February 2020 Update

posted in: Drawing, Goals, Writing | 0

Like January, February was a fairly quiet month. Neither Holly nor I are big fans of winter so we’re usually content with not doing much. We did have a couple of nice weather days that hinted at spring to come, which was nice.

We did have a lovely dinner with a friend of ours at a new-ish restaurant (Forsythia) which is on the other side of town. Other than that, most of our excursions were limited to our more immediate neighborhood.

The month ended with my birthday weekend. Holly cooked twice for us, and we went out for a special brunch. We usually go out to brunch once every weekend so “special” just means that I ordered something more decadent than usual. We also went out to dinner with my brother, at a place also across town (Fiore Fine Foods) but that was technically in March.

March promises to be more interesting since the weather will start getting better, and we have another trip to California planned.


Photography

I already posted about a couple of my photography adventures in February: Half-Frame Fun and Black and White Photos with the Canon AE-1.

In addition to those outings, on one of the nice days in February, Holly and I took a long walk to the Fairmount section of Philadelphia for picture taking. I plan on posting about that separately.

I also took some photos without leaving the apartment. I have long been particular about the pens I use and have been interested in trying fountain pens for a while.

From being a prior customer, I’m on Levenger’s email list and saw they were having a big clearance sale on some of their pens. I decided this was a good opportunity to get one. I picked up a True Writer Pinstripe Guilloche Fountain Pen for about $30. It usually sells for about $110 so it was quite a deal.

I am really glad I took the leap. I love the pen and can certainly see this developing into a serious interest, which seems to fit in well with my other bespoke hobbies of analog cameras and wind-up watches.

I have since bought a Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop Fountain Pen from Jetpens. That was “only” about $20. I’m not sure I will ever be able to justify let alone afford hundreds of dollars on a pen, but the relatively affordable ones I’ve gotten so far have given me great pleasure.

Anyway, I translated my excitement into taking some macro pictures (taken with my Olympus TG-5) of the Levenger pen.

All things considered, this winter has been mild so despite our dislike of the season, I’m pleased with the number of photos I was able to take. And now with the weather getting better, I should be out taking more and certainly hope to take plenty during out CA trip.


Drawing and Graphic Design

February was definitely a slow month in this area. I started the month with another tracing project in Procreate (similar to the Pontiac drawing I had done previously). But partway through the month, I started losing interest.

I had worked on the Pontiac image using the pencil tools and decided to try this new project—based on a photo of my Flexaret camera—using pen tools. For whatever reason, I wasn’t enjoy this approach as much and set it aside. I’m not sure if I’ll get back to it or move on to the next thing.


Writing

As I wrote in my 2019 Update and 2020 Goals post, I simplified my goals for this year and, basically, decided on two:

  • More posts here on This Creative Midlife
  • A refreshed and thoughtful approach to my short stories.

So far, these goals have served me well. I posted 4 times here. Last February, I had posted just once.

At this point in 2019, I had 3 posts, and I have 10 this year.

For what it’s worth, my modest blog traffic is a little less modest this year. Last February, I had 49 visits compared to 183 this February.

I still haven’t really defined what I mean by a “thoughtful” approach to my short stories, but I was active regarding them.

I sent out another 5 submissions. For the year, I’ve sent stories to 13 journals and have gotten 3 rejections.

I didn’t complete any new or revised stories, but I did start on a new revision of one of the longer stories I have been struggling with.


Reading

Short Stories

As I mentioned in my January 2020 Update, I decided to keep track of the short stories I read that I liked. I regularly try to read the ones newly published in The New Yorker and The Atlantic and come across others as the opportunities to do so arise. The list could get a little unwieldy if I listed all of them so I’ll just list the ones I enjoyed.

I read 6 stories in February that made the list:

What’s nice about subscribing to both The Atlantic and The New Yorker is that I also have access to their archives. I have enjoyed everything I’ve read by Haruki Murakami so I searched for his work in The New Yorker and saved everything I found to read later. I’ve read only one of his books, Men without Women and, of course, enjoyed that as well.

I guess part of being more “thoughtful” about my approach to short stories is thinking more about the stories I read that I like and keeping a list such as this.

Short Stories Read in 2020

So far in 2020, I’ve read and enjoyed 9 short stories:

Books

I finished reading 2 books in February, although “reading” might not be the right word for one of them, Cindy Sherman’s The Complete Untitled Film Stills which is a collection of her photography. Other than the introduction, there is no text.

I’m not sure when I first came across her work, but I have been a fan for some time. I’m also not sure where I recently came across a reference to her Untitled Film Stills series but that led me to checking the book out from our library.

Of course, already being a fan, I thoroughly enjoyed the collection.

The other book I finished was N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season which has been on my wish list since it first came out to rave reviews. Other than a couple dry sections, I found this book to be as amazing as the hype led me to believe.

Although I finished only two books in February, I had three others in progress which I hope to finish as write about in March.

February 2020 Reading Update
February 2020 Reading Update

Books Read in 2020


This Creative Midlife Posts in 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *