Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for June 22nd, 2018

Howdy and farewell

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Last night, I was a guest at the first evening of HowdyCon, the annual convention organized by the journalist and prominent Scientology critic Tony Ortega. Tony’s website, The Underground Bunker, is both the best online resource that I’ve ever seen on the subject—I’ve often used it for background and insight—and a watering hole for a passionate community that is gathering this week in Chicago. The event that I attended was an informal one, with maybe twenty people chatting in a hotel lounge, and I spent most of it talking casually with the others. But I don’t think that I’ll ever forget it. Many attendees were former Scientologists themselves or have lost family members to the church, and I quickly figured out that my time was best spent keeping my mouth shut and listening to what they had to say. Without exception, their experiences are remarkable, and they reminded me of the real stakes involved. Because I’ve been so focused on Hubbard’s early career, I sometimes find myself acting as if this were a story confined to books, faded letters, and yellowing issues of old pulp magazines, but it isn’t. It’s still happening now. And I’m grateful to Tony and everyone else for the chance to meet them all.

I would have loved to stay for the entire weekend, but I’m flying out tonight to New Orleans to attend the annual conference of the American Library Association. On Saturday at 3pm, I’ll be participating in an event with the authors Alex White (A Big Ship At the Edge of the Universe), Tessa Gratton (The Queens of Innis Lear), and Robert Jackson Bennett (Foundryside), at which I’ll be talking about Astounding and the best book that I’ve read in the last year. (I won’t reveal its title yet, but I can say that it was published nearly a quarter of a century ago and I’m only just catching up to it now. It casts an unexpected light on the art of biography, as well as being an unforgettable read in itself, and next week, I plan to write about it here in greater detail.) A few other readings and appearances for the autumn are gradually starting to fall into place, including a reading on November 18 at the Oak Park Public Library, and I’m hoping to have further announcements soon. Work on the book itself is winding down—I’m delivering my final set of corrections on Monday—and I’m slowly beginning to think about what might come next. I don’t yet know what it will be, but I have an idea or two, and I promise that you’ll hear about it here first.

Written by nevalalee

June 22, 2018 at 8:25 am

Quote of the Day

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On my way to Vienna yesterday, sleep overtook me in my carriage, which was by no means strange, for having been obliged to rise so early every morning, I never had a good night’s sleep…Now during my dream-journey, the following canon came into my head…But scarcely did I wake when away flew the canon, and I could not recall any part of it. On returning here however, next day, in the same carriage…I resumed my dream-journey, being, however, on this occasion wide awake, when lo and behold! in accordance with the laws of the association of ideas the same canon again flashed across me; so being now awake I held it as fast as Menelaus did Proteus, only permitting it to be changed into three parts.

Ludwig van Beethoven, in a letter to Tobias Haslinger

Written by nevalalee

June 22, 2018 at 7:30 am

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