Read. Read. Read. Holidays. End of the year. Compulsions. Escape. Read. And enough of that. We suppose we could mention our clear bias and endless subjectivity regarding the work of Artistically Decline Press, but what's the point in that? They have been very good to us and we love them, a lot, yes, done. But that would overshadow the fact that present company aside, the authors they've worked with are among our most gifted, diverse, and beloved. Ken Sparling? Roxane Gay? Fuck yes. And yes, we're using the word fuck a lot this week, but we're worked-up, yo, holidays, sleep, and so much good reading. It's da lovely really. Which we also suppose brings us to Border Run from the Shya Scanlon and A Deep & Gorgeous Thirst by the Hosho McCreesh. More gifted. More diverse. More beloved. All of it. And in both cases, work that drifts a foot from our normal reading head space - speculative fiction and poetry respectively - and places maybe we should vow, or resolve as it may be, to read more of in the new year? Yes? Yes. Because we've done not enough of either this year and it is rapidly coming to an end. So, looking forward, terrific, we will, and back, yes, we will soon as well, tomorrow. But for now there is the Border Run, a story of clones and government, and how things get corrupted. Maybe more so on the border, where so much is hidden and space is so expansive. And yet despite, or is it inspite, of all of this, the Border Run still comes back to family and love, and trying to discern what we really know about either, and how much we are willing to give of ourselves to make either work, when it is so much easier, to hide from these things, and ourselves. Something else that the border and the west and the space allows for if that is our wont.
Then there is the A Deep & Gorgeous Thirst, which is so deep and so gorgeous, and also about love and family. But as memory piece. And drenched in alcohol. Always, saturated, and a celebration of sorts. Which is one of McCreesh's gifts as a poet, to be in motion and exultant at all times about all things. And the Thirst is about all things funny and sad, the dark edges always lingering, but never quite enveloping the moments. Or the life. His work too is about escape, into a glass, a bottle, or a bar, but even within that it celebrates life, and love, constantly, and lovingly, even if at confusingly at times, because life is confusing, whether you are inside, or outside, a bottle. And these are things that McCreesh and Scanlon share in their work. Escape may be a pattern, a trope, and a need, but there is love, could be love, will be love, and even when it's all so confusing, that possibility makes life worth living for. All of which is to say that we are biased towards love as well, and living, with pain, and escape and all the messiness contained therein. And with that, Happy New Year, yo, live it, fully, and with joy, knowing sorrow and darkness and confusion are there, always, waiting, but can be held at bay when we are watching for them, conscious, and living it, all of it. It being life, changed and otherwise, or more accurately, knowing what life is, so we can embrace all that it throws at us.