I’m writing a book!
Let me be clear: I did not use the pandemic productively. At all. During the spring of 2020, I spent an entire week making breakfast sandwiches, napping on the couch, and watching ’80s horror movies. So this announcement is not about how I accomplished something amazing during the year of isolation from which we are now, finally and mercifully, beginning to emerge.
At one point last year, when my partner rightfully pointed out that even given the prevailing circumstances of a global pandemic, I was really phoning it in, I told her, only semi-ironically, “This is part of my process” — and then I instantly realized that I had become Adam Scott in Parks and Recreation asking Leslie, “Do you think a depressed person could make this?” So that led to some self-reflection.
I’m able to admit now that, sure, I didn’t need to spend months on end glued to Shudder, but it did end up becoming part of my process after all.At least a little bit. Because my new book, Patricia Wants to Cuddle, is a horror comedy inspired in large part by slashers like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s an attempt — I hope a successful one — to marry the gory fun of ‘80s slashers and creature features with a clever commentary about the late-stage social media era. There are, of course, some queer themes to boot. It’s a little bit Wicker Man, a hell of a lot of Jason, with a dash of Ingrid Goes West.
I’m so excited for you all to read it, and I’ll send out maybe two or three major updates through this newsletter — preorder dates, cover reveal, et cetera — but I promise I’m not going to turn it into some craven vehicle for publicity. This is still a space for me to share random and intermittent thoughts about things like marriage, the aforementioned show Parks and Recreation, and “four screenshots” tweets with the handful of you who are weird enough to want to read them.
But for now I’ll just say this: This book was the result of pandemic anguish, not pandemic industriousness. To try to climb out of our shared depression, my partner and I ended up taking scenic drives at sunset along the coastline. Some days, the marine layer would start blowing in at sunset, casting the whole landscape in a surreal, orangey haze that made us feel briefly alive.
And on those drives, we’d talk about everything that was troubling us — and I mean everything: The weird loneliness of being two queer women in a world that wasn’t built for us, the rot that our phones have implanted in our brains, the feeling like there is no future for our planet in which 99% of us will have anything approaching the kind of quality of life we imagined for ourselves as kids.
As I tried to spend a little less time napping on the couch and a little more time getting back into the sort of work routine capitalism requires of me, I took those conversations and I channeled many of them into a novel — not to try to heal, because I think the things we were grappling with are not things that can be healed, per se, but to at least render them abstract, capable of being regarded from without, like some objet d’art. So sure, maybe it’s got a little bit of a Cones of Dunshire vibe to it.
Not that my book is a downer. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, I promise and I’ve heard — if you trust my test readers, who are only slightly biased by their blood relationships to me — that it’s funny, too. You can plow through it and just enjoy the pacing, the horror action, and the mystery. But there’s more in there, too, if you want to wring some thematic depth out of the thing. And that’s all I’ll give away at the moment.
Thanks to all of you who’ve read something of mine during this nightmare. You’ve made it possible for me to keep writing books, and I promise this one will be the best I can possibly make it.