As some of you know if you follow this here bloggie thingie, I’m in the middle of a bit of a writing burnout and I’m actually not currently writing (stories/novels/novellas), which, though a relief in some ways, comes with its own set of issues (OH NOES I AM SLIPPING INTO WRITING OBSCURITY AND NO ONE WILL EVER CARE THAT I WAS ONCE HERE WRITING *gnashes teeth tears hair reaches for glass of bourbon*).
Regardless, I had to take a break because it just got way too scary trying to balance everything and not take any time to simply live and I started worrying about things like emotional health. And I’ve found some awesome things since I went on writing vay-kay. Here they are, in no particular order:
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1. Damn, Agent Carter is a super awesome TV show (even better if you watch it online after it airs [no commercials!] or with the Tivo). It’s like watching a pulp novel in technicolor. Total brain candy (and eye candy, whatever your persuasion), though seriously lacking in diversity (there’s your caveat).
Still, it is way cool watching Peggy Carter kick the crap out of bad guys. And get smooched by a Russian lady sleeper agent (okay, so it was not a romance-y smooch [BUT STILL!]; watch the show to see whereof I speak). And be all Jane Bond before there was James Bond.
3. British and Australian series on Netflix. Seriously. Try these. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (1920s Melbourne, kick-ass female lead solving mysteries that often address the issues of the day); The Fall (why yes, that IS Gillian Anderson working a non-American accent…); Foyle’s War (WWII, UK, crime still goes on and detective inspector Foyle is on the case!); The Bletchley Circle (post-WWII UK, lady former codebreakers put their mad skillz to crime-solving); Call the Midwife (what life was like in 1950s London’s East End in super-poor areas before family planning — based on a memoir by a woman who worked as a midwife then); Broadchurch (first season: grim 8-part series on the investigation into the murder of a boy in a small British seaside town).
Oh, and for the cosy mystery fans among you, try Rosemary & Thyme, about an out of work plant pathologist and a retired police constable who is also a gardener. This dynamic older woman duo is so great to watch. The writing on this show works some excellent dialogue and great characterization.
5. Reading. OMG! I’ve been reading so much these past two months! Currently finishing a great biography about the guy and his posse who invented Wonder Woman (The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore) and a wonderful history of four women involved in espionage during the Civil War (Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, by Karen Abbott).
Also just read Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel, Personal and the first in John Sandford’s Prey series, Rules of Prey. I’ve got Faith Hunter’s Black Arts on the nightstand (I’m a little behind in the Jane Yellowrock series…yikes!) and I’ve read the first three of Kerry Greenwood‘s novels (on which the Australian TV show Miss Fisher mysteries are based). That doesn’t include a lot of other books. Heh.
6. The movies Red and Red 2. LOVE the writing in these flicks and the characters. Great screen adaptations. That opening scene in Red is SO GOOD. Joe Average (you think). Gets up at 6 AM like clockwork. Does his workouts and eats his breakfast in a house that’s so damn organized you wonder what the hell the guy did for living. He flirts with the woman at the military pension office, decides he should put some Christmas decorations up so he’s more like the rest of the block. Just an average guy (maybe). Until we see his bedside clock and it’s 3.30 in the morning and he gets up and goes downstairs as usual and…AWESOME. THAT is the kind of hook I’m looking for in the ol’ writing. Love it.
7. Reconnecting with people in real life. Dinners, coffee, lunches, phone-chatting, hanging out with people I haven’t seen in a while. That, my friends, is golden. I just found out one of my RL acquaintances is a comics fiend, too. I never knew that about her! WTF! So now I have a comics buddy to talk to.
8. Doggie time with the neighbors’ dog. I haven’t gotten another dog in my life since my doggie soulmate Taylor died in 2011 and I do miss having a canine around. However, I travel too much for work and other stuff, so it’s not a good time for me to have a permanent doggie companion. But I hang out a bit with the neighbors’ dog, and that’s always fun.
10. Getting great writing ideas even while I’m on hiatus. That reminds me how much fun writing is, once I’m ready to get back into it.
So friends, for realz. It’s okay to take a writing break. Fill the time with stuff you always wanted to do but haven’t, things you’ve been wanting to get back into, and expanding some horizons. Because ultimately, it’s all future writing fodder.
Happy Thursday, happy writing (or happy not writing), happy reading!