October Sux pt. 2

On September 28, Pinegrove released their second album, Skylight. Pinegrove is a band I like, but one I used to love. Their first record felt tailored to be something I’d be completely obsessed with. Its earnest, emo lyrics and twangy guitars and vocals are extremely my shit. Maybe six weeks ago I realized they were due for another album. After some googling I found a Facebook post from Pinegrove’s lead singer, Evan Stephens Hall, saying he’d been accused of sexual coercion.

As far as #MeToo apologies go, Hall’s falls below Dan Harmon’s but still surpasses Louis C.K.’s “I never showed a woman my dick without asking first” non-apology. Hall’s message is vague and a little confusing, and after reading it I wasn’t sure Pinegrove was still a band.

Then a couple weeks ago, Jenn Pelly published “Reckoning With Pinegrove” on Pitchfork, which detailed the circumstances that led to Hall’s message and why he’d written it the way he did. In short, most of the language he used was borrowed directly from the alleged victim, stating “It was meant as a symbol of respect to have her dictate the language of the conversation.” I don’t think this is wrong, but it seems to place responsibility for the ambiguity on the alleged victim. Wouldn’t it have been equally effective to use the alleged victim’s language and explain what it meant?

Pinegrove is still a band, and Hall claims they never considered breaking up. Instead, they took a year off from touring, and are donating all of the proceeds from Skylight to the Voting Rights Project, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Musicares. The band also agreed to the alleged victim’s request that Pinegrove take a year off from touring and that Hall enter therapy. I finished reading the Pitchfork article still confused, but a quote from Hall really stands out to me:

quote

Skylight is a great record, a major leap forward musically and lyrical from the band’s debut. But it’s harder to listen to knowing all of this. I’ve tried to imagine how I’ll react if Ryan Adams is accused of sexual assault. Would I throw out all of his records? Would I stop listening to him entirely? Perhaps more importantly, would I be able to separate his art, which I adore, from his behavior? I don’t know, and hopefully I won’t have to answer these questions.

I’m not the first person to write about the art vs. artist conundrum. Steven Hyden did so in his Grantland piece “Pied Pipers,” and although it exclusively deals with how we listen to music when its creators have behaved badly, it’s equally applicable to conversations about other media. I was listening to a podcast recently, and one of the hosts addressed this tangentially, saying “Chinatown does not stop being a great movie because Roman Polanski is a monster.” I’m inclined to agree, but the thought of buying a copy of Chinatown, thus supporting Polanski financially, feels very gross. I feel the same way when I think about all of Louis C.K.’s masturbation jokes–jokes that used to make me laugh–but are now so tied to the trauma he inflicted on women. It makes me sick that Louis C.K. continues to “drop in” to perform at New York’s Comedy Cellar, and that so many male comedians fail to understand how deeply wrong that is. In one of the many articles written about those performances, someone was quoted as saying how great C.K.’s set was. The perceived quality of his set is completely beside the point. Expertise or talent is never a reason to forgive someone, especially when that person has shown so little contrition.

april wolfe

For Louis C.K., it’s easy for me to say he should pursue another career out of the public eye. But for Pinegrove? I’d like to hear more music from them. Having said that, after listening to Skylight so heavily after its release I haven’t been able to go back to it. To what degree and how soon do we forgive in situations like this?

Again, I don’t have answers to any of this, but grappling with these questions is important, particularly when it’s difficult to turn on the news without hearing about sexual assault. I’d like to be perfectly clear, however, that the events surrounding Brett Kavanaugh do not fall into the same category of separating a person’s work from their behavior. If someone, anyone, is accused of sexual assault, their ability to be a judge in any courtroom needs to be seriously questioned. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony combined with Kavanaugh’s petulance and hysterics in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee speak to his profound lack of moral fiber, a trait necessary for any judicial position.

esposito

solnit

It’s Pronounced Bro-ga

For years, various people have encouraged me to try yoga; my mother, a personal trainer, and most gently, my therapist. All of them said something to the effect of “it will help you get out of your own head.”

I was always dismissive in response, saying “Why do I need to get out of my head? I know the territory.” The unspoken being that even though the stuff in my head might be weird, dark, and a little anxious, I was perfectly capable of handling it without yoga. This is essentially the thinking man’s version of “If I meditate I’ll lose my creative edge,” which is bullshit.

