What I’m loving – June 2018

Mondays aka my days to write!

I am working on writing a novel…er, practicing writing a novel. I have an idea for what I’d like my first book to be about, but I have never sat down to try to write anything like it before. In my head the idea is a home run, so I don’t want to just sit down and try to write it without practicing being in the habit of writing first.

I’ve heard authors say that beginning the project can kill all the excitement about it because what you start to write isn’t as perfect as you imagined. In a way I feel like I’m setting myself up for success by working on my ‘throw away’ project instead while I keep outlining in my brain ‘the’ novel.

I know this all sounds like a procrastination out of fear, and it probably is, but it’s my path. I’ve actually been really enjoying the throw away project and have mostly been able to do a full chapter each week so who knows maybe this manuscript will be completely finished in 6 years. It’s a bit cliche, but the more I work on it and develop characters and make it authentic the more I have my fingers crossed that it will also be something sellable…

Speaking of selling a novel, my next favorite thing is:

First Draft Podcast by Sarah Enni

For this podcast Sarah talks with lots and lots of published authors (mostly YA authors) about the when, the how, and the why of writing their novel and how they got it published. The podcast was my first insight into the business side of writing a book and I love it that I’m learning so much–but in an inspiring way.

To me it’s the equivalent of the “How I Built This” podcast but instead of how to build a successful business it’s building yourself into a published author. Sarah is set up for success in each interview because she’s there to talk with authors about their ‘baby’, the product of their passion. But Sarah also brings her authentic excitement to the interview and it seems like each author is immediately comfortable with her resulting in a personal and enlightening interview.

My favorites (so far) were versions 1 and 2 with Ava Dellaira and Morgan Matson


This month’s favorites were:

Bucky F*cking Dent by David Duchovny

Ted is an aspiring writer whose agent tells him he writes unpublishable crap. Without an inciting incident there is no plot. Ted’s life mirrors his quest for a sucessful novel and on the very next page we get the inciting incident: his estranged father is dying.

I’m pretty sure his father is already dead and the story the narrator (Ted) weaves is just himself working through some issues while writing a more satisfying and compelling story of their lives. Without this twist it’s just a cute story, but the twist makes it more interesting.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Jacket description: Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonweatlh is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.

Ann Patchett is just the best. She writes so beautifully and is really good at coming up with new plots. I hope one day to write as well as she can. Here are two of my favorite quotes:

“There’s no protecting anyone,” Fix said, and reached over from his wheelchair to put his hand on hers. “Keeping people safe is a story we tell ourselves.” P. 258

If her mother hadn’t been so pretty none of it would have happened, but being pretty was nothing to blame her for. P. 312

One is a universal truth and the other is essentially the point the whole novel revolves around. I might write a more in depth review because it can only help me become a better writer if I practice dissecting good literature.

Armchair Expert Podcast by Dax Shephard

When I first peeked at this podcast, I was not excited. Each episode is approx 2 hours long and I have found with other podcasts of this length that there’s a ton of time to talk about stuff that’s just not very compelling.

For instance, I also tried “You Made It Weird” with Pete Holmes. The first episode I tried was the Andy Samberg one and for about the first 20-30 minutes they just talked about obscure references to things that made them laugh. That’s fine, and I still enjoyed listening to them laugh but I thought, “This is going to have to be an ambient noise podcast and I have far too many podcasts that are packed with interesting and inspiring content to get through…”

For some reason I did end up finishing that epidsode anyway and it did get much better, but it still left me with the feeling that a long podcast is a big commitment. I’m trying to manage my iphone storage space here peiople!! (BTW some other episodes of this podcast are much better and you should still give it a try, especially Mark Duplass’s episode)

Back to Dax. Dax played my favorite character on a little show called Parenthood. Somehow I saw an advertisement for his most recent podcast with Mae Whitman who also starred on this show. From reading Lauren Graham’s book “Always Looking Up” I know that they were all basically a family and loved to hang out between scenes so I thought at minimum I’d get some cute nostalgia.

I could listen to this podcast all day long. All. Day. Long. Dax is curious, sincere, open, funny AND a great interviewer! He keeps the conversation rolling through the whole thing.

Somehow he can effortlessly switch between being deeply in his guests’ mind and then sharing a personal anecdote or struggle. Dax is very open about things that trigger his insecurities and I love how easily he can speak about them. He is “woke” as they say. I wish we could all talk as easily and humorously about our own triggers! It is very obvious that he shares himself in order to uplift others and I just love that so much.

The only thing I’m not sure I’m 100% on board with is the way the end of the podcast is basically an audio version of the show notes. Dax has his assistant (?) Monica “fact check” whatever has been said and they discuss. I’d hate this part if Monica wasn’t cute and if it didn’t give me more of a chance to see what hanging out with Dax would be like.

So let’s be friends, k? Tyler and Kristin would be fast friends and entertain themselves while we jibber jab. P.S. we love her show The Good Place

And finally, Knobels! 

Our whole extended family went to Knobels Amusement Park this month. It is one of the last amusement parks that doesn’t charge for general admission so if you plan to ride two rides the whole day and just want to hang out, or if you are a grandma who wants to meet up for a picnic lunch you don’t have to pay $50. They sell books of tickets or hand passes if you will ride a ton. Plus it is shaded so it doesn’t get unbearably hot. We go on a weekday so it’s not too busy. My favorite part was that Camden loved it so much he wanted to look at the map we brought home and find all of the rides. He especially wanted to locate the “Fire ride” that was really loud and scared him while we were there. When he finds it on the map he says, “Mommy, fire ride please? Camden not scared!” So cute. Featured image is Camden too asleep with a Knobels map blanket.

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