The Dream I Dreamed

Who among us doesn’t have the Suddenly Realizing I’m Not Wearing Pants dreams? WHOMST?

The great thing about this is it’s not limited to one type or genre of dream. So last night, I’m dreaming about this extremely troubling three story, spacious mansion, and of course the walls are red, parce que why wouldn’t they be, non? And so this is a Serious Dream, and the top level, which you can’t avoid because the staircases are confusing and shouldn’t be because they’re all visible and dead center of the house and they’re just like branches off each other and why is this so difficult to explain (hi sleep brain imagery)? So yeah, the top level is all closed doors, but too close together, like is it just a huge floor of closets? Also the doors are also red up there, which just feels wrong, and I don’t like it.

Anyway, the second floor has every single bedroom. Not just in the house. All the bedrooms ever. They’re all there. And I’ve clearly been sleeping in one of them, but it’s anyone’s guess which one, now that I’ve been downstairs with people, but see, I have to remember which room (and stop accidentally going up to the third floor) BECAUSE I NEED TO PUT ON SOME PANTS.

The best thing about these dreams is that no one else notices you’re not wearing pants until you do. It’s very Emperor’s New Clothes meets The Garden of Eden. But now I’ve noticed so dude downstairs has noticed, and I NEED these pants, people.

The icing on all of this is that there’s an extremely wicked movie playing in a loop in one of the rooms, that involves children and torture and all the little things that make life great, and because this is MY DREAM, the audio is leaking out through an intercom system this house shouldn’t have, and so you hear this movie in the background no matter where in the house you are, but is it louder when you get to the third floor? YOU BET YOUR SWEET BIPPY IT IS.

So this is me, going into a bedroom I’m sure has pants, only to find it’s the wrong room, there are no pants, and I have to keep searching, and accidentally ending up on the third floor, doubling back, trying not to hear the movie playing, etc etc. And what was I doing in this dream before the Great Pants Search? Who can know such things, friends.

Pants

 

That’s it.

That’s the post.

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Of course, of course

I have never heard of The Horse Latitudes as a metaphor, a reality, an obscenely popular title for books and poetry. Now I fear I shall think on nothing else.

Katharine Coldiron reviewed MEM for Locus*, and then was kind/awesome enough to come meet me at my Los Angeles launch event! (This is where I would put a picture, if I’d had the presence of mind to take one, like COME ON. So here’s a really unflattering one where I had to take my glasses off to read because according to the specialist I finally say, I may have a thyroid issue but I definitely have a focusing mechanism failure and I’m too young for bifocals but have to have them.)

img_0888

Imagine looking this good at your launch event, eyes awonk and manspreading for the gods while Amelia Gray looks far more composed and presentable, thank the Lord.

*Understand that just typing that phrase and remembering that’s a reality made my brain melt in WHAT IS LIFE. Also, that’s a link, get thee to heaven, Beatrice.

But back to Katharine (not pictured), and reviewing MEM, and then Horse Latitudes. O_O She shared a new review/collection of mini-reviews today, and I DIED. And went on this little Book Soup reminiscing tangent to explain the connection and why I am writing this blog (if you can call it that).
screenshot 2019-01-28 14.58.21
Tell me that picture doesn’t sell it. And then, if you’re like me and had no idea what the concept was, it just gets weirder.

 

Wow, I thought, how many books are called that? And can I write a group review of them?

A lot, I learned after some investigation, and yes, you’re reading it right now.

The books are then ranked and rated according to enjoyment, title relevance, and a quote is given. All of which culminates in an offer to send one lucky reader all twelve of the Horse Latitudes.

Yes! I bought them all and now I want to give them away. Desperately.

In summary, Katharine Coldiron is a delight, and if you’re dying to read a little or a lot about horses tossed overboard or eaten…you know where to go.
jericho

Latifah’s Had It Up To Here

I have no doubt I’ve used that title before. There’s just no universe in which I haven’t.

If you don’t follow me on Twitter you don’t really know me you may have missed yesterday’s big, exciting, fantasmic cover reveal! And its sadly relevant timing.

