Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, Jan 22-28, 2023

Welcome to February, my writerly friends! It’s time, once again, to get your mental corn popping.

Betsy Golden Kellem: finding Krao Farini. How sideshow “bearded ladies” reveal the racial biases underpinning Darwinian theory and (white) public perception. JSTOR Daily

2.8-billion-dollar settlement reached in class-action lawsuit over residential schools. CBC

Computer model of H1N1 virus shows universal vaccine promise. UC San Diego

Inori Roy reveals the mental health crisis on the other end of the phone. The Walrus

Wearable sensor uses ultrasound to provide cardiac imaging on the go. UC San Diego

Will Sullivan: these ants were trained to sniff out cancer. The Smithsonian Magazine

The stickiest non-sticky substance. Veritasium

Cory Doctorow discusses the “enshittification of TikTok. He knows his, er, shit 🙂 Wired

RaiBo is a versatile robo-dog that runs over sandy beach at three metres per second. Tech Xplore

Ben Turner reports that radio signal from eight billion light-years away could reveal secrets of universe’s “dark age.” Live Science

Alexandra Witze wonders, has Earth’s inner core stopped its strange spin? Nature

What if alien life was silicon-based? PBS Space Time

Matthew Weaver: digital scans unwraps secrets of 2,300-year-old mummy. The Guardian

Jennifer Ouellette: archaeologists discover a new papyrus of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Ars Technica

Bridget Alex unpacks the jungle realm of the snake queens. Archaeology

Rachel Bronson wonders how close are we to the end of the world? The Doomsday Clock. The Walrus

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

Until my next chapter weekly update, be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, Dec 4-10, 2022

I know I said I was going to trim down thoughty Thursday, but there were so many interesting non-newsy things to share this week! In any case, it’s tome to get your mental corn popping 🙂

Matthew Wills: kidnappers of color versus the cause of antislavery. JSTOR Daily

Danielle Han discusses grave matters: conflict in reburial and repatriation. JSTOR Daily

From Anne Bonney to Zheng Yi Sao: the notorious women of piracy. PBS Origins

Heidi Ledford reports that severe covid may cause markers of old age in the brain. Nature

The Next Big Idea Club explains how to make the most of the brain you have, according to neuroscience. Fast Company

K.J. Aiello wonders who gets to be mentally ill? The Walrus

Zach Sweger: many genes linked to alcohol and tobacco use are share among diverse ancestries. Penn State University

In conversation with Dr. Jake Taylor. Dr. Becky

Dr. Alfredo Carpineti: JWST spots clouds and even a sea on Saturn’s moon, Titan. IFLS

Beth Miller reports that Marianna Safronova and collaborators say quantum clocks could be used to detect dark matter. University of Delaware Daily

Unusual gamma-ray burst reveals previously undetected hybrid neutron-star merger event. Los Alamos National Laboratory

Researchers use ultrasound waves to move objects. University of Minnesota

A resource for your next apocalyptic science fiction novel: asteroid launcher. Or just have fun lobbing space rocks at Earth. Your choice. neal.fun

And here’s another, scarier app: NukeMap. For fictional purposes, of course … Alex Wellerstein

Hallie Golden reports that an Indigenous reservation has a novel way to grow food—below the earth’s surface. The Guardian

In search of the blackest thing on Earth. Be Smart

Feline genetics help pinpoint first-ever domestication of cats, MU study finds. University of Missouri

The end of year animal awards. Ze Frank

Thanks for stopping by for this week’s mixed bag of edutainment. 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: Popping your mental corn, Sept 11-17, 2022

Happy equinox, to those who celebrate. Welcome fall!

It’s time to get your mental corn popping in time for the weekend.

