OK so I'm trying to like, figure out my life online. It's going not amazing. I deactivated my Facebook years ago and then finally a few months ago? for some reason? was finally like….wyd, and deleted it entirely. Or at least I went through the steps listed to deactivate it entirely. I immediately got an email alert that someone was trying to change my password. So is it actually deactivated? I have this nightmare sense that if I try to log back in in an attempt to validate the deactivation, FB will interpret that as a change of heart, and all the data they collected about me over the years will jump out and yell 🎉YOU THOUGHT🎉. idk. Real Schrödinger's Cat hours.
So then Instagram, which is a whole thing. I like it! But the world we live in is the world we live in so I logged out and deleted it from my phone over the summer just to try to live without it. Like everything you learn to live without, it got easier over time. Definitely do not have the heart to deactivate it entirely yet. People still message me there! There's no easy way to say "Hey I'm not really here anymore/right now." IG provided a lot of inspiration for my writing, and I haven't been doing that much writing since I deleted it, but whether or not these things are related is a completely separate post.
Twitter, no hand-wringing there really, I deleted all my tweets and logged out way over a year ago. Again haven't deleted my account yet but doesn't feel like it's long for this world. Although what if something changes, what if I DO need it at some point, what if what if.
There's other sites as well, smaller social media spots that are historically great b/c a lot of people don't know about them, so I won't list them here, but I've also deleted those from my phone, at least temporarily. Just to sit with it and see how it feels. Mostly I feel: it sucks, b/c those are my friends, and there's a level on which me being off social media = me saying I don't want to be friends with you, or I'm not interested in the details of your life, or something like that. Which isn't true, and so I can make a concerted effort to not let it be true, by texting, checking in with people. Which I'm admittedly not GREAT at. And but by not being on social am I just making more work for my friends? If I ask what they're up to this weekend or what's going on in their lives this week will their first inclination be: .
OK and then: Google. No major delusions about cutting them out of my life entirely, but I learned the phrase recently and it hit me different. So I'm slowly switching over to a new email address, away from Google (HI!). As anyone who clicked that link can tell I switched to DuckDuckGo years ago.
Over the summer I took all my fiction collections off the Amazon Kindle store and put them on . Sales are down, self-satisfaction way up.
So delete all my social media and that would just leave my website, this thing here, except I'm not really good at updating, and am year over year increasingly the type of person who is not posting anything personal online. So good, welcome to a where you can follow along for personal updates that may never arrive.
Anyways how are you??? Should I post a screenshot of this to IG so that people know I'm alive.
xokfan / whygodwhy.com
(This is two recent blog posts, which I realized form a single cohesive thought. Probably starting next year I'll just start emailing each blog post out to people on this list since I'm not as much on social media anymore.)
Suddenly you look up from your screen and it’s pitch black outside. 5pm. Already the weeks are so long and the days so similar, with less daylight this sense that life must be happening somewhere even though I’m missing it because I’m staying home has been replaced by this fear that life is no longer happening, anywhere. That the darkness has cut you off from… life, hope, whatever.
I decide (and make a big deal about telling friends about this decision) that we have to agree the darkness is happening, not just be re-angered by it every day. So: I block it off on my calendar. A walk outside every day between 4:15 and 4:45. Being outside to participate in the approaching darkness is better than just feeling oppressed by it having happened, I say. There’s something to it. The streets around Central Square are still pandemic quiet at that hour but I walk around, feel the dimming light, try to notice things, take pictures, breathe. Turn off my music and podcasts and listen to the silence inside my brain, maybe, a little, for once. I often end up at Graffiti Alley, a little splash of raw neon art every day, like a cup of coffee splashed into my eyes. Does it help? It doesn’t not help, how about that.
I make appointments with friends. Who has time to talk this weekend, like on the phone, like on the actual phone. No more video calls, please god. On video calls I can’t even hear, I’m just thinking about how I look, what the light is doing, look at the skin on my neck, how am I suddenly so old. On the phone I can just close my eyes and be present with you, hear you, listen, really see you. I’m with you. For once, I’m with you.
I write. I think about how I have 4 chapters left, 3 chapters left in my book and then I can move on to the next one. Always thinking ahead, never here. More time spent wondering when I’ll finish than actually finishing.
