Your Weekly Dose of EEE #12: Cities, Above and Below
Plus, don't forget to show love to your favorite artists
In a dazzling and surprising turn of events, I have actually had a decent amount of time to write this week. Of course, that’s because I don’t have a lot of contract work (you know, the kind that actually deposits money into my bank account?), but that’s okay for now. It will pick up in August or so. 😳
I’ll post more to the Sequel Chronicles, but here are some things that have been going on.
The first draft of the sequel to When We Were Mothers is sitting around 11,000 words (target is about 90,000), and 3,000 of them have been written just this week!
I finally settled (I think) on the two main characters. One is brand new, but I think you’re going to like her. The other is someone you already know and love (or hate)!
Several chapters are complete, and some wild things have already happened—including a cameo from someone you definitely know.
If you want to (1) know more, (2) follow the process of writing this sequel from concept through publication (which will *hopefully* be next year!), and (3) support my work, please consider upgrading to paid!
On the subject of supporting my work: I’ve been thinking lately that I should be selling more of my essays. I could place some of them, for sure, and personal essays can pay ok—most are between $50 and $300, depending on the outlet. But, rather than hustling and pitching and molding my work to fit into a publication’s box and ultimately selling it to an outlet where I’ll never hear about it again, I prefer to send them to you, my amazing readers, where I know they’ll ultimately mean more to you because of the relationship we’ve built. I know you’re here because you value my work, and I genuinely appreciate the feedback and connection that come with this direct link we have.
I hate asking for money for my writing, because we live in a world where so much entertainment is free—or at least it seems that way. But I believe this is also a world where people are willing to pay for art that is meaningful and resonant. So I’ve left this little button here, and I’ll leave you alone about it now.
What’s Exciting Me?
🎤 Zoom karaoke. I didn’t know this was a thing until Tuesday afternoon, but my daughter and I spent an inordinate amount of time following the bouncing ball and listening to others as they did the same. Wow! It was super fun and maybe now I know what my next author event is going to be?
📚 Independent Bookstore Day was great! I got to spend some time chatting with some lovely people, and got to bask in When We Were Mothers’s placement at the entrance to All She Wrote Books for a little while. Looking forward to seeing what events come up for the summer. I’ve already got a local author fair booked at a public library in my area!
What’s Entertaining Me?
📺 “Your life is gonna get assuredly worse from here on out. Trust me.” -Jackie Rohr, City on a Hill
We started a show this week that I’d never heard of, called City on a Hill. It’s set in Boston and co-directed by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, so it’s hard to see how I could resist. It definitely gives off The Wire vibes, and after 5 seasons of that it was an easy transition to get into this one. It’s about the interrelations of the Boston Police Department, the District Attorney’s office, and the FBI in the early 90s.
Boston, I’m sorry to say, is widely known as a super racist town, and that racism is on full display in the first episode of City on a Hill—more explicit than in The Wire, for sure. Despite the overt bias, and the fact that the racist, white FBI agent (played by Kevin Bacon) undermines the Black attorney general (played by Aldis Hodge) during a trial, showing him who has the real power, the characters seem to strike a kind of professional relationship.
It’s enough to be intriguing. It’s definitely got a less-polished, indie feel (which is great, if the acting and writing hold up). I’m interested to see how the acting improves after a few episodes, as it’s a little clunky in this pilot.
Also, I know we’re not talking about my BFF and second dad, Ted, today. But I just have to say: Season 3, Episode 7, of Ted Lasso was one of the best of the entire series. More about this soon.
📖 I haven’t made much progress with my current read, so let me instead tell you about one of my favorite series of all time. The Silo series, by Hugh Howey, is about a group of people—the last of humanity, as far as they know—living in an underground silo. It is wonderful and thought provoking. And, after years of social media teasers, the Apple TV series based on the books premiers TODAY! Read these things, then watch the show so we can all talk about it together!
🎶 Dos Oruguitas from Disney’s Encanto, performed by Sebastián Yatra, is one of the most sobworthy songs I’ve ever heard. The first time I heard it, I couldn’t dry my eyes fast enough. But even after hearing it a million and one times, I still wept as my daughter’s class sang it at her spring concert this week. So beautiful. Don’t speak Spanish? The English version is almost as good. But be sure to have the tissues handy.
What’s Enlightening Me?
As I mentioned above, I have been thinking a lot about asking money for my work. There’s this tension in professions like mine between being reverent of the audience we have found and asking that our work and expertise be compensated. I added up today the hours I spent writing this week—about 25, if you add up the news publication, Nicci’s Notes, the column I’m writing in The Writing Cooperative, and my novel. If I then add up all sources of writing revenue, it comes out to about $6 an hour (before taxes).
This is the plight of the modern artist—of all artists of all time, maybe, at least those living in capitalist societies. I wrote a little about this in my piece about AI a few weeks ago, but I do think it bears some consideration by all of us. No one can support every single artist/author/musician they love. But the way creators are compensated for doing the work that brings joy to so many is very, very broken. And many of the most amazing works never find their way out to the people who would so enjoy them.
All that is to say: Share the art that you love! Compensate artists when you can! And thank you to everyone who does one or both of those things for me.
See you next week!