I got the planning done and a tiny bit of work. I’ll need to do a big push this week to make sure I don’t fall behind my schedule.
I’m still working through my medical billing issues from the summer, so I’m making myself continue that this week, because I feel a need to resolve it all by the end of the year. It does feel like extra work, though, when I have enough to do already.
I finished Unutterable Horror, and I’m glad Joshi is so opinionated, because I need guidance through unfamiliar territories like this huge genre of literature. Not that I’m planning to become deeply familiar with it, because as much as I sometimes talk about horror media, I have definite limits on the types I can tolerate, and I have to be in the right mood to begin with, but the milder kinds of horror intrigue me as a source of creative ideas and of a sense of deep mystery. This book has reminded me that I’m not very interested in traditional horror tropes, like ghosts, vampires, and the occult, and instead what tends to draw me, other than cosmic horror, is random, Twilight-Zone weirdness happening in everyday life, the kind of stuff I imagined when I was young, and this type of story shows up in places like Kafka, Donald Wandrei (see “The Eye and the Finger”), and the “mundane horror” of Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson, who was a frequent writer for The Twilight Zone. Now I’m looking back through the book highlight the authors, titles, and Joshi’s assessments so I’ll have stories to read, and then I’d like to find other opinionated reviewers who can help me keep up with new titles, and since this historical survey has been so helpful, I want to read others for science fiction, fantasy, and general literature.
I apparently wasn’t done with October weirdness, because last week I was still in the mood for darker stories and ideas, and then came the impeachment hearings, which highlighted the conspiracy theories of both political parties and gave me the extra nudge to look into that world again. So I added a book to my reading queue that I bought a while back, The Truth Agenda by Andy Thomas, an overview of various conspiracy theories and other fringe research that tries both to present a reasonable case for them and to tie them into a cohesive view of the world and its history. I’m nearing the end of it, and I’ll give you my thoughts next week, but here’s a video of one of his talks that will give you an overview. Reading about conspiracy theories makes the political books on my backburner more relevant, so now I’m more likely to read them, but I’m going to put those on hold to get back to my original queue.
The next book in my queue is another strange one, Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions by Richard Smoley and Jay Kinney, and it’s actually relevant to The Truth Agenda because it covers similar kinds of esoteric spirituality. I originally added it to give me some context for understanding the book of alchemical art I bought, largely for decoration (Alchemy & Mysticism by Alexander Roob), but more generally I’m interested because I like exercising my mind with dramatically different ways of looking at the world, and in the context of this queue, it’s continuing a series on philosophies of life, arranged from more weird to less, some of which are reflected in weird and experimental literature.
The Advent Orchestra at church is coming up again, and even though I haven’t been practicing the horn all year to keep my lips in shape like I’d hoped, I’m on top of things just enough to give myself a couple more weeks of practice than previous years, if I don’t procrastinate, and this year I was also better about keeping my valves unstuck. So I’m picking out some free French horn exercise books from the International Music Score Library Project, and I’ll practice those till I get the orchestra music. I’m looking for exercises that work out my upper range, that aren’t rhythmically very fast or complicated (since that’s not really an issue in our Advent music), and that give me interesting melodies to play (as opposed to repetitive scales, arpeggios, or other patterns).