(So this post is gonna be heavy on the Twitter screenshots, frenz. Because it’s easier than just repeating myself, eh.)

screenshot 2019-01-25 13.00.30

There is no hilarious intro for this. “Four 12-year-old girls, who are Black, were questioned and strip-searched by the school nurse and assistant principal because they seemed giddy during their lunch hour and were suspected of possessing drugs.”

Imagine your middle school sisterhood joviality abruptly ending with two adults ordering you out of your clothing. Imagining it will break something inside of you, if you’re still anywhere near a whole and functional person, but imagine it anyway because it happens to children much younger and more at risk than you.

Imagine if we were what they say we are. The penalty for this treatment….whew.

But I cannot just sit all day, imagining the vengeance and destruction that has been earned. Because there are children who feel frightened, not furious; confused, not confident. And I would rather give them my attention. I need to.

screenshot 2019-01-25 13.01.03

And so the anthology I’ve been editing and writing for since this whole nightmare administration began. TAKE THE MIC: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance has poems by Jason Reynolds, Samira Ahmed, and Keah Brown; art by Connie Sun; stories by myself, Darcie Little Badger, Yamile Saied Mendez, Sofia Quintero, Laura Silverman, L.D. Lewis, and Ray Stoeve. It reps for Black kids, Muslim kids, Queer kids, Latinx kids, Jewish kids, Indigenous kids, disabled kids, because no we’re not tryna make somebody wait. 

This cover reveal, and knowing this anthology is soon come, is literally what stopped my chest hurting and my rage crying yesterday. It’s how I can be of some use. How I can funnel all the anger and hurt and refusal to let this stand into something that – I hope and pray – is salve for somebody else’s wounds. Is a shot of adrenaline or encouragement or fuel for someone who thought they couldn’t do it again, not today.

I cannot wait to release this collection. Wheeeeew, Lord. 

takethemic

Click the image or this sentence to add it to your Goodreads TBR!

And it didn’t really stop there. Because I’m currently in the process of drafting. And I could tell you more (cryptically) but again, why repeat when I can just retweet.

screenshot 2019-01-25 13.07.24

Because homegirl is unapologetically upset. And we know that’s not allowed, not even after all these think pieces about The Power Of Being Pissed Off, it never quite extends to Black Women. The policing never seems to end. So yes, let’s challenge who gets to be angry, and whether even the most conscious reader who is intentionally trying to unpack their prejudices can really stave off the automatic dislike. Because I am giving no freebies, no cracks in her self-confident facade that allows the reader to see the weakness they must witness to offer any sort of grace. Not today. And that news story up top? It gave her something to say.

And the church said?

latifah

This Things I Believe

Simpsons.

ANYWAY. I’m here for so many reasons. Because I feel like writing but don’t have words for the projects I’m actually working on. Because I can’t journal about the thing I’ve been journaling about again and expect to get the same level of fulfillment. Because it has been oppressively cold for the past few days and there’s ice under the snow and Ezra’s been too busy living his best life to keep my walkway clear, but MY GOD. [Preacher.gif] He gave me a balmy 23 F today and it makes all the difference.

Musically, I am currently* obsessed with Monica Martin (and all the groups she’s been in), Violents (sans MM), Tender. I’d post YT vids like I used to but I realize there’s a chance folks outside the US can’t see that anyway, so my laziness wins out.

*Surely you know me well enough to understand that this is a literal allotment of time. This may be applied with certainty only right now, at 12:59 PM EST, on January 15th. Please request a new list of artists if such time has passed.

But really, what I want to talk about are performances/projects that actually surprise you. It’s so rare, to be honest. Surprise is not something you get to experience often, and I don’t think that’s just me. We’re all in the same aquarium, which is why it can be so insufferable when people declare themselves out of the ordinary. Because we would love to experience someone who really is, content that really is, and we know from experience and disappointment how unlikely that is. And then sometimes you find it, and – again, in my experience – it’s not a wholly positive experience. Like I said, we’re all in the same aquarium and as much as we hate to admit it, [insert various qualifiers and contexts] it feels good to go with the grain. Aside from which, it takes very directed effort not to and not to have our expectations best satisfied by the familiar.

BUT ON TO WHAT I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT.

This.

zone one by colson whitehead

And this.

equals the film

My experience of these admittedly very different things actually has quite a bit of overlap, my apologies to Colson Whitehead (which is probably a very elitist thing to say, since I deem his project the more serious of the two, as an act of contrition I shall something something).

