This March has lasted a millennium, hasn’t it? It’s not just me, right? Not only did we have to contend with five—count them, FIVE—Mondays this month, but a horrifying pandemic and nationwide near-lockdown has been added to the mix. Nothing stretches out time like seclusion and boredom. It’s a good thing we live in a world where entertainment of some sort is always within reach, be that books, movies, or vitual dance parties. To be honest, though, my routine hasn’t changed all that much. I primarily work from home anyway, and I’ve always been a homebody, so this isn’t new territory for me. Yet, I’ve managed to scrunch in a ton of mental munchies this month. Here’s what’s kept this writer occupied outside of work and writerly hours for March.
Books & Stories: A five-Monday month equals five—count them, FIVE—read books! Granted, they were quick-and-easy reads, but still… I started with Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, a wonderful middle grade graphic novel. I then moved on to a book given to me by my older sister, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. Being an atheist, I don’t typically read faith-based books, but Tuesdays kept the religiosity to a minimum, which allowed me to appreciate the touching message of valuing those we love. I then picked up The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley, another middle grade book loaned to me by a fellow writer. I loved it—very imaginative! I followed that with Cirque Berserk by Jessica Guess. If you love 80s pop culture and slasher flicks, you will LOVE this horror novella. I’ve had “I Want to Dance With Somebody” in my head since reading it. I finished the YA thriller No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz in one weekend, because it was both an easy read and “unputdownable.” The reason I couldn’t put it down is because it’s essentially art imitating life: a bioweapon—a deadly flu, no less—is unleashed in a suburban mall, and the entire site is put on lockdown. It was so very “ugh” but also interesting to read this fictional pseudo-microcosm of our current reality. I also squeezed in the latest issue of Allegory Magazine, which is available on their site until the end of April. Aside from my own story, “Visceral,” I particularly enjoyed “Miniatures,” “Seven Hands on Pike Street,” and “Fair Game.”
Movies & Shows: I had an entire five days at the beginning of the month all to myself (sans spouse), so I indulged in some serious “me” time. I bought the Starz channel through Amazon Prime ($5 a month for three months…worth it!) and binged the entire fourth season of Outlander and the first few episodes of the fifth. The Bree and Roger storyline is by far my favorite. I’ve also faithfully finished out the Star Trek: Picard series, and boy do I have feelings. I wouldn’t call it a perfect series, but I love the characters, the actors, the action, and the sets. I’m excited for season two! While on CBS All Access, I also caught The Twilight Zone reboot by Jordan Peele. I’m planning to write up a post ranking the episodes (much as I did with the Love, Death and Robots series on Netflix), so be on the lookout for that in April. I eschewed most movies this month, though I did settle in for Jumanji: The Next Level and Frozen II. I give Jumanji two thumbs up—it was thoroughly entertaining and I’m a solid Karen Gillan stan, but I’m giving one thumb up and one thumb sideways to Frozen II. The remarkable voice talent and the laughs are solid, but the storyline just didn’t enrapture me as much as the original Frozen. Oh, and addendum to this section: like the rest of the nation (or so it seems, judging from soical media), we binged Tiger King this past weekend. What an absolute train wreck of a tragic tale.
Music & Audio: I spent a lot of time listening to the Thievery Corporation radio channel on Pandora this month. The trip-hop chill lounge vibes always smooth out my frazzled feelings, so much appreciation goes to all the artists they feature on that channel: Radiohead, Zero7, Blackmill, Telepopmusik, and Portishead, to name a few. I also pulled up the 90s Alternative Rock channel while cleaning and cooking meals. What can I say: I’m a Gen X girl through and through. I’m interviewing table-top game designer Takuma Okada for my May column on Luna Station Quarterly, and it just so happens that she’s also an accomplished composer. She has some funky and atmospheric music on Sound Cloud under the name No Road Home. Give it a listen when you’re in the mood for some synthey instrumentals and drifty vocals!
Now, tell me all about your shelter-in-place diversions in the comments below!