Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 25-31, 2021

Welcome to thoughty Thursday, your chance to get your mental corn popping. The weekend’s in sight! We’ll get there 🙂

Christian Spencer reports that the majority of Americans want the history of racism and slavery taught in schools. The Hill

Li Zhou explains why Illinois’s new law requiring Asian American history in schools is so significant. Vox

Dianne Lugo: 100 years after forceful removal, Nez Perce people celebrates reclaimed homeland. Statesman Journal    

Matthew Wills considers vaccine hesitancy in the 1920s. See, it’s nothing new 😦 JSTOR Daily

Andrew McKevitt shares some foundations and key concepts about guns in America. JSTOR Daily

InSight reveals the deep interior of Mars. NASA

How do supermassive black holes grow? Dr. Becky

What the new black hole discovery tells us. Physics Girl

Climate tipping points are now imminent, scientists warn. Deutche Welle (DW)

Sara Burrows: woman turns non-recyclable plastic into bricks seven times stronger than concrete. Return to Now

Kim Fahner: we, and those who come after, have a stake in what happens to the Laurentian Trail System. Sudbury.com

Mary Hynes interviews Robin Wall Kimmerer about the spirit of life in everything. CBC’s Tapestry

Why is sex a thing? It’s okay to be smart

Weird body parts. SciShow

Siobhan Leddy: Leonora Carrington brought a wild, feminist energy to surrealist painting. Artsy

Maya Wei-Haas reports that this 890-year-old sponge fossil may be the earliest animal yet found. National Geographic

Thanks for taking the time to stop by, and I hope you took away something to inspire a future creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 2-8, 2021

Let’s get your mental corn popping people!

Becky Sullivan: family and civil rights leaders mourn Andrew Brown Jr. at funeral. NPR

Emily Shapiro and Marlene Lenthang: Atlanta officer fired after fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks has been reinstated. CBS News

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor considers the emerging movement for police and prison abolition. The New Yorker

Mohammed Elnaiem: the “deviant” African genders that colonialism condemned. JSTOR Daily

Paulina Cachero and Olivia B. Waxman compile 11 moments from Asian American history you should know. Time

Lam Thuy Vo: when their community suffered, these Asian Americans stepped up (where the government didn’t). Documented

Krystal Vasquez says, a disability shouldn’t be a death sentence during a natural disaster. Environmental Health News

Dhruv Khullar takes us inside India’s covid-19 surge. The New Yorker

Erica X Eisen reveals Georgian Britain’s anti-vaxxer movement: “The mark of the beast.” The Public Domain Review

Richard A Friedman says, you might be depressed now, but don’t underestimate your resilience. The New York Times

Why the Millennial vs. GenZ war needs to end. The Take

Kim Fahner: Laurentian is in pieces—those pieces need to be put back together with care. Sudbury.com

More Ingenuity. This time with sound! NASA JPL

Morgan McFall-Johnsen reports that SpaceX has safely landed four astronauts in the ocean for NASA, completing the US’s longest human spaceflight. Insider

Taylor Lorenz: what is cheugy? You’ll know it when you see it. The New York Times

Dorothy Woodend: “Mother Trees” are real. They model sharing and generosity. The Tyee

Why are we warm blooded? It’s okay to be smart

GDT nature photographer of the year 2021. The Guardian

Thanks for visiting. I hope you found something to inspire a future creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 14-20, 2021

Happy Friday eve! It’s time to get your mental corn popping for the weekend.

Chloee Weiner: hundreds gather to demand justice for Breonna Taylor 1 year after her death. NPR

Tanisha C. Ford reveals how socialite Mollie Moon used fashion shows to fund the civil rights movement. Harper’s Bazaar

Meghan and Harry. Kadija Mbowe (your fun, millennial auntie)

Rhiannon Johnson announces that the Poundmaker Cree Nation welcomes bison back to traditional territory. CBC

“Unspeakable tragedy”: local leaders, Asian-American groups react to deadly shooting. WSB-TV 2 Atlanta

UK police under fire after crackdown on vigil for Sarah Everard. Bangkok Post

My amazing friend, Kim Fahner offers a message for those of us who are women who walk: in memory of Sarah Everard. The Republic of Poetry

Jaclyn Diaz reports that thousands march in Australia as another #metoo wave hits the country. NPR

Lakin Brooks: women dominated beer brewing until they were accused of being witches. The Smithsonian Magazine

Stephen Humphries: what does resilience sound like? Ian Brennan and Marilena Umuhoza Delli travel the world to find out. Christian Science Monitor

The National World War II Museum reveals Bea Arthur, US marine.

