I have a paid WordPress account, which renews soon (or expires soon, given your outlook) so I have spent the past two days looking over the features of the different accounts because I have been thinking of upgrading, and y’all. Y’all. WordPress has really stepped their game up! There are so many things you can do using just the free version that I didn’t even know about. Donations! Polls! Some other things that I can’t remember that I should probably write down so I don’t forget! I mean, there’s a lot happening.
To be fair, all of this probably has been happening, I just never had the time or wherewithal to investigate.
So what I’m saying is that this is all very exciting even if it is all overwhelming, and I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. But! This is a great time to MAKE A POLL. Hahahaha. THE POWER.
THE POWER TO POLL.
And today I learned that there is a difference between a poll and a survey. Huh. At any rate, you can expect to see fun polls here in the future. People from the LiveJournal era know what I’m talking about.
Anyway, I spent way too long creating that poll, and Monday is more than halfway over. And I haven’t made the graphic for this post yet. I need to get it together.
So, yes, life update: I spent the past week getting re-acclimated to being at home, along with attending the SAG-AFTRA picket a couple of days. I started a new online class (Storytelling for Social Justice). I did some cooking. I prepped for the cleaners who came today. I washed and retwisted my hair. In short, I am exhausted. I full on slept until 11 a.m. today and not because I wanted to. And I’m gearing up for more of this because I’m headed back to the East Coast next Wednesday, so. That’s that.
I also finished two books:Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As someone who has read a lot of books on writing, the most useful part of this book for me was Cron’s pointing out that everything in the story has to work in service to the theme. This is an obvious statement, but I think it’s easy for me to get caught up in the minutiae of my characters’ lives without thinking about why those things are important to the particular story I’m telling in the moment. For example, if I’m writing a medical drama, I want to think about how what I’m including relates to MEDICINE and its importance in a character’s story arc.
I flagged a bunch of stuff in the book, but I think most of it gets at that point.
Also, I read all but the last chapter with my eyeballs, and I wish I had read the whole thing with my earholes. The audiobook narrator (Brittany Pressley) was stellar and engaging for the little bit that I listened to.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am reading interlinked short story collections (short story cycles) as part of my sabbatical research.
I read this book a billion years ago in undergrad, and I didn’t remember much about the individual vignettes so much as how they made me feel. I remembered Mango Street, sadness, and wanting. I knew it was about the different people Esperanza encountered during her time in the house and that she shared her understanding of the world through these stories. I will say that there is a lot more I understood about these stories reading it as an adult with more life experience. Obviously, Esperanza describes her understanding of the abuse she witnesses but there’s also a great vignette in here about a man who has “many wives” aka prostitutes. These stories are all told from a child’s point of view so it’s a good exercise in thinking about how children make sense of the world.
The edition I read also includes an introductory essay titled “A House of My Own,” and I can say that this part especially rang true for me:
“When she lived at home, the things she looked at scolded her and made her feel sad and depressed. They said, ‘Wash me.’ They said, ‘Lazy.’ They said, ‘You ought.'”
As a person who just got home from a writing retreat, I can definitely relate.
I also love this quote about writing (from the actual story):
“I put it down on paper and then the ghost does not ache so much.”
A fun one about family is this one:
“She’s just my sister and that was not my fault.”
I’m glad I reread this. It reminded me of why I love stories told in episodic vignettes, why it’s important (always) to read writers of colors, and why novels told in this style appeal to me.
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I have also officially blown past my Goodreads goal of 52 books for the year (set at two more books than I read last year), so I’ll be bumping that up. I think I’ll do 65 since I’m in progress on two books now. If I don’t make it to 65, I’ll just change it to match what I do wind up reading. Either way, I’ll be winning.
Have a great week, everyone!