Robin Maynard: Canadian education is steeped in anti-Black racism. The Walrus

Michelle Cyca presents the curious case of Gina Adams, “pretendian.” McLean’s

Vasilisa Stepanenko: Zelenskyy states burial site contains torture victims. Associated Press

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: a visual explainer. The International Crisis Group

Greg Allen: in a surprise, the defense rests early in the Parkland School shooting trial. GPB News

Michael Tarm and Joey Cappelletti report that R. Kelly convicted of child porn, enticing girls for sex. Associated Press

Julia Métreaux says, before long covid, there was post-polio syndrome. JSTOR Daily

New study reveals mechanism for how disease-spreading prions migrate from one species to another. Phys.org

Sanah Ahsan is a psychologist, and she believes we’ve been told devastating lies about mental health. The Guardian

Simon Lewson takes us inside the mental health crisis facing college and university students. The Walrus

Where did Mercury’s spots come from? SciShow Space

Jesus Diaz says a new satellite brighter than any star could ruin the night sky. Fast Company

Will Sullivan: scientists discover planet with the potential to support life. The Smithsonian Magazine

Hannah Devlin reports that Saturn’s rings could be the result of a moon that strayed too close. The Guardian

Connie Lin explains why Changesite-(Y) could fuel a goldrush for lunar mining. Fast Company

Wyatte Grantham-Philips reports that NASA’s Perseverance rover finds organic matter in rock samples, begging the question, did life ever exist on Mars? USA Today

Two new papers on the Fagradalsfjall eruption published in the newest issue of Nature. Institute of Earth Sciences

Bob Yirka reports that a new study of the Gough map shows what might be the lost islands of Welsh folklore. Phys.org

Laura Fletcher reveals a breakthrough discovery in carbon capture conversion for ethylene production. Phys.org

The biggest myth about climate change. Be Smart

Chinese researchers test maglev cars. The Byte | Futurism

Ian Rose tells a precautionary tale. JSTOR Daily

Adele Peters: a NASA scientist designed a platform to track the carbon in every tree on the planet. Fast Company

Conifer communication is complex and can be altered by air pollution. The University of Eastern Finland

Thank you for stopping by. 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!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, June 19-25, 2022

Welcome to the final tipsday of June! Fill up on informal writerly learnings for the last time this month.

Sara Farmer lists more of her favourite Sherlock Holmsian mystery series. Then, Abigail K. Perry analyzes the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Angela Yeh explains why all writers should play with poetry. Then Angela unlocks writer’s block sideways. Later in the week, Lewis Jorstad lists five reasons your novel’s premise is a powerful writing tool. DIY MFA

Nathan Bransford provides a novel revision checklist.

How to write a non-fiction book proposal. Reedsy

Matthew Norman explains how his career in advertising helped shape him as a novelist. Dave King: when worlds collide. Kelsey Allagood wants you to let your words grow wild. Then, Deanna Cabinian wonders, when is obsession a good thing? Victoria Strauss warn about the predatory contracts of serial reading/writing apps. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland helps you understand the new normal world of a story’s resolution. Helping Writers Become Authors

Erica Brosovsky suggests some foreign words we need in English. Otherwords | PBS Storied

Lisa Norman explains why you want people to hate your website. Then, Megan Ganesh promotes diversity and inclusion in writing. Eldred Bird says Chekov’s gun is a double-edged writing sword. Writers in the Storm

Nina Amir reveals how to quickly develop a writing habit. Live, Write, Thrive

Elizabeth Spann Craig points out yet another use for outlines.

Allison K. Williams reveals why agents don’t give feedback—and where to get it instead. Jane Friedman

The curse of creativity. Tale Foundry

Becca Puglisi wants you to go beyond the superficial character talents and skills. Jami Gold

Cheryl Rainfield helps you avoid writing mental health stereotypes. Writers Helping Writers

Tiffany Yates Martin asks, are you writing safe or risking your readers? Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle explains how to make your character novel. Then, Oren Ashkenazi says that the three-act structure is a mirage. (!) Very insightful and something that’s been bothering me about most story “structures.” Mythcreants

Workplace dystopias aren’t fiction. They’re here. The Take

Angie Hodapp talks rhetorical story development. Then, Kristin Nelson asks, can a writer set out to write a bestselling novel? Pub Rants

Kristen Lamb explains why we play “follow the reader.”

