quiet professor: now quieter than ever

Last fall, my state of mind was along the lines of, “I don’t think I want to leave the house anymore.”

I made a few efforts to get out of my cozy bubble now and then.

And now…

Well, recent developments have confirmed what I’ve known all my life, which is that the outside world sucks and is best avoided as much as possible.

Mr P and I have been home for almost three weeks, only leaving once to have non-perishable grocery items (especially mental well-being items, such as chips and cake) loaded in the trunk of the car—I’d ordered what we needed on the supermarket’s website.

We didn’t even go in the store and I was anxious. I couldn’t wait to get back home and shut the door.

When I first heard low buzzing sounds about this virus back in February, I thought the whole thing was being blown out of proportion. But by the end of February… my PTSD alarms started blaring, and I began my emergency preparations on the 28th, about two weeks before the shit really hit the fan.

I remember feeling like something of an idiot then as I loaded my cart with necessities; I’d been going around the house, making lists. At the end of February, there was plenty of toilet paper in the stores, and I got roughly three months’ worth. Not a mountain, but not a mere four roll pack either.

I got canned potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, soup, diced tomatoes, and so on… Bags of rice and pasta and frozen chicken and frozen meatballs and frozen vegetables. Toiletries, medication, batteries, Lysol, and all the cat food Potion would need, among other things. Water, beverages. A high stack of mini chocolate bar packs.

I could feel something major was imminent. When you spend your childhood sharpening your sense of danger, you can see it coming well before most other people do.

Mr P was blown away by the efficiency, speed, and meticulousness of my preparations, and applauded what I was doing. Mental illness is a double-edged sword, amirite? I thought of everything. Even so, my stress levels were off the charts and I had trouble breathing due to PTSD-related vocal cord dysfunction, which can mimic asthma (and how fucking perfect is that).

Then, news hit that our Prime Minister’s wife had contracted the virus, and both she and the Prime Minister were in self-isolation.

Suddenly, mayhem broke out in earnest and the stores were swamped. I only briefly went in one of these (and it wasn’t nearly as packed as other places were, because I live in a place that’s more like a town than a city); I ran back out minutes later. People clogging aisles, massive lines, the sounds of laughter… I felt a mixture of acute anxiety and rage because of the clueless obliviousness that encompassed me on all sides.

But I no longer felt like an idiot for having done most of my preparations quite some time before the batshit erupted (if I’d had to deal with the chaos that was going on in stores by mid-March, I would have completely lost my mind). I got a few more items at a smaller, much quieter local store. A few days later, Ontario declared a state of emergency, and to my tremendous relief, Mr P would be home with me until further notice. It’s quite likely he’s going to be here until the middle of May.

I put an indefinite total moratorium on news of any kind, and for the first time in weeks, my chest loosened and I began breathing more easily.

My Leaky Orlando plans are out the window. Not going to happen. I tried, right? Travel is already hard enough on me when things are going well… My desire to travel ever again is pretty much nil at this point.

My life plans are more along the following lines:

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I’ve been writing many updates and sharing thoughts on Patreon. I have very limited amounts of energy these days, and my members are getting it. Every now and then, I post a happy image on Instagram. I haven’t been following Twitter at all, because even when using lists, it’s almost impossible to avoid news.

I’ve been getting tiny snippets of information from select loved ones, and I do know that right now, people aren’t allowed to cross the Ottawa/Outaouais border unless they have a good reason.

Related: extroverts are more of a mystery to me than ever.

Mr P and I are exceedingly happy right here in our home. We have everything we need. We have no interest in socializing. We have our books, music, movies, toys, pastimes. Seclusion.

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As a result of all that’s been happening, I’m having a number of salutary epiphanies.

Such as, I’m sick as fuck of promoting what I write (or attempting to at any rate), of publishing… Masterful has gotten a few great reviews, but getting one’s work out there, especially when said work is unusual, is like speaking during a hurricane—and I have a soft, raspy voice.

It’s like The Smiths sang: “Well if I was you I wouldn’t bother.”

I’m through with repeating myself and gesticulating… When (if) I release a book, I’ll say so here, and those who enjoy what I do will know.

I do have a novel brewing in me, something I haven’t discussed yet. My Patreon members will know about it first, should it materialize.

When it comes out, I’ll just say, here it is. Those who are drawn to the kind of work I do will find it, one way or another.

These are the two books I’ve written so far that are the most important to me. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

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I’ve started drawing again.

It’s relaxing and gratifying and enjoyable.

I’m creating surreal, extremely colorful worlds… 70s-esque dream worlds. Here’s a piece that’s still in progress, featuring Hoppy Bun:

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I’ll be doing a lot more of this type of thing. I’ll have prints and postcards for my Patreon members.

When I was a kid, I spent most of my time by myself, drawing or writing.

I had the right idea.

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Underworld Amusements and other news

Welcome to the fondue party, fellow mavericks.

I’m working on a number of writing projects (as usual), and there will be new portraits soon.

It’s with a tremendous amount of joy and pride that I make the following announcement: Rascal: A Manifesto is now available on the website of the excellent small press Underworld Amusements.

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Underworld Amusements publisher Kevin I. Slaughter is a fantastic individual and I can’t thank him enough for adding my book to the unique selection of devious titles on his website. While you grab a copy of Rascal, do add a few more books to your cart! You won’t regret it.

I haven’t been using the new platform MeWe as much as I thought I would, because for some reason it’s messing up my browser and slowing down my computer. So… I’m here, on Patreon (become a member for twelve dollars a year—buy me a couple of drinks—and have access to an increasing number of exclusive goodies, such as an upcoming blog post about the joy of using real dictionaries), Twitter, and Instagram.

In other news, I’m looking forward to contributing to upcoming Reprobate publications. Have you gotten your copy of Satan Superstar yet?

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My next book, as I’ve previously mentioned, will be my ode to solitude and how I revel in indulging my solitary disposition:

Old canvas book cover

And this summer, my focus will be this book, and it’s going to be a deliciously nasty project. I drew inspiration for the cover from one of my favorite films, The Neon Demon.

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Masterful will be like a decadent perfume celebrating the vital self. A rejection of herd thinking, an affirmation of the self-sufficient outsider. I’ll write about why Severus Snape is distrusted by many (and why there is no reason for him to give a rat’s ass about this), about the nature of his distinctive power, a power that made him an unparalleled pivotal figure in Rowling’s universe. Oh, and he wasn’t Dumbledore’s.

My Patreon members will be getting a special edition of this book, with extra content.

After Masterful comes out, I’ll be retiring the first two books of essays I wrote about him.

Say cheese.

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