A Hodge-Podge

I keep a list of writing contests and periodically check upcoming deadlines to see if I have any stories I could submit. This week’s review reminded me that I need to open that file more often.

A couple of contests had specific themes, and one, in particular, intrigued me. I’d meant to craft a story for it, but I didn’t. I could still write with that theme in mind, and I probably will. I just wish I’d marked it on a calendar.

I’m also re-learning that each project takes however long it takes. Some stories come together quickly. Others need breathing room.

That’s hard to remember when I work at a library and see the parade of James Patterson, Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts, and Debbie Macomber novels. But I also know that Patterson has a stable of co-writers to help him crank out his books. I don’t. And I don’t think I’d want his career, despite the bestsellers and recognition.

On the plus side, I’m writing more quickly and with less interference from my internal editor when I use my computer for first drafts. It’s nice not having to transcribe my work as often as I did. But I miss the feel of a pen on the page. I’m hoping for a balance between handwritten drafts and typed ones.

Last week, we started watching the Netflix reboot of “One Day at a Time.” I’ve been a fan of Rita Moreno’s work since seeing her in the movies “The King and I,” “Singing in the Rain,” and “West Side Story” as a kid. She’s terrific in this show.

Even better is Justina Machado, who plays Rita’s daughter. I never watched “Six Feet Under” and wasn’t aware of what an amazing actor she is. I really hope Netflix gives the cast a fourth season. The show is funny and thought-provoking, and the cast seems to have terrific chemistry.

I read “Always Running,” Luis J. Rodriguez’s memoir about his gang days in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Although it’s a bit dated, many of the issues he discusses as being at the root of gang identity back then (poor education, lack of jobs, institutionalized racism) are still issues now. It’s worth reading.

My to-read list keeps getting longer and longer. A recent addition is Marlon James’s “Black Leopard, Red Wolf.” It seems like everywhere I turn, someone is mentioning that book as launching an exciting new fantasy trilogy. It’s based on African myths, and some are calling it an African Game of Thrones. I’m looking forward to getting a copy later this week.

Speaking of GoT, we re-watched the first seven seasons recently. I resisted seeing the show because I read the first couple of books and didn’t love them. Jen watched the show without me and finally convinced me to give it a try. I’m glad I saw it a second time before the final season starts. I think more of what’s to come will make sense now.

(Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash)

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