July 2019

State of the writer:

June did not cooperate with me. Health and work meant that I had to take a longer than expected break from writing. Now all my momentum is out the window. I’m trying to find it again, but re-starting from a full stop is difficult. I’m still not feeling great, and it doesn’t help things, but it’s starting to get better.

On my mind lately:

Maybe I’ve been been on the internet so long that I’ve become one of those grumpy old people that yells about change. I’ve had several discussions with friends lately about how the internet felt like it fell apart after Google’s RSS reader was discontinued, and blogs pretty much disappeared as a main source of community on the internet.

I still like blogging, because it allows me to be slightly more eloquent than on Twitter, which isn’t the best medium for anything more than a sound bite. Instagram, is very good for the visually inclined, and quickly sharing bits of moods or emotional truths. But I don’t think either quite replaces blogging.

I’m not sure why newsletters are being promoted as a must have these days, when my inboxes are overflowing, and the newsletters I subscribe to (no matter how entertaining they are) mostly they just get deleted.

Now we have subscription fee everything including newsletters, or Patreons for podcasts and extra short stories. I don’t begrudge anyone for the hustle, because it’s damned hard making a living in the arts! But I don’t have unlimited funds to support everyone I’d like to support (not even my friends), and I don’t have enough time to enjoy it all.

I don’t know. Maybe it feels like you have more control when something is not shared publicly with the masses like a blog is? Is that why newsletters are a thing now? On the other hand, I think my archives here feel like an archive of my life, and growth, and the changes over the years. There’s something to be said for the persistence of information: it can be both good and bad. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep at this, because I enjoy it.

Links on the state of diversity in kidlit:

I’m so happy there has been some positive change, and that discussions are happening in the industry, but there’s such a long way to go before all kids get to see themselves as the heroes of their own stories.


Book Recs

Pride and Prejudice is perhaps the one books I’ve reread the most times, so of course I’d be a sucker for a good retelling. Here are three retellings that put a new spin on Austen.

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

Set in Pakistan in the early 2000’s this story is the most faithful retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Steeped in a culture obsessed with weddings, and status, Austen’s story translates amazingly well.

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

This one had me giggling the whole way through, because Jalaluddin’s prose is a full of wit and wry observation. Set in modern day Toronto, the story wrestles with immigrant culture, the diaspora, and how to stay stay true to yourself when you’re brought up in multiple cultures.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi (YA)

This was perhaps my favourite retelling, because while it kept the main beats of Pride and Prejudice, it also deviated the most, and felt the most modern. There’s romance, but it’s not a marriage plot. It tackles gentrification, and a fear of change. There’s a whole lot love for family, and love for culture. Zoboi makes Zuri’s block feel like its own little world, and I didn’t want to leave it either.