Sunday Smatterings

Smatterings - February 10.png

Happy Sunday! Coming to you today as I head home from the Southern Command. I went down to celebrate my mum’s birthday (she is a sassy 82!) and attend the play of the century—Hamilton! My brother surprised us all by getting tickets, what a mensch! I’ve been so excited for this. I had plans to attend in NYC a couple of summers ago, but it all fell apart when I had to cancel the entire trip (because of a deadline, boo hiss)! So I am probably the last person in the free world who hasn’t heard the music or know the whole story — and this is on purpose, because I have a thing about experiencing a phenomenon firsthand.

And phenomenon it is. I was blown away. I am SO happy I went in relatively blind to the music. I’m certainly not blind to the story on which it’s based (hello, Federalist Papers) but now I get to throw myself into Hamilton fever whole-hog. First up, the PBS Great Performance documentary Hamilton’s America. And this documentary is wonderful, too. Also, I need to give a major shoutout to the traveling cast. They were astoundingly good. And clearly enjoying themselves. (Can you tell I loved it??? 😂)

I know some of you (possibly including the nasty critic who lives in my brain) are wondering what the heck I’m doing “playing” when I’m on such a close deadline. You’d be right to think this. I’d really hoped to have a draft done before this trip. But the story is being recalcitrant, so I decided a few days of fresh air, long walks, and getting mothered and fathered might help instead of hurt. I’m taking notes as ideas and plots points reveal themselves, and getting a wee bit of altitude. I am probably not going to hit my personal deadline, but that’s something I realized last week, and has everything to do with the story. Sadly, sometimes the creative machine revolts. I want to write the best book possible. Period. And it looks like it’s going to take me longer to make that happen than I wanted.

Not to mention I may have a POV issue. Which will mean some major, major reworking. Big fat UGH.

(But this is also why I set my personal deadlines so far ahead of publisher deadlines…)

So… I’m going to take a walk. And hand this over to you. Time for the latest links!


Here's what happened on the Internets this week: 

12 Books We Should Stop Making High Schoolers Read. I don't necessarily agree with the thesis of this article, as many of these books rank among my favorites and taught me a great deal about writing, humanity, and society in general. Were I an English teacher, I'd use this list as a wonderful juxtaposed then and now exercise: We'll read both and discuss the merits of each.

Cohost with the most Mary Laura interviewed Silas House this week on A WORD ON WORDS! Enjoy!


Decluttering only helps so much if you’re still buying too much in the first place. “The habits around what we buy are complex, and the line between what we need and what we want is blurry. Real progress in terms of decluttering and organization requires changing our mind-sets and rethinking what we value. Which possessions are essential? Which items make us truly happy and which ones just weigh us down?”

Mystery writer Laura Benedict worries there's a stranger in her house. I mean, can you imagine? It’s the worst nightmare ever.


"We speak in links, even for the most devastating of news, and tech giants have made themselves indispensable for link translation." Blocking The Big Five — This is a fascinating series. Follow along as she tries blocking Amazon, Facebook, Google, and it proves nearly impossible. Scary. Also, meta to the max, yes?


Are These Bad Habits Creeping Into Your Writing? Mr. Dryer is aptly named, and his copyediting advice is legendary amongst his friends and Twitter followers. And I JUST read a book where the protagonist shrugged her shoulders… I’m looking forward to reading his new style guide.


Two Harry Potter Books Worth Nearly $4000 Showed Up on Antiques Roadshow. But how could you ever part with them? No way, man. No way.


Steve Jobs Never Wanted Us to Use Our iPhones Like This. So looking forward to Cal’s new book Digital Minimalism! I am a fan of Cal’s work, and love how he’s been adapting his message to take into account those of us who can’t just shut it all off because of business reasons.

Rare half-male, half-female cardinal spotted in Pennsylvania. Chimera alert! This is a super fascinating story.


What I’m Reading:

THE STRANGER INSIDE by Laura Benedict

Nothing excites me more than a talented author making an editorial pivot. The first straight suspense from Laura Benedict is off the charts great. Dark, intelligent, beautifully written. You will not be disappointed.


That’s it for now. Give this a listen, get some fresh air, I’ll see you next Sunday.

peace and hugs,
J.T.