Monday, October 30, 2023

7 Things About NaNo

1. Having a goal can be useful. I went for a walk on the weekend and set the goal that I was going to walk without pausing until the end of the podcast I was listening to. It helped me push through and walk a smudge further than I might have otherwise.
2. The number is arbitrary. I like the 50k goal. But it's not going to be the right pace for everyone. If what you cone away with is learning your best pace, that's great info. 
3. Community helps. Try a write in - virtual, in person, whichever. Knowing all those other people are writing can help. There are enough virtual ones that there is almost always one happening somewhere. Last year, my work schedule let me do one in the mornings. This year I'm going to be looking for more evening ones. 
4. Sleep, food, hangouts with people who quite honestly don't care that much about your writing - though the like you, these things are all so good for you. Consider all your people interactions writing research. 
5. Move, stretch, hydrate. Take good care of yourself so you can keep coming back and making words. 
6. I'm a big fan of trying new things. Dictation, writing by hand, writing in the morning, writing at lunch, writing on my phone, writing with special writer snacks. But the flip side is I also quit a lot of things that turn out not to work. So it's be afraid to try new things. But also don't be afraid to quit the ones that aren't working.
7. There will come a point when the tracker you are using seems to have it in for you. It suddenly tells you, you won't finish until January, or that your daily average dropped. I think tracking helps. But, if you need to look away from the tracker for a few days, and focus on the words you can get, do that. All of this is to support you writing more words. The words are the priority. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. I had not been paying attention to the progress on the malaria vaccine front, but as someone who mosquitos find very tasty, this is promising. 
2. This LifeKit Guide to exploring non-monogamy also has good tips for anyone trying to navigate relationships better. 
3. With the disclosure that I work for an organization that is, among other things, piloting a similar program in DC, this article about a program in Michigan designed to address the teacher shortfall
Bonus thing: This poem by a Palestinian poet was brought to my attention. 

Monday, October 23, 2023

Writing and Center Out Blankets

I have been pondering writing and knitting because these are two things I have spent a lot of time doing. So I have a lot of thoughts about how they can be similar. 
When you knit a blanket center out you start, at the center, as the name implies. Often you start with some very small number like 8 stitches. And then as you go and it gets bigger. 
One of the things I like about center out is that it starts small, so it doesn't seem like a big commitment. If you start knitting a blanket along one edge, even a shorter edge, it takes more than eight stitches. It pretty quickly becomes a large project. 
Whereas center out, you can sort of pretend, well maybe I'm only knitting a small thing. Because in theory, if you stop and bind off, it is a thing. A knitted napkin perhaps. And then it gets to baby blanket sized. And then lap blanket. And if you keep going, then adult blanket sized. 
And writing, particularly if you pants, can be like that. Some stories are just flash or short stories. Some are novellas or novelettes. Some are epics. And sometimes you start out writing what you think is a small thing, but the story expands. And sometimes what seems like a very grand idea wraps up quite quickly. And then you have to decide to either accept that, or add more yarn/plot to make it bigger. 
And, when you are knitting center out, often, unless you have endlessly large needles, you can only sort of see how big thr project has become. And then you begin binding off and discover you have made this large thing. 
And sometimes, sitting down and telling yourself you have only committed to a small goal, is how you get ready for a big, epic project. The story ends when you say it does after all. Any time you want it too. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. I confess I have become too reliant on my cards of late, and this post was a reminder of how expensive that can be for the business where I shop.
2. One of the challenges of the secret baby trope, is that there's so much awkward, and of course, it happens even when everyone is trying to do their best. This Ask A Manager post shows one such scenario.
3. Having just finished Kerry Washington's memoir (I went audio, can recommend) - this interview where Washington talked about how sharing a family secret has been helpful.  (I went in cold, and if you love a good surprise, save the article for after.)

Monday, October 16, 2023

Tasting the Food

My cat eats dry food in small bits, like a tastings. The wet food she either scarfs down immediately or eats in stages. The stages still add up to an hour at most. But she will eat a little, then walk away from the bowl. Often flop down somewhere else like now she's moved on. But a few minutes later she will return and eat more. 
I tend to be like that. Having had jobs where food time was exactly 30 minutes, and honestly they would prefer it to be less, and then jobs where, are you sure you even need lunch? So when I'm alone I am often focused. Evening if am also reading while eating. 
But when I have someone to chat with and no schedule to adhere to - I can nibble for hours. It's fun and also, the food often does taste better when you take time. The slow food people are onto something. 

