Saturday, February 9, 2019

Song of the Day #350 - 戸川純 with Vampillia - 諦念プシガンガ


I can't find this anywhere on Youtube, but it's really worth tracking down. It's from a collaboration between Japanese sorta-metal band (and veteran on my favorite record label, Virgin Babylon) Vampillia, and the legendary un-idol Jun Togawa, where they rework classic songs from her catalog. It's a fantastic release, where the contrast between the driving technicality of Vampillia's metal and the strange kawaii-guro moe of Jun's voice isn't so much a compelling juxtaposition or a surprisingly coherent "chocolate and peanut butter" thing (although, it is at times each of those too), but a feeling of each artist creating space for potentiality in the other; that is, you're never sure that they couldn't go any harder in any given direction, that they couldn't suddenly go hard in some brand new orthogonal direction, such is the hugeness of the space marked by their extremes.

And oh my god do they ever go hard. On this song, especially, there is an apocolyptic reckoning that never fails to rouse an inner wildness that I cannot name or place. It almost scares me, or it would, if it wasn't also so fiendishly addictive. Right from the initial "declaration of war", the stampeding drums and animal howls, crashing into the almost nautical swinging rhythm, there's a restlessness, almost a reckless wastefulness of energy, a feeling of compulsion to go not just hard, and not just very hard, but needlessly hard, dangerously hard.

The structure is fairly simple and works largely in anticipatory modes... especially as an English listener (although ganbaring at Japanese every day!!), I really cling to things like the ra-ra-ra-ra-rai chorus lol. Seeing the contrast between each verse as it builds to that point tells you enough, even if the lyrics are above your head... what at first seems whimsical, almost silly, leading to a childish sing-song "la la la" eventually devolves into a desperate, demented, cry of what is lost. It's haunting, and the fact that it's most haunting when Jun's vocals become most muted, and, in some way, comical, only makes it even more haunting. Even when meaningless it is bleak.

This is all perfectly scored by Vampillia's escalating instrumentation. Throughout the album, they show off an insane variety of musical skills, but here they play to the core talents that drew their cult: huge electric riffs, hammering drums, and wild screaming vocals. Oh, but also the contrasts that proved their genius: sneaking in a drifting violin line or punctuating with quiet precise, almost military, almost breakbeat snares. Feeling the "hidden beats" of their music, and letting your feet hit the floor or your hands smack the desk to trailing phantom ellipses, it's manically addictive.

The amount this song has affected me is probably mentally unhealthy, especially when you look up the English translations. When not meaningless, it is... especially bleak hahaha. With my limited Japanese, it's rare for me to be able to parse song lyrics even when I know what I'm looking for, but, and I'm very proud of this, I worked out "ushi no you ni, buta no you ni" (like a cow, like a pig) mostly on my own, and triumphantly sing along to it every time I hear it. What a strange juxtaposition of feeling and meaning! But then this song, too, with it's hopeless nihilism, sung so wildly, is a brutal paradox. Jun sings about being betrayed in love, of the ideals of these emotions soaring high above the dirty reality of humanity. And so, if you would betray her, you may as well kill her; after all, she is only flesh, she is disposable. But then the emotion that swells, the loss of composure, her voice bending into a terrifying baritone, you can tell she isn't half as resigned to it as she'd like us to think she is. But it isn't like she thinks she's wrong about what she's saying, either: she really does feel that it would be OK if she was killed, like a cow, like a pig... so in the end, it's sort of like "everything is meaningless but then also fuck it!". And with that we'll end our three hundred and fiftieth post!

Song of the Day #349 - Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, & James McAlister - Jupiter

Floundering star, failed that you are...

This is a live version but you can prolly track down the studio recording. It's off a collaboration between Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, and James McAlister. If you hadn't heard of it, I don't blame you... I'm a pretty die-hard Sufjan fanboy and it passed right under my radar. The reviews have been pretty mixed, too... lots of people find it kinda blown-out and overdramatic but hey, could those people really be Sufjan fans then??? lol. At the very least, it has this, which is a certifiable banger in the style of Age of Adz. He even busted out the autotune!!