Anyway, to start, please keep this between us. 

Thank you.

Zone One was my second or third attempt at reading CW, because his concepts grab me immediately (The Intuitionist, anyone, c’mon), and his language is so satisfying. Until it isn’t, and I’m drowning. It’s not that it changes, it’s that it’s unrelenting. Which makes it feel intentional, it just occurred to me that I shouldn’t be writing this and that I intentionally don’t review things but I feel that Mr. Whitehead is doing well and shan’t be bothered, but also, it comes around.

And Zone One genuinely shouldn’t have been the one that worked for me – and to be honest, had I not gone against my nature and forced myself to finish it, it wouldn’t have been. But the reason it shouldn’t have from jump is zombies. I don’t do them. I do not understand the appeal, and the only zombie movie I’ve watched is I Am Legend, pretty sure, because the delightful melancholy! The inevitable tragedy of it all. Anyway, so Zone One.

Just like my other attempts, I started out like, “Why do I keep forgetting how good he is, homg, this is brilliantly worded” and then the words started to trample me, but I was like, I refuse not to be able to say I’ve finished a CW book, this is ludicrous. (I cannot explain this feeling, since I do not care about reading particular people or finishing books for the sake of it.) And I was legit angry at some point leading up to the middle. I literally told the book to SHUT. UP. Or Colson, probably. Like,

I GET IT. THE CITY IS A CHARACTER AND YOU WILL CONTINUE TO DESCRIBE BUILDINGS AS THOUGH THEY WERE BORN AND NOT BUILT AND THERE ARE SUCH LAYERS AND MUCH COMMENTATION FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SHUT YOUR MOUTH AND KEEP THE WORD SALADS AT BAY.

(I am so sorry, please remember that it is one of my five star reads and that I am courageous in my honesty right now.)

And then I read on (here I feel it’s necessary to say, no, this will not keep me from DNFing work that is not for me, be quiet). And sweet mercy, that is a come-around for the ages. That book. That heart-wrenching, devastating, foreboding and strangely hopeful book. There are so few times that I genuinely feel the main character was required for the execution, for the resolution. It couldn’t have, wouldn’t have been this story without them. But Zone One is one of the two times I’ve felt it strongly. Colson made me a believer. Ugh.

Excuse me while I just run through different scenes in my head, which is what inevitably happens whenever I try to talk about this book. Maybe I believed it before this book and I’m just agreeing with something I already felt, but he so masterfully composes a world and conclusion that believably proceeds from where we are, and demonstrates why the heroes we’ve mythologized for so long could not survive it, I CAN’T EVEN EXPRESS THIS PROPERLY, COME SIT IN SILENCE WITH ME, WIDE-EYED AND NODDING, KAY.

Me, upon finishing the last page:

bob unhinged

It … just kept escalating.

And then Equals.

So I wanted to see this movie because I like Kristen Stewart (a lot and in a way I probably can only admit because I never saw or read Twilight. I stand by my flawless judgment.) and also the dude, (though he’s only attractive from very specific angles, but he’s tall and isn’t it sad how far that takes some dudes) and because the trailer used a very devastating Aurora sample into which I was deeply immersed at the time.

Pretty immediately upon starting the movie, I was like. Oh. Okay, so this is everything we’ve ever already seen. It’d be easier to just say, “This is just We,” but since so many of you heathen are heathens, I’ll set my tongue on fire and say it in a way you’ll understand: This is just 1984 A Brave New World THX 1138 We. This is just We. Sorry, I couldn’t do it.

Like, I can see that they were really trying to bait me in particular, what with the slow, and quiet, and troubling, and yes, I do think I’m always the target audience, prove me wrong. But like. Justify yourself, Equals. Amirite. Like, why do you need to exist, exactly?

And I felt like that almost the whole way through the movie – which is, of course, much easier to tolerate in a visual medium – especially when the stakes weren’t what they traditionally are. They were stakes which, at first glance, were only stakes to the characters in the movie. Which…actually, I adore from a creator perspective even more, because otherwise, they’re stakes for the viewer’s expectations, which means they’re stakes with which we’re familiar and probably fit a formula, and this is the whole aquarium socialization I was referring to at the onset. They were only life and death if you refuse to live without love. Which. yeah, those are pretty high stakes.