Shaina Ahluwalia and Roshan Abraham report that Europe becomes the first region to exceed 1 million deaths from covid-19. Global News

Katy Steinmetz: Elliot Page is ready for this moment. Time

Japan court finds same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. BBC

Amy McKeever explains what the faces on its currency tell us about a country. National Geographic

Jillian Ambrose: bladeless turbines could bring wind power to your home. The Guardian

SNOLAB launches art and dark matter online platform, Drift. The Sudbury Star

The first science result from Perseverance on Mars! Night Sky News March 2021 | Dr. Becky

Robin George Andrews reveals the fresh clues of a new theory about where Mars’ liquid water went. National Geographic

What’s impossible in evolution? It’s okay to be smart

Philip Hoare: sperm whales in the 19th century shared ship attack information. The Guardian

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away something to inspire you next creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe; be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!  

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Feb 21-27, 2021

Happy Friday eve 🙂 It’s time to get your mental corn popping!

Daniel Prude protest in Rochester ends, but organizers vow to return. Democrat & Chronicle

David K. Li reports that an independent probe accuses police and paramedics of wrongdoing in the death of Elijah McClain. NBC News

Marcus P. Nevius delves into the legacy of racial hatred behind the January 6 insurrection. JSTOR Daily

Malcolm X’s family demands his murder investigation be reopened. BBC

Erin Blakemore: Black women have been writing history for over a century. JSTOR Daily

Katelyn Burns: why police single out trans people for violence. Vox

Stella Chan and Leah Asmelash: Angelo Quinto dies after police kneel on his neck for five minutes. CNN

Meaghan Beatley introduces us to Frida Guerrera, the Mexican detective hunting the men who kill women. The Guardian

Andrea Hill and Ryan Kessler report that the lack of funding for piped water on Saskatchewan First Nations means some of reserves can’t drink from their taps. Global News

Andrea Warner: for decades, Buffy Sainte-Marie has had to navigate systemic barriers to cultivate her art. The Globe and Mail

Robert Reich: Texas freeze reveals chilling truth—that the rich use climate change to divide us. The Guardian

Jennifer Moss says, brain fog is a real thing. CBC

Vignesh Ramachandran: Stanford researchers identify four causes of “Zoom fatigue” and their simple fixes. Stanford News

Chi Luu considers the punk rock linguistics of cottagecore. JSTOR Daily

Percy returns a recording of the wind on Mars. SoundCloud

And here’s video of the landing and some of the first images courtesy of CBC.

Kim Fahner writes a love letter to Laurentian University. The Republic of Poetry

Artist “finger paints” masterpieces in the dust of dirty Moscow trucks. Return to Now

Helena Smith reports that a 20-million-year-old petrified tree is found intact in Lesbos. The Guardian

Molly Blackall: rare Amazonian cactus flowers for the first time in UK. The Guardian

Krista Langlois explains why scientists are starting to care about cultures that talk to whales. The Smithsonian Magazine

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you found something to inspire your next creative project.

This weekend, I should be putting up my next chapter update.

Until then, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Jan 24-30, 2021

It’s Thursday, and you know what that means. Tomorrow is Friday! Prepare yourself for the weekend by getting your mental corn popping.

Dalton Walker reports how the “parade across America” has an Indigenous touch. Indian Country Today

Mali Obomsawin: this land is whose land? Indian country and the shortcomings of settler protest. Smithsonian Folklife

Mildred Europa Taylor wants you to meet the eight-year-old neuroscientist who teaches online from a lab in her bedroom. Face2Face Africa

Russell Contreras: Biden picks up his pen to change the tone on racial equity. His first set of executive orders puts a “down payment” on the promise of racial justice in America. Axios

John Haltiwanger notes that Biden administration speeding up process to put Harriet Tubman on $20 bill. Business Insider

Maudlyne Ihejirika announces that the Emmett Till childhood home is now an official city landmark. Chicago Sun Times

Stephen Humphries reveals the new museum celebrating African American music from Ella to Beyoncé. Christian Science Monitor

