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pandemic birthday time! 🎉🎂🎁

kat kourbeti
kat kourbeti
welcome back to honest to blog (working title), a newsletter with thoughts about writing, movies, music, science fiction and fantasy, and general creative process blah

oh the things i have learned
what a difference a year makes eh? normally around this time i’d say some vague platitude about how i feel like maybe i’ve changed a bit but not a whole lot, but i’ll be honest: 2020 has taught me so much about myself, the world, and the truly important things in life. i have a weird thing about odd numbers not being the best for me age-wise (not sure where i got it from, shrug), but given how 30 was, i’m looking at 31 with a whole different attitude.
on a personal level, i learned that the hustle life had been making me very unhappy. not necessarily the creative stuff, though not getting paid for most of what you love doing sucks—but having to work what i call “whatever jobs” in order to pay the bills, and getting caught in a cycle of not having the time or the energy to actually do the creative stuff, like write, make content, and build community. the last few years have been a blur because of this. then last march happened, and everything ground to a halt, and suddenly i had perspective, the likes of which i never could afford before.
kat kourbeti 🔜 FIYAHcon 🔥
If a government can freeze rents and pay people's bills (like France did at the beginning of covid), none of it is real 🙃 rent isn't real! 🎉 bills aren't real! 🎉 The 'hustle life' is a myth designed to keep the lower class in a cycle of low wages and energy drain! I hate it!!
really the biggest lesson of the year for me has been an unparallelled mindfulness, leading to the clarity that there needs to be a shift, both in my life and the world at large, away from the broken system of scrambling for scraps and towards community, empathy, and purpose. easier said than done, especially for the greater world stuff, but we gotta start somewhere.
i also learned to listen to my body when it tells me to slow the eff down, and to sleep, and to eat better!! i’m one of those rare unicorns that came out of the first lockdown having found the perfect routine and the ideal amount of sleep and a better diet, don’t @ me, it’s great. i learned to shop less, and to articulate my needs without feeling guilty about it (still working on that one, actually), and to love with total abandon.
i even found out i have a favourite time of day (weather permitting)! what a revelation!
some things, like my reading and my writing, took a hit, as did my faith in people—we’re still arguing about masks and social distancing and whether or not we should all do christmas together!! my patience is running thin!!—but overall, this was a year for reflection on an unprecedented scale, and while i loathe the conditions it happened in, i don’t loathe what i’ve taken away from it. maybe some of it won’t be actionable till the world resumes to spin again, but the building blocks of necessary change are there, and that matters a lot right now.
so here we go, 31! i feel good about it, even if it’s an odd number.
some content from moi:
i just narrated and released a new episode of the strange horizons podcast; a playful yet powerful tale of the simultaneous disconnect and yearning one feels when they leave their home country, and the many small ways through which one can reclaim their heritage. i felt the impact of this very deeply as a twice-removed expat, and had a lot of fun with the characters.
my favourite line? “he really is a businessmouse.” nuff said.
you can listen to it on the SH website, or download it on our podbean page, or wherever else you get your podcasts. (i’m working on getting us on all the podcasty apps and markets - starting with Spotify, which should now be live! - so if you don’t see us on your app of choice, please drop me a line so i can add it to my list!)
next up i’m working on producing some of the special mexicanx issue we launched at the end of last month, which you can read already at the link above. there’s some stuff in english, some stuff in spanish, and even some stuff in indigenous languages on this issue, which is rad af. so be on the lookout for the podcast versions sometime next week if that’s something you’re into :)
content from others (it’s hugos time, babeh!):
‘tis the season for award eligibility posts and year roundups, and the nominations for the hugos are encroaching upon us. adri joy of the multi-hugo-finalist nerds of a feather is putting together (heh) a 101 guide on the hugos, starting with how (and why) to nominate your favourite works of the year.
then aidan moher of astrolabe has an interview with renay from two-time hugo-winning zine lady business on the hugo spreadsheet of doom, aka the mega-resource listing any and all speculative works released in 2020 (linked here).
and finally, some short fiction recommendations from people whose work and taste i respect and admire greatly:
Eugenia Triantafyllou Death Metal Baron
Friends thank you for all your stories this year. This is an incomplete list (I wish I had more spoons to read) so I might make further additions. I hope you find something you'll enjoy here. Take care 🌹
that’s it from me this week. as always, feel free to share your responses to anything above by twitteremail, or letter to santa. you can also forward this email to a friend, if you think they’ll like what’s in it.
this newsletter is free, but if you want to support my work, you can do so by tossing a coin in the coffee jar, or doing your book shopping through my affiliate link on—this way you support a local independent bookshop, get awesome books, and earn me a small commission.
above all, stay safe, wherever you are!
speak soon,
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kat kourbeti
kat kourbeti @darthjuno

writing, media and arts commentary from a queer g(r)eek writer of science fiction and fantasy works.

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