Step into my office.

It’s Friday! Thank fucking God. So let’s take a quick break so we can visit and I can show you all the instagram posts that I saved for you this week because I thought you needed to see them.

Yes…for you.

Happy weekend, sweet friends.

I wonder if the people on the alternate timeline I fell off are doing better than I am.

A few days ago Victor was watching How To with John Wilson and this guy started talking about how Stouffer’s Stove Top Stuffing never existed even though he remembered it existing and Victor and I both laughed at him because CLEARLY Stouffer’s Stove Top Stuffing existed because we’d seen a million commercials for it when we were kids but then we looked it and IT NEVER EXISTED.

I mean, Stove Top Stuffing existed but apparently it was always made by Kraft and Stouffer’s never made it. I mentioned on twitter that I have fallen into a parallel timeline where Stouffer’s Stove Top Stuffing never existed and about half of the people were like, “Wtf. It totally did. What is my life?” and a quarter were like, “No, it existed” and sent me a photoshopped image of Stouffer’s Stove Top Stuffing used to illustrate how a ton of us all remember something that never existed and a quarter were like, “Ah, the Mandela Effect. Do you also insist that they were always the Bearnstein Bears rather than the Bearenstain Bears?” AND YES BECAUSE THAT’S HOW IT ALWAYS WAS.

But apparently not. (No seriously, look it up.)

So then Victor found a whole list of Mandela Effect examples (a phenomenon where a shitload of people all believe an event occurred which didn’t) and Victor refused to believe that C3PO had a silver leg and I screamed “WITCHCRAFT” when it was pointed out that the Wicked Queen never said “Mirror, mirror on the wall” and then I had to leave the house to clear my head and when I came back Victor was like, “Remember that cartoon on Captain Kangaroo? (Sings) Well you know my name is...”

And I sang, “-Simon, and the things I draw come true” because that song has been stuck in my head for decades and he was like, “Nope. Edmund. Not Simon. It’s always been Edmund.”

And I was like, “THE HELL YOU SAY” and then I decided that nothing in the world can be trusted again and that all of this is a sign that whatever coma I’ve been in is wearing off. So I whisper-sang it to myself…”Well you know my name is…Edmund?” and frowned in shocked disgust and then Victor was like, “Nah, I’m just fucking with you. It’s Simon. It’s always been Simon” and that’s why I’m filing for divorce.

Edited to add:

Y’all. I give up.

Fantastic Strangelings book club!

Well hello!

My copy is digital for now so just imagine Dorothy Barker in the background, okay?

If you’re already a member of the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club then you already got an email from me about next month’s book club pick and you already know how giddily excited I am about it. (PS. It is never too late to join and we have spots open right now if you want to be part of a wonderfully bizarre book club that never makes you put pants on.) So today we’re going to open up discussion for January’s book (The Swallowed Man by Edward Carey) on the Fantastic Strangelings Facebook page and on this post in case you’re not a Facebook fan (no rush if you haven’t finished it!) but first I’m going to tell you all about February.

So. February was one of the hardest picks ever because there were SO MANY amazing books out there. I literally whittled it down to 10 books and Elizabeth was like, “What is wrong with you? We can’t send people 10 books” and she is right but also, it was an impossibly hard decision so I went through them all and thought “What if I could only read one of these?” and I realized it had to be The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec.

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.

This book was the perfect mix of heart-ache and hope and it literally made me cry but in a really good way and as soon as I finished it I wanted to erase it from my head so I could read it again for the first time. SO GOOD.

(And you don’t need to be a big fan of Norse Mythology to know what’s going on, in case you’re wondering. Most everything I knew about Loki is from Tom Hiddleston.)

I always pick an optional bonus book for those of you who (like me) need more than one book to get you through the month and so I can highly recommend The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey. Sort of a sci-fi clone thriller but deeper than that. It was like Westworld (except it actually made sense) and at the end I was filled with a million what-if questions.

Do you need more than that? I think maybe you do because THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD FEBRUARY BOOKS AND I WANT TO SHARE THEM ALL. So here are a few that I really loved.

The Girl from the Channel Islands: A WWII Novel by Jenny Lacoat (Fascinating and based on a true story)

The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold (Like if the Walking Dead and Phantom Tollboth had a baby)

The Removed by Brandon Hobson (Heartbreaking and dreamlike.)