Amir Vera and Raja Razek: two Kenosha police officers, on administrative leave since the Jacob Blake shooting, are back on duty. No justice. CNN

Doha Madani reports that the Black woman whose children were handcuffed and held at gunpoint by police sues Aurora, Colorado. NBC News

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin demands US military sexual assault reports. The Guardian

Lauren Frayer: protesting farmers flood India’s capital, storm historic fort. NPR

The pandemic that lasted 15 million years [Say what, now?] | PBS Eons

L.D. Burnett posits that there is no such thing as cancel culture. Only culture, shapeshifter that it is. Arc Digital

Kim Fahner responds to Bell’s let’s talk day: of whales, icebergs, and mental health … The Republic of Poetry

Sara Jaffe: notes on queer conception and the redefinition of family. JSTOR Daily

Dr. Becky shares the new evidence against dark matter.

Robert Z. Pearlman shares that Axiom Space names the first private crew to visit the ISS. Scientific American

Earth has a second magnetic field. SciShow

Fiona Harvey: global ice loss accelerated at record rate. The Guardian

These pools support half the people on Earth. Veritasium

Cal Flyn reports that as birth rates decline, animals prowl out abandoned “ghost villages.” The Observer

Nina Munteanu: when nature destroys … and creates.  

Thank you for spending some time with me. I hope you took away something to inspire your next creative project.

This weekend, I should be posing my January 2021 next chapter update.

Until then, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 2-8, 2020

It’s that time of week, again. It’s time to get your mental corn popping.

Charmaine A. Nelson says, the Canadian narrative about slavery is wrong. The Walrus

Aleem Maqbool looks at the British role in America’s tainted past. BBC

Candine Marie Benbow explains how to support your strong friend and yourself. Dispelling the myth of the strong Black woman. Medium

Jonathan Bundy: as companies try to address racism, a generic response is no longer enough. Fast Company


Stu Mills reports on statistician Ryan Imgrund’s concerns about the return to school plan. CBC

Wise words from Kim Fahner: why a safe return to school in Ontario should be the priority. The Republic of Poetry

Aitor Hernández-Morales, Kalina Oroschakoff and Jacopo Barigazzi predict the death of the city (thanks to telework). Politico


Emily Zarka looks at the history of the siren. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Ethan Hawke: give yourself permission to be creative. TED2020

Matthew M.F. Miller says that stargazing is a magical way to escape. Shondaland

Charlie Wood reports on a breakthrough some scientists thought would never come. The Atlantic

The launch of Perseverance to Mars. Veritasium

Marina Koren: thanks for flying SpaceX. The Atlantic

Alana Everson: Vale helping butterflies with milkweed and monarchs project. CTV

Point Defiance Zoo shares some baby beaver cuteness.

Eric Niiler explains how the anglerfish deleted its own immune system to fuse with its mate. Wired

Faysal Itani reports on Lebanon’s mushroom cloud of incompetence. The New York Times

The hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 75th anniversary of the bombings. BBC

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you found something to inspire your next creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 21-27, 2019

Since I’m a learning mutt, the stuff that interests me runs the gamut. I hope something here pops you mental corn. They did mine 🙂

This week, a couple of disturbing images were shared online about vulnerable populations in downtown Sudbury. I will not share them. My brave and thoughtful friend, Kim Fahner, was moved to post about it: a reflection on despair, mental health, and being mindful of one another when it’s not always popular to do so. Choose compassion people. There but for the grace of God go I. The Republic of Poetry

A group of young people on Manitoulin Island spent the last month crafting a birch bark canoe like their Anishnaabe ancestors. CBC’s “Up North” with Waubgeshig Rice.

Marina Koren tells the story of JoAnn Morgan, the Apollo engineer who almost want allowed in the control room. The Atlantic

It’s okay to be smart tries to figure out why we haven’t found evidence of other technological civilizations in the galaxy yet.

Physics Girl follows up with how we’re looking for life within our solar system.

Marjan Yazdi invites us to learn about the ancient art of henna-making in modern-day Iran. Ozy

Bob Holmes reveals how archaeologists study the common peoples of the past. Knowledgeable

SciShow Psych looks at the sunk cost fallacy.

