December 31st, 2015

The Red Tree

Go Die in a Fire, 2015

The sun came back today, and it's a little warmer. But the sky makes me want to lie down and moan. Currently, it's 49˚F. I'm beginning to believe that damn scaffold is going to be outside my office window all fucking winter. The landlord refuses to offer any explanation or hint at when it might go away. I've considered sabotage.

What can I say about 2015? It's my worse year since 2012, which was my worst year since 2005, which was my worst year since 1995. Yeah, I'm keeping score. The number five seems unlucky for me. This year was odd for a bad year, in that it was not marked by any particular calamity. There were no suicides (1995) or betrayals by close friends (1989, 2005) or publishers who fucked me over (2012). It even started out quite nicely, with February and March spent in Woodstock. But after we returned to Providence things just went to shit. I slid into...I don't even know what to call it. Lassitude? Apathy? Exhaustion? Inertia? Everything inside my head went wrong, a cascade of failures and wrong turns, culminating in an inability to work. And it didn't help that the thing I most needed in 2015 remained out of reach, an escape from New England. So, fuck off, 2015. I consign you to the dustbin. I'll keep February and March, and the rest can rot. I'll keep the new movies I loved. I'll keep that drive up to Nauset Beach back in November. I'm leaving all work related matters out of the equation, as I'd like to pretend I have a worthwhile existence beyond my writing.

Fuck you, 2015. I give you back to eternity. I do not carry you forward.

Yesterday, I managed to finish "Excerpts from An Eschatology Quadrille." Whether or not it's worth a shit, I can't say. But I can say that at least I finished a story before the end of the year, the first I've managed to finish since I completed Agents of Dreamland* at the end of August. I've been publishing since 1995, and in all that time I've not had a dry spell to match this.

And maybe 2016 will be better. And maybe it will be far worse. I'm in a grim place today, and hope isn't something I've an abundance of, not today. Not at the mouth of winter, not in Providence, not beneath this cold blue northern sky.

Enough for now.

Yeah, you. 2015. Go! Now! And don't come back!

Aunt Beast

* A short novel that you can read someday, if ever I get off my ass and finish proofreading the ms. for Mythos Tales, so that Centipede Press can publish it. I began proofreading the book in June, I think. That says loads about 2015.
The Red Tree

Filmography 2015

I used to be better about these end of the year "best of" lists. Anyway, I figured I'd give you one this year. My favorite American and British films of 2015, unranked (id est, in no particular order):

01. Ex Machina (Dir. Alex Garland)
02. The Hateful Eight (Dir. Quentin Tarantino)
03. Mr. Holmes (Dir. Bill Condon)
04. The Danish Girl (Dir. Tom Hooper)
05. Trumbo (Dir. Jay Roach)
06. Crimson Peak (Dir. Guillermo del Toro)
07. The Revenant (Dir. Alejandro G. Iñárritu)
08. It Follows (Dir. David Robert Mitchell)
09. Clouds of Sils Maria (Dir. Olivier Assayas)
10. The End of the Tour (Dir. James Ponsoldt)
11. Love and Mercy (Dir. Bill Pohlad)
12. Predestination (Dir. Michael and Peter Spierig)
13. Maps to the Stars (Dir. David Cronenberg)
14. Joy (Dir. David O. Russell)
15. The Martian (Dir. Ridley Scott)
16. Mad Max: Fury Road (Dir. George Miller)*
17. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Dir. J. J. Abrams)
18. Bone Tomahawk (Dir. S. Craig Zahler)

* Never before have I so hated a film the first time I saw and then completely reversed my opinion on the second viewing.

These are eighteen films I say you need to see, people. Note, to appear on this list, a film had to have a 2015 U.S. release date.

Aunt Beast