For over a year I meditated every day on the train home from work, and I’m familiar with all its benefits. It made me a much better, less anxious driver. Snafus at work bothered me less and less, and when others started to panic I stayed calm. On one of the initial dates with my now girlfriend, Leslie, I asked about her yoga practice. At that point I knew she went several times a week, and I definitely made a joke about “meditating hard.” Although athletic and fit, she was modest about her level of skill. “It helps me be connected to my body,” she said.

I replied, “Sometimes I wish I was less connected to my body.”

Thankfully, she laughed. Maybe a month or so later she asked if I wanted to join her in a yoga class.

I didn’t say yes because she’s great and I wanted to keep seeing her, although that was definitely part of the reason. After having so many smart people pushing yoga on me it seemed like a good idea to finally try it, mostly so I could ignore any and all future suggestions.

It was a few weeks before we could go to a class together, and we planned to go to an easier session appropriate for new yogis, something called Outdoor Flow. The morning of we were a little late in leaving and hit traffic on the way. “We’ll have to do the next one,” she explained. “My studio is strict about not letting people in after the class has started.”

“That’s fine,” I said, not realizing the drastic disparity between different types of classes. I was only looking to avoid hot yoga or one of the more intense classes Leslie preferred, sessions with names like Sculpt and Power Yoga. We arrived and signed up for a ninety-minute class called Vinyasa. Leslie left to park her car and the woman at the front desk gave me a mat and a towel. “The mats sometimes get slippery,” she explained, “so you can lay the towel on top for more traction.”

Right, as if I wouldn’t be able to master my own yoga mat.

Leslie returned and found me in the entry area where yogis take off their shoes. She walked up and kissed me. “Thank you for doing this. Vinyasa is a harder class than I would normally start you with.”

“It’s fine,” I said again. “And I’m definitely not nervous at all.”

Part of the reason I had agreed to Vinyasa was because Leslie had described Derek, the instructor, as somewhat “basic,” which I took to mean easier than most. We set up our mats at the back of the room, and after a few minutes the instructor came by to shake my hand, welcome me, and ask if I was okay with him using his hands to adjust my poses. “Sure,” I lied. My new goal was to avoid having him touch me at all. Derek was attractive in a stereotypical yoga bro sort of way. His brown hair hung to his shoulders, and he was muscular without looking like a beefy gym rat. He vaguely resembled Russell Brand, although I doubt he would’ve considered marrying Katy Perry.

I was not the only male in the class, but I was the only one wearing a Ryan Adams t-shirt, which made me feel perversely superior. I got this shirt for $20 at a rock concert, not Lululemon! I felt an immediate kinship with a woman wearing a shirt covered with cupcakes and unicorns. Before now, anytime someone asked if I practiced yoga I said I practiced bro-ga. “It’s when a bunch of people who probably should do yoga sit around and talk about how they don’t do yoga,” I would explain.

Things started easy enough, with all of us lying with our backs “to the earth,” focusing on our breathing. About ten minutes after that I was drenched in sweat and having a very hard time staying on my mat. My beloved Ryan Adams shirt proved ineffective in wiping my face since it was completely soaked. It was another fifteen minutes before I relented and put down my complimentary towel.

I’m by no means a yoga savant, but I also didn’t completely embarrass myself. I at least did better than the lady next to me, and she had her own mat. (I know it’s not a contest, but let me have this one.) This might not make sense to non-musicians, but I knew I was doing the movements properly when it felt like my body moved where it needed to go, exactly the same feeling of completing a V – I chord progression in a song. To put it another way, hum “Pop Goes the Weasel,” but stop before you get to the final note. When you stop the song on wea-, our ears are conditioned to expect the melody to resolve to the root note sung with -sel. Delaying that is how I’ve always imagined Tourette’s to feel, like there’s an itch you need to scratch. When you finally do resolve the melody there’s an inherent sense of rightness to the entire string of notes. For most of the class I tried to adjust my poses until I got to that sense of completeness or resolution within my body. It wasn’t until then I understood the attraction of yoga for so many, and the sense of connection Leslie had described. Yoga felt good, even though I was quickly learning it was a brutal workout.

I doubt I have ever sweated as much as I did in those ninety minutes. My hair did that annoying thing when it’s wet to form a big curlicue on my forehead. At various points Leslie reached over to squeeze my hand. I squeezed back and smiled, trying to indicate I wasn’t nearly as dead as I looked. I did take a breather about an hour into the class, laying down on my back to catch my breath. As I rejoined the class Derek came over to delicately correct my pigeon pose. Up until then he’d only come near me to suggest I try to get slightly lower during crow pose. As he pulled my leg a little farther back behind me I again felt the sense of completeness in the motion. I also realized how exhausted I was because even my toes were tired. The class ended with backbends which felt surprisingly good, although I didn’t bend all the way to the floor as Derek demonstrated. (The worst part was that he wasn’t even smug about it. Damn, yogi.)