One of Sufjan's great strengths has always been humanizing history, bringing out the intimate and universal from distant fact. Where he usually draws from Americana or Christianity, on "Jupiter" he has cast his net far further than before, both 1700 years into the past and 588 million kilometers away. As he is wont to do, Sufjan litters his lyrics with trivia, teaching us poetically about the god and the planet. Breaking down the meaning of each of these references would take way too long and, if given too much examination, they actually start to seem a little corny lol, like an amateurishly naive understanding of songwriting where you just say everything you can think of about the subject (OK, the planet: big red spot, failed star, protects us from asteroids with its gravitational well... then the god: uhh, Minerva popped out, people say "by Jove" because of him, transforms a lot, sure, sure, yeah, just gotta make this rhyme).

But when you pull the scope back and see the overall characterization he's constructing, it becomes pretty genius again lol. The lonely duty of the protector of all protectors, the god above all, is brought out as the key common theme... but then, it's also a failed star? Still just a gas giant at the mercy of our true star's gravity? And Jupiter too could not transcend his need for the faith of the Roman people... sure, it's crazy that some people still say "by Jove", but it's crazy because it remains when genuine faith in Jupiter has, let's say, diminished somewhat in the last dozen centuries. Jupiter, for all intents and purposes, is now a failed god, supplicated by the god of Abraham, his name now a stand-in for those too Christian to swear by their own god. A tragic story! And with all the talk of Lucifer, and the conflation of the whole "Sky father" trope, it seems that Sufjan, afaik a genuine Christian, feels it could repeat. Of course, in personifying planets and dead gods, there is a "real" hypothetical person that could analogously exist... a father figure, taking on supreme power with a protective duty, hoping for some sort of transcendental evolution as his reward, and meeting only failure... the true haunting lesson of Carrie and Lowell is to never discount the chance that Sufjan is actually speaking personally, especially when it comes to his family... hmm...

So we have a planet and Roman god being used as a stand-in for the Christian god and maybe Sufjan's dad or something. Sure. That's uh, pretty complex for something I said three paragraphs ago was a "banger". Well, uh, that's cause all this speculation into meaning doesn't really matter... at all... it's about the SOUND on this one. Omfg. I never thought we'd return to this style of 2010-Sufjan maximalism, that glorious era seven (wow) years ago where he, Kanye, and Joanna Newsom were all racing to make the most gigantic colossal albums that could still conceivably be called "pop" and they all turned out to be masterpieces. The Age of Adz is BACK, baby! Beat-driven and electro with orchestration just breathing in the background, giving it a haunting timelessness - Sufjan's collaborators here giving their own slight flourishes without ever breaking too far from the gravitational well of the main theme.

For the first four minutes, they seem content to develop this as the background for Sufjan's vocals, but then, omg... I had read some complaints in the comments section about this album having auto-tune, and my frustration with their regressive, close-minded unappreciation transformed into intense anticipation to the long-awaited followup to "Impossible Soul". I knew somehow just from the way the instrumentation backed down that it was coming, and I was right, and it felt so good to be right, but it was impossible to really prepare. The overwhelming power and yet simple catchiness of this melody! I sang it so much around the house that my roommate complained, lol. And the way it gives it to you three times: first as the hyper-minimal "drifting in space" robotics; then the stirringly human with full orchestration; then fully transcendent, the wholly instrumental bombastic finale. Ahh, brilliant. As brilliant as Jupiter itself, which Wikipedia tells me is sometimes bright enough that it casts shadows! By Jove!

Song of the Day #348 - Migos - Cocoon

Stars in the ceiling like I'm living outer space

When I was doing Song of the Day frequently (a loooong time ago, orz) I sometimes wondered if it was actually changing my listening habits, like, usually I'd pick the song based on whatever I was listening to repeatedly that day, but was I only having these single-song sprees because I anticipated writing about them later? Having taken a 200+ day break from SotD I can confirm that no it is not because of that LOL. That whole time, I was still listening to songs on repeat like, every single day. We'll probably talk about a lot of them eventually.

