The Wonderful World of Was: February
💘 It's the month of lurve... 💘
Here we are in February, already the second month of the year. At this point, the end of 2022 just feels like a distant memory. Even for me, who only ended by writing break in earnest on 23 January (following a day when I just had to write in the middle of the month). With January out of the way, we’re in the month of love, whose midpoint we commemorate with loved up couples rubbing their #CoupleGoals in singletons’ faces.
We’re not here so I can rub my marriage in anyone’s face; we’re simply here so I can talk about me. Sure, I might touch on other bits and pieces throughout this newsletter, but creating a newsletter about one’s writing is its own special form of narcissism. My December-January break from writing was a nice refresh, and jumping back in has shown me how worthwhile it’s been. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been relentlessly hammering my keys with vigour.
How much vigour, you (likely don’t) ask? In the eight days I wrote (I still skipped days), I wrote more than I did in either May or December last year, and only a few hundred words less than September. I also spent more time editing than I did in April, May or December, and only 45 minutes less than September. In other words, my eight-day output was equivalent to a slightly shittier month than I had in September.
Having already dropped this newsletter’s bar to some tragic lows, let’s get into it.
Despite my reacquainted vigour, I’m surprised by January’s output. In total, I wrote 19,393 words, and spent five and a quarter hours editing. I know that no matter what 2023 brings, it’ll have months that are less productive. To quantify the month outside of word counts and hours lost to editing, I wrote two blog posts (one sizable, the other brief), eight book reviews and their review summaries. I also edited all the above, as well as the first chapter of Till Death Do Us Party, itself accounting for more than a third of the month’s total editing.
If that three and a half hours as the month drew to a close wasn’t enough to convince me I’m in for a long road of editing ahead, thankfully, my trusty Magic 8-Ball was. Every time I shook it and asked about what lies ahead, it gave me the same answer. No matter what the question was, even if it had nothing to do with my writing or the months ahead, it gave me the same answer.
Batman’s Cheesy Sidekicks
How often do I get through a newsletter without discussing Batman? “Not often enough,” I hear you say. So I won’t discuss Batman; I’ll discuss his sidekicks, Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin and Red Hood, featured in the game that isn’t about a certain pointy-eared hero I’m not discussing.
It’s an entertaining game that shares much of the Arkham series’ DNA, so much so that I don’t understand why it’s not a sequel, and I can say with 99% confidence that I think it was originally designed as one. It’s jam packed full of fun moments, and a level of cheese I’m not certain is deliberate. There’s a great game in there trying to get out, but it lacks polish, and features far too many bugs than it should. It entertains, but WB Games should have invested more time into its development.
And I won’t mention the masked vigilante, but if you’ve ever wanted to see Bruce Wayne dancing in his underwear, today’s your lucky day. Check the video above.
The Ronin Rabbit Returns
Those of you who’ve been following my website and this newsletter for a little while may recall I wrote a couple of pieces on Stan Sakai’s perfect blend of samurai drama and funny animals, Usagi Yojimbo around the middle of last year. While I wasn’t writing in January, I didn’t just play video games; I also took the time to read some more volumes of the series. Naturally—and because I’ve committed to chronicling the entire run—I had to write about it.
I also broke my publishing exile by a few days to publish my piece about these volumes. So I humbly offer Rediscovering the Ronin Rabbit: The End of an Ear-a for your reading pleasure.
If you’re shaking your head at that pun, please know I’m shaking my head at it in solidarity. But, no. I won’t apologise for it.
Okay, I Have To Mention Batman*
James Gunn has announced the first ten projects in the new DCU slate, since we’re in a world where everyone needs a public plan like Marvel while pretending to not ape Marvel. Hey, instead of Phases, the DCU has Chapters. It’s innovation.
If you’re a DC fan, it’s an eclectic mix: An animated Creature Commandos series; Waller, spinning out from Peakemaker; Superman: Legacy, proving Henry Cavill can’t catch a break, Lanterns, a TV series dropping the “Green,” The Authority, because the DCU needs allegories of the characters they’re wanting to sell you; Paradise Lost, because when HBO isn’t releasing Game of Thrones, it needs to ape Game of Thrones; Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, because this is a young Superman and introducing his younger cousin makes so much sense; Swamp Thing, in an attempt to finally get it right, Booster Gold, because we need a loser; and Brave and the Bold, because Batman… and Damian, the awesomest Robin!
And for all my sarcasm, I’m a fanboy, so yay.
* But I avoided using him in the picture. It’s progress, I tell you!
You just know that even though I wasn’t writing for most of January, I was still putting together snippets from Till Death Do Us Party, right? With sixteen of them, I didn’t actually share the majority on Twitter on Saturdays, either. So, it’s probably safe for me to just call these “Snippets,” but alliteration is more important than accuracy.
I’ve included one above, but if you’d like to see the other fifteen, you’ll just have to click the link. You can follow me on Twitter if you’d like to see my upcoming snippets, or if you’d just like to trawl through my old tweets for them, rather than look at the page. Hell, even if you just want to stalk me, that’s fine.
What Am I Listening To?
I’m currently digging the Moonage Daydream soundtrack. Anyone who knows me—or simply read the November/December edition of this fine newsletter—would find this entirely unsurprising. I’m a massive Bowie fan, and loved the documentary. The soundtrack’s exhaustive; with all the music from the documentary, it clocks in at two hours and nineteen minutes, five minutes longer than the film itself. It’s chock full of remastered and remixed songs, presenting a stunning soundscape.
If I were to recommend just one track? The Jean Genie / Love Me Do remix, featuring Jeff Beck. Here’s a link.
What? No Book Reviews?
Ordinarily, this is the part of the newsletter where I direct you to the month’s book reviews. But since I keep the site quiet over January, I don’t have reviews to direct you to (okay, there’s one, but you can find your own way there—for my own ease, I link to a full month’s each newsletter).
So, what am I doing if I’m not directing you to reviews? I’m directing you to the #JanuaReads hashtag I created over on Twitter, highlighting thirty-one awesome authors I’ve reviewed.
If you don’t want to click through, that’s fine. I’ll just tell you to check out books by A.R.K. Horton, Michael James, Gabrielle Cagne-Cyr, K.A. Hough, Keira Lane, Paityn E. Parque, Wren Murphy, Tom Vater, C.A. Doehrmann, Zeb Haradon, Rishi Vohra, T.C. Marti, Dixon Reuel, S.M. McCoy, P.D. Alleva, Jon Renzella, K. Scott, Tim Ruel, J.C. Mastro, Kimber Delaney, Mara Lynn Johnstone, Maria Daversa, Nicholas Ponticello, Elise Carlson, Kevin Klehr, Sarina Langer, Gary Gibson, Dima Tsyptsiura, Christa Wojciechowski, Juliette L. Dunn, and Gopi Bain. They all write awesome stuff.
I Finally Read Luda!
Among the books I read during my writing break, I finally got to Grant Morrison (who also happens to be the creator of the awesomest Robin)’s Luda. It’s a trippy tale about drag queens and magic set against the backdrop of pantomime theatre. So very high concept, and a great introspection of ageing and gender. Highly recommended if you’re in the mood for something well and truly out of the ordinary.
That’s a Wrap
As I sign off for the month, I sincerely hope you’ve had a wonderful start to the year, and the next eleven months are even better. Until next we meet in March’s digital rant…