Year’s End

Farewell to the Year of the Unlucky Number–which paradoxically was a heck of a lot better for me than 2012 ever was, so make of that what you will. And to you all, a very belated Chanukah, a mid-stream Merry Christmas (day 7 of 12), and a really rather early Happy New Year 2015.

If you’ve wondered where I’ve been—well, I’ve been sick, honestly. And writing scintillating, sparkling, wonderful blog posts was beyond me as I huddled around, feeling rubbish. As was writing dull, grumpy, turgid, uninteresting blog posts, for that matter.

But this is not a confession of blog-guilt. Nor even a New Year’s Resolution to blog more (which would be the quickest way, I think, to ensure never blogging again). Like the great John McIntyre, I’ve embraced a policy of not blogging unless I have something I want to say. And I usually do, in that sunny, cheery, talkative way I have (“Ha,” say his colleagues, and “Who?” ask his friends). And if this blog has been overly taciturn, blame it chiefly on my increased distaste for wittering, on and offline, and the uncertainty that comes with age that one’s own opinions are really as great as all that.

Conventional Wisdom, of a sort, would read that paragraph as a prelude to resignation—an expectation that Paradoxes is about to tip over its king and have done. Daily blogging, after all, is the essence of internet survival, the web sages tell us. Hourly is even better. But the wisest of all web sages, Stephen Fry, has declared that the true essence of the internet is simply being oneself. Which does not always necessitate, I think, the blogging, web-savvy, talkative, and witty version of oneself. And Stephen Fry, I notice, hasn’t updated his actual blog since August, so one might say I’m in august company (ahahaha—ha—heh—OK yeah, sorry…).

So much, then, for an anti-apology. With the new year sweeping towards me as I write, let me tell you what I want for Christmas—or for whatever festival holiday season of your choice.* In fact, what I want is for you to give yourself something. No joke.

So, if you’ve read an appreciated this blog in the past few years, and are either brimming with holiday cheer or need something to bah humbug with you in Ebenezerial gloom, please buy yourself an issue of Unsettling Wonder. I love this eccentric mag, I’m absurdly pleased with what the writers, artists, and editors have accomplished, and I’m sure you’ll love it, too.

If you just want to buy all three issues of Volume 1, I won’t complaining—more power to you. But my special, holiday season request is simply that you just buy one issue you haven’t read. And so here’s an ad hoc buying guide, to help you choose:

1:1 WONDER VOYAGES: The one that started at all. This is our bestseller, far and away, so you might want this just to get up to speed on what everyone’s talking about at—at—places where everyone is talking about this. There is a picture of a flaming pig in, and a collection of deliciously weird, slightly spooky stories, including a tremendous opening by Claire Dean. Most likely to appeal to thoughtfully reckless types who like the idea of setting off to sea in a small boat with no fixed destination.

1:2 WISE FOOLS: Second in our series of ‘Issues Brought To You By The Letter W’. A lavish, full-colour issue: our design team was at top form at this one, and the illustrations throughout are staggering. It starts with a Kitten Story (you read that right: A Story About a Kitten! need I say more??). And it ends with the pied piper in a concentration camp. An absolute, unforgettable trip. If this sounds remotely interesting, buy it. It’s my personal favourite, really.

1:3 FAIRY BRIDES: Devastatingly beautiful, desperately sad, this and prepare to relearn everything you think you know about fairy tales. With folktales including the Romance of the Milky Way and the Goodman of Wastness, this issue lives up to the title of the journal, and includes a brand new story by Lisa Tuttle (yes, that Lisa Tuttle).

Any of these will be a wonderful unsettling read, for this season and every other. Enjoy.

So: With Godzilla getting ready to trash New York this evening (that’s a New Year’s tradition, right?), I wish you all the very best for 2014. Thanks for reading Paradoxes, enjoy Unsettling Wonder, and I’ll have plenty more for you read soon.

Meanwhile, I leave you with the wisdom of Samuel Beckett, as quoted by John McIntyre in his post ‘Failure is Always an Option’:

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

May the year ahead give you the humour and grace to learn how to fail better.

*You know, I should start making gift lists for every holiday anyone celebrates this time of year. All I Want For Festivus Is…

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