And then – uuugh I wanna spoil this, you don’t mind right?

The end completely justifies the movie, and broke my friggin heart. It was such a Romeo and Juliet IF YOU HAD JUST WAITED TWO SECONDS WHYYY and then the heartbreak of loving someone who can’t love you back anymore. But still honoring the commitment. IT GOT REAL, VERY QUICKLY, IS WHAT I’M SAYING, MY HEART.

Me, at the end:

how

And I have been thinking of them, by myself, ever since. Both. Because I have exactly zero people in my life who have read or watched this, as far as I know, please prove me wrong, someone because I NEED. I have such feelings. Have mercy on me.

Enfin.

MEM releases in paperback in March. Click-y the pic-y to pre-order!

mem paperback cover

Up and comings and down and dones

Oh, life.

HA. You thought I was going to quote the entire opening to REM’s Losing My Religion, but I’m NOT because that song is NOT the boss of me, and I’m singing it in my head anyway because the lengths that I will go to. The distance in your eyes.

headdesk

And so anyway.

If you guessed that what follows will have nothing to do with this preamble, congratulations. You know me well.

FIRST. Up and comings!

This Saturday, August 18th, at 1pm, I’ll be meeting readers (one hopes) at Indigo Dix30 in the Montreal area!

Screenshot 2018-08-15 22.05.53

This is my first Montreal appearance, and since MEM is set in Montreal and all. It’s a whole thing. You should come and take selfies with me, or whatever.

SECOND. The down and dones, but still super excitings! I am so happy that my PBS interview finally aired, as well as my Great American Reads recommendation spot, and the primary school age Bethany who stayed up to watch Masterpiece Theater is finally in awe of me! Like, LOOK.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-26,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Such fun. And hush, yes, of course I’m gonna share the vid as well!

First my spot!

And finally, the interview!

Some day I’ll be able to share the footage from my Books Are Magic event in Brooklyn, during which I had an awesome conversation with Jenn Baker, but alas. It is a huge file and I have zero idea how to share it well. One day! xx

We Need To Talk About Jurassic Park

“Now we all know the thirteen stripes are for good luck, but why does the American flag have exactly 48 stars?”*

Hi, and welcome back to I will be your immediate bff if you use random, well-placed, hopefully obscure Simpsons quotes.

For instance, last time I was at a not-my-book-event and someone said, “Don’t you hate pants?!” and I almost kissed them on the mouth.

But on to super important things.

I recently(ish) saw the latest Jurassic Park movie – which my son exasperatedly keeps reminding me is Jurassic World, but like, shuttup, kid, you’ve been on earth for like a minute and stuff existed before you – and since it was only slightly better than the beleaguered third Jurassic Park film (you know the one where Tea Leoni won’t stop yelling and running despite no fewer than four people immediately being brutally destroyed by dinosaurs and an expert telling her to not do that)…. it feels like we need to finally talk about Jurassic Park.

But first: a walkabout. (This is me, friends.)

#5’s first and most egregious offense was using Jeff in the trailer when…it literally showcased the entirety of his involvement. Sucks to your asmar, jerks.

Secondly, it … wasn’t super smart. Again, it’s no worse than Jurassic Park 3: The One With Tea Leoni, but since that was the previous Definite Worst One, that’s not saying much. Like, what the franchise has going for it is that each movie has some additional trajectory or revelation, usually to do with raptors. A big issue with #3 (and something that happened in #5) is that, while that “something necessary” is still present, it largely became a horror/monster movie. I mean, the big, ridiculous mouth in the plane scene? Who. Why. How come.

Also this:

Jurassic-Park-3-7

I mean.

::deep breath::

Okay, but we were supposed to be talking about #5. Wait no, we’re supposed to be talking about the whole franchise.

Things Jurassic Park Does Well:

(1) Characters: First of all, shout out to B.D. Wong for holding it down as the scientist/innovator who is really not tryna worry about the consequences, yo. He is singlehandedly handing the planet over to ever-wilder dinos, and I love it.

