A list of everything that’s caught my attention this month.
• The Kent Test by Clarkisha Kent (via TMS)
Definition: a test designed to determine whether a film or any other piece of media has provided the audience with adequate representation of femmes of color. This is meant to encourage discussion on what good representation can look like for femmes of color and it is not the be all end all test (but it is a good place to start). The Kent Test is named after and created by culture writer and critic Clarkisha Kent.
• The Lack of Published Gay YA By Gay Authors? Lets Talk About It by Kosoko Jackson
• How to choose meaningful words: why language matters by Jan Fortune
Narrative and meaning go hand in hand. We all need stories that make sense of experience, particular and universal. But if the language functions to exclude our experience then how do we find this meaning?
• Enlisting an audience: How Hollywood peddles propaganda by Amos Barshad
That’s the difference between our propaganda and everyone else’s. In autocratic regimes, a government-backed entity pushes it onto indifferent or unwilling consumers. In America, we, the consumers, happily demand it.
• The male glance: how we fail to take women’s stories seriously by Lili Loofbourow: Male art is epic, universal, and profoundly meaningful. Women’s creations are domestic, emotional and trivial. How did we learn to misread stories so badly?
• This is how the world’s most covetable cameras get made by Vlad Savov: a tour of the Hasselblad factory.
• In Defense of Trends (Keep Calm and Let Them Be) by Grace Bonney
I fell into the trap of assuming that the trendiness or lower cost of something meant it would be tossed and replaced any day now. But for most people that’s not true. Something doesn’t have to be a) expensive b) utterly unique or c) classic for someone to hold onto it and love it for years to come.
• Halifax’s battle of the rising sea: Will the city be ready for future floods and storms? by Matthew McClearn: The deluges Nova Scotians faced during 2003’s Hurricane Juan could be commonplace within decades – but the provincial capital has barely begun to prepare.
• Kat Robichaud’s tribute to David Bowie is amazing and makes me cry in the best possible way (via Neil Gaiman’s Twitter):
1. craving… good coffee.
2. enduring… a cold and a power outage, at the same time. So that was fun.
3. doing… the same thing I do every time I start agonizing about creativity and productivity and life in general: reorganizing and pruning my notes in Evernote. (Show me a more perfect definition of “procrastination.” I’ll wait.)
4. wondering… if I’m ready for the level of commitment that a sourdough starter requires.
5. writing… actual words. Slowly, but it’s happening again.
6. hoping… that it’ll start to look like spring soon. I’m getting bored with the snow.
7. having… long internal debates with myself about art, and the point at which inspiration becomes distraction, and… ugh. (I’d say it makes more sense in my head, but it really doesn’t.) This month’s Sketchbook post might be a little late, despite what I said. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to say.
8. looking… for a good (healthy… ish) snack that’ll get me through the day, and that won’t bore me after a week or two.
9. starting… to think that Infinity War will be the next movie that makes me cry in the theatre. Because that’s apparently something I do now?
10. reading… too many books at once.
Ok, so: I’m not going to try to take a photo every. single. day. That was the original plan, but this past week (and a half) reminded me how much that kind of pressure stresses me out and makes me resent the entire process.
I’m still going to take one hundred photos, in as reasonable a time frame as I can manage. That’s enough.
Last week, I said that if I didn’t start actually writing this story by today, you could nag me about it in the comments.
You can stand down. I’ve started writing, and no nagging was required.
I’m taking it slow right now, for a few reasons. I’m still putting the finishing touches on the outline (I’ll finish that up early next week, if everything goes according to plan), and I’m still missing one worldbuilding element that is really freaking important, so I don’t want to get too far into things before I sort that stuff out.
But the big reason is this: it always takes me a while to find my way into a story. Every single time, no matter how prepared I am, it takes at least a week or two to figure out the rhythm of a story and reach a point where I have more good writing days than bad ones. Even knowing that, it bothers me, just a little, every single time.
So this time, I’m going to take the pressure off. For the first week or two, I’m going to limit myself to short writing sessions: no more than thirty minutes at a time. I won’t make as much progress as I might hope, but that’s fine – later, when the story is moving smoothly and I know how the characters interact with each other, I’ll make up the time, and the overall story will be better for it.
It’s been… a month and a half since I finished the first draft of The Black Sun.
I haven’t looked at it yet. Soon. As soon as I’ve actually started the Violet Lane rewrite… which I wanted to be working on by now, but I spent most of this week with a minor-but-annoying cold that slowed my progress. But it’s going to happen! The outline is taking shape—I broke out the index cards late last week—and I hope to be able to start the actual writing by the end of next week.
Actually, I’m going to put it out there: I am going to start the actual writing by the end of next week.
It won’t be easy to get to that point, but I can do it.
There are times (quite a lot of them, lately) when the hardest part of writing is getting past the inertia of not writing. It doesn’t matter how frustrated I get with myself (and I get so frustrated with myself), it’s apparently not enough to make me stop whatever mindless scrolling I’m doing and start writing. But sometimes, something happens—I get sick (or I lose electricity for the better part of an evening, which also happened this week)—and I can’t write, for reasons entirely outside of my control, and everything changes. The mindless scrolling starts to feel unbearably boring (it’s kind of boring anyway, but you know what I mean), and all I want to do is write. (And/or take pictures. Or make things, just in general.)
That’s where I am right now. It’s enough to break through the inertia I’ve been dealing with for a month, and I’m ready to get this thing done.
Real words-on-the-page writing starts again by Friday. Feel free to nag me if it doesn’t.
I might have freaked out—just a little—when it came time to actually start this project.
It shouldn’t have been so intimidating. It had only been two months of downtime—hardly any time at all. But that first day was terrifying. Partly because it was the first of March, and this week has been kind of terrible as far as weather (and light) goes, but partly just because… because. I didn’t feel remotely ready.
But once I got over that initial hurdle, things picked up almost immediately. Like last year’s 365 project, I’ve been phoning it in some days, but my good photos this week have been good. I’m really happy with how it’s going so far.
1. taking… steps to eliminate some of my more annoying distractions. Or trying to, at least.
2. eating… all the Cadbury Creme Eggs.
3. cutting… my hair. Finally. I’ll probably regret it in a few weeks when I start running again and can’t pull it back, but for now, it’s fantastic.
4. thinking… about art and craft and process.
5. watching… Black Panther. So good. (And this time, I don’t have to wait two months to read all the analyses!)
6. feeling… simultaneously frustrated and motivated. It’s… actually not a bad place to be.
7. saving… every single resource linked in this article for future reference. (Writers: take a look! There’s a lot of potential usefulness here.)
8. cursing… Canada Post. Which I end up doing every single time I order something. (All of my parcels did eventually arrive. So that’s nice.)
9. enjoying… the 100 Days of Black & White project more than I thought I would. Mostly. (More on that subject later today.)
10. looking… at cupcake recipes. Still.