In the Garden of Spite: A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte by Camilla Bruce (for true-crime lovers)

The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson (A poignant look at motherhood, race and the American Dream)

My Year Abroad by Change-Rae Lee (This book is weird as hell but I loved it)

Burning Girls and Other Stories by Veronica Schanoes (Two of these stories BLEW ME AWAY. Worth it just for those two alone, in my opinion.)

The Memory Theater by Karin Tidbeck (A folkloric fairytale about the fabric of reality)

PS. If you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangelings check your email for an invitation to a live book-discussion on zoom with Zeyn Joukhadar next month (He wrote our November book, The Thirty Names of Night). I think we’ll also be doing one with Edward Carey sometime soon but no definite dates yet. (We try to put some of them on our youtube channel if you’re an honorary member or miss it.)

My thoughts on The Swallowed Man are in the comments. Happy reading!

PostSecret

One of the first websites I ever loved was PostSecret. It started about 15 years ago and it still is functioning. People mail in anonymous postcards with their secret confessions and each week a bunch are shared on the website. This week a postcard from Nowhere Bookshop appeared and I’m very glad it wasn’t a murder confession because that seems bad for everyone involved but I thought I’d share it because I’ve seen a lot of people say similar things:

Personally I qualify to get the vaccine early but I’m not getting it because I’m lucky enough to not have to leave the house or be exposed so I’m giving it time so that others that aren’t as lucky can get theirs. That said, if you qualify to get the vaccine now and you get it now, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. If you don’t qualify but have the chance to get the shot because it would be wasted otherwise GET THE SHOT AND DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. If you got the shot because you volunteered to help with immunizations and a side-effect is that they vaccinate you too, TAKE THAT MOTHERFUCKER AND DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. Different cities have different amounts. Different places have different rules. No one seems to know what the fuck is going on when it comes to distribution and that’s not a surprise because this is a giant project that has a million moving pieces but I will happily get mine whenever I can and I thank everyone else who is getting one because this is how we stop this terrible asshole so that we can go back to the old days when being a recluse was a personal choice and not a normal state of living for everyone.

PS. My normal state of living was not *that* much difference from quarantine but I’m still struggling so it is totally okay if you are too. This is hard and long and I’m not going to make a dick joke right now even though I want to because this is a serious subject and it’s important to recognize that this can take a toll and it’s perfectly okay if your house is a mess and you are living in pajamas and your kid is struggling in school and you aren’t sure if anyone will even recognize you when this is all over. You are not alone. We are all just scraping by. Do things that make you happy as much as you can. Refill your joy. Binge watch Bling Empire and text your friends 90-day finance memes. It’s going to be okay. We’ll get through this.

Coming out of the dark. Again.

Today I woke up and showered and cleaned my kitchen and answered emails and these were all things that seemed impossible a few days ago. Then I CALLED MY SISTER ON THE PHONE because I was wanted to talk to someone and she tried to act like it was totally normal but I am forever afraid of the phone and when I hung up I realized that for the first time in a very long time I feel like I’m coming out of this very long depression. It might only be a glimpse of temporary light or the beginning of a good period but whatever it is, I’m taking advantage of it to tell you two things:

ONE: There is a very elderly man and woman who I see walking (very slowly) together in my neighborhood sometimes and they are always wearing masks and at least 10 feet apart and each of them is always on the opposites side of the street from the other and at first I assumed it was a couple who were so fed up with each other they wanted distance but today I was in the front yard with Dorothy Barker and I overheard them shouting encouragements at each other and the guy was like, “You’ll have to call your granddaughter and tell her you broke your walking record today!” and she was all, “Hell, I’m going to make my husband put this on the Facebook!” and he was like, “Yeah! Carl is gonna be so proud!” and now I love them even more.

TWO: I just saw Queen Elizardbeth on the porch and she looked MAGNIFICENT. And I realize it’s possible that it is another lizard entirely but she had a look of quiet dignity that made me think that it was totally her.

I realize this isn’t much for a blog post I feel good today and I miss you and I just wanted to share.

Step into my office for 10 minutes because you need to see this shit.

I’m coming out of a depressive funk where everything that should take 5 minutes takes 180 years and still isn’t done right so I’m taking a break and you should take a break too and we can look at the instagram posts I’ve saved for you because we have the same weird senses of humor and because maybe you also use instagram to feel like you’re visiting people without actually leaving the house. And by “people” I mainly mean “people’s pets”. The usual.

Starting with this pep talk, which I totally needed:

I needed that. Now back to work. And by “work” I mean “doing the same load of laundry for the third time in a row because I keep forgetting to put it in the dryer”.

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