12 March 2021
“The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure, while always arriving.”
Over the past couple of years, I’ve begun to pay attention to the phases of the moon. More attention, better attention, a concentrated effort beyond glancing up periodically at the night sky and noticing if there were a crescent or a full circle or nothing at all. I downloaded a simple app that tells me when the new and full moons happen and I check it regularly, phase notifications serving as guideposts I can use to measure growth. Dates and calendars have too much daily debris attached to be effective markers of the profound. If you want to keep track of how thoughts and feelings ebb and flow, you need something like the moon.
I read stories about moon phases and I learned that many spiritual communities designate a full moon as the time to acknowledge accomplishments, mark the completion of labors, and reflect on what’s past. As the moon wanes, you shed excess baggage and refine your focus. The time of the new moon is one of renewal. In its quiet shadow, you set intentions, make plans, take first steps and prepare for the future.
Tomorrow, in the very early morning, the new moon arrives. It comes at a time when winter is melting towards spring but it’s still cold, when there are solutions working to end the pandemic but it’s not over yet, when most of our coping methods are being stretched thin but we need them for a little while longer. I think this is a new moon to be careful about where we go next and gentle when we do it.
All of this is to say that this seems to me like a good time to take a break from the newsletter for at least the rest of March. In that time, I’ll decide what I want to do with it in the future. I might decide to pick right back up and continue the newsletter as usual. I might decide to move newsletters to once-a-month releases rather than weekly. I might decide to try emphasizing different elements, like long-form writing or reviews. I might decide to combine a couple of these approaches. And I might decide to end the newsletter altogether. In all honestly, I’m not sure if anyone is really digging this anymore and I’m starting to feel like I’m just going through the motions. It’s been six and a half years. It’s possible that it’s just time to bring this particular endeavor to a close. In any case, I would like to make sure that my motions are deliberate and my cycles meaningful.
(I will pause all paid subscriptions while I’m gone, so don’t worry about that.)
In the meantime, I’m also taking a break from Twitter for a while, but I should be back there at some point. I’m going to try to post more to my website. There will be new Quiet Little Horrors episodes. And you can reach me, if necessary, via email.
Everything comes back around, in one way or another. I’ll see you on the other side.
"As the great urban thinker Jane Jacobs wrote, the best urban design helps people interact with one another, and the best architecture facilitates the best conversation. The same is true of the internet." The internet doesn’t have to be awful.
“‘Cassettes taught us how to use our voice, even when the message came from someone else's songs, compiled painstakingly on a mixtape.’” Noting the passing of Lou Ottens, the inventor of the cassette tape.
“Art gives much, but it asks much in return. It demands nothing less than complete commitment and significant sacrifice. Talent is nice if you have it, but in some ways it is a secondary requirement. Warren Ellis once said, ‘Proceed with absolute confidence,’ and, Stella, that is my advice to you. Find your authentic voice and push violently and defiantly against your limitations — and you never know, great things may happen. I hope they do.” Nick Cave.
When I was younger, I read a short story of Peter Straub’s (“Ashputtle,” in the anthology Black Thorn, White Rose) that impressed him on my mind as a writer capable of the most bone-chilling psychological terror. I then tried a novel of his, title now lost to memory, that chilled me so much that I never finished it and then tended to pick up other authors. But recently, I and my matured, stabilized emotional state, decided to dive back in to his work. I loved Mrs. God and now I’m now reading Straub’s first novel, Ghost Story. It’s still pretty scary! But I’m better able to appreciate its artistry now.
A couple years ago I recommended the Heaven’s Gate podcast as a particularly empathetic and compassionate look at the cult of the same name and its sad fate. I just watched the docu-series inspired by the podcast. Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults, and found it similarly nuanced and insightful.
Some outro music:
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This week’s quote is from Richard Linklater.