Vrai Writes Pop Culture Essays: Popularium

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I’m proud that I can finally talk about my engagement with this site. I’ve been working and writing with them for more than six months now, but things were very hush hush as far as getting things ready for launch. But lo! Now I can share the stories I’ve been working on with all of you.

As for what they are, here’s what the About page says:

Popularium is about sharing great things and great experiences. We believe that we all make emotional connections best through telling relatable stories about the stuff we love. And we do this by featuring real stories by real people about real products.

In other words, people write personal narrative essays about how various pieces of media (or weed or alcohol – hence “products”) have played into the story of their own lives. There’s quite the breadth of experiences on there, and it’s heartening to finally see it fully formed.

You can visit my author page here, and check out links and samples to the stories I’ve published thusfar under the cut.

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Anger is Our Last Respite

In light of the tragedy in Orlando, I hope you’ll forgive the small change of pace.

I finished a piece recently about my hometown: about its culture of silence, and the muffled cries of queerness and mental illness struggling to survive under that suffocating grasp. An acquaintance of mine was editing it and of everything we discussed, this stuck with me: “It’s sort of an angry piece.”

She didn’t mean it as a criticism, but my first instinct was shock. I’ve never thought of myself as an angry person. I am quiet in public. I avoid conflict with a deftness Aaron Burr would be proud of. I hold back, and I convinced myself that meant the anger wasn’t there.

Today, I am angry.

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Vrai Writes (Parts of) Books – Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis

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When all is madness…
      …there is no madness.

Is there wisdom in insanity? Enlightenment in blackest despair? Higher consciousness in the depths of chaos? These are the stories of the men and women who choose to cast off from the shores of our placid island of ignorance and sail the black seas of infinity beyond. Those who would dive into primeval consciousness in search of dark treasures. Those who would risk the Deadly Light for one reason: it is still light.

I’m pleased down to my meat-socks (feet, I believe one calls them) to announce my involvement in the Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis anthology. Longtime readers might’ve noticed a certain predilection toward cosmic horror around these parts, so it was a real treat to get a chance to play around with the concepts left behind by Lovecraft himself (the good ones; not so much with the xenophobia and misogyny).

My contribution, “Keys in Stranger Deserts,” starts with the attempted theft of the Necronomicon; turns into a road trip involving a con artist looking to make some of that sweet, sweet cult money and probably the only student to ever actually be expelled from Miskatonic without raising some unspeakable horror (and even then…), and ends…well, I wouldn’t want to spoil it.

You can get the book in physical or ebook versions, both on Martian Migraine Press and Amazon (and if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free!).

Venture on for a sneak preview of “Keys in Stranger Deserts.” Happy reading!

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Original Fiction: Beta-Test Boy

Editorial Note: And now for something (mostly) different. While I’ve had a few published works dotted around the blog, it occurred to me that I’d not posted a story in full. This here is one I wrote a bit over a year ago (in looking back on it, it’s interesting to me to see the positively visible wisps of Working Through Some Stuff). My style’s evolved since then, but I’ve kept a soft spot for this one. And I hope it inspires a bit of the same fondness in you, dear readers. 

A Quick Summary: Michael is an indie game maker who meets a fellow aspiring artist in designer Nolan. The two fall into a business partnership that becomes a romance, though Michael can’t help but find himself uneasy at his the physical changes in his partner or the way she would much he think of her as one of the guys. He becomes fixated on the private sketchbook she spends hours with, wondering if Nolan’s visions for the future will be able to match his own.

He notices her first because she doesn’t want him to. It’s dark, and there’s a pounding in his head and what might be a growing stain on his pants. He scratches at it – definitely a stain, and the question will turn to what it’s made of as soon as the lights stop jittering for more than a minute. His attention wanders back to the girl, something he’s not trying too hard to fight.

She’s not dancing, and there’s something novel about the stillness in the cataclysm of movement all around them. Later on this friends will ask how he knew, how he could’ve spotted the prize under all that illusionist level material, and if he wanted a cut of the bets that’d been traded in exchange for telling them the nasty details.

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One Year of Tinfoil

enormous-books Meanwhile, in the halls of Nerd Research

It’s a time of celebration, dear readers! This week (October 11th) heralds the one year anniversary of Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories. That’s 104 posts of analysis, complaining, mooning, and crazy conspiracy theories about culture high and low(and if that seems daunting, don’t worry – I have a list of every post on this blog sorted by subject matter). And what a year it’s been! This blog got nominated for the Liebster Award, was featured on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed spotlight, and received the nod of approval from actor and all around cool dude Shannon McCormick.

We’ve (the blog and I, because why not start affording it a dangerous amount of sentience now) also been blessed with an amazing and thoughtful readership. I’m thankful to each and every one of you: for agreeing, for disagreeing, for bringing cool suggestions and new information I might not’ve seen otherwise. I feel unbelievably lucky – here’s to another year and beyond!

accomplishment
I still feel like I’ve performed some manner of mass hypnosis
Now to gleefully return to blathering for your infotainment

So, how about some stats?

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You Did it for Love (of Money): Or, Why E.L. James is a Disgrace to Fandom Culture

As I wait for Tusk to wander onto VOD and into my waiting arms (that I may better fill out the back-burnered essay about its creation), I find myself looking ahead to Kevin Smith’s filmography-to-be. The record so far stands at one anticipated (Yoga Hosers, because damned if I’m not starved for more supernatural-comedies-with-female-leads), one indifferent (we’ll see how the trailer for Krampus looks), and one perturbed (Moose Jaws). In case you were wondering, your first instinct on that last one is correct. It’s Jaws with a moose.

At first I couldn’t figure out why this set me on edge. There’s enormous historical precedent for comedic film riffs that basically lift the plot of a famous film – from genre classics conceived in love, like Young Frankenstein, to smirking exercises in nose snubbing a la Scary Movie. It’s an accepted Thing That Happens.

And while I’m not sure the joke at the heart of Moose Jaws will be enough to carry it, I’m entirely confident that Smith’s too earnest about it to go ripping people off (see also: his glorious Blues Brothers homage in Clerks II) – any nods he makes will be trumpeted from the rooftops. This, of course, is when it hit me. Those movies I mentioned before were not made at a time when one of the best-selling bits of popular culture was a flagrant and unadmitted bit of thievery. Yeah. 50 Shades of Grey is ruining Kevin Smith movies for me. And with that damnable movie coming out, it seems like time we had a talk.

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Never has it been more satisfying to remember that Valentine’s Day was named after an executed man
and served as the moniker of a gruesome massacre.

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