Weekly Wonderings – March 29th, 2021

So the first “real” episode of the PopCult Podcast launched yesterday. So far, we have three listens, which is three more than I expected. I had a lot of fun planning & making the first show, and I plan on dropping the next episode on April 11th. I decided to make it a bi-weekly thing so I don’t burn myself out trying to crank out an episode every week. Once our moving date is determined, there might be a slight hiatus as we move & get set up. 

If you’d like to listen to the podcast through your browser, here’s the link to my Anchor page.

If you prefer Spotify, this will take you there.

Here’s this week’s playlist

We have been getting the jump on selling our physical media and furniture this last month. There’s a pretty good used media place in Nashville, but that means a 45-minute drive each way to drop things off. They let you get a ticket and come back within a week to claim your cash, and we’ve made a decent amount. We both decided to clear things out early, so when we decide on the official move date, there are not a million tasks looming over us. Next month, I plan to pack some boxes of winter clothes that we likely won’t need until next year anyway. Overseas shipping looks prohibitively expensive based on what I’ve seen, so the less we have to send in advance, the better. All of our furniture is going. 

Just this weekend, we sold a matching pair of bookshelves we had gotten when we lived in Nashville. It turns out the young couple who bought them lives in the same neighborhood we used to live in, so the bookshelves are essentially “going back home.” Plans are to have a big yard sale in May with almost every piece of furniture up for sale. We’ll need to hang onto our bed until the last minute, but everything else, save our desks for work & chair, can go in exchange for some money.

Part of the moving process and a delay in setting a moving date is that we needed to get our passports renewed. As luck would have it, they were set to expire in May of this year. We sent everything in around early February, and just last week, we finally get e-mail notifications that our passport renewals were being processed. We knew something was up because the US State Department website had a prominent notice saying that things would be moving slower than usual due to an overwhelming number of requests. Our e-mails tell us our renewals will be processed in 10-12 weeks, so it is what it is, I suppose. 

I am curious as to why the uptick in so many requests to the state department. My amateur speculation makes me think they are in the process of repairing austerity damage caused by the previous administration. I wouldn’t be surprised if a more significant number than average are getting passports or renewing them. It’s clear to me the Biden administration will not be the engine for change some people expected. For a far-lefty like me, I knew going into this that we were going to get a “hold in place” status for the next four years with some minor, superficial improvements. The substantive stuff is going to be left to fester and explode over the next few years. I guess it’s comforting (?) to know so much of this policy won’t matter when the climate collapses and with it the world’s governments. I hope to be in some tiny European socialist country where I can at least live much more stress-free than I would in the Thunderdome that is the United States.

On the writing front, I am finally ready to move to the next phase of the DIY MFA. I feel good that I spend a solid month on that second lesson about character. I came out of it feeling more developed in at least my thinking about character development. One piece of advice I am definitely applying this week from David Abbott’s The Art of Character is to develop your voice by spending 30 minutes copying the writing of an author you like. He spent a little bit at the end of his book talking about this. The way he phrased it is you can’t plagiarize voice, so by writing in someone else’s voice for a good chunk of time, you’re sort of tuning your brain. He compared it to how some artists will spend time copying another artist’s work with no intention of publicizing it as theirs but as a way to learn how someone else works & their techniques. I plan to delve into some writers I’ve enjoyed for a good twenty years and see how that mimicry affects the pieces I am writing. When I look back at it, I think my old work has moments of my voice popping through, but that’s rare. I honestly wouldn’t even say I have a good handle on what my writer’s voice is. Looking forward to going through this activity and seeing what develops.

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