Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, here’s part of my own story.
Star Trek: The Next Generation first aired the same year I started school, and continued through about sixth or seventh grade. I was aware of TNG before the original series. And no, I didn’t think to ask why it was called “The Next Generation.” I was five.
In a gripping detective story filled with well-earned reversals and revelations, the biggest surprise is a twist that doesn’t come.
Full disclosure: Mat Johnson, author of Incognegro and Incognegro: Renaissance is a friend of mine. Not to say we are on each other’s Christmas lists, but we were former colleagues and he’s just generally genial. I have also been mistaken for him by three separate individuals, which I think has more to say about the strangeness of the universe than about either of us, because neither of us look remotely similar to each other. But that’s a story for another time. He was on the Creative Writing faculty of the University of Houston when I was there, and though I was not a Creative Writing student, I did have him for a single course: a speculative-fiction-themed section of Writers on Literature. (In seven years of graduate study at two universities, and four years of undergrad at a third [first?], this was actually the only science-fiction-focused course I ever took.) This revelation is, in all probability, completely irrelevant.
I’m presently working on a blog post about Johnson and Pleece’s Incognegro: Renaissance. Some of my comments are quite enthusiastic. The day after I started working on that, I tweeted about The City in the Middle of the Night, the Charlie Jane Anders novel I’m currently reading. I said Anders “could have written Les Miserables as a haiku without losing any of the emotion or weight.” Of course it’s a bit of enthusiastic puffery, but between that and my rather unrestrained opinions in Renaissance, it got me thinking about enthusiasm in the academy.
Here I am, late to the party as usual. There’s that line in Stephen Sondheim’s Company, “Does anybody still wear a hat?” Each time that show is done, it is customized and modernized–and rightly so! But it’s a wonder Sondheim hasn’t signed off on the lyrical update, “Does anybody still write a blog?”