Terry Nguyen says we need rituals, not routines. Vox

Cassie Josephs: Murderbot is an autistic-coded robot done right. Did I not nail this in my last next chapter update? Oh, yeah. I did. Tor.com

Thank you for spending some time with me. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, May 15-21, 2022

The penultimate tipsday of May, marked by the serenade of spring peepers and red-wing blackbirds; the scents of crab apple blossoms and lilacs and poplar sap; and thunderstorms that spark and roll overhead. Refill your well with some informal writerly learnings.

Disha Walia wants you to find your motivation for writing speculative fiction. Then, E.J. Wenstrom explains what to do about author platforming when you’re burned out. Sara Farmer lists more of her auto-buy mystery authors. Later in the week, Brittany Capozzi lists five answers we get from writing letters to ourselves. DIY MFA

The psychology of Zuko. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland recommends six ways to find your best ideas before you start writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sandy Vaile shares four essential elements you need to create a workable novel. Then, Holly Lasky asks you to guess who’s in the driver’s seat of your creativity? Lynette M. Burroughs explains how the forces of antagonism frame your story. Writers in the Storm

Darn it, you made me care. Jill Bearup

Susan Defreitas wonders, why write when the world is on fire? Jane Friedman

C.S. Lakin: outlining your novel for success. Live, Write, Thrive

Seven character development exercises. Reedsy

Elizabeth Spann Craig: stress and writing.

Dave King is getting to know evil. Then, Barbara Linn Probst gives us three writing exercises for three different points in the writing process. Kristina Stevens wonders how you adapt real life into fiction. Writer Unboxed

How sun mythologies are universal (featuring PBS Space Time). Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Christina Delay explains what to do when you feel like a hack. Then, Marissa Graff shares four ways your protagonist is sabotaging you (and how to fight back). Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: breaks, permission, and writing.

Olaseni Ajibade explores mental health in fiction: the monster you feed. Dan Koboldt

This story will save your imagination. Tale Foundry

Tiffany Yates Martin: high praise, big promises … and crickets. Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb says weakness is blood in the water for narcissist sharks.

How the tech villain became the most hated character. The Take

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the summary writing of Illuminae. Then, Oren Ashkenazi critiques the second half of Pixar’s rules of storytelling. Mythcreants

Angie hodapp explains what to do when your entire manuscript turns out to be a prologue. Pub Rants

Guy Gavriel Kay wonders what we lose—and gain—as book tours move online? Literary Hub

Thank you for spending some time with me, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress, whatever stage it’s at.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, May 1-7, 2022

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

Amir Vera, Omar Jiminez, and Ashley Killough: hearing today (May 2nd) may be the last chance for the Tulsa race massacre survivors to get justice. CNN

Dorothy Berry takes a deep zoom into the 1836 broadside, “Slave Market of America.” JSTOR Daily

MN Human Rights probe finds pattern of racism in Minneapolis Police Department. MPR

America’s history of stealing vulnerable children of color. The Amber Ruffin Show

Natasha Bertrand, Katie Bo Lillis, Jennifer Hansler, Alex Marquardt, and Brad Lendon: Putin may soon officially declare war on Ukraine, US and western officials say. CNN

Luke Mogelson explains how Ukrainians saved their capital. The New Yorker

Cara Anna and Yesica Fisch: evacuations under way in Mariupol; Pelosi visits Ukraine. Associated Press

Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward report that the US Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows. Politico

Jim C. Hines shares his thoughts on blood donation and bodily autonomy.