But since no song had more days than this one, we're starting here, with possibly my favorite Migos song of all time. Sure, the run of "T-Shirt", "Call Casting", and "Bad and Boujee" on Culture is legendary, but I wouldn't put any single one of them over "Cocoon". And yeah, the intensity and triumph of "Cross the Country" is difficult to top, but the perfection achieved here is so much more evolved, so refined... Like, just listen to the beat at the start, how minimal it is, how spacey, and yet, Quavo's little ad-libs, how much they anticipate not just the beat, but a flow he's found within it so addictive and pleasurable that it must be a drug.

His finesse on the first verse is powerful but delightful, freely mixing lines as silly as "twin choppers, Sonic and Tails" or "white cocaine, Pinky and the Brain" with the badass triumph of "no neighbours/house on the hills with the acres". My favorite has to be the way he delivers "what a time to be alive", basically everyone's catchphrase of the last few years, with a freshness that makes you reevaluate what the words actually mean. The verse is a perfect counterpoint to Takeoff's, who also experiments with flows across this godlike beat, hitting with fast percussive cascading lines, but also finding the space for the title drop - "when I'm in the coupe I feel like a cocoon". Ahhh, I love when the line that's the key to the hook is actually inspired by a line in a verse that you hear later, especially if it's delivered differently like this, that's just the pinnacle of hype.

The hook, by the way, is fantastic, solidifying Quavo's place as like, the hook man of the latter half of the decade. The sweet serenading terminal "-oon" rhymes perfectly counters the insistent beats of the line's start... you feel an energy build and then spread out smoothly over that last syllable, it's pure bliss. At the same time, though, as soon as you hear "When I take drugs, I go to the moon", you start to anticipate the "cocoon" rhyme, and every line that passes without it builds another type of energy. But, in a moment of pure genius, in the instant that I think really creates the space for this song to become a masterpiece, he applies the same structure of "fast fast, fast fast, swooooon" to the entire hook itself! First there's the "by myself at the top like a cocoon", which is delivered in the same sort of pattern, and might even be a little disappointing, like, it isn't treated as special, even though it finally has "cocoon". But then, right after, right as the beat turns a corner, he hits the resolution: "When I'm in the coupe, I feel like a cocoon", and you just want to melt into it, you really feel like you're a cocoon too.

It's a real virtuoso sorta move, and it's hard to explicate, let alone overstate, how it works so well, but it isn't even my favorite part of the song. No, for me, the highlight, the part that keeps bringing me back, is Offset's verse. Hoooolyyy. After two repetitions of the hook, you think you've figured out this "turning" structure, this system of contrasts, but no, no, your anticipation only makes you more unready for what's about to explode into view. He starts off fast and furious, a jaw-dropping display of syllables, but there's something going on melodically that really makes it work... It's too complex to explain it now, but basically everything can be thought of as either "high" or "low", and paying attention to the pattern of when he switches up and down reveals that there's actually a whole lot going on besides just frantic spitting. It's this pattern that comes into effect when he hits the beat shift in the hook, and absolutely NAILS the transition, the same sort of turn and release that Quavo uses on the hook, but like, in hyper drive, like you're actually sailing not to the moon, but deep outer space. I have given this a lot of attention and a lot of thought and I still can't pinpoint exactly what makes the "hold on wait, hop up in the Wraith, stars in the ceiling like I'm living outer space" so addictive, so powerful, so triumphant, but I have never gotten bored in trying to find out.

Song of the Day #347 - Young Thug - Family Don't Matter (ft. Millie go Lightly)

Country Billy made a couple milli...

Well, it's been a long long time (205 days, sheesh) since the last Song of the Day, but we're back, we're finally back, and hopefully we're back at a rate that makes the title more accurate than like Song of the Fortnight or Song of the Whenever I Have Time. This glorious return isn't really brought on by some radical shift in my priorities towards blogging or my lifestyle suddenly offering up new reserves of free time (unfortunately). I am still Mr. Government Job and Mr. Watch Many Anime A Season, a sort of walking paradox. No, what pulled me back into writing about music was two crucial syllables: "yee haw". With this historic proclamation, Young Thug has done the impossible: country music, once exclusively the soundtrack of radios I could not change and bars I regretted visiting, is now the coolest genre on Earth, edging out melodic love-trap (another genre invented by Young Thug). The memetic legacy of that half-second exclamation will place him forever more in the country hall of fame with Johnny Cash, Gillian Welch, and a lot of people I have never heard of.

