
Franz Kafka wrote: “[T]ime is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.” Here's to wriggling through.
And now, a list of things I made, did, read, or wrote in August.
- I posted one round-up of my recent reads, watches and listens: Recently 12 August.
- My horror film podcast released two new episodes covering the range of Carrie: the first on Carrie 1976 and the second on the wild world of Carrie remakes and sequels. This is probably the most well-known film we've discussed yet on the podcast so it was fun taking on a classic and its accumulated mythology.
- I posted a list of horror writing market opportunities for September.
- “Pursuing art is not just a matter of finding the time—it is a matter of having a free spirit to bring to it.” Stella Bowen
- I have been watching the The Prisoner (streaming on Tubi) and why I have I slept on this gem for so long. I always knew it had a positive reputation but I never realized how great it is. I was inspired to watch by my love of Patrick McGoohan in Columbo and how well have I been rewarded.
- The Criterion Channel is currently streaming a full collection of Roger Corman's Poe films and obviously I've watched them all. Most I had seen before, but there were a couple of new ones for me. Personal ranking: 1) The Masque of Red Death 2) The Tomb of Ligeia 3) The Pit and the Pendulum 4) House of Usher 5) The Premature Burial 6) The Haunted Palace 7) Tales of Terror 8) The Raven.
- “There are no miracles. There is only what you make.” Tamara de Lempicka
- I saw Bruce.
I'm still on Twitter, but most of the social media action, such as it is, is happening on Bluesky now. I have a handful of invitation codes for Bluesky so if any of my newsletter readers would like one, let me know. You can also reach me by email at [email protected].
Thank you for reading! I'm grateful for you. 🖤