The Bells of Doors that Don’t Swing Wide


This line from an Aimee Mann song can apply to a lot of things, but it works quite well with writing, too: “It must be hard, ringing the bells of doors that don’t swing wide / Anymore.” It’s probably a bit off some ideal brand for writers to be a bit dismayed by a culture in which reading is not quite as ubiquitous a form of diversion/learning as it once was. It is of course still distinct in the way that it requires a person to utilize his or her own mind to bring a work to life (like some far grander “Frankenstein”), but though being on some bigger platform in which one writes to entertain and make people think was hardly ever something that could be easily done by just anybody, the door of longer-form reading in general has gotten smaller. There’s just so many passive forms of diversion.

And yeah, that makes long-form writing (even if only in something shorter meaning something not so simple) a bit hard — not that you just give up because of that. But as it is with life itself, it’s strange to pretend otherwise — that it’s not at least a bit hard.


Shortest Month of the Year

Art by Emile Bernard

This month isn’t just momentous for offering romantics everywhere the supreme gift of another “Fifty Shades” movie; it’s also a month of celebrating things that should sort of be omnipresent all year round — Black History Month and, in a much more pop culture sense, Women in Horror Month. Continue reading “Shortest Month of the Year”

Nice Art and a ‘Gravestone-worthy Line’

Pauly Math art

“Steuert’s descriptions made the locations so real I could almost taste the dew in the air, and while there’s a look of really sublime lines, the idea that ‘in this particular universe, managing to be OK was kind of grand’ was my favourite, because come on, who DOESN’T feel like that at the moment.

“Put that on my gravestone.”

From this review of “Late Night Partners” by Kirsty of the multifaceted

The above art doesn’t have anything to do with “Late Night Partners,” though the woman’s style is fairly Doris-ish and I feel like even a stylishly shrouded vampire could survive a dab of sun among a cloudy evening sky.

‘I Couldn’t Survive Without My Radio’

Horace Pippin art, with slight Fennel alteration

I mostly know  LL Cool J’s “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” (which includes a line that is the title of this post) from a cover by the band Halloween Alaska. The cover focuses on the first part of Cool J’s song, before it kind of turns into a celebration of musical loudness as a form of social status. That dynamic can be quite annoying and also seems a bit too complicated for the indie rock music world (which tends to rarely be a part of the kind of urban environment such is prevalent in, so much as the element that supplants it). However, the first part is so amazing that it indeed works beautifully as its own thing — especially if you find it quite hard to function out there without a radio to make it more bearable. A radio or the equivalent of whatever lets you listen to something besides the natural soundtrack of a challenging life.

Continue reading “‘I Couldn’t Survive Without My Radio’”

From ‘Star Wars’ Back to Earth: Legacies & ‘Nobodies’

Henri-Edmond Cross art

(Spoilers) I haven’t seen the new “Star Wars” yet, but I’ve let plot points be spoiled for me — things like Rey’s parents supposedly being “nobodies.” For some people, that’s disappointing. But I like the idea quite a lot — I suppose because legacies in fiction are often romanticized as being a far more noble thing than they are in the real world. Many of us would like to be part of a legacy, just to inherit “greatness” and its ensuing path. But mostly legacies are just an inheritance of privilege.

Continue reading “From ‘Star Wars’ Back to Earth: Legacies & ‘Nobodies’”

Christmas and Sparseness

Horace Pippin art

Christmas as it’s presented to us is very much an if-you’re-fortunate thing. Beyond any religious or consumerist connotations, I think Christmas can simply be about hope and good will. For some people, those things tend to not feel so omnipresent in their lives. If you’re struggling, Christmas can be sort of isolating — even as a holiday about hope and good will is as much (if not more so) for someone who’s struggling as anybody else. Continue reading “Christmas and Sparseness”

‘Huge step in the right direction for speculative fiction protagonists’

Vampire Cover crop
Lena Finch art

There are a lot of things to like about this book, quirky characters, memorable themes, a good balance between new takes on vampire lore and honoring the original mythos – but I think what stands out to me most is the representation. Considering how popular vampires are in the media, it’s appalling how rare it is to see vampires of color. Doris fits into that category, but that’s far from her defining trait. She’s intelligent, caring, and a huge step in the right direction for speculative fiction protagonists.” From Cat Voleur’s spoiler-free review at

She runs a pretty cool blog in general, so check it out.