A queen, an abyss, and planet 9 from outer space

Those are just three of the things that have been keeping me from playing in traffic this week.

1. If you’re awaiting Alexander Chee’s new novel, The Queen of the Night, as eagerly as I am, drop everything and go over here right now to read the first chapter. It’s been a heck of a long time since Edinburgh came out, and I’m pretty confident this book will have been worth the wait.

2. Please note #2 on Chuck Wendig’s list here. This is one of the things I try to impress on people in the social media for writers class I teach at St. Louis Community College (which I should probably rename Social Media for the Antisocial, Curmudgeonly, and Generally Downright Disagreeable—although that dscribes me more than the students). Also, in #3 on his list, “ice cream firehoses”? On the one hand, that sounds dirty and gross. On the other hand, I want one. Also, “spinning carousel of constantly defecating horses.” I DON’T want that, but man, great image.

My point, and I do have one, is read the whole thing. Wendig is in rare form there.

(Also, pay attention to item #19, where he warns you “not to shit where you eat.” I’ve seen people do this so many times, talented people who shoot off their mouths and screw themselves over. Heck, I’ve probably shot off my mouth, too. Many times. This week, even. Hopefully I haven’t screwed myself. But really, try to avoid it.)

Plus, he references Oscar Isaac in a movie called Ex Machina that I haven’t seen but I now need to because THIS GIF:

Animated GIF of Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander dancing in a scene from the film Ex Machina.

3. I don’t know about you, but I’m still mad about Pluto. I get it, but I still have to stop myself when I want to write or say “the nine—wait, fuck—EIGHT planets in our solar system” (because we say that all the time, right? Doesn’t it come up in conversation every day, like tachyonics and warp matrix engineering and Alcubierre drives? No? Just me? Talking to myself? Moving on…). But not so fast, because it’s possible that there’s a ninth planet out there and that it might be as much as ten times the mass of Earth and twenty times more distant than Neptune, the outermost planet.

4. Would anyone looking to improve their attention span like to read War and Peace?

5. Lastly, an angry obit is the inciting incident in a book I started writing last November, so this was particularly interesting to me. I read one of these aforementioned obits a few years ago—I suppose it wasn’t really angry but it wasn’t completely nice and sugarcoated; it said basically “she was an awful mother and will be terribly missed—in any case, it stayed with me. More on that later, maybe. I need to finish this other book first. And speaking of that, I’d better get back to it.

But first I’m gonna scroll back up and watch that Oscar Isaac gif again….