collage of books listed in the post

Writing, Reading, Watching #SOL24 #IMWAYR

March 11, 2024

Today, I’m thinking about thinking about how what I’m reading, watching, or doing influences my writing life, based on a format borrowed from Elisabeth who borrowed it from Tammy who borrowed it from book coach Sara Gentry.

Writing

I’m starting my list in reverse order because what I’m writing is influencing almost everything else these days. That’s because along with writing daily slice of life posts, as part of my sabbatical, I am also building a whole new curriculum for my composition courses so am writing lesson plans and assignment sheets along with syllabi and course outlines. I am also still revising a novel draft and planning out a short story collection (the latter was also a proposed sabbatical project though it has been usurped by the former). As usual and unfortunately in some respects, my work writing (courses) is overtaking my personal (creative) writing, which is teaching me a lot about myself. So how’s that for an input?

Reading

As seen in two posts I wrote last week, what I’m reading is definitely impacting what I’m writing. it's monday what are you reading

Black Candle Women by Diane Marie Brown was a book club pick, but I picked up Music to My Years by Cristela Alonzo because I needed a break from book club stuff. (One of the women in my book club says that she loves listening to celebrity memoirs narrated by the author because she can pretend she’s hanging out with a friend who is sharing their life story, and I have to say that I do dig a celebrity memoir for that reason. Cristela and I are definitely homies at this point.) Both have served as mirrors in different ways and are giving me a lot to think about, something I can translate to slice of lfe posts.

However, my writing projects are also impacting my reading choices. I am currently rereading Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty because I need to immerse myself in some realistic contemporary YA lit for the novel I’m revising. I’m stuck on a huge part of the narrative so rereads are reminding me what craft moves the writers of books I’ve enjoyed employ. I haven’t solved the problem yet, but what a fun way to try.

Then, there’s the stuff I’m reading to prep for my class. I want to use picture book biographies so had to check out a bunch to make sure that what I was asking my students to identify in picture books printed in the last ten years is, indeed, still there. (Don’t worry, it is.) I also realized that I need to write sample assignments for my students, which I need the picture books to be able to do. I checked out seven from the library that I read last week, and the four I’m considering using for the example(s) are:

villain origin story list 1

I know for sure I’m going to use Gloria Takes a Stand: How Gloria Steinem Listened, Wrote, and Changed the World by Jessica Rinker, illustrated by Daria Peoples as a read aloud just for the back matter alone.

(Can you tell it’s Women’s History Month? I got these all from the library display.)

Oh, and that reminds me: I’m looking for recs of picture book biographies to share with my students for kids grades K-2 (ages 4-8). So if you have any please drop them in the comments.

Watching

My daughter and I just finished the finale of The Traitors, which was bananas. We are also still (still!) making our way through season twelve of Grey’s Anatomy and season two of 9-1-1: Lonestar.

On my own, I have been rewatching Psych (as one does) and using the last season of MasterChef for background noise when I’m cooking. (I am annoyed by the format changes, sigh.) I also ordered the full series of Ghosts (UK) on DVD so cannot wait to get started on those seasons that were never released on HBOMAX. Which reminds me that I’m also current on the new season of Ghosts (US), Abbott Elementary, and Not Dead Yet. A lot of people I know watch Will Trent so I may revisit that soon (I watched the first two episodes last year).

For her birthday, I took my daughter to see Chicago (the musical, which influenced my villain origin story post), and on the day of I watched Turning Red with her for the first time, which was very cute and a lot of fun.

Doing

slice of life logo

Slice of Life is a writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

Last week was a lot:

  • Doctor!
  • Disneyland!
  • Hot pot!
  • Chicago!
  • Tap!
  • Birthday!
  • Cake!

This week is a little bit less, but also a lot:

  • Birthday!
  • Birthday!
  • Doctor!
  • Justin Timberlake!
  • Tap!

Yes, I had three birthdays these past ten days. The cake I made for one of my friends also inspired a plus. And I should point out that the Justin Timberlake thing is aspirational as I entered to win tickets to a show of his. We’ll see if I get them.

Also, that was a lot of book talk so I’m going to also link this right on up with It’s Monday! What are you reading? as well.

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