Introducing “Postcards”

Admin

I’ve been hinting at a couple of projects I’m working on behind the scenes, and it’s finally time to announce the first one:

I’m launching a newsletter!

If you already subscribe to the blog via email, this is different. It will include links to my best blog posts, but other than that it will be entirely new: exclusive updates on the projects I’m working on (including sneak-peeks), early announcements, and occasional surprises.

(If you do subscribe to the blog, nothing about that will change. You’ll continue to receive all posts as usual, and you will not be automatically signed up for the newsletter.)

The newsletter will go out twice a month: there will be a photography-related issue on the 7th, and a fiction-focussed issue on the 21st. (If I have a particularly big announcement to make, that might merit its own email, but those will have to be very special circumstances.) That’s it. I will never spam you, I promise.

If you’re only interested in my fiction—or my photography—that’s cool. I understand completely. You can choose to receive only the writing-related or photo-related updates, and change those preferences at any time.

If you’d like to subscribe (and I hope you will!), here’s the sign-up form. (I’ll be adding links to the site over the next week or so.)

The first issue of ‘Postcards from Reghan Skerry’ goes out next week!

Inspired | July 2018

Links

Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in July.

The Complete Suite of Friends a Writer Needs by Isabel Yap

Creative burnout is inevitable. Here are 10 ways to beat it by Co.Design and The Creative Independent: “We’re living in an era when round-the-clock communication is simply a fact of life, and the always-on culture of many workplaces can take an outsize toll on creatives, who need mental and physical energy to do their best work.”

The Complicated Legacy of ‘The Dark Knight’ by Richard Newby

While we so often refer to The Dark Knight as the best comic book adaptation, filmmakers and audiences have largely failed to learn from its creative lessons: comic book characters are malleable. They are able to be grounded or fantastic, able to be prestigious or pure blockbuster entertainment, to be dark and gritty or light, to be character-driven or action-packed, or any variation in-between.

Ten Years Later, “The Dark Knight” and Its Vision of Guilt Still Resonate by Bilge Ebiri

The film, in case you’re wondering, still holds up — especially at a time when superhero flicks, with a few exceptions, have turned assembly-line anonymity into both an aesthetic and a transactional promise. Seen through today’s glut of pro forma blockbusters, The Dark Knight seems like that rarest of movies — a mass-market product that also happens to be a personal picture driven by genuine moral vision.

Magic Mike XXL Is Basically ‘The Odyssey,’ But With Butts by Helena Fitzgerald

The primary point of the Hero’s Journey is that the quest leads up to a decisive victory that can be won; the day can be saved, good can triumph over evil. But Magic Mike, although it seems like a quest, is a story totally uninterested in victory or in achievement.

‘My brain feels like it’s been punched’: the intolerable rise of perfectionism by Paula Cocozza: The pursuit of perfection, taken to extremes, can lead to OCD and depression – and the number of students reporting the problem has jumped by 33% since 1989

Don’t Feed the Trolls, and Other Hideous Lies by Film Crit Hulk: “It starts by acknowledging that these systems are so large and pervasive and such an important part of people’s forward-facing lives that it is intrinsically necessary to protect the well-being of the people on it.”

Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read by Julie Beck: “With its streaming services and Wikipedia articles, the internet has lowered the stakes on remembering the culture we consume even further. But it’s hardly as if we remembered it all before.”

Living Alone and Liking It by Ashley Fetters: “The fraught nature of the “bachelorette pad” ideal, though, could be rooted in layers upon layers of historical anxiety about women living alone, and it takes only a rudimentary knowledge of the world’s power dynamics to understand why.”

What’s the most interesting thing you saw online this month?

Sketchbook #35

Photography, Writing

I’ll be honest: the heatwave has been awful for my motivation this month. I haven’t wanted to do anything but hide indoors and stare at my phone. (Even watching a movie or reading has felt like it required too much energy the last few weeks.)

My goals going into July were to write (including outlining and editing) more days than not, and to keep going with my photography project. I wanted to make it another 1/3 of the way through editing The Black Sun, and make a good start on the Violet Lane outline. And I wanted to start carrying a real camera more often.

(I also wanted to announce one of the big scary projects I’ve been working on. And that will be happening before the end of the month, which means by end-of-day tomorrow. And that’s all I’m going to say about it until then. Watch this space.)