Neville Ellis considers hope and mourning in the Anthropocene: understanding ecological grief. The Conversation

It’s okay to be smart considers the wood wide web.

Thank you for stopping by. This weekend, I’ll be composing my next chapter update for July. You’re welcome back if you want to find out what I’ve been up to.

Until then, be well!

ThoughtyThursday2019

The next chapter: April 2019 update

Happy Cinco de Mayo! And happy belated Beltane/May Day/Lady Day, if you celebrate such things 🙂

The first four months of this year have disappeared and I’m still wondering where the time went.

The month in review

As anticipated, April was a tough month. The day job kicked into high gear and I found myself struggling to get the words out. When you go from devoting roughly 50 to 75% of your total daily energy to you day job to 100%, it really leaves you running on empty at the end of the day.

I persevered to the degree possible, but I couldn’t finish Tamisashki. I did well, though, considering. Of my 16,260-word goal, I wrote 14,892 words, or 92% of my goal.

I blogged 3,264 words of my 2,800-word goal, or 117%.

And I wrote 975 words for my latest Speculations column for DIY MFA. I aim for around 1,000 words and usually go over, so I’m actually kind of proud of the underwriting in this case.

AprilProgress

You will notice that I have dropped the short fiction goal and short fiction anthology goal. I’ve had to admit defeat in this respect. I still have revised/finished/submitted my January story yet and my February story isn’t even half written yet. While I have my poetry collection more or less complete, I’m still formatting and then I’m going to ask some friends to help me organize them more coherently, so that’s kind of ongoing as well.

Needless to say, with the increased pressures at the day job, I don’t anticipate having the time or energy to devote to additional projects for the foreseeable.

This month, I was supposed to move on to the re-read of my entire Ascension series with an eye to revision. I will get to this, but I’m going to finish Tamisashki first, and finish work on the poetry collection (so I can send it to the aforementioned friends), and the two short stories.

I will continue with the usual curation on the blog, I have another Speculations column due at the end of the month, and I also wanted to start spiffing up another draft for my critique group.

Plus, there is ongoing critiquing to conduct for same.

So that’s where I’m at and where I’m headed.

Filling the well

This month, I attended the launch of Kim Fahner’s latest collection of poetry, These Wings. Kim’s launches are events. She’s a born storyteller, a lovely singer, and a wonderful teacher. There’s a story behind every poem she writes and every song she sings. I think that’s the Irish in her 😉

The collection is Kim’s fifth and was published by Pedlar Press in Newfoundland, where she’s heading next week for her East Coast launch. She’s already been to Toronto and Windsor for readings and I want to encourage anyone out there who’s fond of poetry (and even those who aren’t) to head out to your nearest bookstore (or computer) and get this lovely book. It’s awesome.

What I’ve been watching and reading

I’ll start off with an omission from last month’s watching list. I watched the full season of Deadly Class. That I forgot to mention is so soon after it ended should say something about how much (or little) it impressed me. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great, either.

This past month has only seen the end of Star Trek: Discovery. I enjoyed it, as I enjoyed the first season, but the end of it seemed a little too pat. Oh, so this is why we’ve never heard of Discovery or the spore drive before. This is why we don’t know Spock’s adopted sister, Michael. This is why we don’t know anything about Section 31. I guess the rest of Discovery’s story is in the far future?

In movies, Phil and I finally watched Dead Pool 2. It was funny, but I didn’t like it nearly as much as the original.

I also dragged Phil to the cinema to see Avengers: Endgame. I think it’s too soon to get spoilery about it, so I won’t. There was a lot of good in the movie, loose ends tied up appropriately, hope for the future, satisfying conclusion overall. I had the feels. I tend to agree with those who criticize how the women’s stories were handled, however, and Phil (as Mr. Science) was not impressed at the handwavium at work with regard to the time travel MacGuffin.

Reading-wise, I read J.A. Mclachlan’s The Sorrow Stone, a historical novel with fantasy elements. A grieving young mother sells her sorrow in the form of a nail from her child’s coffin and throws in her wedding ring to ensure the deal is struck. In the wake of the transaction, however, the young mother loses not only her sorrow, but also her compassion and many of the memories associated with those emotions. The pedlar with whom she makes the trade inherits her emotions (bad news for his business) and ill luck dogs him until he reaches home to find his youngest child dying of a mysterious illness.