When we stood up Leslie hugged and kissed me even though we were both impossibly sweaty, thanking me again for doing the class. “You were a rock star,” she said. “I was surprised you were able to do some of the poses.”

“I… liked it,” I managed, still trying to catch my breath. Leslie ran to get our things from her locker, and I wandered around the lobby to convince myself I wasn’t about to vomit everywhere. It was a close call for a few minutes, but by the time Leslie returned the nausea had passed.

As we were leaving Derek thanked us both for coming. Turning to me he asked, “Are you new to the practice?”

“Today was my first day.”

“Really? Very impressive! You did a lot better than some people in their first class. Seriously.” He seemed sincere although it’s possible he was merely being kind in the hopes I’d come back.

Walking back to the car I asked Leslie, “So Derek’s class was basic?”

She laughed. “Definitely.”

“Fuck.”

Turns out I’m the basic yoga bitch.

unnamed

Donezel Washington

The Mechanic is finished! Sasha is now Ana. The word count dropped from 84,000 to 80,0000. My mom is reading the latest draft and said “it’s tighter,” which is maybe all I’ve ever wanted to hear about my writing. I don’t plan on making any changes unless an agent or editor tells me to. I have started querying, but that’s a long, slow, demoralizing process. Updates to come.

To give you a sense of where my brain has been since I finished the book, I have a blister on my right index finger and I’m not at all sure how I got it. I also bought three mixing bowls at Target last weekend and two of them have completely vanished. I also went to Costco and thought, “ooh quinoa salad, that sounds good!” I was watching TV the other night and had an idea for my next novel. Right now it’s about cults, dementia, time travel, and bank heists. Should be dope.

Many thanks to all of you who read various sections and drafts of The Mechanic. I’d especially like to thank my friend Miriam, who had to listen to me try to explain what this book was about before I’d written much of anything. Her thoughtful questions were crucial in helping me think through so many parts of the story. In no particular order, I also need to thank Sara, Jean, Marissa, Kerry, Julianna, Andy, mom, and dad. The feedback from all of you was so so helpful. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I’m gonna go turn into a werewolf now.

P.S. I stole the Donezel Washington joke from Brooklyn 9-9 which is a great show that was and then wasn’t canceled and you should definitely watch it.

So you want to talk about race

Well, probably you don’t, but that’s why we should talk about it. I know I’ve mentioned it at some point, but for as long as The Mechanic has existed, the titular character was an African-American woman named Sasha. I recently decided to revise the book for Sasha to be a white woman with a new name.

I wanted Sasha to be an African American because it’s important that my fiction be representative of reality. Not all of us are cis-gender heterosexual white people, and neither is good literature. To me, Sasha has been black from the moment I first thought of her. Regrettably, it was only recently I stopped to ask myself why I’d imagined her this way.

Once I’d finished the first draft of The Mechanic I knew I would need people of color to read it and to pay attention to their feedback. I also knew that if I was lucky enough to ever be interviewed about this book, the conversation would include my decision to write a novel whose central character is black when I so clearly am not.

Before asking any person of color to read The Mechanic, I read So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo, which is great even if you’re not struggling to write characters of color. Oluo’s book gave me ideas for improving The Mechanic, and I felt confident about moving forward. Not long after that, I asked a person of color to read The Mechanic. I knew this person from school, was confident they would provide frank feedback, and I genuinely thought it was a story they’d enjoy. In my request, I included a synopsis and an offer to pay them a dollar per page for their time. They respectfully said no, expressing concern over “reading about rape and assault – especially violence against black bodies.” 

My initial reaction was, “Don’t you want to see how I’ve handled this as an artist!?” which is the wrong response and thankfully remained unsaid. It wasn’t until my friend declined to read The Mechanic that I was honest with myself about why I’d written Sasha as an African American; she’s an inherently angry character, and I didn’t think readers would believe that level of anger in a white character. This is racist and plays on the stereotype of an angry black woman, for which there is no excuse.

Using race to render characters more believable is dangerously lazy. Once I realized this I knew I had to remove Sasha in favor of a white character. This will ultimately serve the story far better, forcing me to write effective characters regardless of race. The book will certainly be different, but it will also be much better.

I am still passionate about writing compelling characters of all races, and it was difficult to realize I’m not yet a strong enough writer to do so. Good intentions don’t mean shit if it leads to bad, offensive writing.