The fact that there are always kids, and they’re always smart. Unrealistic? Sure. But since these kids are always in the proximity of the scientific community involved in bringing dinos back to life – and since they never cease to be kids – I’ll allow it.

Full disclosure: they didn’t really do great with Dallas Texas Ranger’s character tbh. She has a complete lack of backstory, actually, which. Huh. And I literally cannot remember if Dallas is her first or second name, help me out. I can’t be arsed to google.

(2) Have a bleak enough view of humanity to sell that yep, we’d still be doing this, even after what the world saw in the first movie. Going into #4, I was like, HOW. WHY. And then, as soon as it started, I was like, naw this tracks.

Reasons Jurassic Park Is Ludicrous:

And it’s not because Michael Crichton never really explained how we got from point dna in amber to point dino egg.

My issue with JP is the completely self-aggrandizing, narcissistic assumption of dinosaurs’ preoccupation with humans. 

Like. We are just REFUSING to live in a world where a dinosaur might pass us by because we are simply not sustenance enough to warrant the effort. We will not ABIDE the concept that if LARGEST POSSIBLE DINOSAUR had scores of its natural food source available and had NEVER SEEN A HUMAN, it might not recognize us or be interested in investigating our existence, much the way we don’t stop every bug and destroy it in creatively grotesque ways knowing we would need to eat them nonstop for hours to be sated.

WHO HAS TIME TO HUNT HUMANS?! Whom?!

It’s the same issue with like every skynet movie. Artificial intelligence would SURELY immediately turn homicidal and try to kill us because WE ARE THE MOST INTERESTING MAN ALIVE.

I dunno.

I’m over it.

In conclusion:

(1) Jurassic Park

(2) Jurassic World

(3) Lost World

(4) Fallen Kingdom ties with Jurassic Park 3.

I will likely switch second and third place for the rest of my movie-watching life.

*The opening line of this post had literally nothing to do with the title or the topic, and I can’t honestly defend its inclusion. Stream of consciousness, kids.

Woody’s Roundup!

I was gonna call this post, “Welcome To The Month of Mem!” but then I wouldn’t have been able to use this gif:

woody

You can see the bind I was in.

Also can we take a minute and talk about how this was the single funniest moment in a pretty funny franchise, and I have such a vivid memory of laughing my head off about this with my childhood bestie, Serrana? I don’t even remember if she found it as funny, but I – who had been in love with Tom Hanks since Bosom Buddies because I was a strange child, and by the way was that theme song not needlessly aggressive and confrontational?! – nearly wet myself the first seventeen times I saw Woody strut out of that box.

Wow, you guys get super easily distracted.

ANYWHO.

We’re here for a round-up. Because we’re T-18 days from launch and things are getting good. Here’s a bunch of places you can read about MEM – or even read some of it!

(1) Foreword – Now this one isn’t quite new anymore, but this interview was the truth, and I adore Letitia, fr fr. Plus, they made a graphic of me and Mem, so like. Come on.

Foreword interview graphic

(2) Next up, is my first MEM excerpt – and my first publication on Tor.com. Maybe only other submitting writers would know how big a friggin’ deal this is, but it’s been a bucket list item for literal years.

(3) More splendiferous ABA news: MEM is a June Indie Next Great Read pick! Complete with a new, absolutely amazing bookseller blurb, this time from Hannah Oliver Depp of WORD in Brooklyn, NY. (Click the link. Scroll down. Read her words. I adore.)

(4) The Washington Post called MEM one of the “Best SFF Books Out This Month”! (No, YOU shut up!)

(5) Bustle listed MEM as one of “The 15 Best Fiction Books Coming Out in May 2018” – among some seriously intriguing company!

(6) And over at the Chicago Review of Books, MEM is listed as a “Best New Book of May 2018”. (And keep an eye out for an interview with editor-in-chief, Adam Morgan, for Electric Literature, soon come!)

I feel….like that’s everything recent. If I have forgotten anything. You’ll live! KISS EMOJI WINK EMOJI!

And also, ready your cities! Well two of them anyway! The first leg of MEM related travels begins this month!

Book Tour 1.jpg_large

 

 

 

As If You Don’t Already Know

I’m smiling coyly, or however one smiles when they’re shamefully absent for six months. I just want you to know you’re not innocent in this, either. Every time someone subscribes to this dormant chamber of broken promises, I feel guilty, which of course sends me into a shame spiral, which is what I call it when I tweet non-stop for days at a time.