Rae Ellen Bichell: Colorado braces to become refuge for abortion access if “Roe” weakened. NPR

A new podcast from Manitoulin Island helps teach Anishnaabemowin language. CBC

Heather Brady offers this explainer: Mexico’s Independence Day marks the beginning of a decade-long revolution (and should not be confused with Cinco de Mayo). National Geographic

Nik Wheeler: Cinco de Mayo. History

Mary Gordon: Laurentian University has an obligation to turn over gallery, artwork. The Sudbury Star

Sarah Luterman says autistic people have been excluded from advocacy conversations. Julia Bascom is changing that. 19th News

Jessica Stillman: did you really “click” with someone? A new study offers a research-backed way to tell. Inc.

Annie Lord: sometimes, a routine is just an excuse to stop taking chances. Vogue

Mental health at work: it’s (finally) time to talk about it. Fast Company

Emma Hinchcliffe reports that Naomi Osaka is partnering with startup Modern Health. Fortune

Clark Quinn explains why learning and development isn’t better. Learnlets

After 15,000 years, it’s waking up … Physics Girl

Emily Conover reveals how muons spill secrets about Earth’s hidden structures (and other things). Science News

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you found something to support 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, Aug 15-21, 2021

Welcome to thoughty Thursday. You know what tomorrow is 😀 Rev up for the weekend by getting your mental corn popping!

Yordanos Eyoel and Aimee Allison report that women of color are the undercapitalized warriors of American democracy. The Hill

Lil’ Wayne: mental health doesn’t discriminate. Uncomfortable conversations with Emmanuel Acho

Eva Fedderly introduces us to the Black architects who built New Orleans. Architectural Digest

Kevin Waite reveals the little-known history of how slavery infiltrated California and the American West. The Conversation

Critical race theory. Khadija Mbowe

Ethan Sawyer reports that six more First Nations in BC launch investigation into residential school sites. CBC

Anne Applebaum believes that liberal democracy is worth a fight. The Atlantic

Robert Fife and Steven Chase: Canada working “closely” with allies on evacuation from Kabul amid “extremely fluid” situation. The Globe and Mail

Kait Hanson: 10 girls on Afghanistan’s robotics team rescued. NBC News

Death toll reaches nearly 2,000 after Haiti’s earthquake. BBC

Brianna Milord: after the earthquake, a mayor in Haiti struggles to console his town. The New Yorker

Desmond Brown: University of Guelph to establish Indigenous research lab, unique at a Canadian university. CBC

Course aims to keep Stoney language alive for years to come. CBC

Rose Minutaglio introduces us to Annie Vang, the woman who created an app to save her endangered language. Elle

Bob Yirka: analysis of returned Stonehenge core sample helps explain megalith’s durability. Phys.org

Physics Girl compares battery and hydrogen electric cars.

Sierra Garcia: tidal power is the forgotten renewable resource. JSTOR Daily

Why some species team up to survive. In our nature | It’s okay to be smart

Benji Jones reports that animals are shrinking. Blame climate change. Vox

Thanks for stopping by, and 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, Aug 8-14, 2021

Happy Friday eve! Get your mental corn popping in time for the weekend 🙂

Melissa Kimble covers Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka, and the revolutionary power of Black women’s rest. Glamour

Genelle Levy: the real history of Black Martha’s Vineyard. Narratively

Related: the history of Wampanoag (on Martha’s Vineyard).

Frankie Huang: can we solve America’s food appropriation problem? Grub Street

Alex Hern reports that a student proves Twitter algorithm “bias” toward lighter, slimmer, younger faces. The Guardian

You’re not dumb. You’re just not wealthy and/or *whispers* white. Khadija Mbowe

The Warrior Walk for Healing Nations honours children and residential school survivors. CBC

Terry Tang reports that there have been over 9,000 anti-Asian incidents since the pandemic began. Associated Press

Matthew Wills explains how blind activists fought for blind workers. JSTOR Daily

Josie Fischels shows you how to watch “the best meteor shower of the year.” NPR

Rivka Galchen declares that NASA’s new telescope will show us the infancy of the universe. The New Yorker

Maya Wei-Haas shares what we know about the Mars rover failed sample attempt. National Geographic

Joey Roulette reports that NASA’s new space suits are delayed, making a 2024 Moon landing “unfeasible.” The Verge

