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.

Snapshot #116 | 10 Things for 16 December 2018

Personal

Currently…

1. feeling… sleepy. The cat’s been waking me up in the middle of the night.
2. watching… the trailers for Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, over and over (and over) again.
3. solving… story problems. Or trying to. (I think I am.)
4. making… cookies. The actual marathon doesn’t start until tomorrow, but I had a jar of peanut butter I had to use up, so….
5. hemming… yet another set of curtains. Thankfully, I’ve only got one room to go, and those will be nice and simple. I’m done with the sheer and/or slippery fabrics.
6. trying… to balance my time. I’ve still got a lot of things I want to get done in the next two weeks, but I don’t want to stress myself too much.
7. listening… to DJ Riko‘s 2018 Christmas Mix. Still one of my very favourite holiday traditions.
8. thinking… about my plans for next year.
9. muting… so many keywords on Twitter for the rest of the month. It’s a good time for a break.
10. wondering… why it’s so difficult to find good quality felt around here. (I’ve got a couple of craft projects in mind, and it shouldn’t be this much of a challenge.)

Snapshot #110 | 10 Things for 23 September 2018

Personal

Currently…

1. watching… the Captain Marvel trailer. Several times in a row. I am so incredibly excited for this movie.
2. spending… a lot of time thinking about notebooks.
3. making… ice cream and bread at the same time, because this is a weird time of year.
4. trying… to choose which books to read next. (It shouldn’t be this difficult!)
5. having… a small epiphany re: some of my anxieties around creative work.
6. getting… ready to (finally!) paint the living room. That’s one more step toward getting rid of the awful builder’s beige for good.
7. listening… to a lot Talking Heads lately. (Or… I just want to listen to ‘Life During Wartime,’ ‘Psycho Killer,’ and ‘Once in a Lifetime‘ on an endless loop. I should probably just watch Stop Making Sense again soon.)
8. craving… a change.
9. starting… to daydream about hot coffee and scarves and fingerless gloves.
10. realizing… that I haven’t written this month’s ‘Sketchbook’ post yet. So it’ll probably be late.

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?

Inspired | June 2018

Links

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

The Key Book Publishing Paths: 2018 by Jane Friedman: a downloadable chart detailing the most common publishing options

The 430 Books in Marilyn Monroe’s Library: How Many Have You Read? by Ayun Halliday

A study on the financial state of visual artists today by The Creative Independent: “With this report, we hope to paint a clearer picture of how structures of the art world work (or don’t work) to grow artists’ careers, help them earn a living, and satisfy their overall human needs.”

The Perfect Photo: Myth or Reality? by Emily Ludolph: “As creators, we can spend hours fine-tuning the tiniest details until we deem our end result “perfect.” But is there really such a thing as perfection when it comes to creativity?”

Why photojournalism matters by Elodie Mailliet Storm: “This image is the result of ten years of John’s work documenting the U.S. Mexican border, way before it increasingly became “news” under the new Administration.”

How Instagram’s algorithm works by Josh Constine

Why Photography’s B&W vs Color Debate Is No Debate At All by Lars Mensel: “Just as black and white now looks reduced to our eyes, color must have seemed gaudy to the photographers of the 1950s: It looked like embellishment.”

How everything on the internet became clickbait by Kevin Munger (via Now I Know, which I highly recommend subscribing to.)

This setup is perfect for people motivated primarily by diversion and duty — anyone with an internet connection has access to more high-quality information sources than Harvard professors 50 years ago could have dreamed of. It turns out that there just aren’t many people who want to take advantage of that; most of us are more into drama and display.

#BotSpot: Twelve Ways to Spot a Bot by Ben Nimmo: Some tricks to identify fake Twitter accounts

You Have to Fail a Little by Melissa Baumgart: “When I am flailing in my writing, certain I don’t know what I’m doing anymore, I put on Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse to remind myself that however bad it gets, it’s not as rough as being Francis Ford Coppola on the set of Apocalypse Now.”

The Hidden Queer History Behind “A League of Their Own” by Britni de la Cretaz: “By not including a gay character’s story in “A League of Their Own,” the film does to the history of the league what the owners tried to do its existence—erase lesbians from the narrative.”

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

Snapshot #101 | 10 Things for 20 May 2018

Personal

Currently…

1. working… on those behind-the-scenes projects I mentioned. I’ll be ready to launch very soon, and I’m so excited to share them with you guys!
2. processing… my post-Infinity War emotions. They’re… complex. (In a good way!)
3. hemming… curtains. The excitement never ends.
4. thinking… about Violet Lane. I’m not ready to give up on it, but it still doesn’t feel like I’m on the right track with it.
5. building… a proper running routine for the summer. Finally!
6. starting… the annual search for a sunscreen I don’t hate. (If you have a suggestion, let me know in the comments! I need something that keeps me ghostly-pale without leaving chalky white stains on all my black clothes.)
7. getting… over myself. At least a little.
8. troubleshooting… weird phone issues.
9. considering… a new design for the site. Which is absurd—I like the current design, it’s functional, and it hasn’t even been a full year since the last redesign—but I’m fickle and easily distracted by shiny things.
10. daydreaming… about homemade ice cream. Soon.

Merlin | Reghan Skerry

Snapshot #100 | 10 Things for 6 May 2018

Personal

Currently…

1. thinking… about moving to a lighter shade of blonde. I’m tempted to go really light, but let’s be honest: I can’t be bothered with the maintenance it requires. (I’m also having one of those moments when I desperately miss having pink hair. But again: maintenance.)
2. trying… to get good photos of the merlins who’ve moved into the neighbourhood. (And feeling kind of torn. The merlins are adorable, but so are the chickadees and juncos that they’re definitely hunting.)
3. making… this cake. I went a little overboard (ganache! black cocoa!) but it was fantastic.
4. wondering… how many times Creative Screenwriting is going to sell their email list. The magazine folded years ago (which is too bad, because I liked that magazine), and look: a new batch of screenwriting-related spam.
5. struggling… to establish a good running routine this year. The weather has not been on my side. Yes, I could run in the rain. And at some point this summer, I probably will. Just not yet.
6. putting… the office in order. It’s still a work-in-progress, but it’s already so much better than it was.
7. managing… to avoid Infinity War spoilers. (Mostly. As much as possible.)
8. spending… all my time & money at Ikea. (See #6, above.)
9. having… a really busy week. Hopefully, things will even out again soon.
10. starting… to crave iced coffee. Soon.