Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in December.
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.)
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.
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.
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?
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.”
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?
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.
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.
Every month, I put together a list of everything that caught my attention. Here’s April.
• How to read poetry like a professor an interview with Thomas Foster by Jake Nevins
• How Social Media Perpetuates Cliché Photography by Graham Hiemstra: Three key influencers discuss originality, the rise of copycat photographers, and the future of Instagram (via Goodbye Instagram, hello Ello by Samuel Zeller, which is also a very interesting read.)
• Can Instagram keep its nose clean? by Gian Volpicelli: “… it’s hard not to feel that Instagram lucked out, effectively airbrushing its public image amid Facebook’s whirlwind of scandals.”
• Nikon versus Canon: A Story Of Technology Change by Steven Sinofsky
• What’s the difference between a camera and a human eye? by Haje Jan Kamps: Or: What’s the ISO of a human eye?
• What about the Breakfast Club? by Molly Ringwald: “How are we meant to feel about art that we both love and oppose? What if we are in the unusual position of having helped create it?”
• Queens of Infamy: Eleanor of Aquitaine by Anne Thériault
Richard joined Eleanor after a few years, since she was ostensibly ruling in his name and he would one day have to take over as Duke of Aquitaine, and during this time the two became very close. You know that scene in Disney’s Robin Hood where a disconsolate Prince John mutters “mother always did like Richard best”? If that is not the truest line in any Disney movie ever, I don’t know what is.
• Style Is an Algorithm by Kyle Chayka
We find ourselves in a cultural uncanny valley, unable to differentiate between things created by humans and those generated by a human-trained equation run amok. In other words, what is the product of genuine taste and what is not.
A list of everything that’s caught my attention this month.
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.
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.