In which each month I do stuff and consume media and then recommend the stuff I like in a half-hearted attempt to get myself to write more. What should I do, watch, read, or listen to next?
- WATCH: Hannah Gadsby’s “Nannette”
If you want to laugh: watch this. If you want to cry: watch this. If you want to have a place to feel safe and justified in your anger: watch this. If you want to feel empowered to tell your story: watch this. This is more than a stand-up comedy special. About halfway through it turns into something more important. It’s hard to explain but it’s something I want you to experience.
2. LISTEN to: “The Allusionist” Podcast
This is the literary podcast that I have been looking for. Anyone who knows me knows that I love reading. And I’ve been trying to find awesome reading podcasts to no avail. There are a ridiculous number of books so even if I read as fast as I can I can’t keep up with all the reading and recommendations on most of these podcasts. The Allusionist, though, is about words – their history, how they’ve evolved, where they came from, how they’re used etc. etc. etc. Each episode is about 15-20 minutes of word stuff and you don’t have to be well-read to find it engaging, funny, and educational.
3. READ: “An Unkindness of Ghosts” by Rivers Solomon
Aster is black, queer, and neuro-atypical. YES! If you’re looking for sci-fi with diversity: this one is a winner. Besides having a perspective that’s super rare and the refreshing, the concept for this book is amazing. Aster lives on the low, slum-like decks, of a giant spaceship careening through the abyss of space towards god-knows-what. The more power and privilege one has, the higher deck they live on. Aster has seen this first hand because she’s the assistant to the Surgeon General, the most respected medical professional on the ship. Most people on the ship were born there and don’t question how the ship functions. But, when someone points out to Aster that her mother’s journals are written in code, Aster begins to investigate and finds there are a lot of secrets the ship is hiding.
4. READ: “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” by Hank Green
Hank Green, brother to famous author John Green, has published a debut that is OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD. When April May discovers a giant statue at 3am she decides to make a video with it and give it the name “Carl”. She has no idea that this video will go CRAZY viral because Carls have shown up in every major city at the exact same time. No one knows what they are (public art? weapons? alien technology?) or how they got there. April must both deal with becoming famous overnight AND with solving mystery of the Carls. It’s a sci-fi gem wrapped in totally real commentary about the addictive nature of social media, power, and humanity’s capacity for immense good and evil.
5. WATCH: American Vandal
I’ve listened to Serial and I watched Making a Murderer but I can’t handle anymore true crime…or so I thought. American Vandal is a true crime mockumentary and absolutely ingenious television. The crime? Someone at the high school spray painted dicks onto 27 cars in the staff parking lot. The suspect was immediately expelled from school. But did he actually do it? A few members of the campus news team rent camera equipment and investigate the crime. It’s pee-your-pants hilarious AND has many a poignant moment too. There’s nods to true crime cliches but it also feels fresh, new, and original. Season 2 was not as big a hit for me but this is binge-worthy television and one of Netflix’s greatest originals to date.
Not to be confused with Blank Space, the T Swift song. This song is VERY different and one of my more somber and sad tunes. Also, my musical theatre roots are definitely showing in this one. Have a listen and let me know what you think!
Have you ever missed someone? Whether they were gone a short time, a long time, or forever, I think we’ve all experienced longing for someone who’s not there. This song is definitely my anxiety writing. Sometimes when someone close to me leaves for a short trip I feel so anxious that they won’t return and I imagine what life would be like without them. SO THANKS, ANXIETY, for helping me write a beautiful song. Next time I have to write something happier as part of my one happy song for every sad song agreement I’ve made to myself. This is so when I’m feeling anxious and sad I have a creative outlet for myself but I don’t let negative feelings take over my entire creative process. Until next time! Enjoy the tune and visit my bandcamp if you want to download or own the song.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it up but I’m trying to WRITE MORE and what better way to do that than recommend things I LIKE. Short things, long things, and in between things, here are 5 things I was very enthusiastic about in August that I think you might also like:
- WATCH: N.K. Jemisin’s Hugo Acceptance Speech (and then read all of her books!)
I read N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy in a frenzy this year. It seemed that every word of these huge, world-building, perspective-shifting, earth-shattering (literally) books was perfect. N.K. Jemisin is the first author EVER to win THREE BEST NOVEL HUGOS BACK-TO-BACK: one for each book in her amazing, AMAZING trilogy. And her acceptance speech is also incredible. If her speech doesn’t encourage you to pick up the books, I don’t know what will. You can tell that she has an incredible power with words. In five minutes, she made me laugh, cry, shake my fists with anger, and look up with hope. She is one of the best authors of ALL TIME Y’ALL. What a time to be alive with such a force of nature.
2. READ: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
This book has been described to me as a queer feminist Star Trek and I was on board IMMEDIATELY. The biggest complaint I’ve heard about this book is that there’s not enough conflict. The characters like each other too damn much! But, I actually found that refreshing. Why not have a delightful romp through space with your besties?! Wouldn’t that be incredible?! It is incredible and the memorable crew of the Wayfarer made the whole book a blast. There are two more books in the series and I will definitely be picking them up.
3. LISTEN to: My Dad Wrote a Porno
I am admittedly WAY behind on this one but I finally starting listening to this award-winning British comedy podcast and my commutes have never been more hilarious. What would you do if you found out your 60 year-old father decided to write an erotic fiction book called “Belinda Blinked.”? If you’re Jamie, you gather your besties and create a podcast in which you read said book aloud over drinks and tear it apart, having a good laugh. The porn itself is so unsexy as to be rendered hilarious and they don’t miss a thing with their commentary and silly asides. It’s hard to hold myself together in order to drive safely because I’m laughing so hard! I started this month and I’m already on season 2. Luckily, Belinda Blinked 4 is out now and there’s so much more to come. Jump on this ship as soon as possible!
4. GO TO: A Seattle Women’s Sports Game
Did you know women were athletes too??? Did you know they are incredible??? I knew this somewhere deep in my feminist heart and YET the only sports games I had been to were the Seahawks and the Mariners. That changed this year when I attended my first Seattle Storm and Seattle Reign FC games. SEATTLE WOMEN’S SPORTS TEAMS ARE AMAZING. Both team made it to playoffs this year and the Storm is in the finals! There’s never been a better time to be a fan of women’s sports in Seattle. I will probably be that annoying person wearing her Storm and Reign jerseys on Blue Friday when football season begins. Forget the boys because the girls are taking the trophies home this year.
5. WATCH: John Green is a Fortnite Pacifist
“Hello! My name is John Green and I do not shoot first.” So begins award-winning author and vlogger John Green on his gaming series in which he tries to win Fortnite as a pacifist. Fortnite is an extremely popular Battle Royale video game. Essentially, 100 players begin the game together and the game does not end until there is one player left. You can imagine how violent that would become. But, John Green does not believe in violence. Can he win the game by peacefully hiding in bushes and enjoying the view of the flowers? Well, he hasn’t …yet. But for whatever reason watching someone play a shooting game in which they never shoot and spend the majority of the time hiding is incredibly endearing and entertaining. This series won’t end until he wins and I can’t decide if I want him to win or if I want the series to last forever.