You already know how the first round of edits on The Black Sun went (spoiler: really well!). I gave myself a few days off before diving into the second round (mostly to clean up the inevitable errors that I added on my first pass), and as of right now, I’m about half-way through that process. I’m still happy with the story. Mostly. I’m looking forward to hearing what my beta readers have to say; I want to know if the things that I think need work do or if it’s just the fact that I’ve read this story seventeen million times, and I can’t quite tell which way is up anymore.

And I’m making good progress on the Violet Lane outline! I’ve got the arc of the story figured out, and I’ve started filling in the gaps between the big scenes. It’s still a little top-heavy—I know almost the entire first half of the story, and almost nothing in the second—but that’s normal for me at this stage of things.

I’m also starting to suspect that it’s the first of a series (or a trilogy, at least). I haven’t quite decided how I feel about that. One one hand, if that’s how the story has to be told, then that’s how it has to be told. On the other… that’s a lot of story, and I have to write it all. So. (I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I really wish this particular story already existed. I’d be just as happy to read someone else’s version, instead of writing it myself.)

And I’ve started brainstorming a new story concept. I’m not sure when (or even if) I’m going to try writing it, but right now I really love it.

So… I guess my writing went well this month. I still feel like I’ve found a routine that works for me, and I’ve managed to maintain it.

And, for once, I’m happy with my photography, too! (It seems like it’s always one or the other, never both.)

I mean: I’m still picking away at my 100 Days project, but I’m on track to finish it this week. And I have been carrying my camera more often. Not everywhere—I’m still not taking it when I go grocery shopping—but I’ve been making an effort. And it’s paid off: I’m absolutely thrilled with some of the photos I’ve been taking over the past few weeks. I feel like I’ve been figuring out some things about myself as a photographer, and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

I’m also still moving forward with the office refresh; the last two weeks, I’ve been focussed specifically on improving the space for photography, and I’m absolutely loving the changes I’ve been making. (That said: it’s also feeling a little bit cluttered right now. I officially can’t buy anything else that takes up floor space until I get rid of the last of the old, ugly furniture… which I can’t do until I figure out some new storage solutions.)

So, yeah: despite the terrible, terrible heat wave, which has made me feel lazy and unproductive, July was a really good month.

And, since I’m pretty sure that setting very specific goals at the start of the month contributed to that, I’m going to do the same for August.

When it comes to my writing, I want to finish up this round of edits on The Black Sun (hopefully this week), and get it out to my beta readers. And then I want to try very hard to think about literally anything else. (I’m serious: I haven’t sent a story out to readers since before I went through my whole burnout-never-writing-again thing, and I know this is going to trigger a certain amount of anxiety.) It’ll give me a good opportunity to focus on Violet Lane (I need to figure out if one particular character actually belongs in the story, and I’d like to finish the index card outline) and on developing the new story concept into an actual story. (If I end the month with a logline and *maybe* a short synopsis, I’ll be happy.)

For photography, I want to figure out a new daily—or near-daily—project to work on ASAP. I don’t like being without something specific to focus on. (Pun only sort of intended.) I want to keep going with black & white, but beyond that… I’m not sure. And I’m going to keep pushing myself to use a real camera more often than my phone.

Finally, I will get that second big scary project ready to announce by the end of the month. I refuse to put it off any longer.

Now, let’s just hope the heatwave breaks.

Snapshot #106 | 10 Things for 29 July 2018

Personal

Currently…

1. waking… up at quarter to six on a Saturday to help the cat catch a moth that somehow got inside. (Or… waking up at quarter to six on a Saturday to keep the cat from destroying the apartment in her attempts to catch a moth that somehow got inside.)
2. wondering… where my time is going in the evenings. Clearly, I’m doing something different, but I don’t know what.
3. brainstorming… ideas for a new story. Early days yet, but it has the potential to be kind of fantastic.
4. making… cold-brew iced coffee. Which is incredibly nice on those days when it’s so hot that the 7-minute walk to the coffee shop feels completely unreasonable, even if they do have air conditioning.
5. updating… the florals in black & white gallery.
6. planning… a few little changes to the site. It’s not going to be a full redesign (tempting as it is), but it’s time for a few improvements and new features.
7. taking… another big step on the office update. Every change I make, I fall in love with this space a little more.
8. wishing… the humidity would ease up.
9. trying… an iOS text editor that seems to meet all my criteria. (It’s not as pretty as I’d like, but it syncs with Dropbox and doesn’t implode when I try to open a novel-length file. And that’s really all I need.)
10. getting… ready to make one of my big announcements. This week!

