After my last rather angsty post, I’m glad to report FranRose and I have found ourselves a great new home. We’re currently enjoying the much less stressful, debt-free life we started aiming for last year. I’m proud to report we achieved this together, which makes a refreshing break from the competent person/hopeless dependant relationships we’ve been through before!
I’m still using the ancient laptop I’ve had since early 2011, but I’ve got a proper studio and A3 printer/scanner for the first time since 2013. The real world’s kept me busy this year and it’s likely to keep doing so, but I’m getting back into visual art. My first serious piece this year, Journey to Oblivion, suggests I’m not as rusty as I’d feared.
FranRose has introduced me to a lot of movies, books and TV series I would have otherwise missed; it’s been fun comparing different forays into different genres and discussing what works and why. It’s also reminded me how well-stocked some genres are. There’s certainly no shortage of young adult dystopias, and though there’ll always be a place for stories in which young idealists defeat old and corrupt regimes, I feel the genre needs a rest. My favourite dystopian stories also tend to be more pessimistic; Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 have stronger real-world resonances and provide more effective warnings.
I’ve gained more enjoyment from weird fiction. Jeff Vandermeer, Tim Lebbon, China Melville and others read like a fusion of old greats like Lovecraft and more recent ones like Gibson, and though I’m not adverse to Tolkien, I’m personally glad the New Weird avoids the exhausted tropes of Tolkienesque races and Tolkienesque worlds. Its morality and politics also tend to be more challenging, ambiguous or interesting, depending on your point of view!
I might not be so productive this year, but I’m going to try and concentrate on more imaginative yet more serious work; by “serious” I don’t mean grimdark, but well thought out and believable, attributes too much of my past work has lacked. The usual suspects will always look down on imaginative or visionary art, but I’ve always been the most inspired by artists who make the unreal seem real, and I’ll take their imaginative, visionary works over Rothko knockoffs any day.
I’ll end by thanking everyone who’s still here for their patience, encouragement, and often thoughtful criticism. I’ve finally got net access at home and can post more regular replies!
Good luck until next time,