Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in March: permission to keep writing, overcoming creative obstacles, the history of murder ballads, and more.
1. having… one of those weeks when my daily tarot draws are uncanny.
2. listening… to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness for the first time in two decades, because a certain Apple commercial got ‘We Only Come Out at Night’ stuck in my head.
3. rolling… my eyes at the empty shelves in the supermarket.
4. being… brave. I think it paid off.
5. catching… a cold at the worst possible time. (Yes, definitely a cold—there’s been no fever—but I still kind of felt like a plague rat.)
6. starting… to suspect that it’s not going to be warm enough to start running this month after all.
7. rethinking… my plans for the website. It’s going to mean more work, but I think it’ll be worth it. (That said: the new homepage in the WordPress.com editor is incredibly annoying.)
8. trying… to stay on top of my todo list. It hasn’t been easy.
9. spending… far too much money on books lately, but I’m done with that for a little while…. At least a month. Really.
10. feeling… sleepy. Stupid time change.
1. rethinking… my holiday baking plans as soon as I figured them out. But I’m out of time, so I can’t make any more changes to my list. Really.
2. putting… up the tree. The 15th is the earliest I’m willing to go.
3. crying… over the Black Widow teaser trailer. Several times. (The Wonder Woman 1984 trailer makes me giddy. Both make me impatient for next year.)
4. listening… to DJ Riko’s 2019 Christmas Mix. I say it every year, but these mixes are amazing. They’ve introduced me to so much incredible Christmas music.
5. sending… my last query letter of the year. I’ve still got a few I want to send in January, but for now I can relax.
6. waiting… an absurdly long time for a shipment from Chapters/Indigo. Yes, it’s a busy time of year, but more than a week for my (in-stock!) order to even go in the mail is embarrassing.
7. accepting… that I’m probably not going to get much writing done this week. Or the rest of the year.
8. eating… Lindor truffles at 9:30 in the morning, because I’m an adult.
9. risking… frostbite for a few photos. By the time I put away the camera, I was genuinely worried. But at least I’m taking some photos?
10. realizing… that almost all of my goals and hopes for 2020 are within my control. Not sure if that’s awesome or scary.
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.)
Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in November.
Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in September.
• Debut Advice: Self-care, Reviews, and Shifting from Reader to Writer by Paper Kyoko: “But in my experience, the sooner you put up boundaries and make a permanent mental shift from reader to writer, the better.”
• Strictly analogue: Polaroid’s past, present and future – a photo essay by Christian Sinibaldi and Mee-Lai Stone: Guardian photographer Christian Sinibaldi tours the world’s last Polaroid film factory, in the Netherlands, the only remaining factory still making film for the much-loved instant cameras
• Procrastination: It’s pretty much all in the mind by Nazima Pathan: “Experts say the study, in Psychological Science, underlines procrastination is more about managing emotions than time.”
• (Deliberate) practice makes perfect: how to become an expert in anything by Aytekin Tank: “And for most areas in our lives, a baseline level of skill is enough. But if we want to truly excel, we have to push past this complacency and out of our comfort zone.”
• Captain Marvel, explained by the people who reimagined her by Susana Polo
“Carol falls down all the time,” DeConnick says, “but she always gets back up — we say that about Captain America as well, but Captain America gets back up because it’s the right thing to do. Carol gets back up because ‘Fuck you.’
• The Victorian Cards That Explained How to Use a Book to Flirt by Natasha Frost: “Young people wanted to flirt with one another; the cards were just one very small part of what the pearl-clutching Morning Oregonian, in 1871, called “apparently innocent indulgences” that paved the way “to ruin.””
What’s the most interesting thing you saw online this month?
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, videos, and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in May.
• My friend Bethany just launched her site! Go take a look—it’s fantastic, and full of advice for us busy writers.
• Are ebooks dying or thriving? The answer is yes by Thu-Huong Ha: “Nobody—industry experts, authors, publishers—can gauge the true size of the self-publishing market. So no one can say for sure what’s going on in the larger book industry.”
• It’s Okay to Give Up on Mediocre Books Because We’re All Going to Die by Janet Frishberg: “One, I realized literally NO ONE cares if I give up on a book except me. (And maybe the author, if I told them, which I wouldn’t do because…no.) Two, I realized that I’m going to die.”
• Why I’m Done With Guest Posting by Margo Aaron: “We’re tacitly participating in a system that’s designed to make readers reactive, angry, and thoughtless.”
• The Myth of Authenticity Is Killing Tex-Mex by Meghan McCarron
Waves of cheesy, spicy, frankly pleasurable Texas-Mexican dishes, with many regional variations, continued to spiral outward in the 20th century and into the 21st: sizzling fajitas, cheese enchiladas, frozen margaritas, queso, breakfast tacos, Frito pie, barbacoa, puffy tacos. Along with the crispy tacos and burritos of Cal-Mex, Tex-Mex became one of America’s most beloved and important regional cuisines, even if most Americans didn’t realize that was what they were eating.
• [SPOILERS!] Heads I Win, Tails YOU DIE: Thanos’ Plan is Even Worse Than You Know by Michael Carlisle
• Do You Know Where Your Healing Crystals Come From? by Emily Atkin: “If shop owners can’t disclose their sourcing without risking business, how can consumers know that their healing crystals didn’t contribute to human trauma or environmental destruction?”
• The New Passport-Poor by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian: “Passports, in other words, were invented not to let us roam freely, but to keep us in place—and in check. They represent the borders and boundaries countries draw around themselves, and the lines they draw around people, too.”
• I love this video so much: ‘Dynamite’ by Tami Neilson. (Someone linked to this on Twitter earlier in the month, but I can’t remember who. If it was you: thanks! You’re awesome!)
What’s the most interesting thing you saw online this month?
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. playing… Shirley Manson and Fiona Apple’s cover of ‘You Don’t Own Me’ on endless repeat.
2. feeling… frustrated. And strangely optimistic.
3. wishing… that the good (convenient) cinema had an opening-week screening of Black Panther that wasn’t in 3D.
4. looking… for a new healthy(ish) snack. I’m a little bored with my recent go-to.
5. planning… another new feature for the blog. Fingers crossed, it’ll debut this week. (Or maybe next week… we’ll see how it goes.)
6. watching… The Force Awakens. Finally. So good, though this is the second Star Wars film in a row that’s made me cry in the theatre.
7. reading… all of the Star Wars analyses and thinkpieces I’ve had saved since December.
8. cleaning… out my closet. I’ve still got too much stuff, but at least I can find it all now.
9. getting… tired of all the rain.
10. outlining… the next story, and resisting the urge to reread the one I just finished.