Inspired | June 2019

Links

Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in June: “I wrote a thing,” setting benchmarks, the impact of free stock photography, thoughts on wellness and mindfulness, crossing the US border, the origins of the Green Man myth, and more.

Snapshot #128 | 10 Things for 2 June 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. getting… back to work.
2. talking… myself out of dying my hair pink. Or teal. Or any colour other than blonde. I miss real colour desperately but I know I can’t be bothered to maintain it.
3. planning… the next draft of Violet Lane. I’m ready to start writing on Monday.
4. experimenting… with the whole bullet journal thing again. Turns out the setup I was using didn’t work as well as I thought.
5. trying… Beyond Meat burgers. I was pleasantly surprised—not the best burger I’ve ever had, but perfectly good for something store-bought, and far better than any other veggie burger I’ve had. I’ll have them again. (That said, I do want to finally try making my own veggie burgers this summer.)
6. catching… up on my podcast backlog! Completely! As of right now, there is no backlog. Which means I’m tempted to go looking for something new, to start the cycle all over again.
7. making… plans for the site redesign. Now I just need to pick a day to tear everything down and rebuild.
8. meeting… the new ravens! Over the past few years, I’ve managed to become friendly acquaintances with the local pair; this year I got to see their fledglings! (Which, yes, meant I was standing in the middle of a public path talking to four ravens like they understand English. But four ravens! 😍)
9. starting… to build my DVD/Blu-Ray collection again. I got out of the habit, but as streaming services multiply, it makes more sense to me to buy anything I want to see more than once. Now I need to figure out how to store these things.
10. refining… my goals and updating my inspiration board.

Levelling Up

Writing

One of my resolutions for 2019 was to “actively seek out inspiration,” to not only look for the art and media that made me want to do things, but to engage with it more.

I also said I’d keep you up to date with that.

Um.

Right. Yeah. Sorry.

I haven’t figured out a way to talk about it that feels natural for this space. I tend to shy away from writing reviews or critiques—even short ones—but I don’t know a better way to do it. (If you have an idea, drop it in the comments! I really do want to sort something out.)

But I have been doing the important part: over the last couple of months, I’ve been more intentional in the movies I choose to watch and the books I choose to read. This time, it’s not just a matter of pulling myself out of a rut (though… it’s kind of that, too), it’s about looking at the media that thrills me, and picking it apart and figuring out why I love it so much—and why it frustrates me, because most of the time, the stories I love the most are the ones that infuriate me. Not only are my standards higher, but I spend more time thinking about the story, working through character arcs and plot threads, and eventually—inevitably—seeing the places where they fall apart.

(And, no, I’m not talking about Game of Thrones—I’ve never watched it—but I do have to acknowledge that it’s part of the reason I’m thinking about this stuff right now. I’ve been watching the discussion over the past few weeks, and it’s given me a lot of new ideas about craft and storytelling.)

(I am talking about Avengers: Endgame. At least a little bit.)

Snapshot #126 | 10 Things for 5 May 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. nursing… a post-Endgame emotional hangover. (Didn’t cry in the theatre, but it was a near thing.)
2. thinking… about John Singleton. Everyone’s talking about Boyz N the Hood (and rightly so), but Higher Learning (trailer) had a huge impact on me when I was first falling in love with movies. This hurts.
3. making… a real plan for the new running season. I started later than I’d like (stupid rain), but it’s not too bad, and I’ve got plenty of time to reach my goal for the year.
4. baking… this cake. It might be my new favourite (small batch!) chocolate cake recipe: the cake is flavourful and delicate, the frosting is fantastic, and none of it is too complicated.
5. figuring… out a tricky worldbuilding detail in the mysterious next writing project.
6. planning… some changes.
7. starting… to daydream about cold brew season. Yes, two weeks ago I was complaining about how spring—let alone summer—would never get here. I got over it.
8. feeling… motivated. And also sleepy?
9. troubleshooting… the Scrivener export/compile process. I mean… it works, but it’s not exporting a file that looks the way I want it to when I import it into other applications. (I like to deliver the file to beta readers using Google Drive. It solves so many compatibility issues.)
10. looking… for ducklings and goslings every time I’m near the lake… no luck so far.

Snapshot #125 | 10 Things for 21 April 2019

Personal

Happy Easter–or Passover–if you celebrate! If you don’t celebrate either, Happy Cheap-Chocolate-Day Eve!