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. If you've noticed a change in the USA Today Bestseller list as it returned this year, this post looks into why. It is referencing less data at the moment. 
2. A local resident wrote wonderfully about how a local bookstore featured into a bit of her DC dating life
3. I don't just love this episode of "Code Switch" because they talked about amnesia (but you best believe academic amnesia has me very intrigued) but this look at what it means to remember, the ways we suppress and push back against the telling of some stories is fascinating.  (Content note: discussion of genocide, forced displacement, death threats.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Open Letter to the NHL

Dear NHL,
I tend to be quiet during the season, just happily watching or listening to games and okay cheering or cursing, so quiet is in the eye of the beholder. 
So, I didn't comment on y'all letting a few players mouth off about Pride Nights last year, or teams happening to change planned warm up jerseys the day of the game night so it wasn't as obvious who was refusing to participate in said event. But it sucked. 
Hockey seasons are long and the theme nights are a thing. I know there are players who are from countries where freely acknowledging being LBGTQIA+ is, shall we say, punishable. 
But look, there are also players from countries that have clashed with the US militarily, and I assume they are expected to play along with military nights. I know they are expected to listen to a national anthem and sometimes two, regardless of their country of origin. 
But now, I hear the NHL is not only not doing Pride nights, but forbidding things like rainbow tape? Rainbow tape?
Hockey is not the only sport with a diversity problem, and I am well aware that half assed Pride nights do not make things more inclusive. But this choice is regressive. Hockey cannot claim to be for everyone if players are not allowed to express solidarity or allyship. 
And meanwhile, the Washington Capitals have a Hawaiian shirt night on the schedule, and the NHL has yet* to have a Hawaiian player.
So hockey can celebrate cultures it won't invite in. But apparently players cannot be or express solidarity with LGBTQIA+ folks, and somehow hockey expects to expand the fanbase this way? Because right now, I am thinking hard about my commitment to hockey fandom. 

*Happy to be proven wrong on this.

Monday, October 09, 2023

Delightful Memories

I was reading a book (TJ Alexander's Chef's Choice) and one of the characters lives in Paris, so they end up in Paris, and for their first meal the Parisien character goes and buys fruit, and bread, and cheese, and wine, and meat, and they go sit on a spot along the Seine and eat. 
Because I was in college in Scotland, heading to Paris for spring break was comparatively easy and cheap. And so I went with two friends who had both lived in Paris for a time. And for our first meal we went to a small grocer, and bought bread and cheese and strawberries and then sat alongside the Seine and ate the food while staring at the river. 
It was a delightful way to start the trip. And while we did and ate other delightful things, it stuck in my memory as a standout moment. 
Of course I live in a city with a river (and also a channel, and another river). And I do try to make sure to go see it. To remind myself of the waterways. 
And while I eat less dairy during peak allergy times, bread and cheese and fruit is always a great choice. 
And so in addition to a fun food centric romance, I got to ponder a really great memory. 

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. Them spoke with 5 trans students about their thoughts on this fall at school.  
2. NPR had an article about making cities spongier to help with flooding.  
3. Atlanta magazine spoke about romance authors in and near Atlanta.  

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

New Story in CommuterLit

Hey Hungry Readers, 
I've got a story appearing in CommuterLit this week. It's an ezine that focuses on fiction or poetry that is commute sized. (Your commute may vary.) My story is about a mermaid with a little grudge. So not so much a romance this time, but there is some emotional closure to be found:

Monday, October 02, 2023

"Monumental Travesties" at Mosaic Theater

Content note: reference to recent parental death, onstage urination, references to COVID, reference to police brutality, imprisonment, gunshots

I talk a lot about conversation plays, plays where the idea is to stimulate conversation, to ask more questions than it answers. "Monumental Travesties" I think falls firmly into this category. 
Chase is a performance artist and in his most recent act, he has severed Lincoln's head from the statue in Lincoln Park. The action takes place entirely in Chase and his wife Angela's living room. Their neighbor Adam appears having discovered a Lincoln head in his rosebushes. The action takes place over a single evening. There are discussions of grief, allyship, treaties, a moment where Chase uses Adam to recreate the poses found in the statue to discuss if the statue is demoralizing or embarrassing. There is talk about code switching, and so, so, many lies that the three have or choose to tell. 
The performances are wonderful.  I had seen Louis E. Davis and Jonathan Feuer previously at Mosaic in "Charm". (Renee Elizabeth Wilson grew up here, and has been in several local performance, so me not having seen her before is a failure on my part.) The set design was amazing. 
There is no intermission which I think suits the bonkers pace of things. 
Also, worth noting, because I love it in all it's forms, there is amnesia. Yup, they make time for amnesia and it's not even the wildest thing that happens.