Okay, so sales if If Only Tonight We Could Sleep are ticking along, slow and steady. I’ve been surprised at how many I’ve been selling through local stores, and I can only hope that online sales have been at least as healthy. Thank you to anyone who’s bought a copy, and to the rest of you, thanks in advance (cough, cough).
A few new interviews and free-for-alls are up for your edification. Firstly, I took part in my first podcast interview with champion comedian/political pundit/grindcore drummer Jon Brooks, a fellow Pirie boy made good. We had a great natter for five hours, one and a half of which was recorded for posterity and edited down to seventy-six minutes of… well, stuff. Listen to us snipe about politics and the comedy scene – not that there’s a huge difference between the two in some cases – and reveal our past humiliating mistakes for all to hear as we discuss everything from the escapist nature of horror to our shared history in metal bands! You can find it on various platforms: here are the links to Whooshkaa, Apple, and Spotify. And here’s a sloppy snap of us afterward; sadly, I’ve cultivated not only an isolation beard (or at least the best I can approximate one) but also more than a few isolation pounds.
Also up now is my entry in the Australian SF Snapshot Project, a series of quick interviews with authors from Australia and New Zealand curated by Tehani Croft, and you can read that here.
I took part in a Booklove Tuesday online happening last week, along with gritty romance author B. Michael Radburn and poet Deb Stewart, and you can find that Facebook event here. Skip to the bottom and scroll up to read the posts in order, and check out the action in the comments where readers chime in and interact with us. It was quite fun and interesting, and I look forward to doing more things like that in the future.
In terms of new publications… well, it hasn’t been announced yet, so I may be jumping the gun again, but I’ve had a novelette called “Heritage Hill” accepted into Outback Horrors, a collection of Antipodean frights from me old muckers at Things in the Well. It’s tragic and quite timely in subject matter, unfortunately – we’ll see how it sits alongside stories by Robert Hood, Marty Young, Lucy Sussex, and other luminaries. I’ve also been tapped for a tale for another upcoming anthology that promises some big names, but I’ll keep schtum about that one for now…
I’m currently isolated in my house after falling sick and being tested for COVID-19. I’m sure I’m fine – we’ve had it pretty easy here in South Australia, all things considered, and it’s highly unlikely to have reached me at this stage – but it does drive home the impact this pandemic has had on other states and countries. I’ve already been feeling the strain of that as well as recent political and social upheavals here and abroad, as weird as that may sound to you – I care deeply about my world and the people thereon, and bigotry hurts me even as a relatively pampered straight white male because a) I have friends of all creeds and orientations all over the globe who suffer from it, b) I have benefited from it indirectly even if I have never been actively complicit in it, and c) it’s just so fucking stupid and hurtful that I can’t wrap my head around it. So yeah, it bugs me, and it depresses me, and that makes acts of creation more difficult because they feel so meagre and trite by comparison to what’s really going down in the streets, in your homes, in our minds.
I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but if you’re about to vilify or abuse someone, or hurt someone – even yourself – then just stop and take a moment to think, please. It’s not so hard, and I promise it’s best for everyone. Come on, we’re all humans here… and to create schisms between us because of our genitals, or what we do with them behind closed doors, or whether we were born with them or not, or what pigment they are, is absolutely ridiculous after all these years of shared growth and experience and evolution. Truly, we’re all in this together, and the only ones who benefit from telling you otherwise are reaping profit from our blood and bile, which makes them our common enemy. Fuck the new dark ages. This is our time. It is always our time. It will always be our time. I called my band Blood Red Renaissance because that is what I want to see in the world, a new era of prosperity and intelligence and compassionate creativity, and those first two words don’t stand for violence or gore or the genocide of those that won’t change – they represent vitality, vivacity, virility – boldness, beauty, the stuff of life itself. We are up to the challenge if we set our hearts and minds to it. We just need to set our shoulders to the wheel and work to make it happen, and every little bit of effort counts – every story or song that encourages empathy or deeper thought, every piece of resistance to toxic bullshit, every act of love or courage or righteous defiance, however minor.
That’s what I tell myself, sitting in my house alone, unemployed, tapping away at my made-up stories about things that aren’t real for a tiny audience to read.
I try to believe. To persist. To survive.
I know that I have sometimes inspired people to be better, to try harder, so it’s just a matter of staying the course. Working what little magic I can. Hoping that you feel the same and pass it on, pay it forward, so we can all breathe a little easier.
Sometimes, just being here and being us is all we can do. And sometimes, that’s enough.