Welcome to the April 2022 edition of...
What I'm Into, What I'm Up To
What I'm up to...
1. Publishing Chapter 14 of my Ready-Player-One-esque novella, Ghost_Layer (on Kindle Vella)
Between Spring Break and tax season, this past month has been almost a wash as far as writing/editing/publishing has gone, but I was able to throw another chapter in the can (is that a saying?) this week.
Previous chapters just needed editing and touch-ups, but I've been rearranging the story from this point onward, which will ultimately be better and which I'm excited about, but it has taken some more work to figure out the new flow.
2. Writing this email :)
What I'm into...
1. Shows: The Ultimatum & Bridgerton Season 2, both on Netflix
I'll start with the more embarrassing stuff first. Wendy is responsible for us watching both of these, but I can't deny I got sucked in. The Ultimatum is a show where couples trade partners with other couples because one of them wants to get married and one doesn't and somehow this experiment will fix that (?). Drama ensues.
And if you don't know what Bridgerton is, where have you been??? Regency-era romance in a reimagined Britain with the occasional curse word or sex scene, with a completely predictable storyline but still somehow totally engaging, which is a good reminder that mind-blowing plot twists do not equal good storytelling. You can have one without the other.
2. Drink: Boba Tea
I'd like to brag for a minute, if you'll indulge me. I was into boba tea (also known as bubble tea) long before it blew up in America. There. That's my claim to fame.
I can't remember when I first encountered the choking hazard that is boba tea—super sweet cold tea with a pile of tapioca balls sitting at the bottom of the cup and a giant plastic straw to vacuum it all up with—maybe on a trip to China in 2002, but either way I am back into it now that it's warming up.
We are lucky to live in a college town with plenty of boba tea places to choose from and more popping up all the time. I'm a traditionalist, usually opting for milk tea with tapioca pearls, but most places have tons of different tea flavors and boba options. My wife likes the fruity stuff.
3. Music: LoFi Girl on Youtube & Spotify
In a recent visit to a new(er) boba tea establishment (see above), I discovered a Youtube channel/Spotify artist/lo-fi music collective called LoFi Girl (by LoFi Cafe).
The music is relaxed, instrumental, a little hip-hoppy, a little jazzy, and great as background music while writing or reading. What caught my attention in the cafe was the beautiful, cozy, lightly animated, anime-style illustrations accompanying the music, so there's something nice but non-distracting on the tv while the music plays.
Another sort-of similar Youtube channel I really like is Ambient Worlds, which puts together music and lightly animated scenes from pop-culture fantasy movies (mostly) like Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings.
4. Show: Beforeigners on HBO Max
I found out about this show on the Imaginary Worlds podcast (highly recommend, if interested try another recent episode, 'Asian Futures Without Asians') and checked it out after the aforementioned Bridgerton binge.
Premise: people appear one night in the waters around Oslo, Norway, and the next night more people appear, and they continue to show up—tens of thousands over a few years. When authorities pull them out of the water, they can't understand the language the rescued people are speaking, but it sounds like old Norse. It turns out the people appearing in the water every night are from other time periods—the Viking era, the Edwardian era, and prehistory. No one knows how to send them back to their original times, so the time-igrants, as they become known, have to somehow fit in with modern society.
The show itself is really a crime drama/buddy cop show, but one of the two partners is a time-igrant herself from the Viking era, and the two work cases related to this worldwide phenomenon (did I mention it happened all over the world?) of people showing up from other times. Fascinating, right?
(Warning: graphic nudity, cursing, eating of raw dead animals, etc.)
Sure, I've been anxious, depressed, and lonely off and on over the past couple years, but I'm surviving, you know. Aren't we all? But Boyd has me thinking about big shifts in my life and about taking my family to South Africa for safari and going off by myself in the woods for days or weeks to be alone and reconnect with the wildness inside and outside of myself.
I mean, I haven't actually done any of these things but without his corrupting influence I wouldn't even necessarily be thinking these thoughts.
After I heard the interview, I listened to his first book, Cathedral of the Wild, on Libby as an audiobook, but they didn't have his new one so I waited until my birthday and bought it and finished it in a few days. Now I'm listening to his podcast about living alone in a tree for 40 days.
The great thing about Boyd, even if you're not looking to change your life or find your purpose or any of that inconvenient existential searching-for-higher-meaning nonsense, he's a great storyteller with tons of great stories and characters, not least of all his own family who began the wildlife reserve where he and his sister grew up (and where Nelson Mandela stayed after he was released from prison) and where Boyd tracks big game animals through the African bush and helps people find their purpose.
Until next time,
good luck and Godspeed!