welcome to the vortex of my mind
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When I deleted my old website and started this Substack, I had no idea what on earth I was going to do with it. At first I thought it could be another book related outlet, but honestly, I need a break from structured book content. (I know! I never thought that day would come either.)
These past couple of months, I’ve found myself writing essays again, accumulating over a dozen drafts sitting around my sub stack dashboard. Two years ago, I never thought I’d be able to write again, but two years of weekly writing assignments gave me a way to learn how to write again.
Sometimes I can tell folks don’t quite understand what I mean when I say “I can’t read or write.” For me, it’s a combination of cognitive disconnect and migraines. My fuzzy brain requires extra effort to sort through the alphabet in front of me as I slowly drag each word, each sentence, into place. My intense focus settles in as a jabbing sensation behind my eyes, and I start catching myself closing my eyes and lightly pressing on my eyelids for relief.
I’ve finally recovered enough where I can write. But this week, I just keep staring at the blank void of my computer screen, mentally banging my head against a wall. For days now, my chronic pain has slithered around my joints, refusing to let go. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I called it forth with my last newsletter. I shouldn’t have tempted fate.
This morning, I woke up to Samuel’s alarm, a job that Gwen enthusiastically volunteered for and has performed faithfully every day since her arrival. I stared at the ceiling, taking stock of my body and trying to figure out what kind of day the world had in store for me. My joints always carry the weight of the day before, creaking and aching in ways that depend on how many times I’ve fallen or body parts I’ve dislocated. As I type this, fatigue has settled in, and I’ve settled in for a day on the couch. The Corgis seem satisfied to sit on the porch and bark at passersby.
I’m so grateful for all of you who have subscribed and sent me such encouraging feedback. So while I haven’t chosen a particular topic for this week’s ramblings, I’d still love to hear what you’ve enjoyed and would like to see more of from his newsletter. I’ll be at a festival in Portsmouth, Ohio, at the end of the month, but after that, I’m planning on trying a few new things, like the gluten free, dairy free recipes I’ve been working on. Feel free to send me your ideas/thoughts below:
Things I Made That Went Up This Week
Q&A with Kris Maher, the author of Desperate: An Epic Battle for Clean Water and Justice in Appalachia
Across Appalachia, communities continue to fight for clean water. In Mingo County, West Virginia, the residents face an uphill battle to hold Massey Energy accountable for their role in poisoning the local water supply.
Over on Book Riot
“What Is Women’s Fiction?”
I took up the task on writing about woman fiction for Women’s History Month. I spent way too much time down the various rabbit holes of the genre.
“9 Winners from This Years Audie Awards”
Full disclosure, I was a judge for an early round of one of the awards, but I’ve loved seeing the winners of the award this year. Audiobooks continue to push innovation and creativity.
Book Riot’s Audiobooks Newsletter
I write Book Riot’s weekly audiobooks newsletter. You can subscribe here to read all about my favorite listens of the week, and you can read back issues here.
Podcasts I’ve Been Listening To
The Wintering Sessions with Katherine May - Meghan O' Rourke on the invisible kingdom of chronic illness
This conversation made me feel incredibly seen. The combination of chronic illness and the idea of rest hit exactly as you would imagine. Fair warning: if you have a chronic illness, it might hit too close to home. But in the right headspace, it’s wonderful.
Fresh Air - Ep. 5,218 Why Russians Are Fleeing Ukraine
I have been marathoning through Masha Gessen’s work, including their dispatches for The New Yorker, since the invasion of Ukraine. (I also have an incredibly detailed reading list for further investigation.) But I had just finished The Future Is History when this interview dropped into my podcatcher.
AudioFile: Behind the Mic - Ep. 965: Malcolm Gladwell on the Future of Audiobooks
Malcolm Gladwell possesses a unique perspective on audiobooks, and I love that he has such creative ideas for the format. The sky is the limit! Yes, great energy. But I wish he had at least some awareness that audiobooks are first and foremost a technology created with accessibility in mind. So when he says things along the lines of, “ I don’t see the point in just reading the book aloud by itself,” I have to cringe a little bit. But I’m interested to see what he comes up with.