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Your Weekly Dose of EEE #22: The Universe Is Tapping Into My World
I’m back, and on time! It seems I’ve figured out a schedule that mostly works for me this summer. Certainly, I’ll have to readjust again as soon as I get used to it, but I’ll settle for a few weeks of productivity.
Happy Friday! How has your week been so far? I managed to make the most of my time: business meetings, two trips to the beach, family time, meeting deadlines, and even a play date for both my son and myself. All in all, a good week with more to come. Because…
What’s Exciting Me?
This list is long enough to warrant a few bullets:
When We Were Mothers is still getting reviews, like this one:
This book hits on so many different elements of today's culture around women's health. As a proponent of natural birth/medicine, I could very much relate to the fears and realities of the women in this novel. That said, I think that it would spark interesting ideas and conversation for anyone (as seen in my recent bookclub meeting). The way that the story unfolds, as a mystery being solved from 2 juxtaposed perspectives, makes it hard to put down!
I don’t know if this qualifies as exciting, but I saw a preview for a film called Pod Generation this week that you genuinely need to watch if you’re a fan of When We Were Mothers. My book and this film would be such good companions, and maybe if a huge number of people say that to the people involved in the film, they’ll listen!
Things are moving along with my news business, and I am encouraged by a few developments and relationships I made this week.
I was asked to be on a podcast with some super well-respected leaders in the local news space.
I’ll also be doing a podcast with Sophia Le oflater this year, where we talk about the writing life and the story behind my novel and its sequel-in-progress.
I’m headed away this weekend for a book club trip to New Hampshire. We will be discussing (and eating!) Black Cake, and also just sitting and doing nothing—at least that’s my plan.
I’m also going to see Matchbox Twenty this weekend with another friend. These guys came around during my formative years and their first album was the soundtrack of my 15th summer. And they’ve been around ever since—that’s a lot of years!!! I can’t say I’ve kept up well with their newer music, but I always love to see a live show, and I’m excited to go. If they play Long Day, I’ll be able to die happy.
Do you like to learn about the writer’s journey? You know what to do.
What’s Entertaining Me?
📺 I seem to have developed a type, at least when it comes to television. We finished Shrinking last week—still one of the top 5 shows I’ve watched anytime recently—and started Trying. Maybe I spent the first two episodes trying to figure out what show I knew Jason (Rafe Spall) from (Black Mirror) and which episode, exactly (White Christmas), but I still am enjoying this genre of tender and serious shows with a sense of humor.
Jason and Nikki (Don’t hear that name too often, do you?!), played by Esther Smith, find out in their mid-thirties that they’re unable/unlikely to have children naturally, and so they decide to adopt. The show focuses on that journey—from coming to terms with the fact that they’ll never have a baby naturally to deciding to go through the adoption process and on from there. There are actually multiple seasons of this one, so while the episodes are still blissfully short (I’m exhausted by the time the TV comes on at 9 or 9:30, and sometimes I can only handle a half-hour!), it’ll take us a bit to watch.
This talk about infertility is another connection back to Lucinda and Astor’s world in When We Were Mothers. However you feel about artificial wombs, they could be a very useful tool for parents who are unable to conceive naturally.
📖 I finished Charmaine Wilkerson’s Black Cake in plenty of time for book club, and I really enjoyed the storytelling. One thing I kept realizing as I listened was how many of the oft-cited “rules” Wilkerson broke in the telling of this story:
There were a ton of characters, and many of them had scenes/chapters where they were telling their part of the story. (Authors are usually cautioned against this because it’s hard for readers to connect with characters they don’t spend a lot of time with.)
Some of those POV characters only had one or two scenes, maybe 5% of the total real estate of the book.
The timeline jumped around a lot.
Yet the book worked just fine! I almost always have an easier time listening to books, because the details of copy editing, word choice, etc., don’t distract me. I might have a different impression if I were reading a hard copy—but I don’t think so. So here are a few reasons I think the book worked.
Each POV character had a puzzle piece, all of which needed to be assembled for the story to be complete. Even characters that make no appearances in the present timeline have something that only they can contribute to the narrative.
You actually do get to know these bit characters—through the eyes of the other characters telling the story throughout the book. So when Pearl, for example, tells her part of the story, you’ve already seen her many times in Covey’s storytelling, and so on.
The date stamps helped ground the reader in the setting without expending a lot of extra energy. I still don’t love date stamps and could have done without (there were plenty of context clues), but they serve their purpose here.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a good long-spanning family drama.
🎶 The second I hit Send last week I put Hurts 2B Human, P!nk’s 2019 album, on. I think I like it more than her latest, or maybe I just know it better. But at any rate, one of those songs immediately lodged itself in my ear, and it refuses to get out. It features Wrabel, an artist I discovered when he opened for Andy Grammer and Gavin DeGraw at the Orpheum in Boston in 2016. I loved his voice and his music, but he didn’t have a lot of music out at that point. He’s since released more, and I still love his music and respect his public personality. I also chatted with him in the foyer between shows—he was the one VIP-type person I’ve ever met who didn’t make me feel like a total dweeb. Here’s the song, called 90 Days. This might be one of my top 3 P!nk songs.
What’s Enlightening Me?
All my productivity this week, and I haven’t had much time to sit and think. Every minute of my time has been spent doing something or talking/listening to someone. Maybe that’s the enlightening thing—that when you’re busy being productive, you don’t get the time and space to notice things. Some of my best thinking is done on the bike, and I haven’t been on that thing more than once or twice all season. Note to self: Schedule in enlightenment time next week.
See you soon,