I logged out of twitter a few weeks ago and immediately stopped thinking about it.
I watch a lot of TV and movies and think about what I like and what I don’t like. What works and what doesn’t work. Meghan and I send texts back and forth, rewriting Ocean’s 12, pitching ideas for a gender-swapped reboot of the Bourne universe.
I’m sleeping a lot but I’m always a little tired and a little too awake.
I find myself taking a lot of screenshots of things people I follow on IG post to their stories. Something about the fleetingness. What if I want to see that picture again and I can’t, what if it’s gone forever in 24 hours. My phone fills with images I can’t quite place.
I have a bell on my phone that rings at random intervals throughout the day to pull me back to the present. I breathe for 10 seconds, then go back to whatever I was doing. I sit there and things happen or time passes or whatever. Low level infuriation, about everything.
Anyways, finished a few days ago. A few months behind schedule, but given everything, who cares, whatever. "Finished" is the wrong word anyway, it's a draft; but it's out in the world and my readers can read it (or not!) and I can move on to the next book, which I think will be the third in this series. I'm still figuring it out (1974-present).
Lot of hand-wringing online lately about creativity and productivity in the year 2020. Memes encouraging people to not feel bad if they haven't worked on or finished any creative projects this year, since just surviving this year is a huge accomplishment (which I agree with). Authors pondering the meaning/lessness of their work in a year when so much is so at stake. Like The sudden seeming insignificance of a single book in a world on fire.
But life isn't black and white, even though our experience on the internet often makes it feel so. You can be an author who moves deep within themself to build interesting worlds, while also remaining caring and engaged in the world around you. And you can be a very creative person who sometimes doesn't create things.
Anyways the work of being an author is different from the work of being a writer, or even just a creative person generally, and it involves skills that I straight up do not have, and do not have the capacity to cultivate. For my entire adult life as a writer I have second-guessed and self-doubted my choices, wrestling with this idea that success as a writer means publishing & physical books & book tours, things I have never had very much interest in. But a lot of people (who I know! and like! and are great writers!) think: . And in the past year I've seen this manifest in different ways - authors whose social media was so exclusively focused on their identity/branding/self-promotion as a writer that they failed to ever publicly or meaningfully acknowledge the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, the terrifying media/political shift towards totalitarian capitalist dictatorship. I unfollowed a lot of those people this year! I wish them well as writers but that's not where I'm at. And I've seen published authors (who I know! and like! and are great writers!) deeply interrogating their life choices, like: What is the point of my career in a landscape like this? Which I think is a great question!
For me it goes back to the essential difference between "writing"/"creating" and "being an author". Writing is important, full stop. Everyone can do it and everyone should do it. It is crucial to the health and wellness of the human race that people put their stories out into the universe and share them with each other. But when I think about my dream anarchist/socialist society, where there are no billionaires and everyone has to contribute in meaningful ways to the success and betterment of their communities, are there full-time authors? Probably not! There are just people who make things, and their creativity is just one of the myriad ways they define themselves.
There are a lot of ways to be in the world. I hope the writers I love will continue to share their stories (unless they don't feel like it! Which is also fine and not something they should feel one second of shame about!) and continue to be engaged in the world - not just via hashtags and social media, but in a genuine, meaningful, deeply interrogative way. You can definitely do both.
I love you. Take care.
It has been 15 months since I last wrote you. Imagine setting yourself a bar as low as "send one email per year" and still finding it barely achievable. I don't think it's me, I think it's the year. I find myself putting 2019 and everything that comprised it into the Things I Don't Want to Talk About box.
That line by Mary Oliver, from Dogfish:
I know how it works, I know I'm supposed to talk about the things I'm making, to loop everyone in, to bring everyone along with me on the journey. But it was hard to be "on" this year. Writing is slow, especially my writing. Even when I’m done with something, I’m not always sure what it means or how I feel about it. I want to think more broadly about the things I write about and what they mean to me, beyond the list of links, the bullet points of what I actually accomplished.
But there is a list: As a writer: I finished , got through a big chunk of my next book, made a couple zines, started having a again. As a human with a body: posted some frankly stunning selfies on . There were major milestones, weird setbacks, some dumb things I'm embarrassed about, some interesting progress in places I didn't expect, some things for later, some things no one will ever see.
