I’ve been in a weird sort of headspace lately. Not sure what it is. I’ve been working on preparing the next entry in The Bedlam Bible series. It’s wild, brutal, and psychedelic. My goal is to dive deep into the unknown sectors of my psyche, the stuff that subconsciously directs my every thought and action. You may not believe it, because these stories can get pretty outlandish, but I’m using this series to really work some shit out, more so than anything I’ve written before. The guiding theme of these stories is mental health, and perhaps even the dangers of not taking care of yourself. It’s a tough thing to write about when you’re making a conscious effort to steer yourself clear of all that darkness, but that’s the tricky thing about mental health, isn’t it? You can’t just take the easy road, those clearly-marked paved paths, no no no… if you do that, the second an incident occurs that causes you to sway to the left or right, you’ll be right back in the woods again. Those ominous dark hills will always be there, looking down at you, watching, waiting. To keep your mind healthy, you have to tend to those wooded areas, spend some time there gathering the sticks and bramble, and once you’ve got a good section of it cleared out, set the residuum ablaze. Burn those motherfuckers out of your mind forever, that way when life throws an unexpected roadblock at you, any place it throws you, you’ll still be on a clear path… and you’ll be safe. Anyway, so yeah, that’s what I’m doing with The Bedlam Bible, working shit out and setting motherfuckers ablaze. It’s been incredibly therapeutic, but holy hell is it a bitch to write. I’m exhausted, and I still have quite a ways to go. There will be seven of these books by the way. Seven. So much shit to work through…
Whenever I’m in this mindset it’s difficult for me to get in the mood for films, so I’ve been mostly watching music-related stuff like concerts and documentaries. I’m always in the mood for music. Here lately I’ve been really into blues and soul music, and I was thrown into this spiral via the Wattstax documentary, directed by Mel Stuart. The conversations in this film are just as compelling as the music itself and the film as a whole gives us a great understanding of the black american experience in the early 70s. Unfortunately, though 50 years have passed since the film was shot, not much has changed it seems. We’ve certainly made progress here in the United States, but nowhere near enough. The concert was top notch though… brilliant performers, great songs, and the audience was loving it! They couldn’t stay in their seats. We see performances from The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, David Porter, The Bar-Kays, Carla Thomas, Albert King, and many many others. We even hear inspirational speeches from Jesse Jackson and Fred Williamson, and even multiple segments of an interview with the comedy legend Richard Pryor.
I’ve also spent a good amount of time with Sign O’ the Times by Prince. I’m making a mental note to pick that album up for my collection. It’s absurd that I don’t already own it.
I really enjoy seeing, reading, and listening to all forms of art that have been created by individuals with a perspective that’s totally different than my own. I do this not only because it helps me write better, more well-developed characters, but also because I feel it makes me a better human. The key to this being a decent person business is love and understanding. It’s that simple. Anyway, here lately I’ve been reading books to help me better understand the female experience, books like Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami, Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen E. Kirby, and Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. I also recently read Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin, and although it’s a bizarre little horror novel on the surface, at the heart there’s real-life struggles that offer an insightful glance into the perspectives of both trans men and women. I highly recommend this book.
Alright, I need to get back to work. Can’t wait for you all to finally be able to read the stuff I’ve been writing the last year or so.
P.S. The VVLNA audiobook is straight fire (and should be available any day now). Connor is killing it with these audiobooks! If you haven’t been listening, you’re missing out. His voice acting is some of the best I’ve ever heard, and I listen to a lot of audiobooks. Get to it.