There’s a good portion of mystery in the novel and it added needed tension to what might otherwise have been a tale of two people trying to escape the karma of their bad decisions.

I also read Jane Austen’s Emma. This was one of the classics I held over from my university years. Though I’d read Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice, and enjoyed them both, I just never got around to poor Emma Woodhouse. It’s only confirmed my admiration of Austen.

J.A. Andrews is a member of my critique group and I decided to pick up her series, The Keeper Chronicles. I read the first book in the series, A Threat of Shadows this past month and I’m happy to report that I enjoyed it. It has all the markings of a fairly typical secondary world fantasy with elves, dwarves, and magic, but there are some nice twists and a solid magic system with understandable rules—all of it essential to the plot.

And that was a month in this writer’s life.

Until next time, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

The Next Chapter

The next chapter: March 2019 update

Here we are in April. My mind still boggles at how quickly the time passes. On the other hand, I never have enough time to get everything done that I want to. I seriously need to be more mindful. It might help me in my goal-setting to be more realistic in what I can do.

The month in writing and revision

In March, I continued drafting Tamisashki. My goal was to write 16,802 words and I wrote 16,796 words. Technically, that’s 100%, though I was 6 words short of my goal. (Pthbt!) The big difference is that I ended up writing through the last couple of weekends. I would have fallen far short, otherwise. I missed having my weekend breaks, but I wasn’t producing enough weekdays to give myself that luxury.

As I had mentioned in my 2018 review/2019 planning post, the day job is kicking into high gear now that we’re in April. As I expected, I won’t be able to keep up my drafting pace much longer. More work-related stress equals less energy for my creative pursuits. It is what it is.

I made an interesting discover with regard to my blogging goals. Somehow, at the beginning of my year, I DOUBLED all of my monthly blogging goals. Why the heck did I do that to myself? This means that I’ve actually met and exceeded all of my monthly blogging goals so far this year. This month, my goal was (once I realized my math error—I am numerically illiterate, I guess) 2,600 words. I blogged 3,699 words, or 142% of my goal.

It was my intention to get roughly half of my next Speculations column completed in March. This didn’t happen.

With respect to my short fiction goals, I had wanted to finish January’s story and two more shorter pieces to catch up on my short fiction challenge. I did, finally, finish January’s story and I got another 600 words on a new story, but I also submitted my completed short for critique and got distracted revising January’s story. I wrote 1,801 words and revise 1,547 words … My goal was 2,500 words. So … yay?

Initially, I’d thought I’d be revising around 21 poems for my collection. I only had 4 left that I deem to be publishable. I’m now in the process of transferring the poems into a clean document for submission. I have reconsidered my decision to self-publish, at least immediately. I’m going to try a few small presses before I bite the self-publishing bullet.

MarchProgress

Filling the well

On March 2nd, I went to see the Sudbury production of The Vagina Monologues. A few friends, including Kim Fahner and Liisa Kovala were in the production and another friend, Sarah Gartshore, produced.

It was a charity performance and tailored to the local performance, including some uniquely Canadian euphemisms for vagina, and a very compelling piece on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The proceeds went to SWANS, the Sex Worker Assistance Network of Sudbury. It was a great night.

What I read and watched this month

I followed Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning up with Waubgeshig Rice’s Moon of the Crusted Snow. Like Roanhorse’s novel, Rice’s was set in a post-apocalyptic world, but in MotCS, the apocalypse is recent, and the story is told through the lives and experiences of the Anishnaabe residents of a fictional northern reserve.

It’s a slow burn at the beginning. Having recently secured reliable internet, cable, and cell phone service, the power outage that isolates the reserve is initially unremarkable. They’ve gotten so used to disruptions resulting from poor infrastructure that the chief and council has set aside diesel to run their generators, and most homes have wood stoves or furnaces for heat.

But winter is coming and, as the outage proves permanent, two young men, away at college, return home on snow machines, having escaped the chaos of the modern, white world denied the services we’ve come to rely on. When a white survivalist follows the snow machine tracks, the situation gets interesting, and increasingly dangerous. I loved it.

I finished Peter Godfrey-Smith’s Other Minds, about cephalopod intelligence and how it diverged from our own evolution and development.