Livia Gershon bets you’ll never believe who invented curbside recycling. JSTOR Daily

Tom Pattinson: the wonders of Greta Thunberg. Vogue Scandinavia

Olivia Box warns of climate change’s dangerous effects on the boreal forest. JSTOR Daily

Nina Chestney and Andrea Januta: UN climate change report sounds “code red” for humanity. Reuters

Lizzie Marx tells the tale of a beached whale (and ambergris): picturing scent. The Public Domain Review

A purr-fect match! Animal shelter posts lonely pets on Tinder. Reuters

And that was thoughty Thursday. Thanks for stopping by. 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!

The next chapter: May 2021 update

May was an eventful month in this writer’s life (!) I’ll apologize in advance if this post is loooong.

Before I dive into the month in writing, here are your monthly PSAs:

All lives cannot matter until BIPOC lives matter.

Even though vaccination is happening, and countries are slowly reopening, there are still “hot spots” and new variants to contend with. Covid 19 isn’t over yet. Please continue to maintain physical distance, mask where required, get both your vaccines (if two are required), and keep washing your hands. These measures will protect you from more than covid. Stay safe, people!

The month in writing

It wasn’t a bad month in the writing and revising department. Despite the fact that my day job has been demanding in the last couple of months, I’m managing to carve out time to do creative work. It’s less than I’d like and less than I used to be able to do, but words are being written (or revised).

I was still stuck on revisions for Reality Bomb. I ended up completely rewriting the first chapter and writing two more. Now I’m into a larger section where the revisions aren’t as significant. Even though I’d hoped to ramp up sooner, before the first week was over, I reduced my revision goal to 5,000 words. Of that, I revised 4,890 words, or 98%.

I finished revising the story I started reworking last month and started revising another … but I didn’t finish it. So, of the 2,500-word revision goal I set for that, I ended up revising 1,930, or 77%.

I blogged 4,111 words of my 3,500-word goal, or 117%.

Of the projects that aren’t on the tracker, I didn’t do any work on the Ascension master document, but I did write some revision notes for one short story and brainstorming notes on another. I’m not fond of the idea of outlining short stories. Even when I outline my novels, the story always finds its own way in the drafting.

The cover reveal and table of contents announcement went out this week for Home for the Howlidays, the anthology including one of my stories. Tyche Books is the publisher and Margaret (M.L.D.) Curelas is the editor. It will be published closer to the holiday season, but promo starts now 🙂

Work also begins. I should be hearing this month about required edits.

Filling the well

In May, I participated in two longer events. The first was the Festival of Literary Diversity, or FOLD, from May 1st to 15th. I couldn’t attend all the sessions, because work, but the organizers, Jael Richardson and Amanda Leduc, recorded all the sessions and made them available until May 31st. The second was an online course by Laurie Schnebly Campbell (with whom you might be familiar from my tipsday curation posts) on Showing Emotion from May 10th to the 21st.

I also watched the replay of Rewriting Tomorrow (more on why in a bit), a Carl Brandon Society Virtual Panel with Tobias Buckell, S.B. Divya, Malka Older, and Tochi Onyebuchi. That was on the 15th, and I watched it later the same day.

Susan Forest offered a great webinar on Backstory Secrets for the Canadian Authors Association on the 19th, and I signed up for a Pro-Writing Aid presentation on 5 principles of a thorough self-editing process on the 20th. So, it was a pretty full month for writing-related events.

In other self-care news, I received my final report for my assessment on the 10th and … I am on the spectrum (!) If the diagnosis was still distinct, I would have Asperger’s. As of the DSM 5, however, I am considered to be on the autism spectrum. High functioning, mild symptoms.

I must say the diagnosis was a relief. I was tempted to run around shouting I AM NEURODIVERGENT at the top of my lungs. It explained a lot of things, among them, why I’m always exhausted. I’d thought at one time that it was due to an iron deficiency (I was anemic for a few years), but it’s really the persistent stress of having to function in a neurotypical world.