I guess the big thing this year was going back to therapy after many many years away, and also finding my way back to my joy in writing after an extended period away from it. I’ve never subscribed to the idea of writer’s block, my whole thing is you just show up every morning and sometimes it connects and sometimes it doesn’t, but you still show up. Lately, increasingly, and more than ever, writing has been a thing I just really really love doing, and irrespective of whatever happens with my next book, I’m having a blast, and that’s what I want to note, that’s what I want to announce. That, and that I'm still here, showing up every day, after everything. That's the big news.
OK I sort of lied, back there, I skipped the last part of that line from Mary Oliver. Really the goes like this:
I guess I do want that, very very much. Otherwise my intentions for next year are the same as every year:
I set such a low bar for myself: one email newsletter per year! Enough! And this email was still so difficult to write. But what else is there to talk about.
It's been a difficult week, inside a very difficult year, but one of the weirdest things I've seen in the past few days is social media posts by women thanking the good men in their life. This week! Even after everything! Men still appreciated. For what? For being good men.
Listen: there's no good men. There's no good men. There's no good men.
But good, right? No. Listen: there's no good men. I get a lot of credit for being good because I'm not as visibly terrible as other men, but I promise you there are women in my life who have had less-than-good experiences with me. I remember three specific times, once in high school and twice in college, touching women I had no business touching. I've stood by while friends commented on the bodies of nearby women, sometimes to their faces, and I said nothing, or laughed. I remember an experience with one of my first girlfriends, a few months into our relationship, realizing after we had sex that although she hadn't said no, her body language had very much been: this isn't what I want. And that's just the stuff I remember. I'm terrified of what I've forgotten, or even worse what I've never even realized.
A lot of this was 20, 30 years ago, but so what? It was still me. If men can learn something, anything from this week, the very least we can do is say: Yes, that happened. Even if it was a long time ago. Believe women, we say. But that's not enough. Men need to own their part in the reasons why we need to believe women, in order for there to be space for that belief to come forward into.
OK. That's all I wanted to say. And thank you to Rosalie for helping me realize I need to say it. The rest of this email was written weeks ago, it's about writing and other stuff in my life. It's not important.
Kev-o: what’s new?
Someone decided to publish my Kim Kardashian fanfiction in an actual book.
My story “Taking Selfies and Overthrowing the Patriarchy with Kim Kardashian” is in a book called , published by Simon & Schuster Gallery.
“Imagines” are a genre of fanfic typically written in the 2nd person, where “you” are the main character. Michael Clifford takes YOU to prom. Channing Tatum teaches YOU to dance. YOU get locked in a Target bathroom with Kylie Jenner. In my story, well, I made the title very explicit so you wouldn’t have any trouble guessing what it’s about.
The book is available , even places you might not expect a collection of fanfiction to be sold.
Here’s what it looks like at Barnes & Noble:
And here’s what I looked like when I found the book at my local Target:
Also here’s a link to , and here’s a link to an .
I hope you’ll check it out and I hope you’ll please write a review on I will love you forever. Thank you!
I mean I’m just hustling on Book 2 of my Kardashian Khronicles series: . You can read it on the Wattpad app. I don’t know what to say about it except that I’ve been working on this book for over a year and it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. It’s about a man who creates an army of super-celebrity boys to take over the world and prevent women from having any agency or representation and Kim has to use her magical emoji powers to destroy him.
SHUT UP I HAVE LOTS OF IDEAS.
If you live in/near Toronto I am headed your way! I'll be at the Indigo bookstore at the Yorkdale mall on Thursday May 26th at 7pm for a book signing/meet & greet with some of the other Imagines authors! I’m trying to figure out my outfit. I have these new white jeans I’m excited about but is that over-doing it?
OK. I remain,
Thank you for reading! Here is if you need me.
I’m reading with a bunch of very talented people this Thursday the 30th at 8PM in Boston. Everyone will be reading weird/funny pop culture pieces. It will be extremely fun and it would be awesome to see some friendly faces in the audiences! Here's the flyer:
This has been a weird and terrible summer and there should probably be a rule about sending email updates when you're having a weird and terrible summer but it's too late, it's almost like the words are typing themselves. Off we go!