Sorry to get so heavy after last month’s whimsy, but my only other idea for this newsletter was to send an inflammatory email full of “would” statements, and then send a follow-up correcting all of them to “wouldn’t” statements. I’m not sure that’s any less depressing, to be honest.

To end on a cheerful note, here’s a song I really enjoy by Wild Pink, whose new record came out today.

Cover of Ryan Adams’ “Dear Chicago”

I thought I lost this recording a couple apartments ago, but found it buried in my Dropbox. “Dear Chicago” was too difficult for me to learn on guitar, so I came up with this piano arrangement. It’s a bummer, but ultimately hopeful, and one of my favorite songs by any artist.

Reading is a Beach

Beach Reading Season has arrived! Like a group of white people that’s never heard of Hawaii, my family and I will be spending the last week of June in sunny Florida, embracing our inner beach bums. Will I engage in the summer pastime known as beach reading? You bet your ass I will.

Perhaps you’re wondering, What is beach reading? There are many schools of thought on the subject, but I maintain there are four criteria to be met for something to qualify as a Beach Read. *Ahem*

  1. It must be short.
  2. It must be funny.
  3. If it does not meet criteria #2, it must make the reader look smart and/or trendy. Or at the very least, give the impression the reader subscribes to The New Yorker.
    It’s small enough to fit in the back pocket of your cut-off jeans.
  4. What follows is my fool-proof guide to your best Beach Reading Life.

@cottoncandaddy

@Cottoncandaddy is a Twitter account, something much better and shorter than a book. Written by Gracie Hoos, a witty twenty-something in Canada, this Twitter feed will have you obnoxiously laughing on the beach as you sip a Mai Tai, the other would-be beach readers all dying to know what you’re reading. In short, @cottoncandaddy is funny, attractive, and has a very cute dog!

What’s more beach read-y than a podcast? Nothing, especially when that podcast is This Sounds Serious, an eight-part, fictional-crime podcast that satirizes Serial et al., while being equally engaging and much funnier. In 2007, Orlando weatherman Chuck Brondstadt was found dead in his apartment after being killed with his own waterbed. Who did it? Was it his eccentric identical twin brother? A rival weatherman? Maybe a former member of an Atlantis cult?? The final episode drops June 19th, so get your binge on! If anyone asks what you’re listening to, say, It’s a compelling audio drama à la S-Town. Haven’t you heard of it?

Perhaps you left your Kindle at home, or maybe you’re on the lam to avoid paying your exorbitant library fines. Don’t worry, fearless Beach Reader, Netflix is here to save the day. Nailed It! is a competition cooking show, in which amateur bakers attempt to recreate pastry masterpieces. The fun part is none of them are particularly skilled, and they have very limited time. Whoever is closest to nailing it wins $10,000! This is better than a book because you can imagine fun stories about the contestants, like, How did this person ever get the idea they could bake? Are all of their friends gaslighting them while spitting half-chewed cupcakes into their napkins? Next thing you know, you’re writing a breezy thriller about a cooking-show contestant who has to solve a delectable murder before their time is up. Who needs Beach Reads when you can Beach Write, am I right?

Until next month,
Evan

Going Mental

 

scott-hutchison

I’ve been putting off this month’s mailing list, mostly because May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I felt like I should address it, didn’t want to, and then learned that Scott Hutchison had committed suicide.

If you’re familiar with Birthday Suits, you probably realized I’ve been dealing with mental health issues for some time, specifically depression and anxiety, since I was 18. I’ve been on medication since then, and when an ex asked me why I wouldn’t consider going off my medications I said, because I like being alive.

Comedian Chris Gethard has pointed out that no one ever tells a cancer patient they should try stopping chemo, but mental health patients deal with this all the time. Depression may not seem as immediately life threatening, but it absolutely can be. People are sometimes shocked when they learn I was hospitalized for suicidal ideation several years ago. Maybe because I seem “normal.” Everyone I met in the hospital was “normal,” as normal as all of you. Considering that one out of five people experiences mental illness, and suicide is the third leading cause of death for individuals aged 10 to 24, mental illness is alarmingly normal, although never recognized as such. That’s why I wanted to write about Scott Hutchison.

