Dear friends, subscribers, and people who stop by to yell at me about my unladylike use of curse words,
Hi! Happy 1st of November! Please note, my use of glitter in the above picture is ironic.
November, of course, is not a month for irony. It’s a month for doomed love affairs that need to be conducted in flannel pajama pants, because weather.
Since I currently can’t afford flannel pajama pants (more on that in a minute), I’ve started this month off by reorganizing and updating my story archive. The latest addition to the archive is The Girl Who Went for a Ride, inspired by all of those years I spent working for The Moscow News, which has been obliterated from existence both online and in the print archives, apparently.
(When I started working at TMN in 2010, first as deputy editor, it was an editorially independent newspaper that was also state funded. I guess some people would prefer to pretend it never existed. Or maybe it’s gone due to a stupid bureaucratic error. Maybe those of who worked there in the bitter days between the announcement of our parent news agency’s liquidation and the closure of the paper will never know.)
I am also working on a new archive for my poetry, essays, and some experimental pieces I have in the pipeline. Stay tuned.
A lot of my writer and editor friends have pointed out that publishing poetry and fiction on a personal site is self-marginalizing. They are mostly correct.
I spent the last decade working as a journalist, writing poems and stories spontaneously, not having much energy or time to send them to magazines. In some ways, the blog has been a cop-out. In another way, it made my style evolve in a weird, unfashionable, but personally rewarding way. And it gained me your company in the process.
So I will continue publishing here even as I also work on creative projects elsewhere. I will be excited to share them with you when the time comes.
For those of you who recently tuned in: Since losing my old job in what became known as my Third Consecutive Professional Disaster a year ago, I was forced to reassess my priorities. I had to make more room in my life for things that I loved – whether they be riffs on Yeats or flash fiction about big bugs and rotten teeth. I had no choice.
I hope you will read, enjoy, and donate (or tip, as some of you prefer to call it) when you can. Especially if you enjoyed the latest story. And especially this month. Here is the magic button:
Because, did I say Novembers are for pajamas and love? For me they seem to be more about things going awry/bump in the night, and cold winds biting me in uncomfortable places. Even in Greece, where we’re living a kind of la vie de bohème right now. Don’t get me wrong, Greece is the country for that kind of life, it’s not a sleek sort of place, it has a rugged and ragged heart, people here care for each other in ways I’ve never observed elsewhere, but I do wish we resembled the bohème a little less at the moment.
In this beloved, but unfinished apartment, it is hard to get away from the cold, for example. I’m feeling stalked and hunted by the cold in ways that makes me feel ashamed of all of those times I made fun of “The Day After Tomorrow.” Blankets and shepherd’s tea do a lot, but not enough.
When I haven’t been shivering pathetically under a blanket, I have continued working in other venues. Here are some links of note:
If you are interested in Russia and the post-Soviet (post-post-Soviet?) world, please keep up with openDemocracy Russia, where I continue to work as associate editor
If you haven’t read my Guardian column on Robbie Williams (I know, I know), I hope you do so now.
Here also is my latest for Rotterdam-based WdW Review, on Uzbekistan, dancing dictators, weeping willows, and a damn good actor/director named Talgat Batalov.
Enjoy. But not so much that you forget to vote. (If you’re American. If you’re of a different nationality, but also dealing with an election now, I’m sorry for not taking it into account. I think I may be forgiven for being U.S.-centric this one time. BECAUSE HOLY COCKSLAPS THINGS ARE CRAZY.)