Okay, breaking with this aggressive hyperbole for a second, let's break down exactly what's going on with this song. When the first reports of Easy Breezy Beautiful Thugger Girls started coming out, there was a lot of rumours that it would be "all singing", "heavy on country", "containing several new genres", etc, and people were eager to believe it: Young Thug Jeffery Young Thug has long defined himself by his undefinability, the underlying chaotic, often confusing, but always brilliant vortex that drives his music, and seeing how this chamelonic entity would understand country music was tantalizingly impossible to imagine. We knew that it couldn't be real country, where real country is defined by "the country we wouldn't listen to", but that there would be something to it that made early listeners say what they did. We probably would have bet on something very much like the "yee haw" moment, right? Something definitively "outsider", that a real country listener would find so corny it couldn't be parsed sincerely, and yet so reductive that it seems to "own" the entire genre.

And for the first few seconds, I remember feeling disappointed, that this much-hyped "yee haw" song seemed to lack the root and toot that I'd been promised... "I'm tryna put this dick inside your panties" is about as typical a Thugger line as you can get, and the swirling, backwards beats - although sounding sick - weren't really atypical for hip hop in 2017. But then Millie go Lightly comes in, the beat settles into the strumming guitar, and you can see the deep red sunset on the horizon. The conversation is still backwoods, lean, and zannies, but the unplanned sleep is of an hayfield nap under a big sky. And it is in this exquisite prairie home soundscape that he perfectly unleashes the "yee haw".

Of course, if that was really the full extent of Thugger's countryishness on this song, it wouldn't be the half the masterpiece it is. The "yee haw" is an ad-lib; it is merely the promise of a future line. When you hear it, you probably imagine that the song itself will contain some country-themed bars, and some ideas for what they could be probably came to mind pretty easily... But anything anyone non-Thug could come up with would pale in comparison to "Country Billy made a couple milli/Tryna park the Rolls Royce inside the Piccadilly"... Let's break this one down a bit, because it really deserves it. First: Country Billy, quite like Young Thug actually, is a name so generic and signifying so little that it actually loops around and becomes quite surreal, seeming to represent some deficit in detail in reality... "a couple milli" seems to reflect a sort of "aw shucks" southern humility, but in the context of this "Country Billy" character only reinforces the absurd warped reflection that Thug sees of rural life. Then things get really crazy. "Tryna park the Rolls Royce inside the Piccadilly", on a surface reading, seems to make sense: a Rolls Royce is a car, and the Piccadilly is a street. Even after one layer of parsing it holds up: a Rolls Royce is an expensive car, and the Piccadilly is an expensive street (home of the famous Ritz Hotel!). But in the context of our Country Billy character, taking this straight is nonsense... The first line suggests a sort of surprising "Beverly Hillbillies" sorta scenario, right? That Country Billy, Thugger's humble guitar-strumming avatar made it huge after all, right? And so we can expect that the second line sets up some sort of humourous contrast? If that makes sense to you, allow me to propose my radical theory: Young Thug does not know what the Piccadilly is, and based on the sound of the word, assumed it was some sorta hick thing. This is AMAZING to me. Like, that's completely understandable! It really does sound like some sort of hick thing! And everything I've read about Young Thug's songwriting methods does not suggest he's the Wikipedia lookup type. He remembered the word from somewhere and knew it'd make an awesome rhyme with "milli" (it does) and just ran with it. This is the key Young Thug essence.

