Things have been pretty crazy this end with writing, podcasting, and teaching. Not only am I taking part in the One Story Per Week Challenge but I’m co-writing a couple of long-form fiction stories and writing a long-form solo project. Add into the mix exercise and taking care of my health and time is somewhat of a premium. That said there is a lot to love in this world and I’d like to share just a few of the things that I’ve enjoyed in recent weeks.
BOOKS I’M READING …
Last year Bracken MacLeod released the fantastic arctic horror novel Stranded which I recently revisited via the audiobook narrated by PJ Ochlan. Right now I’m reading another two books by MacLeod. First up is 13 Views of the Suicide Woods, MacLeod’s debut short story collection hot off the press, and whilst I’m only a quarter of the way through, these very human tales of horror and tragedy are amongst my favourite short stories of the year. Last time I enjoyed a debut short story collection this much was North American Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud. Second is Come To Dust, a novel that will be released in June. I won’t give any details away as I think the less you know the more powerful its impact*, but I will say that, for my tastes, it’s even better than Stranded and you all know I loved Stranded. Watch this space for a This Is Horror Podcast conversation with Bracken soon …
*Warning: don’t read the blurb as it gives away a huge twist I didn’t see coming early doors and then it gives away another twist that turns up a little later. Remember, folks, with blurbs less if often more. This is exactly why we didn’t reveal a certain something withThey Don’t Come Home Anymore by T.E. Grau published by This Is Horror.
Music I’m Listening To …
I’ve been listening to a lot of great music recently but the two albums that really stand out are Songs of Love and Deathby Me And That Man (featuring Nergal of Behemoth fame) and Emperor of Sand by Mastodon. The former is possibly the coolest album that’s been released this year, think whiskey-soaked melancholic folk with a Nick Cave vibe. Whenever I put this on I feel like I should be roaming around in a black trench coat being gangster-as-hell whilst filmed through a monochrome filter (sadly the reality is I’m just a twat walking a little bit fast around Kanagawa but I am wearing black). The latter is my favourite Mastodon release since career-high Crack The Skye (though as an FYI ‘Blood and Thunder’ from Leviathan is my favourite track of theirs—I love that it appears in The Big Short which was quite possibly the most metal film of 2015—who’d have thought a dark comedy about the financial meltdown of 2008 would include the likes of Mastodon, Metallica, and Pantera, amongst others?).
Apps I’m Loving …
So, last instalment of ‘Things I Love’ I wrote about my off-on relationship with meditation and gave a shout out to Calm. Well, friends, I’ve recently been using Insight Timer and it’s certainly giving Calm some competition as my go-to meditation app. What’s great about Insight Timer is the wealth of content and it’s all free. If you want unguided meditation with natural soundscapes then Calm excels, but if you want guided meditation from some of the most renowned experts in the field, people like Tara Brach, Joseph Goldstein, and Sharon Salzberg—then Insight Timer has you covered. Of course, Insight Timer also has unguided meditation* but for me, it’s all about learning from the masters of the field.
*And Calm has guided meditation albeit not from the calibre of world-class experts Insight Timer boasts.
Quote To Ponder …
Now go forth and venture.
I hope this has been entertaining and useful for you. Please hit me up in the comments or on twitter @wilsonthewriter and keep the positivity and conversation going, let me know what you’ve been enjoying this week.
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Have an amazing weekend, keep writing, keep reading, but beyond everything else: smile more, love more, and be kind to each other.
Catch you all soon.
Michael David Wilson