I read Putting the Science in Fiction, edited (and contributed to) by Dan Koboldt. If you write science fiction and you aren’t a scientist yourself, you really need to pick this book up. It’s the least you should know about science from a number of disciplines.

Finally, I read Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone. It’s a young adult fantasy set in a created world based on West African mythology and the Yoruban culture and language. I liked it a lot, though the author couldn’t quite commit to her grimdark premise.

I went to my first theatre movie of the year: Captain Marvel. Like I’d miss that one 🙂 I loved it, even though it didn’t tread a lot of new ground. I’m looking forward to Endgame, now, and will probably drag Phil out to that one, too.

I finally finished season 2 of Wynonna Earp. I missed a lot of the later episodes because of a scheduling conflict and no PVR. It was a little weird, because I managed to catch all of season 3 when it aired. I was literally filling in the missing pieces. It was enjoyable because of the quirky characters and chick power, though the same qualities are also the source of some of my biggest complaints about the storytelling.

The rest of what I/we are watching right now is in progress. I’ve decided that I’ll refrain from commenting on the seasons/series that I haven’t finished watching yet. I tend to be a little slow in this respect, because I only watch Netflix/Amazon Prime on the weekends, and since I typically watch seasons/series as they come out, I often have 6 or 7 of them that I’m cycling through.

And that was March in this writer’s life.

Until the next time I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

The Next Chapter

The next chapter: January 2019 update

Greetings, my wonderful, writerly friends! How has your January gone? This isn’t a throwaway question, I’m sincerely interested. If you want to share, that’s what the comments are for 😉

As I mentioned in my last next chapter update, I’ve set myself some fairly steep goals. Though I didn’t meet all of them, I’m happy to report that I met most of my goals for January.

January in review

I continued drafting Tamisashki, the last of my epic fantasy series. I’d set my goal at 16,802 words (based on 542 words a day, which would allow me to reach my ultimate goal by the end of April). I managed to write 17,554 words, or 104% of my goal. And I did it even giving myself a break on the weekends (boggles).

I don’t expect to be able to continue this pace beyond the end of March, but I’ll keep it up as long as I can.

I only managed 74% of my 5,000-word writing goal on this blog, or 3,696 words. I’m never too distressed about not meeting my blogging goals. In some ways, it depends on how many tasty posts and articles I can curate, and that’s variable.

I did write more than my 2,500-word short fiction goal for the month, but I didn’t finish the piece. Most of the extra words have been shunted into a secondary document, as I started to do the thing I usually do, which is to start building the world and backstory and detail to the point where short would no longer be tenable. What does the reader really need to know? That’s where I have to focus, moving forward. Still, 106% is satisfying.

I met my goal of revising and formatting 31 poems in my collection. I’ve decided to work on the poetry in terms of poems rather than words or pages. Some of my poems are haiku. Others are several pages long (though the lines are short). It’s the most convenient way for me to track my progress in this respect.

Finally, I wrote an 833-word piece for the WarpWorld blog in honor of the launch of the last book in the series.  The theme was “the end,” and I chose to explore writer’s grief. My goal had been to write 750 words for them and so I surpassed that goal, as well, at 111%.

January2019progress

I did start reading one of the pieces posted for critique in my group, but I’m already behind. I’ll find a way to catch up.

In January, I also attended Tracing our Wild Spaces, an exhibition of triptychs (poem, photograph, and painting) put together by Kim Fahner (poems and photos) and Monique Legault (beautiful, photo-realistic paintings). It was held at the Fromagerie on Elgin and will be displayed through February.

Sean Barrette provided musical accompaniment and Kim read her poetry, which will appear in her upcoming poetry collection, These Wings.

Looking forward to February

In February, I hope to draft another 15,176 words on Tamisashki, blog about 4,200 words, work on another 28 poems for the collection, write my next Speculations column for DIY MFA, finish my January short story (get it critiqued and edited, and submitted, somewhere), and write another short story. I might aim for flash, which will be even more of a challenge, given my propensities.

As February is a short month, my goals are, accordingly, smaller. I’m trying to keep things reasonable.

I’m going to keep on with the reading for the one critique and start on another.

I’ve also started the Writing the Other Building Inclusive Worlds course.

Wish me luck 😉

What I’ve been Reading and Watching

I’ve decided to add in a mention of what I’ve been reading and watching during the month. I used to post book reviews and do a periodic post on movies and series. As these posts have fallen by the wayside, I wanted to add something in so that you’d have an idea about what I spend some of my non-writing time doing.

