Discover more from under the influence
a personal update and a dead mall update
time is really hurtling us forward into the great mystery, huh
Okay, firstly: I’m writing a book!
I’ve been meaning to write to you about this since June, but I’ve been a little overwhelmed with earth plane stuff (such as, how do you write a book), and I don’t even know what to say right now except that I’m really, really excited. Writing is the only thing I’ve consistently cared about or felt “good” at; I’ve never been a prodigy or a one-track talent, but writing is an anchor and a north star, and to have permission to work on a long form personal project makes me feel something beyond language, in a good way.
YOU HAVE A NEW MEMORY will be a book of essays. Some of the material and general themes will be pulled from this newsletter, but the vast majority of the material will be brand new. That being said—you, reading this, are an integral part of how I got to write this book. I’m so grateful to have a space to dump my ideas, to be messy and strange and occasionally very heartfelt, and to examine the thorny compromises and reconciliations we all make as very online humans. Thank you.
I’ll be writing this book for the better part of the next year (with help from my incredible editor, shoutout to Maddie). I don’t know what that will look like yet in terms of newsletter frequency. If you’re a paid subscriber and feel as though you’re not getting your money’s worth, I will not be offended if you need to switch to free and redirect your hard-won cash elsewhere. Generally, I’d kind of like to start including thoughts on authorship and what I imagine will be a wild and vulnerable and rewarding experience, but I could also see myself want to escape that and turning to this space with only my most unhinged and feral ideas. Remains to be seen, but I’m stoked for what’s next :)
Here’s the little blurb thing they do when you sell a book:
Secondly: in a post last October, I wrote an ersatz ode to my local dead mall, noting that its last bastion was its Macy’s. It is with great sadness that I learned last week that this Macy’s location is going out of business. On a visit to pay my respects and purchase deeply discounted earrings, I overheard snippets of a cashier’s conversation explaining that someone had purchased the entire mall and wanted that space for something else, though I can’t imagine what could take up such a gargantuan space besides Target, and the dead mall already has a Target.
At Macy’s, I wandered through the apocalyptic shoe department (why is the women’s shoe department always a locus of chaos and desperation?), running my fingers along the “Everything must go!” and “Nothing held back!” banners and halfheartedly picking shoes off the floor and placing them in the general vicinity of their other halves. I found myself in the formalwear department, and my death drive reared its head, and suddenly I was in the dressing room wearing a white prom dress with feather trim that was two sizes too small and had someone else’s foundation smeared across the front. I thought about the staff layoffs, the quiet screeching of display cases and clothing racks being dragged away, the vast empty space with its almost-museum-smell. Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” blasted across the speakers. I felt unable to breathe, tearful, stuck in a bewildering tube of spandex and bird remains, and the bird had probably not even been eaten or devoted to some other second cause.
“it’s stressing me out babe,” I texted Matthias. “why do I want to save the macy’s?”
I haven’t seen one of those “Millennials are killing ____” in a while, but I think that maybe I’ve internalized that rhetoric. On a grander scale, maybe we’ve learned to hold grief for corporations better than for ourselves. Or guilt, at least, which can be conflated with grief nine times out of ten. How much nostalgia is misplaced responsibility? Who’s afraid of a new department store?
Matthias, wise as ever, wrote back, “let it die baby. it wants to be dead.”