Step Inside My Parlour
All my viewing, reading, exploring, eating, and
drinking finds that are fit to share.
Come sit down, stay awhile.
I found Rick Rubin's The Creative Act: A Way of Being incredibly insightful, encouraging, and comforting. It's written in digestible short themed chapters, which makes it the perfect commute read. I'm also obsessed with Rick's new podcast Tetragrammaton—my favorite episodes so far are with Trent Reznor (obviously), Dr. Joe Dispenza, and Judd Apatow.
T. Kingfisher's novella What Moves the Dead hooked me from the first page. It’s a sharp reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher that manages to be both charming and foreboding, includes delightful mycology horror, and even throws in a Beatrix Potter nod for good measure.
Rachel Harrison’s books are always a rousing read, and her latest, Black Sheep, is a hero’s journey for the familially estranged, cycle-breaking set. It’s a bit like if Midsommar was about escaping family and fate as opposed to finding it. Both delightful and affecting; a line Harrison is masterful at straddling.
Becky Chambers' novella duo A Psalm for the Wild-Built and A Prayer for the Crown-Shy are so very lovely. I'm generally not a SFF fan, but Chambers creates a cozy, gentle, hopeful science fiction world that is a true balm for the soul. These books are essentially about a tea monk and a robot discussing humanity and nature, but they are so very deep and optimistic and I looove them.
Nobody does gilded cage angst like Sofia Coppola, and her new film Priscilla brilliantly explores a coming-of-age that never quite permeates the fringe of fame, even when ensconced deep within it. It's a stroll through a stolen, manipulated girlhood beneath a blush-hued sky. Devastating, to say the least.
The latest theatrical release from Studio Ghibli's legendary Hayao Miyazaki, The Boy and the Heron, hurts very, very good. Miyazaki made it to help his grandson process his impending death, and boy is it obvious. This is a dark entry in his oeuvre—more Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke than, say, My Neighbor Totoro or Kiki's Delivery Service, add a dash of The Graveyard Book (my favorite Neil Gaiman). The breathtaking animation and music made me physically ache.
It's surely no surprise that I loved Mike Flanagan's recent Netflix adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher; it's a sharp take on the material that uses Usher as the overarching framework for episodic anthologizing of Poe's other short stories. Think: gothic horror Succession, with a prestige drama spin.
Yes, I'm still scream-singing to Boygenius' The Record. No, I don't want to talk about it. Olivia Rodrigo's GUTS is incredibly fun and makes me feel nostalgic for a cool emo teenage life I never had. Crosses' latest, Goodnight, God Bless, I Love U, Delete, is their most Nine Inch Nails-esque, which I of course consider high praise. Last, I discovered Royal Blood by way of their new album Back to the Water Below and quickly became obsessed with their full catalogue; they're like a more metal Arctic Monkeys. Yes, please.
My fascination with cemetery history and headstone carving motivates my weekly Sunday Pastries With the Dead Substack series, but so do the baked goods I feature. Many of the sweets are from my beloved friend's shop Honey Moon Bakery (where I also happen to moonlight as a prep chef), and they represent how far I've come in my struggle with disordered eating, as well as my ever-deepening relationship with the dead.
I wrote about what it means to be able to enjoy these treats during my graveyard wanders, and how spiritual mediumship has helped me heal. We're all carrying our past selves with us, and they deserve heaps and heaps of love (and sugar! And butter!)