Currently…

1. finishing… the third(!!) draft of The Black Sun!
2. trying… the iOS version of Scrivener. So far, so good, though it does make it a little difficult to walk away from the story. (It gets weirdly tempting to edit scenes when the cat wakes me up at four o’clock in the morning. Not that she did that twice in the past two weeks or anything.)
3. getting… my tickets for Endgame. (And making sure I’ve got waterproof mascara on hand, because I have a feeling I’m gonna need it.)
4. figuring… out a way to organize Evernote that might actually work for me. Finally.
5. looking… forward to the Veronica Mars revival. Now I just need to figure out how I can watch it in Canada.
6. wondering… why all my library holds suddenly become available at the same time every time. It’s hard to keep up.
7. finding… everything I need for my first big sewing project of the year, and I’m so excited to get started.
8. buying… a new jacket. I wasn’t planning on it, and I’m not happy about the unexpected expense, but my old one finally gave up the ghost and it’s not warm enough for my denim jacket just yet. (At least it was on sale?)
9. making… hot cross buns. I’ve mostly got the recipe down–they taste amazing–but they’re still not very pretty. (Does anyone have advice for working with brioche-style dough? It seems to have a mind of its own, and I can’t convince it to stay in nice round buns.)
10. trying… to remember the difference between em-dashes and en-dashes. I never know which one to use.

Snapshot #124 | 10 Things for 7 April 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. hoping… that my merlin friends are going to be back this year. (Do they return to the same nest year after year? I don’t know.) I think I heard one yesterday. (Note: that second photo is very slightly graphic, in a nature documentary sort of way.)
2. tracking… down some Cadbury creme eggs. I had to go to the fancy British grocery to find them and they only carried five-packs, but it turns out the British ones are better than the ones they make for the Canadian market, so that’s something. Craving satisfied.
3. tidying… up my Evernote account.
4. deciding… what I’m going to make for Easter dessert.
5. planning… a new semi-regular thing around here. Only reason I haven’t launched yet is because I can’t figure out what to call it.
6. getting… used to the coffee grinder I got for the office. (There’s a bit of trial and error involved when it comes to quantities.)
7. trying… some new skincare stuff. Half-convinced it’s snake oil, but my skin does feel a bit better.
8. finding… my big-picture inspiration again.
9. looking… for a copy of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I’ve had an urge to watch it again for the first time in years… and yet. (I prefer physical copies for movies that I want to keep.)
10. wondering… when it’s going to start feeling like spring. They’re calling for a snowstorm tomorrow.

Snapshot #123 | 10 Things for 24 March 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. loving… everything about Captain Marvel. So much. Including the kid two seats down from me who fist-pumped and shouted ‘yes!’ at the end of the mid-credits scene. (He also air-drummed his way through ‘Celebrity Skin,’ which was kind of awesome. On that note: the soundtrack was pretty much just one of the mixtapes I made in junior high. Which made the whole thing even better.)
2. worrying… about Lucy. She wasn’t feeling well, and had to go to the vet. But she’s doing better now, and the vet says that she’s otherwise in very good health. I had a couple of very anxious days, though.
3. realizing… that I still haven’t changed the time on the office clock. (Which should give you an idea of how often I look at it.)
4. looking… for Cadbury Creme Eggs. I can’t seem to find them this year, which of course means I really want one.
5. trying… to wear dresses and skirts more often. I’m out of practice.
6. making… a major breakthrough in my revisions on The Black Sun. You guys. It’s gonna be so good.
7. realizing… that it’s going to be time start running again soon. I need to make some new playlists.
8. spending… a little too much money lately. Time to rein that in.
8. giving… up on the sourdough starter. Just for a little while. I’ll try again when I’m a bit less frustrated with it. (It keeps almost working, and then… not.)
10. feeling… uninspired. It’s just been one of those weeks.

Snapshot #122 | 10 Things for 10 March 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. talking… myself out of buying a fantastic red statement couch for the office… to replace the fantastic red statement chair I bought for the office, and deeply regretted approximately two months later.
2. looking… forward to Captain Marvel. (I’m going this evening, and I’m giddy.)
3. loving… some of the photos I’ve been taking this week. It’s been a very good few days.
4. shovelling… snow. Twice in one day. The second time, in the rain.
5. sleeping… in. Sort of. Technically. This is the one day a year that the cat lets me.
6. daydreaming… about travel. I’m having a serious wanderlust moment right now.
7. approaching… the end of this draft of Violet Lane, and I’m really loving it. And I’m on track to meet my end-of-month deadline. (Assuming the final setpiece doesn’t give me as much trouble as the midpoint did… but even if it does, I think I have time to figure it out.)
8. figuring… out how to make all the intense writing sessions I’ve been doing fit into the rest of my schedule.
9. troubleshooting… my sourdough starter. I’ve figured out why it wasn’t working; the next attempt should be a winner.
10. falling… down some really fun research rabbit holes.