On Thursday May 10th, Hutchison was found dead on the banks of the Firth of Forth after an apparent suicide. He was 36 years old, and the singer and guitarist for Frightened Rabbit. This news would’ve saddened me even if Frightened Rabbit weren’t one of my favorite bands, but what’s heartbreaking is that Scott Hutchison has written so many beautiful and eloquent songs about his own depression that have provided me enormous comfort. He was able to think through his mental health to create gorgeous music, but ultimately couldn’t think or create away his depression. No one can. He sent these tweets shortly before he went missing on Tuesday:

scott-hutchison-tweets

The details of Scott Hutchison’s diagnosis or the extent to which he wasmentally ill are beside the point. What matters is he would’ve benefitted from talking to someone, and for whatever reason felt unable to do so. Considering how many people are affected by mental illness, it’s devastating Hutchison couldn’t or wouldn’t get the help he needed. Talking about mental illness is never easy, but that’s why it’s so important. If you need help, there are numerous resources available. Never forget how much you matter, especially on the days when you think you don’t matter at all. If you think someone you know is in need of help, reach out to them. A simple text of “hey, how’s it going?” can often do wonders. If you can’t get a hold of that person, keep trying. Don’t let them go.

BUT NOT EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE. The few people who’ve finished reading the latest draft of The Mechanic have been very complimentary, even though the moment my mother finished it she called to make sure I was okay. (I should probably start thinking of it as a horror novel.) I’ve also made tentative steps on a new project, something I’ve been thinking about for a while but is easily the weirdest thing I’ve ever done. Fingers crossed.

I also have a new job! I know all of you were dying to cross that off your list of concerns. As of May 7th I am employed as a technical writer for a software company. I guess all of this is to say that I was intensely depressed for much of 2017, but I’m now in a good place. Getting help for mental illness doesn’t mean I no longer have bad days. It means I know what to do when the really bad days bite me in the ass.

Until next month,
Evan

Annihilation

For longer than I’ve called myself a writer, I’ve been overly preoccupied with the question “Which is better, the book or the movie?” For many years I thought books were always superior. This is largely because I’m a control freak, and books are movies I direct in my head. It’s jarring to see a story you’ve lovingly rendered in your mind subjected to the vision of someone else. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because the film Annihilation was released last month, and it is arguably superior to the novel of the same name.

Annihilation succeeds by only using the book as a starting point on its way to becoming an entirely unique thing. Sort of like when you hear a cover of a favorite song, and you realize the cover is much better than the original. Part of me always knew that the question of “which is better” doesn’t matter, and I’m now certain that is true when the adaptation is done effectively.

Annihilation is a novel by Jeff VanderMeer, the first book in an excellent science-fiction trilogy. My interest in the film stemmed from my love for these books, but also as someone who wants to write bestselling books and see them adapted into excellent movies. What is so interesting about the Annihilation adaptation is that it honors the spirit and ideas of the books while telling a very different, equally compelling story. To achieve one of these in a film adaptation is rare enough, but Annihilation’s success at reaching both is remarkable.

Part of this film’s success as an adaptation might stem from the fact writer/director Alex Garland began working on it shortly after the trilogy’s first book was published. Apparently, he started writing the screenplay without realizing two later books were slated for publication. While the differences between the book and film are pretty radical, they always work in the film’s favor. Somehow, no matter how far the film diverged from the novel, it always felt part of the world those books had allowed me to inhabit. At the same time, it doesn’t make sense to compare Annihilation to its source material, because they are so different. This is a confusing contradiction, but it’s so exciting to see a book’s limits utterly surpassed in such a satisfying way. The movie accomplishes several things the book simply can’t, and remains self-contained. I’d be amazed if Garland decided to adapt the other two books in the trilogy.

So which should you choose, book or movie? Frankly, both. I don’t even think it matters whether you watch the movie before the book, which is something I never thought I’d say. However, while the book is scary and unnerving in a more cerebral sense, the movie is downright horrifying. It reminded me a lot of Alien, which is perhaps the best sci-fi horror film ever made. If that’s not your thing, I’d still recommend the book.

Questions of book vs. movie have been on my mind since I’m about halfway through editing The Mechanic. I’ve of course thought of who I’d want to direct the film adaptation (Jordan Peele), and had a few ideas for who will play the lead (Zoë Kravitz or Letitia Wright). Whether or not any of that comes to pass is beside the point, but it’s fun to think about.

Until next month,

Evan

It’s My Birthday, I Can Write What I Want To

Looking at the title you might be thinking, “Isn’t that what Evan does every month?” You are correct, but I typically write about things most people are interested in. Today, in honor of the 29th anniversary of my birth, I will be writing about my most cherished of obsessions, the music of Ryan Adams. Specifically his album 29, and the song “Carolina Rain.”

