Summer Solstice 2021

We made it to another summer solstice. As a new variant of the virus reminds us we are still not out of the woods yet, hopefully we can take some time to slow down and remember lessons we began learning a year ago. Blessed solstice, everyone.

Favorite Albums and EPs of 2020

OK, obviously this year sucked. But as someone put it, this wasn’t personally my worst year but the worst year I’ve lived through. So with that in mind, I’m trying to keep in mind the good that happened and hoping we never have to see the likes of this year ever again even though I know… nevermind. Anyway, this year in music was even better than I remembered once I went through and thought about the stuff that got me through. And I also have to mention that Bandcamp Fridays went a long way to helping me keep some faith in humanity although there’s not a lot to grasp for in that area. I hope you were able to support many of the indie artists who release music there and will continue to do so for as long as the program exists. Until then, here’s a list of some of my favorite mostly indie albums and EPs of the year. While I won’t be giving blurbs because my brain is fried from *gestures wildly at everything*, there are links where you can listen and judge for yourself. See you in 2021.

Ava Luna – Live at Market Hotel

Backxwash – God Has Nothing to Do This Leave Him Out of It

Ego Ella May – Honey for Wounds

High Priestess – Casting the Circle

Honeychild Coleman – Stay at Home! Live at PunkBlack

A Hundred Drums – A Hundred Drums, AHD – Sonder

In the Next Life – K.A.R.M.A – remastered 2020

Ipecac – Safe and Sane Sampler

Jackie Venson – Live in Texas Disc 1, Live in Texas Disc 2, jackie the robot volume 1, jackie the robot volume 2, Live at Austin City Limits

Jake Blount – Spider Tales

Junglepussy – Jp4

Kandace Springs – The Women Who Raised Me

KeiyaA – Forever, Ya Girl

Ledisi – The Wild Card

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Loraine James – Nothing

Mal Devisa – Vicious Nonbeliever

Moor Mother – CLEPSYDRA, Circuit City*

*Also check out several collaborations from this year as well.

Moses Sumney – græ

Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts V: Together, Ghosts VI: Locusts

No Home – Fucking Hell

Nova Twins – Who Are the Girls?

Oceanator – Things I Never Said

Oceans of Slumber – Oceans of Slumber

Old Blood – Acid Doom

R.AGGS – //TAPE 1//

Rico Nasty – Nightmare Vacation

Shingai – Too Bold

Special Interest – The Passion Of

Stef Fi – Girlhood

Sunny War – Can I Sit with You?, Lagniappe Sessions

Sylvia Black – Last Laugh

The Txlips Band – Prison of Life

Valerie June – Stay/Stay Meditation/You and I

Victoria Monét – Jaguar

Witch Prophet – DNA Activation

Yaya Bey – Madison Tapes

Yazmin Lacey – Morning Matters

Yazmin Lacey & Congi – Two Takes EP

Zsela – Ache of Victory 

As a bonus, I’m including Shea Diamond. She didn’t release an album or EP but still had a great year as far as singles went, so please give her some streaming love as she was one of my top artists of the year.

The Year in Music: 2020 Favorites

The year in music did not disappoint like much of everything else. I found lots to love, became acquainted with some new artists, and found some perennial favorites still doing the damn thing. So here is just a small sampling of the music that got me through the year, mostly things you might have heard on the Black Swan Collective among a few others. Part 1.

And if you thought part 1 was good, hopefully it keeps getting better.

So I Might Try NaNoWriMo This Year…

I know I haven’t been using this space much for anything besides posting links to my Mixcloud for some time, but while it’s here, I may as well use it to think aloud for a while.

Recently, I lost out on an opportunity I was truly hoping to get regarding my fantasy novel. Admittedly, I was heartbroken and perhaps a bit crestfallen. But I’m working to get that disappointment out of my system and telling myself this isn’t a sign that I’ll never make it as a writer.

But the truth is, I haven’t gotten anything published since early last year, and at this point, I’m getting a bit worried. Most of the markets I like I’ve exhausted regarding work I’ve already finished. I’m hesitant to submit any novels without the benefit of an editor, so I’m not shopping around like I should be. I haven’t produced as many short stories in the past couple of years and the current WIP will at the very least be a novella. As for the one already completed, there have been a couple of rejections already in an already small market.

However, I do still have story ideas, many that have been brewing for years now. One that I’ve been planning for at least four years will turn out to be completely different from what I thought I wanted it to be, which is pretty standard for most of my stories, if not all of them. My next project after the novella was intended to be dystopia, but I realized I literally don’t have it in me for a variety of reasons. So I decided to keep the basic story and switch it to more of a commercial, women’s lit type thing.

So with that, it hit me that I could give NaNoWriMo a shot. I’ve written before that I never participated because I’m a slow writer. However, I could give this one a shot at typing it out without writing it by hand first. I know it’s a different mental process, but I’m trying for a different type of story than what I usually do this time. So perhaps I need to go ahead and take a chance with this one. I can’t fail with it any worse than I am with everything else right now.

And so I’ll have to see how things are going at the end of the month to see if I’m up to taking this chance. I might be able to pull it off. At worst, I’ll have the beginnings of a project I was planning on taking a year to write in one month. I can rework my outline ahead of time and set a weekly word count goal. I can also check the rules to see if copying and pasting is allowed since I plan to incorporate a couple of already written short stories. I’m thinking no, but we’ll see.

Anyway, we’ll see how this goes. With isolation and no reason to leave the house, this might just be the year to try it.