And then yesterday someone followed the link from my website here, and I was like WHY AM I SENDING PEOPLE TO MY ABANDONED BLOG OH NO. So I tweeted about it. But I have fortified my courage with tacos and iced tea and am here now to tell you all about the past six months. Just kidding, but here’s some stuff that happened or may yet soon and whatever.

First of all, the final jacket design for MEM was in my inbox yesterday and I can’t show it to you but I’m all,

Hell Yes

Like, I might actually cry when I hold it.

And then, wow, I made zero mention of my trip to Winter Institute, my first reading, my first signing, meeting amazing folks – I mean, outside of my FB author page, twitter and Instagram, so basically it’s been a secret. But what I haven’t posted is the amazing video that Tami Charles recorded of said first reading! (Mostly becuz you have to turn it ALL THE WAY UP to hear me – you’re almost there when the intro applause pops your eardrums.) So… I guess when I add captions, I’ll post that?

gotcha

And gosh, with MEM debuting in less than two months now (!!!!!!!!!), there’s been so much stuff, and I am super excited for launch events in LA and NYC (I’d say watch this space for more info but if you believe my lies, you’re just as much to blame, and clearly you’d be better off checking my twitter). But the thing I cannot believe I didn’t immediately blog about is thiiiiiiis:

DEAL ANNOUNCEMENT

My YA debut landed with Tor! Specifically with Diana M. Pho, which is just a wild, amazing thing, given how long she’s been supportive and willing to read my work.

So S&S is about a Portland that’s legitimately weird, we’re talking eloko/gargoyle/sprite weird, and two play-sisters who are the kind of weird that’s still not allowed. Tavia (s/o Octavia Butler) is a siren in a world where only Black women are, and so of course it’s no longer romantic or desirable, and sirens are hidden and protected by the Black community. Effie plays a mermaid in the Renaissance Faire, and with weird shenanigans happening to and around her again, it turns out she might really be one.

Basically it’s a story about the harm of self-proclaimed progressive states who don’t interrogate anti-blackness, it’s about the radical life-saving joy of Black sisterhood, it’s about young Black girls finding love, and building safety, and using their voices, and needing support, and loving the water, and how I always want a Skyline burger, and never laughing harder than I do with my sister and

Ahem.

Anyway, so all you have to do is wait til Winter 2020. AND add it to your TBR!

AND pre-order MEM!

AND….I’ll probably never see you here again just kidding.

 

 

 

 

It’s. About. Ta-go. Down.

You guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuise!

Comin In

It’s getting real, friends, and if I try to slow down and talk about the overwhelm and the awesome, this will get unwieldy and long and emo, so let’s just get into it!

(A) So, if you know me from Twitter, you’ll know I signed with lit agent Victoria Marini! I am psyched to work with V, and have been a fan for quite some time, so this is huge for me!

(B) MEM, my debut forthcoming from Unnamed Press in May 2018, has a cover, and it. is. eeeeeeeeeeverything! Seriously, it’s so pitch perfect, and so lovely, and ever so slightly concerning, and just sets the perfect tone. Just fyi, Jaya Nicely, Unnamed’s Art Director, is a genius, and just entirely nailed it.

Mem cover

     Set in the glittering art deco world of a century ago, MEM makes one slight alteration to history: a scientist in Montreal discovers a method allowing people to have their memories extracted from their minds, whole and complete. The Mems exist as mirror-images of their source — zombie-like creatures destined to experience that singular memory over and over, until they expire in the cavernous Vault where they are kept.

     And then there is Dolores Extract #1, the first Mem capable of creating her own memories. An ageless beauty shrouded in mystery, she is allowed to live on her own, and create her own existence, until one day she is summoned back to the Vault. What happens next is a gorgeously rendered, heart-breaking novel in the vein of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. 

(C) MEM is also available for TBRs and preorder! Snatch these links, y’all!

IndieBound

B&N

Powell’s

Book Depository

Amazon

Goodreads

Next week, I will have a super exciting announcement, so y’know. Don’t forget to check up on me!

Hair toss