Good morning. My name is Brian Keene and this is the 265th issue of Letters From the Labyrinth — a weekly newsletter for fans of my work. Previous issues can be found here. If you’d like to leave a comment, use that link. As 2022 begins, I intend to be using social media less and less. This newsletter (and my website) will become my primary means of communication, so the comments section is a good way to be heard.
Not much in the way of news this week, so this will be a fairly short edition. I’m typing this on Saturday, New Year’s Day. You’re reading it on Sunday, the 2nd. Mary and I were invited to a couple of different parties, but we opted to spend New Year’s Eve at home this year, since she’ll be traveling again this week. We were both glad we did. We cuddled up on the couch and binged the entire fourth season of Cobra Kai (more on that below). At a quarter till midnight, we tried to find a ball drop, and landed on a celebration hosted by Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson. It immediately made us both feel old, since other than those two, we didn’t know who any of the other “celebrities” were. At midnight, we went outside to watch fireworks. Here in rural Pennsylvania, you can always count on your neighbors to set off fireworks, and this New Year’s Eve was no exception. Usually the river is lit up on both the York and Lancaster shores. Although we could hear them, we couldn’t see them, because the fog coming off the water was very thick.
Other than that, I finished the year the same way I started it, hunkered down in work, and listening for the knock of Covid-19 at the door. I got caught up on some emails and yet barely made a dent in my inbox. Took care of some stuff with my attorney. Exchanged a few text message and emails with Anthrax’s Charlie Benante (who’s going to be joining me on something early next year that’s gonna knock your socks off), and finished the first drafts of what I believe are the final two new stories set in the world of THE RISING. These stories were for the fundraiser we did a few months ago for Kristopher Triana's dog, Bear. If you paid for a story, and I have not been in contact with you, PLEASE REACH OUT NOW. I want to make sure we took care of everybody before putting this thing to bed.
Speaking of Kris and Bear, I got to visit with both of them for an hour today, over at Wesley Southard’s home. And I finally got to meet Wes and Katie’s newborn son, Nolan.
He’s absolutely adorable, and I can’t wait to babysit.
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I mentioned before that I intend to use social media far less this year. Indeed, if you think about it, I’ve been heading that way for a couple of years now. I have a decent presence on my public Facebook page, but that is mostly operated by Ron Davis and Stephen Kozeniewski, and I rarely post there myself, except for occasionally popping my head into the Fan group to answer a few questions. Other than that, most of my social media acts as simply a mirror for Twitter these days. Twitter is where I remained the most active, but even that has lost its luster for me. It’s great that everyone has a voice, but I no longer want all of those voices yammering in my ear. If I want accurate information on vaccines, I’d much rather get it from a scientist than from a busboy at an Applebee’s in Waco, Texas. Social media not only gives those voices equal relevance — it ends up amplifying the voices who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Case in point: as I type this, Steve Perry is Trending on Twitter, because apparently Journey played one of the New Year’s Eve shows last night, and thousands of professed Journey “fans” are surprised to learn that he’s no longer singing for the band. Newsflash: Steve Perry hasn’t been with Journey in over 20 years.
But I digress.
Anyway, I’m going to be using Twitter less, as well. I’m not dropping it completely, because that would be stupid. After all, I’m a public figure and I have books to sell. But my intent is to use it less, and focus on this newsletter, my website, and my Patreon as my primary outlets.
We’ll see how it goes…
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CURRENTLY LISTENING: Another Perfect Day by Motorhead
CURRENTLY READING: Eye by David J. Schow and Woke Up This Morning by Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa
CURRENTLY WATCHING: Don’t Look Up and Cobra Kai season four.
I enjoyed season four of Cobra Kai, although not as much as previous seasons. This season’s plot felt padded and convenient, and relied too much on flashbacks to the previous films and seasons. Still a lot of fun, however.
Don’t Look Up was fantastic. It’s a smart, biting satire with great performances and a streak of dark humor you don’t see enough of from Hollywood these days. Very much in the vein of Bryan Smith’s novel Last Day. I highly recommend it. Sit through the credits for two great surprises.
My oldest son asked me which David Schow collection was my favorite, and I told him that was like asking me which son was my favorite. But then I thought about it later that night. Part of me said Eye. Part of me said Havoc Swims Jaded. Part of me said Zombie Jam. And Seeing Red. And of course, Black Leather Required. And DJStories. And so on. So, I did the only sensible thing and started re-reading all of David’s short story collections. David was, of course, a major influence on me. If you’ve never read him, I suggest starting with Weird Doom — a very cool sampler published by Cimarron Street Books and available in paperback right here. That’s the one I handed to my son, and he still hasn’t given it back.
Woke Up This Morning is an oral history of The Sopranos. I love oral history biographies, and this one did not disappoint, although I suspect it will only be of interest to hardcore fans of the show, like myself. There are some surprising new creative and behind-the-scenes revelations. Worth picking up if your love the series.
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Anyway, that’s it for this week. Like I said, short and sweet. I’ll see you back here next week, so stay safe until then.