Between that line and the "yee haw", it feels like Thugger has justified the entire rest of the soundscape he's developed, like, this makes him "in the country", and thus we have to have the gently plucking guitar, the ghostly choral oohs... even the drums, although still trappy, are blended with unobtrusive rhythms: everything is being dealt with sincerely. Most impressive is his harmonizing with Millie Go Lightly. This girl has like, hella potential I think, her voice is so pure, so much itself that, in the context of singing alongside our boy Jeffery, it feels almost inherently comedic... like, you feel like she's somehow been tricked into thinking this IS an actual country song, or that, at the very least, Thug is a regular rapper. This element comes out clearer in her second featured track, "She Wanna Party" (also a banger), where accompanies him on all his bizarre dental hygiene lyrics... here it's just a sort of undercurrent of surreality as you hear her very "traditionally" good voice sweetly swinging alongside Young Thug's transcendent falsetto and gorilla-guttural bass. But sheesh, it really really sounds good. The closing bridge, with the tradeoff on "I just thought that you should know" is so clutch that I temporarily forget even about the miraculous genius that is "Country Billy". Like I talked about with Jeffery, Young Thug has been developing from a typical "rap over beat" type dynamic into something truly cinematic, a more complete song experience, something more like Kanye might produce.

It works because, deep down, Young Thug has always been a genius songwriter. And what makes this track truly great isn't the bizarre country overtones or the evolution into new harmonic dimensions, it's the core Thugger appeal that lies underneath. His stunning yet laid-back flow on the lines before the infamous "yee haw" reminds you just how much you care that it's him saying "yee haw". His relentless sequence of intro into bridge into hook into verse, brilliantly wrapping the titular "like family don't matter!" in layers of anticipation, each catchier than the last. And, most importantly, the emotional hit of the line itself: a lifestyle so pleasurable in its dangerous indulgence that for that instant you believe that even family, the most important thing in the world to Jeffery, doesn't matter. It is here that I think we can say he truly does understand the drive of country music.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Soft Weight

Wow! At last! More short stories!

Yes, after a long wait, Soft Weight is here. It's a collection of six new stories. Here is the cover:

The picture is one I took of my office on a grey day, with a "physical collage" of various things I bought emerging from approximately where my cubicle is.

Here are little breakdowns of each story:

Season of Death - I released this in November last year as a "single" so maybe you've seen it. I've used these characters a couple times before. I wanted to express my feelings about something that happened last year, but I couldn't really, so I tried looking at it from a different perspective.

Face of God - I wrote this I think mostly in response to seeing the movie It and trying to capture all the parts of it I liked best. Kids on bikes and nostalgia and such. My childhood was actually nothing like this so I hope it seems authentic regardless lol.

Known Stranger - This is a little one based on a phenomenon I think is interesting. I went in a neurotic sort of direction, which I am often wont to do, but I want to write something more "normal" about this idea in the future.

Rumbling Silence - A big long one that all came from thinking of one particular line that a character shouts near the end. I wanted to just "encase" that line properly, but it ended up becoming much huger and more ambitious. The title comes from a concept I learned about in a Levinas book.

LDNReconciliation - A new story about my oldest and most familiar characters, Alice and Ume. I think soon I should try to collect all the "loose" stories I have with them and finally make the true "LDN". I started writing this very excitedly and fluently but the last 20% of it was very difficult.

Winter Melody - The final part of a series of stories that appears in each of my previous short story collections. I've come to really like these characters so prolly they'll come back in some form. This is definitely the most ambitious thing I've ever tried writing. I get big ideas for things I'd like to see, and I get ideas for things I can actually write, and for the first time I dragged the former down into the world of the latter. It fought the whole way. It wanted to remain in the perfect world of unwritten dreams. It was very comfortable there. But I did it, I finally actually did it, and the hope it gives me for many other half-abandoned big projects is revolutionary. I think this is my favorite thing I've ever written, I really hope you like it too.

This is my fourth short story collection, after LMAX, Hot Summer, and 魔塵鬱圏. After each of these I had intended to write something more substantial, but the short story collections are more fun and much easier. Not easy, but easier - finishing this has been a really significant struggle. This is my first release in over a year, my first one of 2018, and the first collection of things I'd made entirely since I started working full-time. This is not a coincidence. My job has been a major impediment to fiction writing (non-fiction writing has remained fruitful, lol). When I get home I have to hit the perfect combination of motivated, awake, focused, and free to attempt writing, and even then sometimes I can't start hitting any sort of flow state before it's time for bed. Things like streaming myself writing were often successful in keeping me more focused but still required the right opportunity. And plus now my Youtube channel is gone ;_; so that option isn't available to me. Weekends are precious short and often gobbled up by a variety of social obligations or chores or indulgences.

