Happy Friday! I know this is a day most people look forward to, so in that spirit I’m going to talk about some things things that I’m excited about.
Friday is not one of those things. When you’re a stay-at-home-parent, Friday actually doesn’t mean much. I am not going out tonight, you will find me home cooking dinner and bathing children. There will be no sleeping late in the days to come, no reduction in responsibilities. If anything, I’ll probably pile on some extra projects.
My special treat on the weekends is the chance to go on an extra-long walk while The Hubs stays home with Little Dude and Little Miss. There might be a Starbucks run and a trip to the bookstore. This weekend in particular, I’m going to get soil to fill my garden beds, so I guess that is something to be excited about, even if I won’t be sleeping in.
So here they are, some other things I’m looking forward to, and why.
The whole world conspired against me getting to the movie theatre to see this. There was an ice-storm, travelling for Christmas, and then a nasty stomach bug, followed by a string of colds that kept me tied up at home for weeks. Before I knew it, Rogue One was out of theatres, and spoilers flooded Pinterest.
So for months now I’ve been just about the only die-hard Star Wars fan who hasn’t seen this film. I’ve been over here losing nerd-creds on a daily basis. I think I might be in the negative now, and that’s pretty bad for someone who would willingly participate in a lightsaber duel to make Mara Jade canon again.
Seriously, Mara Jade is my hero, and I will always be in denial that she’s not flying around the universe, regularly calling Luke Skywalker to tease him about being a farm boy.
I was sold on Rogue One as soon as I saw that clip of AT-ATs stomping down palm trees. Jyn Erso and friends all look like a classic Star Wars crew of improbably heroes. So yes, I’m getting this movie today, and I’m finally going to settle in and watch it. I will probably squeal when I hear that classic TIE fighter scream.
The Handmaid’s Tale
The TV show, or the book? It turns out, both.
So, I might have mentioned before that I went this really long stretch of time without reading any science fiction. I had Margaret Atwood on my to-read list, but never touched any of her books. I have no good reason for this, I was just very comfortably making my way through every single Terry Pratchett book.
Yesterday, I finally bought A Handmaid’s Tale, and I’ve already started.
By the way – it took me forever to find this book in the store, because it was in the fiction section. I know it’s dystopian science-fiction, just from the little bits I’ve gleaned of the plot, but like a lot of really excellent science-fiction it’s not hanging out with the robots and space ships. I have mixed feelings about this sort of thing, which maybe I’ll discuss later.
I’m a couple of chapters in, and I’m already hooked. As I’m sure the entire universe already knows, Margaret Atwood’s writing is amazing. She’s one of those writers who has that way of hinting at things, who can build a feeling of oppression and fear without direct images of violence. I know the kind of world her character is living in from just a few, carefully-crafted images.
Then, the advertisements for the show, coming out April 26 on Hulu, have me intrigued. Elisabeth Moss will be playing Offred, and I love her acting. We will see if I make it very far into the show, because it looks intense, and I’m known to cover my face during fraught scenes in shows and movies. I have skipped more than one episode of Game of Thrones entirely.
I’ve tried to grow food in the past. One year, I even had a little four-foot square raised bed, with carrots and radishes planted, when all of a sudden we moved and I had to leave it all behind. The next summer, we had just moved into a different house, and I didn’t have time to plant anything in the middle of the kitchen renovation. This summer, though, it is on.
Every day, I go down into the basement to water my seedlings. There are Johnny-Jump-Ups, lettuce, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and flowers sprouting under a long grow light. As soon as I have my soil, I’ll be planting carrots, radishes, beets, peas, and beans. I’m so looking forward to summer sun warming my garden, crunching peas right off the vine with Little Dude and Little Miss, and having home-grown heirloom tomatoes.
As long as the squirrels don’t steal everything I grow. That has happened. But even one tomato from my own garden will be worth it.
So, I’ve been a geek for a long time. When I was in the first grade, Batman: The Animated Series was by far my favorite show. In fourth grade I picked up all things Star Wars. In Junior High I discovered The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
And everywhere I looked in the things that I loved, I found women and girls in short supply. I had Catwoman, and the aforementioned Mara Jade. And even though they stood toe-to-toe with the men in their universes, they were still mostly love-interests and side-kicks. They certainly weren’t the leads in the books or shows in which they appeared.
To say the very least, I’m grateful that Little Miss is growing up in a world where a woman can be a superhero, and get her own movie, too. I have high hopes for Wonder Woman, even though DC so far hasn’t blown me away with their last few superhero movies. Come on, people, make this one worth my time, please!
Other geeky places where females are finally getting a chance to lead: Star Wars, Supergirl now on CW, and the upcoming Captain Marvel. It’s happening in more books than I can name. In fiction, these are good times to be a woman.
Hopefully, the real world catches up eventually.
Earlier this week, I was just chilling at the doctor’s office, waiting for Little Miss’s five-year checkup. I picked up a Better Homes & Gardens to flip through, and I just happened to find, between a recipe for Thanksgiving turkey and an article about what to do with leftovers, a photo of some amazing-looking granola.
If you know me, you will know that I have a thing for homemade granola. I make a batch almost weekly.
And this granola looked magical. I scribbled the recipe down into my bullet journal, because I’m not the kind of person who tears pages out of waiting room magazines. That’s just cruel. Especially when you can take a picture with your phone.
I wrote it down, though, because it looks that good.
When I have my next grocery-store run, I’m picking up the ingredients, and I’m making a batch. It might become as coveted as that ginger-peach granola recipe. I have no idea. That’s the exciting thing about new recipes. It could be a dud, or it could be your new favorite.
A New Book
I started on a new project this week. It began, as it usually does for me, with the characters. Stephen King says this is wrong, but his advice that writers should start with a compelling idea, and then build the characters in later, is one that I ignore. If I’m not interested in the people I’m following around over the course of the story, then I won’t get very far. My interest will dry up about two chapters in, and then I’m left with this beautiful skeleton that has no flesh.
So, the characters come first. In this case, it was two people with a complicated and interesting relationship. I wrote the first two pages, and then stopped to find the core conflict of the book. I think I landed on a pretty compelling idea – I’ll only know a few months from now when I finish the first draft what it’s really about, though. I do know for sure that I’m excited to spend a few years with the characters I’m following. And the setting leans further into science-fiction than anything I’ve written in a while, so I’m getting to invent about five things a page, which is equal parts fun and terrifying.
I definitely plan things a little bit more than I used to. Once upon a time, I started into a novel with no idea what the end would look like. I spent years wandering in the wilderness of the narrative trying to find the central conflict, the thing that was happening beyond the character relationships. It was a mess. I’m still a pantser, but now I pick a goal before I begin my journey.
It’s good to know where you want to go, even if you don’t know how you’re going to get there.
So there you have it, my list of random things I’m excited about, in lieu of Fridays. Do you have any projects you’re working on that are especially compelling? Movies coming up that you can’t wait to see? I’d love to hear more about it – especially if it’s something geeky that’s not on my radar yet!
Or food. I will always get excited about food.
I hope you have a great weekend, and thanks for reading Bright Ink.