I started my 2019 Goodreads reading challenge with several books in progress. I finished N.K. Jemisin’s The Shadowed Sun (loved), Octavia Butler’s Patternmaster (liked), Marcy Kennedy’s Cursed Wishes (liked), and Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars (loved), before starting in on fresh books in the New Year.

I started in on Patternmaster not realizing that it was the last in Butler’s series. It was the first written, though, so I’ve decided to read the series in the order written. Maybe it was whatever pulled Butler back to the premise again and again until she finally wrote Wild Seed, which is technically the first book in the series, that left me with the feeling that the book was somehow incomplete.

I’ve been wanting to read The Calculating Stars since last summer, when it came out. It’s full of everything that made Hidden Figures great, and more. There are complex characters, loving relationships, and explorations of misogyny and racism in an alternate historical United States in which a meteorite takes out most of the eastern coast, including Washington DC. Loved.

I have since read Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth (loved), Signe Pike’s The Lost Queen (loved), K.M. Weiland’s 5 Secrets of Story Structure (writing craft, really liked), and Seth Dickinson’s The Traitor Baru Cormorant (liked).

The Lost Queen was a book I discovered through the Kobo Writing Life podcast. They interviewed the author, Signe Pike, and I decided on the strength of that alone to purchase the book. It’s a different take on the legend of Merlin and based in historical research. It was a great historical fantasy and I’ll be looking for the next book in the series.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant was a novel that I picked up on the strength of a recommendation. I generally don’t enjoy reading stories with unreliable narrators. The thing is that Baru isn’t really unreliable. She’s straightforward in her goals all the way along. It’s just that the things that she says at every turning point in the story can be taken multiple ways.

I had to admire Dickinson’s craft in misdirection, but, as a reader, I also resented it. The book is written in a close point of view. The reader is privy to Baru’s thoughts. It is, most often, those thoughts that are misleading. Everything made sense in the climax, but I felt deeply dissatisfied.

I haven’t watched any movies yet in 2019.

In terms of series, I just finished watching the latest season of Outlander. I’m really appreciating the changes that are being made for the television series. In the novels, Brianna and Roger’s respective journeys in getting to the past were given short shrift, of a necessity, because of the focused point of view in the novel. They basically had to tell Claire and Jamie what happened after their arrival. They’ve kept the major events of the novel without getting overly complicated with the cast. Young Ian’s induction into the Mohawk was different in the novel, but the series weaves the threads together more cleanly.

Phil and I were surprised by Titans. Phil has never liked DC. I’ve watched most of the DC series that have come out, but they were never “can’t miss” viewing. Titans was grittier without being emo. I tell ya, Oliver Queen’s brooding is harder to watch than Angel’s ever was 😛

Vikings went off on a tangent when they killed Ragnar. I watched the final season, but, honestly, The Last Kingdom is SO much better.

I’m really enjoying The Rookie. It’s feel-good without being saccharine. Also, Nathan Fillion.

This next season of Star Trek: Discovery is also enjoyable. As is Deadly Class, though it’s so full of bullet plot holes … I’m more looking forward to The Umbrella Academy, in all honestly. Magicians has just started. I know it’s far removed from Grossman’s novels, now, but I’m enjoying it as its own thing. I finally got around to watching The Man in the High Castle. Not too far into it, yet, but I’m enjoying what I’ve seen so far.

I’m watching a bunch of other stuff, too, on TV and on Netflix or Amazon (Good Omens, why can’t you be here NOW?), but not much of it is noteworthy. Riverdale doing the D&D, excuse me, G&G is devil worship/brainwashing thing is so lame I can’t even. The other DC series, which I’m not even going to list, are uniformly meh. I watch Grey’s and Murder, but I could miss them—and not miss them, if you know wheat I mean. The Charmed reboot is ok.

One thing that I’ve noticed about the shows I watch is that I can often figure out what’s going to happen next. I read, and watch, like a writer, analyzing as I go. It’s when I stop analyzing and just get wrapped up in a show that I know it’s good.

And that’s where I’ll leave you for this month.

It’s been a monster post. Thanks for hanging in there.

Here’s a few pics of Torvi.

Until next I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

The Next Chapter