The progress of working on it was something like this:

The periods of progress were difficult: I had challenges prioritizing things and I started resenting everything else that dared demand my time and energy, especially my job. But the real problems, of course, are the big plateaus where I'd just be doing other things and not even thinking about writing. I can't really explain why. Looking back at my motivations, it seems more like I'd have to make some feeling of significance or obligation to get myself to work, and that the default state was actually not working, not caring. Sometimes, like when I look at my diaries, or I consider how much I think about stories and characters and such, I think I have some sort of hypergraphia-like condition. But really maybe I don't care, and I just want to care and try to care, or maybe I'm growing out of caring, or something.

Haha just kidding not really. I can't actually believe that. Even if I was going to commit to some sort of new lifestyle plan, a life of "mainstream happiness" without "creative fulfillment" (and I have been considering things like this) I know that I would have to have some "finale" first, and that it would get postponed and replaced, always a more fitting finale would come to mind, and I'd never actually stop. So why even pretend? Even if I keep releasing things slower and slower, even if they get worse and worse, less and less ambitious, readership shrinking beyond the zero, I'd still keep going. I really believe that.

But I also really want to believe that I'll actually improve and accelerate. Now that my Youtube channel is on hiatus, I have a lot more free time. Unfortunately (?) I've wasted (??) a lot of that time at the gym (!!?!) and I don't want to stop doing that either (!!!??!?!?). In 2019 I want to go back to making lots of videos too, so uhh. Unsure how I figure this is all going to add up. Oh well. I make the same sorts of complaints and promises at the end of all these release posts. It's just how it is.

See you next time~!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Work Diary

Hi wow it's been almost a year since the last blog post! What have you been doing?


What's that like?

Overall it is OK. Sometimes stressful but mostly peaceful. Sometimes I really feel like I absolutely have to stop working as soon as possible but the feeling passes and then I remain and it seems like that could just go on forever. I've remained for one entire year as of today, 246 working days. Like almost every office job, there's some downtime, during which I wrote this diary:

The cover is a picture I took out the window near my cubicle.

Wow, it's uh, it's long...

Yeah, it adds up. You might think that this means I was either neglecting my work or didn't have much work assigned to me, but I think I'm fine in both those areas and it's more just that finding a few minutes here and there to write whenever you can ends up being a lot of words after a year. I'd typically "check in" with it whenever I was between tasks and didn't have anything immediately urgent, just to record any thoughts or feelings I had at the time. It doesn't really have much of substance in it. And it isn't that long I mean it wouldn't even make the Wikipedia list of longest novels so whatever.

So why did you do it at all?

Oh, who knows. I sorta wanted to make a counterpart to the NEET Diary, to see what changed in myself between these two eras of my life, salaryman and NEET, but outside of the shift in subject matter I seem to be roughly the same person. I use the same sorts of language, the same thought patterns, I have the same areas of interest. It is basically more of the same, just now about different stuff. So if you liked the NEET Diary, here's some more. It gets pretty personal at times but I don't think it warrants the same level of "this is actually disgusting" disclaimer that the NEET Diary had.

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to write, and the biggest thing that has always terrified me about getting a full-time job is that I would write much less or eventually stop. I think working on something like this was partially an attempt to feel like I was still writing, that I was still expressing myself creatively... but of course the writing that I want to do is more than this, it's fiction or at least substantial non-fiction essays, something with a definite value and possible legacy, not just endless rambling with an insight or phrase every dozen pages that I could feel proud of. Ideally I'd like to write things that could be published, that many people would read, that I could be paid for, that I could be paid for such that I could not have to work and just write for a living. That's the dream, and it has advanced very slowly since I got a job. I feel miserable about that, but not as miserable as I'd be if I didn't have this.