I also had my last EAP appointment because, after debriefing my diagnosis, there wasn’t much more my counsellor could do for me. She’s technically keeping my file open in case I need some reinforcement, and I can always begin a new “bank” of EAP appointments if a new issue crops up, but I think I’m in a good place at the moment.

And … I got my first covid vaccination (Pfizer) on the 15th! My second appointment is already scheduled for September 4th, but now that the Ontario government is trying to expedite second doses, I might be fully vaccinated sooner. Here’s crossing fingers.

Weight-wise, I seem to be settling in at 160 lbs. I’ve been wavering between 159 and 161 for most of the last month. I haven’t been this slim in … I can’t remember, honestly. I feel better in my body. I can put socks on without my belly getting in the way.

An issue that I haven’t mentioned in months (maybe years?) was also resolved in May. Back in 2017, when we brought Torvi home, I took a leave with income averaging. The deductions were never made from my pay (I was Phoenixed) and I ended up with a sizable debt to my employer. When it came due, I immediately called the pay centre, told them that I was sole support for my household, and asked if they could place a hold on the debt until I was in a position to pay.

Last fall, our new contract was negotiated, and the retro pay, Phoenix damages monies, and signing bonus subsequently paid were enough to cover the debt with a little left over. Reader, I paid it off. Huge relief for our finances, moving forward.

It was an awesome month for my mental and physical health.

What I’m watching and reading

It was a big month in the viewing department. I finished watching five seasons, finished two with Phil, and watched two movies.

In my personal watching, I finished what appears to be the final season of Black Lightning. There wasn’t as much drama as in past seasons, and a number of plotlines were wrapped up nicely.

I finished Snowpiercer season 2, and I enjoyed it despite its darkness. The conflict with Wilfred was more dynamic and Melanie’s quest to confirm that the eternal winter was beginning to break was tragic, yet hopeful.

I also watched the adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. Loved! The actors were fabulous, and the story was fantastic. Astral twins. Lovely concept, just a step up from soul mates. Watch it, if you have the chance.

Next, I saw The Nevers. I enjoyed everything up to the last episode. I didn’t mind that the story began in the future (yes, weirdness, but also—Claudia Black!). I didn’t even mind that Amalia True wasn’t Amalia True. What didn’t sit well was that True reaches the Galanthi, and … nothing happens. She’s basically told to forget about it, and she goes home. It was a betrayal.

The last series I watched was The Rookie. It was an interesting season, dealing with institutionalized racism and other serious topics. Nolan’s ambitions were scuttled by the fallout from last season’s cliffhanger. Chen gets to go on her first undercover assignment. It was an enjoyable watch. And Nolan wasn’t the focus of the cliffhanger this time 🙂

Phil and I watched Shadow and Bone. I liked how they combined the titular novel with Six of Crows. Kaz and his crew were still the more compelling characters. Alina still lacked agency, but I liked how they tried to up her game. We both enjoyed it.

Then, we watched Jupiter’s Legacy. Phil was watching just to see how the original supers got their powers, and I think that was intentional. I don’t think what was supposed to be the main plotline would have held our attention without that past timeline mystery.

The two movies I watched were both DCEU offerings.

First, I watched the Snyder cut of Justice League. I had to watch it in four parts … ‘cause long, but I appreciated the storytelling that went into it in comparison to the original. I think DC realized that fans weren’t happy with the movie as it was released.

Then, I watched Man of Steel. Meh. Like Cavill and all, but I’ve seen Superman’s origin story so many times it was hard to be invested.

I read four books in May.

The first was A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown. It was dark and angsty. Malik’s hatred/love/hatred for Karina felt a little contrived, but I liked it despite that.

Next, I read Pierce Brown’s Red Rising. The premise was interesting, but I didn’t buy the worldbuilding. Why would Martian civilization revert to a Roman governance model based on colours and metals (red, black, silver, brass, gold, etc.)? It was okay.