100 Days of Black & White: Day 84 | Reghan Skerry

100 Days of Black & White: #081-090

Photography

Ten days to go!

Or, knowing me and the way I’ve approached this project, probably closer to 12-14 days to go! (Remember when I said this project was going to end on 9 June? And that I’d use a real camera more than my phone? Good times.)

That said: I have started carrying a real camera more often, this last week or so. And I am incredibly happy with these photos. (Most of them, anyway.) I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do after I wrap this project (as always: I welcome your suggestions! Leave a comment if you’ve got any ideas for me), but I know I want to keep going with black and white. I’ve fallen in love with it (again) in the past few months, and I’m not ready to go back to colour full-time.

The Black Sun (round 1 edits): Finished!

Writing

On Monday, I finished the first round of edits on The Black Sun.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but this was a new experience for me. Historically, my “edits” have been closer to “full rewrites,” and so overwhelming that I often couldn’t bring myself to bother. (This isn’t a reflection on the quality of the stories, as much as my own perfectionism. The steps I’ve been taking to overcome—or at least work with—that have done wonders for my writing process.)

For the first time in years, I wrote a first draft that I was truly happy with. The first draft of The Black Sun wasn’t perfect, but I could see the story I’d set out to tell. It felt like the story I’d set out to tell.

The past few months have been a learning experience for me, as I figured out how to actually edit a story rather than start over from scratch. But the first round is done. I’m still in love with the story and the world, and that in itself is a small miracle.

I’m going to let the story rest for a few days, and devote my time and energy to the new Violet Lane outline. And then I’m going to read through The Black Sun again, fix any continuity errors that were introduced in this round of edits (I know of at least one important one), do a little more fact-checking.

And then it’ll be time to send it to my beta readers. (That’ll be its own adventure.)

Snapshot #105 | 10 Things for 15 July 2018

Personal

Currently…

1. editing… The Black Sun. I’ll be finishing the first pass this week. Then, I’ll do one more quick pass (for fact-checking—yay for slightly-skewed historical fiction!—and to make sure I didn’t introduce any new plot holes), and then… we’ll see.
2. trying… to get into the habit of carrying a real camera more often than I don’t. I’m not sure if I’ll bother taking it when I go to buy office supplies, but it’s something.
3. moving… forward on the next stage of the office update. I’ll be finished eventually, I’m sure.
4. enduring… the heatwave.
5. repainting… the balcony furniture. Finally. It’s been nagging me since May, at least.
6. worrying… that I might’ve aggravated my back again, but it seems to be fine.
7. hemming… more curtains. And seriously considering selling my sewing machine so I don’t subject myself to this madness again. (Joking. Mostly.)
8. working… on the outline for my new & improved take on Violet Lane. It’s like all the best bits from my previous two attempts are turning into something entirely new, and I can’t wait to start writing.
9. looking… for new podcasts to listen to. I’ve been up-to-date for too long, and not having something waiting in the queue at any given moment to is starting to irritate me. (Do you have a favourite that I might not have heard of? Let me know in the comments.)
10. feeling… the effects of not running or exercising during that heatwave. It was only a few days, but… yeah. I’m recovering quickly, at least.

100 Days of Black & White: Day 74 | Reghan Skerry

100 Days of Black & White: #071-080

Photography

I’m a little bit late with this roundup. And I was a little bit (but not quite as) late getting through this particular group of ten photos. (Between the heatwave and whatever I did to my back—which does seem to be better now—I spent a couple of days not doing much at all except hiding from the outdoors. And that doesn’t lend itself to interesting photos.)

I’m still not sure what my next project is going to be. If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments!

Snapshot #104 | 10 Things for 1 July 2018

Personal

Happy Canada Day! 🇨🇦

Currently…

1. slacking… on my photo project. (It’s been a boring couple of days.) I’m going to try to get back to it today.
2. baking… bread on the hottest, most humid day of the year, because of course I was.
3. hoping… I’ll be able to finally paint the balcony furniture this weekend. (It’s a long weekend, so I still have time.)
4. cleaning… up my social media accounts.
5. celebrating… the start of iced-coffee season.
6. finding… my focus again.
7. twisting… something in my back. So that’s been fun. (I thought it was healed, but I seem to have aggravated it again.)
8. feeling… drained. The heat and humidity I mentioned in #2 hit me hard.
9. making… the summer’s first batch of ice cream.
10. reediting… some favourite photos.