I dunno. I get some creative fulfillment from my Youtube channel too, of course, which has been growing nicely this whole time, and which I usually prioritize over writing when I have free time, for better or worse. So I'm not sure what actually is doing the most to alleviate my creative frustration, between the constant word-spam of this for almost no one, the constant rambling on camera for a small fanbase, or the infrequent attempts to make something that could eventually reach a much larger audience than either.

Really probably the answer is that I have some form of hypergraphia and that this helps sate it.

Check back next year for volume 2, and hopefully there's some other books before then. I have yet another book of short stories that's """"""almost done"""""" so maybe we'll see those soon.

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Finally, another book!

This is my new book of short stories, 魔塵鬱圏, which is pronounced as “magomiutsuken” (mah go me oo tisoo ken). It means “Magical Garbage Depression Realm”.

This is the cover, which I’m really happy with, it is very absurd. I’ll give you a prize if you can identify every person/character contained in it.

Download it here:
pdf (other formats coming soon, Google Drive is screwing up)

Initially this was supposed to be a sort of “b-sides” for another short story collection I was working on, which would just be for more substantial stories with some thematic links. The idea was that I could collect the other stuff I was working on that didn’t quite fit the main collection here, and be able to quickly and easily knock this one out to hold people over for the next one ha ha not likely. The words “quickly” and “easily” will never, and perhaps should never, reflect the action of writing. Most of the work for most of these stories was done last year, but then school/socializing/work intervened and it’s taken me until now to do the last ten percent. But it happened! It finally happened!

As before, here’s some brief commentary on each story:

Demons/Insects – I tried to explore the “neurotic” voice some more on this one, hopefully you’ll find the ideas relatable.
Click-Clacks/Bulb – This was a composite of several incidents and ideas from my childhood, maybe you had similar incidents too.
Grapes/Miracle – I’ve always been fascinated by cults so I wanted to try writing a story around one. I wanted it to be absurd without going too far in mocking the very real issue of cults in real life.
Responsibility – Magic realism lol. I have a few other ideas in this mode but it’s hard to get the tone right.
Bus Adventure – A very real incident from my real life, please try to sympathize but I’m sorry if you can empathize.
MP3 Player Adventure – Another very real incident from my real life that now I can look back at and laugh at, please laugh at it too.
Two Books Poorly Remembered – Features characters from Youth of the World and some other stories but is mostly just a way to talk about recently read books lol.
Bakuhatsu – Ranting from a very emotional place, I don’t feel like this rn don’t worry.
Soft Movement Exercises – Try them out!
Fall – I released this as a standalone last October, it hasn’t changed much since then. It’s a sequel to “Spring Album” and “Summer Night” from previous books – “Winter Melody” coming “soon”!
People I Could Be – These are also all real. Please try to have such experiences for yourself.

This is my third short story compilation, after LMAX and Hot Summer. Putting together these compilations, figuring out how I’ll arrange them, coming up with the title and cover, it’s all really fun, kinda addictive. I have two more underway now, the aforementioned one that this is the “b-sides” to, and another tightly thematically linked one that is almost done, and then probably another book like this of more stuff that doesn’t really fit in those. I expect to have them take roughly twice as long as I expect even including this caveat. Really tho, I want to release something novel-length again, so I’m trying to push myself for that. I have three candidate stories in various stages of development. That seems like a lot of writing but most of it was done before last fall i.e. when I was a NEET lol. I’ve taken some steps to try to secure productive writing time in my new working world and (since you’re reading this) it seems to be paying off, so please look forward to more soon. Submitting for publication still feels like an insurmountable nightmare but this system of self-release is still very exciting and fun, and I still feel like I’m growing substantially as a writer with each release, so I don’t think it’s a problem. I want to start writing blog posts again too, song of the day and stuff, maybe some lists, but no promises lol. Tbh I’m prioritizing creating content for my Youtube channel over these sorts of posts rn because it’s sorta similar (media discussion) and way easier to make and my Youtube channel is way more popular than the blog lol (ONE KAY BABY), but ideally I’ll find a way to do both.

Okay that’s all for now.