29.jpg

Adams’ 29 is the final installment in a trilogy of records he released in 2005, and it is by far the weirdest record of the three, and maybe even of his entire career. Adams has claimed the album is a loose concept album about his twenties, with each song about a single year. That’s like saying Batman comics are about a guy whose parents were killed; there’s much more going on, and it’s a bit of an undersell.

The album opens with the blues burner “29” and ends with the fragile and biblical “Voices.” In between the record ranges between lush piano numbers (“Nightbirds”), Spaghetti Western flourishes (“The Sadness”), and the murder balladry of “Carolina Rain,” one of my absolute favorites of all of Adams’ songs.

On one of my live recordings of this song, Adams introduces it by saying, “This next song is about a ghost, and several people that… die.” The characters include a waitress, a dead landlord, Caroline, her husband Alderman Haint, Caroline’s sister Percy, Percy’s husband the narrator, and a recently deputized sheriff.

The song relates the story of a drifter who arrives in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, falls in love with Caroline, and then marries Caroline’s sister “if only to be closer to you, Caroline.” Along the way we learn Rose is a prostitute who reveals the truth of Caroline and the narrator’s relationship to Alderman. Alderman is subsequently murdered and thrown into the quarry, where his misplaced rosary alerts the sheriff that something is amiss. Oh, but before that, both of Percy and the narrator’s daughters die. Then the narrator is killed outside the banquet hall as the song ends.

To say that I’ve become obsessed with this song since first hearing it is a bit of an understatement. In college, I attempted to adapt “Carolina Rain” into a short story. My writing workshop responded with, “This doesn’t make any goddamn sense.” To which I said, “I know! Isn’t it great?”

It’s unclear who exactly killed Alderman Haint, and sometimes I’m convinced he’s the landlord offed by Rose at the song’s beginning. Other times I think the narrator killed Alderman, and the nameless landlord was murdered only to set the stage for the bloodshed to come. But that would mean the narrator was killed for a murder he didn’t commit, which seems to defy the song’s fated logic. I’ll never be sure either way, which is what draws me back to “Carolina Rain” again and again.

Somehow, Adams manages to reinvigorate a traditional folk song form with all sorts of postmodern weirdness, and the result is utterly lovely despite its abundance of death. Death is one of 29‘s major preoccupations, which isn’t surprising since it was written by a man on the cusp of his thirties. The album’s cover is a painting by Adams, seemingly showing Death leading a group of people to a house to do God knows what. I like to imagine Death’s three followers as Alderman Haint, the song’s narrator, and maybe the landlord or Rose, all of them following Death hoping to learn who exactly killed whom. Whatever they find in that house, I bet it doesn’t make any goddamn sense.

Year of the Dog

In honor of the season, here are my New Year’s Resolutions listed in order of importance:

  1. Finish writing/editing The Mechanic
  2. Only refer to LL Cool J by his full name, Ladies Love Cool James
  3. Find a new job
  4. Go on a date with Saorise Ronan
  5. Go to more movies

What else is new besides my calendar? For starters, all 8 season of Psych are now streaming on Amazon Prime. If you’re not familiar with the antics of Shawn and Gus, a fake psychic and his pharmaceutical-selling best friend, they are my favorite re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Instead of being addicted to heroin, Shawn’s a compulsive liar with father issues, Gus is his handsomely neurotic partner, and they both love snacks. Below is a clip of the two of them doing their thing as a pair of superfly dudes from the 70s:

This makes more sense in context. Sort of.
I did start writing that screenplay I mentioned a while back. I wrote a handful of scenes, realized the narrative stakes were extremely low, and as of last week starting writing new stuff for The Mechanic. I haven’t given up on the screenplay, and while I’m not promising to eventually finish it, I will definitely go back to it at some point.

It has also come to my attention some of you thought I was being metaphorical about sticking The Mechanic‘s first draft in my freezer when I was being quite literal. I never joke about the contents of my freezer, as that is where most of my food comes from. The manuscript will stay there until I run out of ideas for stuff that should’ve been included in the first draft, or when I summon the requisite chutzpah to look on my works and despair, whichever comes first.

We’re in the thick of the awards season, and both The Shape of Water and Lady Bird are incredible films (as is the new Star Wars!). There are plenty of other contenders I haven’t seen, but if you’re into anthropomorphized fish dudes who fall in love, definitely check out William of the Bull’s latest work; anyone with a beating heart will love Lady Bird, which I sincerely hope wins best picture even though the Oscars are a farce.
Until next month,

Evan