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Delightful Digs - The Identity of Speed

Formula 1: Drive to Survive is back on Netflix! I know, I know, I usually put TV shows in the ‘What I’m Watching’ section, but this one is related to my latest blog post.

Next month, I’ll send out some free fiction that’s a perfect read for a spring day, but instead of April showers, this month I’m exploring racing and how it relates to identity.

Many people crave speed. Speed increases adrenaline. Speed increases testosterone. Speed increases dopamine. People with low levels of MAO (a chemical related to dopamine) are likely to be speed seekers. It makes the brain’s reward system light up brighter than a quasar shining with the light of 600 trillion suns.

However, another interesting phenomenon related to speed is not chemical but psychological. Vehicles can become an extension of personality. Having the fastest, coolest car is both an ego boost and a habit that sometimes develops into addiction. Much like some people want the status they believe comes with a high-powered job, vehicles can become part of identity, and their speed and looks become obsession.

I first became interested in racing in different cultures when I saw this stunning photographic article on Vespa racing and modification in Indonesia.

Soon after, I thought it would be fun to work on a book that incorporated the addiction, and dangers, associated with racing, and uncovered these TT sidecar racers with nerves of steel.

And then Formula 1: Drive To Survive released, and I was completely fascinated by the money, culture, and monumental team effort that went into this sport.

But, as anyone who saw Romain Grosjean’s fiery miracle this season will attest, one thing that can get in the way of enjoying a good speed rush is when reality come’s crashing down, fear takes over, and our mortality is suddenly no longer an abstract concept.

I’m having a blast exploring addiction and fear in both racing and life in general in my latest work in progress.

What I’m Reading

Blackfish City: Sam J. Miller, (Ecco 2018). After major climate disaster, a floating city is built at the Arctic Circle. A mysterious disease called ‘The Breaks’ is fracturing citizens’ minds, but they also seem to share memories with others. An orcamancer—a woman bonded to a killer whale through nanotechnology—may hold the key to save the city. This was one of the most intriguing and innovative speculative visions of the future I’ve read in a while.

Witchmark: C.L. Polk (Tor, 2018). Winner of the 2019 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, this book is just frickin’ charming. After a World War, a surgeon hiding his magical gift must face the prominent family he ran away from to uncover a dark secret that’s ripping away the souls of the townsfolk.

What I’m Watching

In addition to Formula 1: Drive to Survive, this month I watched The Irregulars. I’m a sucker for anything Sherlock Holmes. The genius detective plays a very small part in this series. Instead, the focus is on a group of plucky teenagers from the streets who work with Dr. Watson to save London from a paranormal singularity that’s ripping the city apart. If you’re a fan of feel good, found family stories, this might be for you.


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