Hi there, friends and fiends—I hope this post finds everyone safe and well and that your new year has gotten off to a good start. I know I’ve mostly been hunkered down in my house and covered in blankets and pit bulls while the snow collects outside, and while my day job has definitely kept me busy, I’ve been making some adjustments to how I’m spending my free time lately as well as to how I’m feeding my creativity as well as my body.
I made the decision this year to not set a reading goal. I tend to get really crazy about goals that I set for myself, especially when I have something that’s tracking them, and so this year I decided that Goodreads was not going to control or shame me for my book intake. I set a goal of 1 book—and then naturally was immediately ridiculed on the site by tons of strangers—because I wanted to see what happened when I took the pressure off and just read for enjoyment, for escapism, for education, etc. In January alone, I ended up reading 11 books, which is absolutely insane for me, but it was honestly so relaxing and nourishing and it happened organically. I was also happy that I was able to make time in my schedule to edit an upcoming collection for a client, to take on a fiction mentee, as well as blurb an upcoming poetry collection from Clash Books.
Here’s a full list of what I read this January:
- Fanged Dandelion by Eric LaRocca
- Altars and Oubliettes by Angela Yuriko Smith
- The Smallest of Bones by Holly Walrath
- Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass by Lana Del Rey
- Medusa’s Gaze and Vampire’s Bite: The Science of Monsters by Matt Kaplan
- Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters by Nikita Gill
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Tender is
the Flesh by Augstina Bazterrica
- The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez
- Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
- The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos
On the teaching front, I got to pop into WCSU MFA's winter residency and do a Q&A with the students, which was an absolute blast! I'm also teaching three classes with them this semester: two in young adult fiction and one in dark fantasy. For those interested in the reading lists, please be sure to follow my Instagram (@swytovich and @thehauntedbookshelf) for updates, reviews, and cool bookstagram pictures. You can also follow me on Twitter at @swytovich.
On the creative front, I made a promise to myself that I would focus more on my own artistic endeavors this year, so I’ve been dabbling with poetry here and there, and then working on revisions for a novelette and a short story. In addition to that, I’m looking forward to editing the HWA Poetry Showcase this year and to making some exciting announcements soon about who will be judging alongside me in addition to who will be taking my place as editor next year. And then you got to know that I have some cool stuff in the works with my pals over at Raw Dog Screaming Press, so I’ll be sure to share more about those secret projects when I can.
Outside of that, I’ve been getting back into painting (oils, acrylics, charcoal), and I’ve been transitioning into a vegetarian diet, so if you have fun books, tips, or recipes that you’d like to send my way, please feel free to comment below; I’m looking to formulate a book list about being/becoming vegetarian (nonfiction, memoir, etc), so I’ll also happily take those recommendations.
A couple other reminders about things that are out there or are on the horizon:
- I wrote a letter/poem/essay to Edgar Allan Poe for his birthday on 1/10. You can read it via LitReactor under the title: Dear Edgar Allan Poe.
- I reviewed Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh. You can find it on my website here.
- I’ll also be teaching another installment of my Witch Lit course with LitReactor starting on March 9th, so if you’re looking to learn more about the history and archetype of the witch, in addition to creatively exploring him/her through short fiction and poems, please consider joining our coven!
Until next month,
Stephanie M. Wytovich