Shiny Objects

Why yes, I am easily distracted by shiny things and . . . distractions? Who has time for that?

Why yes, I am easily distracted by shiny things and . . . distractions? Who has time for that?

Usually me but not this week. I’ve been hunkered down, working. I’ve been staring at a screen so much my left eye has been twitching for days (which it does when I’m tired, stressed, and focused on a screen for too long). At one point, I realized I hadn’t even been out of the house for two days. It was easy to do so because the weather was cold and rainy but, even still, getting out is essential. Still, I stayed in. I kept telling myself, just one more hour and then I’ll take a break.

My self-care this week definitely took a tumble. I’m using this weekend to regroup and restart my commitment to my self-care. What are you up to this weekend? Whatever you’re doing, I hope it’s nourishing.

Oooh look at these shiny objects . . .

I’ve been reading . . . Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr and Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. Finished both. And both were so good for very different reasons.

Doerr’s book gave me hope as a writer. Reading about his year in Rome on a writing fellowship and how he struggled to write, gave me hope that:

  1. this writing thing isn’t easy
  2. you’re not a failure if you don’t write every day
  3. and sometimes there are days you just don’t want to or can’t write, and that’s ok

Doerr was supposed to be spending his time writing what would become his Pulitzer-Prize winning novel All the Light We Cannot See but it didn’t sound like he spent much time, if any, on it at all. To be fair, he and his wife had just had twin boys so there was that. In fact, he spends most of his time in this book writing about parenthood (which I found interesting and funny) and Rome, its history, and its architecture (which surprisingly I didn’t find as interesting).

Doerr’s ability to describe beautifully has me blurting out, “yes, see, this is a perfect example!” As I’ve noted before, I’m not a fan of extraneous words or unnecessary descriptions. Doerr deftly avoids any of that. His provides the descriptions only when they enhance the story or provide a visual you might not necessarily see. There is a point in the book where he describes his twin boys’ energy as “breathtaking.” He says, “Trying to dress them after a bath is like trying to put pajamas on a mackerel.” Such a great description because immediately, as a reader, I visualize trying to put pajamas on a fish and can totally understand what his experience was like.

While I didn’t love this book as much as I loved All the Light You Cannot See or Memory Wall, I still liked it and would definitely recommend it, especially if you are a fan of Doerr’s work.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado is a debut collection of short stories focused on women’s bodies, desires, and the violence “visited upon their bodies.” I’ll share more about this one next week because there is so much more to say about it. Bottom line for now: Brilliant writing, uncomfortable subject matter.

I’ve been watching . . . The Voice, The Mindy Project, Will & Grace, The Good Place.

I’ve been listening to . . . women in music. I’m on a roll since I discovered this list. Now I’m slowly going through the list, working from the bottom to the top, and listening to each album. At number 150 is The Roches. I had heard of The Roches but never really listened to them. I can see why their debut album was added. Their style is unlike anything you’ve heard, and they are what I call “songtellers,” telling stories with their songs, almost like singing the story of their lives rather than telling you the story.

Alicia Keys’ album Songs in A Minor is at 149. Kind of surprised she wasn’t higher on the list. It’s a groundbreaking album because she made it on her own terms. She was signed to one label, but they wanted a different style and production than she wanted so she went off and created this album on her own in some little studio she rented. When she presented her album to the label, they didn’t want it. But another label did. I love that she created her own thing, followed her own style, and stayed true to herself.

Have a lovely weekend!


(Image found here.)


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