Easter Sunday, which I keep forgetting about. Last year the day job changed holidays; we used to get Good Friday off (New Orleans is very Catholic) but they changed it to Juneteenth, which is better. That was how I always knew when Easter was because it was a three day weekend. Now that it’s isn’t, it’s just another religious holiday I don’t give two shits about. Even when I was a child, I wondered, how does the anniversary of the crucifixion and resurrection fall on different dates every year? It’s just another example of the falsity of the bedrock of Christianity, and really was just the Catholic Church absorbing and rebranding pagan spring celebrations and fertility rites–which is where the Easter Bunny and easter eggs come from.
Granted, these Christian fertility celebrations aren’t nearly as weird or frightening as say the ones in Thomas Tryon’s classic Harvest Home (which I need to reread), but still.
Now that I’m thinking about it, has there ever been a horror book or film written/made focused on how creepy Easter can be?
I’m feeling lazy today–not really a surprise, really, is it? I feel lazy every day, and always feel laziest on days when I have to do things I’d rather not do. I have to run out and make groceries at some point–probably this morning, while most everyone is celebrating Easter mass and so forth–and I also have to get to work on ordering my taxes for my accountant, which I keep forgetting to do. I slept really well last night–feel very rested and relaxed this morning–and I managed to get some things done yesterday. I got my desk area cleaned up somewhat; filing and putting things away and so forth. My electronic files are still a horrifying mess, and I don’t think that will change anytime soon because what I really need to do is go through everything, file by file, eliminating duplicates and so forth. Maybe when I have enough time accrued I can take a week long staycation and just work on things around the house like that and the storage attic.
I started reading Margot Douaihy’s debut Scorched Grace, and while I am only a couple of chapters in, I am already in awe of everything about the book. The writing, the characterization, the setting, the way the sentences and paragraphs are rhythmically drawn, like the best poetry–and the voice itself! Oh my God, Sister Holiday’s voice is so refreshingly different, vital, and new. The tone is very hard-boiled; imagine Chandler or Cain writing about a lesbian nun in New Orleans. I cannot wait to spend some more time with it today–even if it does make me feel like I am a rank amateur; truly great writers have that kind of power over me. It’s hypnotic and compulsively readable. The fact that the book opens with arson and a possible murder is even more genius; few things are feared more in New Orleans than fire. This book is a fine addition to the annals of New Orleans crime fiction, which is always exciting when you find a new such author.
We also watched Jordan Peele’s Nope last night, and it was really quite excellent. It was more suspenseful than scary, although that can sometimes be much worse and more intense. Who knew Peele would go from sketch comedy to being one of our best and more creative filmmakers with a strong focus on horror? I’m sure a film critic and/or academic can talk about Nope in a much more intellectual style than me; I don’t look for symbolic meanings in images and so forth. But I think what he was trying to do with Nope was not only to show how dangerous it can be to live isolated from the rest of the world (the vast emptiness was beautifully shot and displayed; the most terrifying thing about the entire movie was that feeling–which reminded me so much of Kansas). I’d like to watch A Knock at the Cabin tonight, or The Pale Blue Eye, or perhaps even both; I guess it depends on how much work I can get done during the day today. I honestly don’t want to do any, but that really isn’t an option.
Yesterday was kind of like that, too–I really didn’t want to do much, so I wasn’t motivated enough to get as much done as I would have liked or had hoped. Part of it was being on social media yesterday morning as I tried to wake-up and get my brain jump-started; people really are horrible on social media, aren’t they? The misogyny, the homophobia, the racism, and the transphobia can be a bit hard to take sometimes (most times, let’s be honest); it fills me with rage, which then triggers adrenaline, and when that passes, I’m tired and in no mood anymore to be productive. Social media is the enemy of all that is good and productive. I have always wondered why and how people have so much time to spend on social media. What isn’t getting done while you’re being a bitch on-line to people you don’t know, will never know, and will probably never interact with again? Who wins in that situation anyway? I know people say there are bot-farms and troll farms, where people in eastern Europe (Romania?) are paid to troll on-line? I can’t imagine that being a great job, although I would imagine any number of people would leap at the chance to be get paid to be an asshole on line; there certainly are plenty of people who’ll do it on a volunteer basis, for sure.
I posted the other day that, in wake of their state’s anti-queer legislation and since the racist conduct of said state legislature was on full display this past week, I had made the personal decision not to go to Nashville Bouchercon in 2024. I didn’t ask anyone to join me in not going; I didn’t proselytize or ask anyone to write to Bouchercon and ask for it to be moved; or anything else: I simply said I had decided that I personally cannot support any event in the state of Tennessee, nor would I feel safe if I did attend. That was it. Period. I don’t think that’s terribly controversial, really. I’ve always believed that it’s up to everyone to make their own personal choices, and the reasons for those choices are none of my fucking business (see how easy it is, evangelicals, to mind your own fucking business?). I also don’t judge people for those choices because I don’t know–or want to know, or need to know–the reasons they made them. Everyone is on their own path, and my path often veers away from the paths of others; I don’t want or need or owe anyone an explanation for my choices and decisions. If things change in Tennessee in the meantime I also have the ability to change my mind and attend. But I am not asking anyone to straight-splain to me why I should go, or try to change my mind. It’s kind of insulting and condescending, actually, for anyone straight to try to talk a gay man into attending a conference (or anything, really) when they have already stated they’ve thought about it and decided not to go because they may not feel safe. I am a sixty-one year old adult gay man. I think I have enough life experience to make my own decisions, and I don’t need anyone to tell me my thought and decision-making processes–thoroughly grounded in my life experience–are wrong.
Fuck. All. The. Way. Off.
I was also thinking a lot about my writing future yesterday, so the whole day wasn’t a total waste of not-writing. I’ve had an idea for a New Orleans crime novel for quite some time, but always thought it had to be told from the point of view of, well, Venus Casanova, and I didn’t think I had the right to write from the point of view of a Black female police detective. Well, maybe not the right, but the experience and emotional intelligence to tell it properly. But yesterday that story popped into my head again, and I realized I could tell it from Blaine’s point of view, her partner, who would and could have his own doubts about Venus and her personal stakes in the case. I even took it further and thought maybe Venus could bring the case to Blaine after she’s retired; because of her personal relationship with the victim’s family, and then my mind started spinning round and round and following the paths branching out from this re-centering of the point of view, which definitely seems workable. And I’ve always liked my character of Blaine, wanting to delve more deeply into who he is and his own history and path.
And on that note, I am going to read some more Scorched Grace in my chair until it’s time to go make groceries this morning. Have a lovely Easter if you celebrate, and if you don’t, have a lovely Sunday.