What I’m Digging Right Now #6

Insecure!

insecure.jpgYou guys, I’m so excited! I found a show I want to binge on. I’m always hearing about bingeing and I’ve only had a few shows that I’ve liked well enough to really want to devour them*. I can’t watch violence or even–sadly–shows with suspense because I’m such a nervous nelly, which rules out a lot of Throne of Games and Bad Breaking.

I know probably a lot of you discovered Issa Rae during Insecure‘s first season or even when she had her Awkward Black girl web series, but I just found her and I love her and the hilarious and oh-so-easy-to-relate-to character Issa in Insecure. I had to fork over cash for a month’s subscription to HBO, but it’s been well worth it. The only trouble is there are only two seasons and I’m almost all caught up. There’s going to be a Season Three though! Yay! Oh my God, watch it! (after the kids go to bed. You know, because HBO)

*Transparent, Mad Men, Friday Night Lights, Girls

 

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life

irby.jpg Samantha Irby’s We Are Never Meeting in Real Life is hella funny, but it also catches you off guard here and there and tells some disarming stories about growing up poor in America.

Speaking of devouring, I’ve read about 2/3rds of this book in the last twenty-four hours and plan to savor the last third as I know it’ll be a while before I read a book this funny and this insightful again.

Here’s a taste: “John was the kind of dude who already looked like someone’s dad; you know what I mean? Like, the kind of dude in mirrored shades who chews bubble gum really hard with his arms crossed over his chest, the kind of perpetually tan, leathery-skin motherfucker who always looks like he’s standing on a sideline somewhere.” See?

Ten-minute Workouts

weight watchers

I stumbled across this 10-Minute Belly, Butt & Thigh Tone ups DVD in the library (What would I do without the serendipity of the library??) and have made the amazing discovery that I can exercise even highly atrophied aspects of my body (belly) if I understand IT WILL ONLY BE FOR TEN MINUTES. Sometimes I even sweat my way through two 10-minute segments in a row. And all in the comfort of my own home. I froze my gym membership for the summer so I can spend money on healthy activities like HBO bingeing (see above).

 

 

Growing Gills

gills.jpg

I discovered Jessica Abel’s work on creativity last year when I got hooked on her podcast Out on the Wire. The focus of the podcast is the process of radio storytellers, but the lessons in narrative and getting the work done are easily applicable to other genres. I bought Growing Gills for only 2.99 as an e-book and I’m linking to the e-book version here even though it’s also available in paperback. The e-book is just such a good deal and makes it easy to connect to the downloadable Growing Gills companion handbook (with helpful exercises). Abel seems to be an indefatigable worker, and at times her productivity advice can feel a little hyper, but she has great strategies for breaking the creative process down into doable chunks and practical ideas for finding your way through every long project’s inevitable “dark forest.”

The way a book has a life of its own

I’m not a huge John Meyer fan, but I’ve always been struck by the recalcitrant joy of these lines from “No Such Thing”:

I want to run through the halls of my high school
I want to scream at the
Top of my lungs
I just found out there’s no such thing as the real world…

wimd-34And the way that twentysomething narrator wants to stick it to his teachers who used “the real world” as a means to  incite fear echos how I feel about the book promoting advice I felt beaten during book launches: “The first three months of publication are your one chance to get the word out there about your book.” Those words terrified me. Through both my book launches, I continued to teach, freelance write, and be a divorced parent of two. I could only do what I could do to get those books out into the world. It never felt like enough. I always felt guilty and like I’d let my books down because I didn’t drive to every bookstore in the state and shake hands with the booksellers, because I didn’t tour every blog, because I kind of suck at radio interviews.

paperback cover large fileBut since then I’ve come to understand that a book has a life of its own. Sometimes a book goes underground for a while and seems to disappear. But then it pops up. Your book has reached someone and they’re writing to you or they’re writing about your book or your book pops up on a list almost a decade after publication. This month I was so touched to read Nilofer Merchant’s post about how Writing Is My Drink inspired her when she was writing her book The Power of Onlyness. And then 26-Minute writer Amy Lemmon wrote a post about how she keeps going back to Writing Is My Drink and Bustle listed How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed in an article about books born out of Modern Love columns.

And I have to tell you, it feels really nice to know that these books born in 2008 and 2013 have lived on and are still finding their way into readers’ hands. I wanna run through the halls of my high school….

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses to What I’m Digging Right Now #6

  1. Margaret (Maggie) Bullitt says:

    Great post, Theo. I’ve binged on Transparent and Mad Men, too. Will check out Insecure. And I may even consider doing 10 min ab workouts…. one of these days. Thanks for all your encouraging words.

  2. Thanks for your column: I love that Frank McCourt wrote an endorsement for “Sleeping Alone in a King-Size Bed. Mine was a king-size waterbed. I’m digging a 2016 book, “My Name is Lucy Barton” by Elizabeth Strout. Here’s a description from the back cover. “Elizabeth Strout’s themes are how incompletely we know one another, how desperately hard every person in the world is working to get what they need, and the redemptive power in little things — a shared memory, a shock of tulips.” CHICAGO

  3. thanks for sharing this. Looks like a couple more to add to the stack and I’ll take any title that hints at funny. We could all use some funny these days. I’ve been reading memoirs. “Burning Down the Ground” by Kambri Crews “The Invisible Thread” by Laura Schroff, Alex Tresniowski, Valerie Salembier. Haven’t finished the second but loved the first.

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