June has been a good month to be outside. It’s like being in a virtual reality game, except you wear sunglasses instead of VR goggles, everything around you is real, and wild mushrooms are the opposite of power ups. Of course, more outdoors means less indoors, which means less screen and book time. Still, I managed to carve out some time—usually late evenings or early mornings—for mental vegging and nourishment. Creativity breeds creativity, after all! Here are all of the things I watched, read and listened to this past month when I either needed a break from writing or a shot of motivation.
Books & Stories: I didn’t have as much time for deep-dives on full books this month, so I’ve mostly kept my reading light with short stories. At the beginning of the month, I submitted one of my short stories to Every Day Fiction, an online magazine of flash stories. While there, I signed up for their email service, which sends one story—1000 words or less—to your inbox nearly every day, hence the name. It’s a great way to get a little bit of fiction reading in wherever you may be. I also tore through Issue 38 of Luna Station Quarterly. All of the stories were great but (*whispers*) “Wired” was phenomenal, both breathtaking and heartbreaking. I also enjoyed the delightfully wicked “Pocketful of Souls.” “The Extent” was nettlesome at first, but once I’d finished, I wanted to go back and read it again. And “Vincent Coriolis, Father of the Nation” is cleverly written with quick switches from present to past. I am now rounding out the month with Curiosity House: The Screaming Statue by Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester. I mentioned in my writing critique group that I was working on a middle grade manuscript and really needed to improve my reading stats for the audience. At our next meeting, one of our members brought me an entire shopping bag filled with MG mystery books. Mystery isn’t quite my genre, but some of them have speculative twists that place them in my wheelhouse. And hey—free books!
Movies & Shows: I started the month with How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World on DVD. The third outing in the trilogy didn’t impress me as much as the first two movies, but it finished the story of Toothless and Hiccup on a satisfying note. I caught the first episode of Good Omens on Amazon Prime but haven’t yet returned to the series. Normally, this sort of thing would be right up my ally, but it just hasn’t pulled me in enough to binge it. Perhaps I’ll finish it out in the fall, when temps begin to drop and the daylight shortens. I have made a point, however, to watch Patriot Act on Netflix as new episodes come out. This show is designed for people who want to know more about global and national politics but don’t have the stomach for straight news. Hasan Minhaj is like a spoonful of sugar: he helps the harsh medicine go down with a dose of yummy humor. I highly recommend it for The Daily Show fans. And finally, I was not going to let the month go by without seeing Godzilla: King of the Monsters on the big screen. Yes, I know it got low ratings from critics, but I don’t heed their opinions, especially when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy fare. I’ve loved the Godzilla movies since I was a little monster myself. From Mothra to Gamera, and Rodan to Mecha-Godzilla, I ate up kaiju movies. In fact, I tend to be a disaster movie nut. Give me any film where large sections of the population die, and I’m there. It’s awful, I know, but what can I say—it’s my jawn. By the way, I LOVED the new movie, so suck it, critics!
[EDIT: My husband just reminded me that I forgot to mention we watched Us on DVD. Augh–I can’t believe I forgot! The movie was atmospherically disturbing, gorgeously filmed and I love Lupita Nyong’o, but I ended the film with tons of “Yeah, but what about . . .” Not really suspension of disbelief kind of stuff, because I obviously have no issues with that. It’s more about trying to piece together a puzzle with a few missing parts. I still thoroughly enjoyed it.]
Music & Audio: June put me in the mood for the ladies. I browsed the Women in Music genre on Pandora and found lots of great channels, from Women in Indie to Women in R&B. I was particularly excited to find a channel dedicated to Women in Electronica. Many of the game and movie soundtrack stations I listen to heavily feature male composers and artists. They dominate the music genre almost to the point of rendering women invisible. Women in Electronica proves there are tons of badass female composers and DJ’s creating attention-worthy atmospheric, trance, house and trip-hop music. I also revisited a few of my movie soundtracks, since mentioning them in last week’s post put me in the mood for them. Both The Matrix and The Saint soundtracks paired perfectly with the setting for my current short story work in progress.
See you again in July!