I read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, my literary pick of the month. It was an examination of race and “passing.” The story begins with twins, Desirée and Stella. After their father is murdered in front of them, Desirée wants nothing more than to run away. She’s tired of their small-minded town that values light-coloured skin above all else.

But it’s Stella who truly runs away, passing as white, marrying a white man, and effectively disappearing from her family’s lives. Desirée marries a dark-skinned man who abuses her. She runs back home to hide and falls in love with man her husband sends to find her.

A generation later, Desirée’s daughter Jade, an aspiring doctor in love with a transgender man, meets Stella’s daughter Kennedy, a struggling actress. He two become “frenemies” until Jade sees Stella at a party and realizes that Kennedy is her cousin.

I really liked it.

Finally, I read Mister Impossible, the second book in the Dreamer trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater. It came out on the 18th and I nabbed it right away. The book continues the story of the Lynch brothers, Declan, Ronan, and Matthew. At the end of the last book, Ronan and Hennessey had finally found Bride, only to be surrounded by the Moderators, whose job it is to kill dreamers.

They escape off-screen (which I wasn’t all that pleased about) and begin Bride’s “great work” of restoring the ley lines. Declan and Jordan, Hennessy’s last remaining dreamt twin, discover something called a “sweet metal,” an object, most often a painting, that can keep dreamed people awake without their dreamers.

Meanwhile, Carmen, one of the Moderators, and her visionary Lilianna, go rogue and try to save the world in their own way. There are some great twists at the end. Loved.

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

Until 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 23-29, 2021

Thoughty Thursday has arrived to get your mental corn popping! Enjoy 🙂

On the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, some consideration of the progress that’s been made since. Baby steps, yes. But steps, nonetheless.

Farnoush Amiri, Colleen Slevin, and Camille Fassett report that the Floyd killing prompts some states to limit or ban choke holds. Associated Press

Fadel Allassan: “Defund the Police” lives on as a local movement. Axios

Then again … 967 people have been shot and killed by police in the last year. The Washington Post

Two officers charged with Manuel Ellis’ murder. USA Today

Lisa Theodore-Vachon says, interracial couple representation in pop culture isn’t as progressive as we think. The Undefeated

Justin Dunnavant, Delande Justinvil, and Chip Colwell want to craft an African American graves protection and repatriation act. Nature

Grace Hauck: Jewish groups sound the alarm on the rise of anti-Semitic hate crimes amid tensions between Israel and Hamas. USA Today

The overlap of autoimmune disorders and mental health conditions. SciShow Psych

Can you be awake and asleep at the same time? Masako Tamaki. Ted-ed

Matt Egan and Alexis Benveniste report that activist investor ousts at least two ExxonMobil directors in historic win for pro-climate campaign. CNN

Related: Dutch court rules oil giant Shell must cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 in landmark case. Chloe Taylor for NBC.

Rupert Neate reports that airships for city hops could cut flying’s CO2 emissions by 90%. The Guardian

Matthew Wills says that solar housing is actually kind of retro! JSTOR Daily

Christi Carras announces that a new rainbow set of Lego arrives just in time for Pride Month (everything is awesome!). The Los Angeles Times

The Curiosity rover captures shining clouds on Mars. “Viewed just after sunset, their ice crystals catch the fading light, causing them to appear to glow against the darkening sky.” NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Chelea Gohd wants to teach you (yes, it says your kids, but why exclude adults?) about the Super Flower Blood Moon. And, of course, it was overcast here … Space.com

Jess Romeo introduces us to Chien-Shiung Wu, the first lady of physics. JSTOR Daily

5 beautifully complex ways to fly. SciShow

Graeme Green: “huge surprise” as giant river otter feared extinct in Argentina appears. The Guardian

Charlie Campbell says that covid-19 has slashed Asia’s appetite for wild animals. Time

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you took away something to inspire a future creative project.

This weekend, I should be putting together my next chapter update for May 2021. Until then, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!