Having a truly surreal week

How on earth does anyone get anything done?

warning: flashing gif(s) at the end

Happy Friday, I guess. I’m having a very surreal week - nothing much is happening, really, but getting my brain to cooperate and be productive has been like pulling teeth. Maybe it’s all the news stories about people destroying their intestines by taking anti-worm medication to “fight” COVID. Maybe it’s the draconian, harmful restrictions on abortion that just became law in Texas. Maybe it’s tomorrow’s grim anniversary. Maybe it’s a combination of all these things, but all I know is:

It’s a hamster ball up in here. There are multiple hamsters in the ball, and they’re fighting to determine the direction the ball is moving. I want the ball to move towards the things I need and want to do- work, and my own creative projects, and exercise and cooking the food I bought myself at HMart last week. Instead I am doomscrolling and barely able to concentrate.

I’m not looking for answers or solutions or advice, really. And I had intended on writing a very interesting and informative newsletter on how my editing style has changed (or not changed) since my move to working as a freelancer. I’m going to have to save that newsletter for a week when I feel less like a fraud, for a day when I can actually sit down and be still.

For now, I’ve re-activated my dormant Freedom subscription and blocked the various sites on which I waste the most time, in an effort to salvage next week from this week’s wreckage. I’m concentrating on the positive, as much as I can: I’ve managed to do some interesting nonfiction reading this week, and I’m going to an outdoor birthday celebration tonight in a beautiful park. I attended a friend’s wedding last weekend with another dear friend. I’m here, and so are you, reading this, and it’s Friday and a beautiful day. I’ll be profound next week.

HOUSEKEEPING

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, books? Is there something you want covered in this newsletter? Do you yearn to hear my thoughts on which is the best documentary about the Madoff scandal? Leave it in the comments or in a reply to the newsletter!

THIS WEEK IN HOCKEY 

Training camps start soon and the preseason is mere weeks away. I was heartened to hear that the nascent Seattle Kraken will be requiring vaccinations for anyone attending games in-person. I am prepared to bandwagon fan for the Kraken as hard as possible. Elsewhere, the NWHL has rebranded itself as the Pro Hockey Federation, a move which will hopefully pave the way for more inclusivity in the sport for trans and gender nonconforming players.

LINKS

“Chop Suey” by System of A Down: An Oral History by Jeremy Gordon (Vulture)
Odadjian: Tuesday was the day that SoundScan used to come out, and you would find out where you were on the Billboard charts. I had a little apartment in North Hollywood, and my phone kept ringing. I had probably drank the night before, and I didn’t want to get up. But I answered the phone, and it was my mom saying, “Put on the TV.” I turn on the TV, and all of a sudden, the second tower falls. At the same time, my phone beeps again, and I pick up. It’s my manager, and he says, “Congratulations, you’re No. 1 on Billboard.” It’s like, fuck: Do I get excited? Am I sad? What is it? And is the tour still happening?

The disastrous voyage of Satoshi, the world’s first cryptocurrency cruise ship by Sophie Elmhurst (The Guardian)
Their vision was utopian, if your idea of utopia is a floating crypto-community in the Caribbean Sea. No longer was seasteading a futuristic ideal; it was, said Romundt, “an actual ship”. The Satoshi also offered a chance to marry two movements, of crypto-devotees and seasteaders, united by their desire for freedom – from convention, regulation, tax. Freedom from the state in all its forms. But converting a cruise ship into a new society proved more challenging than envisaged. The high seas, while appearing borderless and free, are, in fact, some of the most tightly regulated places on Earth. The cruise ship industry in particular is bound by intricate rules. As Romundt put it: “We were like, ‘This is just so hard.’”

The History of the Twin Towers Design and Architecture by Alexandra Lange (Bloomberg)
From the perspective of first a tourist and then a resident of New York City, I think Huxtable was wrong: The Twin Towers were bold. The first cut on skyscrapers is to treat them as sculpture, and as sculpture the towers more than succeeded. From any distance they looked like square fluted columns with a chamfered edge, cut to smooth the passage of the eye around the building. When you saw the Twin Towers in the opening shot of a film, zooming in over the tip of Manhattan, you knew instantly where you were.

READING: Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin by Megan Rosenbloom
LISTENING:
“Stayaway” by MUNA
WATCHING:
Come From Away on Apple TV+

This has been A Faster No, a dispatch on publishing, writing, books, and beyond. Is there something you’d like me to talk about? Leave it in the comments or reply to the email! You can support the newsletter here. If you purchase a book from any of the links to Bookshop.org I get a small commission at no cost to you. I am available for developmental editing and editorial assessment services via Reedsy.