Purple Flower

May 2021 Update

posted in: Personal Essay, Photography, Reading, Writing | 0

Early in the month, Holly and I both passed our two week mark after getting our second vaccine shot meaning that we are fully vaccinated. We spent a good part of the month venturing out to reengage with the world. We’re still hesitant to do much indoors, but we had some nice weather at least until the end of the month so were able to enjoy our newfound ability to actually do things.

I wrote about most of this in a couple of posts:

I’ve been a little surprised how comfortable we’ve been with most of our outings. Granted, they have mostly been outdoors, but considering we had 14 months of staying inside and wearing masks and avoiding people, I though being around other people would have still been a little troublesome. I’m glad it’s been easier than I assumed.


Photography

As the weather got nicer, we were able to get out for more walks which, of course, meant more photos. I already posted about some of our late April and early May adventures:

I have more film photos from May to still post about.

We also took a nice spring walk where I brought along my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with my EF 24-105mm f/4 lens.

Purple Flower
Purple Flower
Roberts Center for Pediatric Research
Roberts Center for Pediatric Research

Drawing and Graphic Design

I finished a drawing project that I had started in April. I had traced a wine label in Procreate and then followed that up by drawing the label by hand. I already posted about that.


Writing

I finished proofreading the story I had finished in April and worked on a draft of a longer story, but most of my work during the month was this blog. I posted here 6 times in May but also worked on the posts that have so far gone live in the beginning of June.


Reading

Short Stories

I read quite a few short stories I liked in May.

I have been working my way, chronologically, through the 8th edition of The Story and Its Writer. I read 6 stories from it, all of which I read before, most of which I didn’t remember well:

At one time, I would have listed Winesburg, Ohio as one of my favorite books. It’s been decades since I’ve read it so reading Hands was a nice reminder that I should revisit it. Also, at another time, I was really into Willa Cather so, again, another reminder of someone I need to circle back to.

I also read 5 more stories from The Best American Stories 2020:

I’m only a little way through this collection (the stories are arranged alphabetically by author and I’m only up to Cline), but so far it’s been a really solid collection. I haven’t been wowed by every story but have enjoyed all of them.

After not really liking any of the New Yorker stories in April, I liked most of the ones from May:

The New Yorker also posted an excellent new novella by Lauren Groff: What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?

Short Stories Read in 2021

So far in 2021, I’ve read 20 stories that I enjoyed.

Books

Not only was May a good month for reading short stories, but it was also a good month for reading books.

I continued revisiting Ernest Hemingway by reading A Farewell to Arms. Like with The Sun Also Rises, I had read A Farewell to Arms before. Unlike The Sun Also Rises which I had read a few times in the past, I had read A Farewell to Arms only once before. I don’t recall how long ago it was that I had read it but we’re talking decades so I didn’t remember much of it. I liked it as well but not as much as The Sun Also Rises.

I then read Jhumpa Lahiri’s fabulous new book, Whereabouts. She wrote Whereabouts in Italian and then translated it into English. I’ve been fascinated with her adventures in learning Italian and learning to write in Italian. I loved her In Other Words in which she describes her passion for learning Italian so I was eager to read her new book.

Pre-pandemic, I contributed to a Kickstarter to help fund Hal Hartley’s next film project. Unfortunately, do to the pandemic, he was unable to make this movie. He offered to either refund anyone’s contribution or send a copy of the screenplay, Where to Land, and a Blu-ray box set of 2 of his movies: Book of Life and The Girl from Monday.

I have been a big Hal Hartley fan since his first feature film, The Unbelievable Truth. I already own his Long Island Trilogy (The Unbelievable Truth, Trust, Simple Men), his Henry Fool Trilogy (Henry Fool, Faye Grim, Ned Rifle), and Surviving Desire, as well as a disc of some of his short films.

Since I was curious about his new project and did not own either of the films he was offering, I opted to get the screenplay and boxed set. The screenplay included his new project, Where to Land, along with the screenplays for a few of his short films: Meanwhile, A/Muse, Apologies, and Accomplice. Where to Land features the same main character as Meanwhile so it was nice having that screenplay as well. Where to Land was quite good so it’s disappointing that he was unable to make the film.

Side note: I saw Faye Grim at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. I was–happily–able to get a few decent pictures of Parker Posey outside the theater, and I was also able to get some not so decent pictures of the cast after the screening. These were most likely taken with my Fujifilm FinePix E900.

I re-read one of my longtime favorite books: Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Nothing about the re-read changed my mind that this is one of my favorite books.

During our Staycation, I decided I wanted to read something lighter and decided to get back to some Star Wars material and read Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath. I found it to be the perfect week off read. It was a light, entertaining, quick read. Enjoyable enough to make me want to read the rest of the trilogy.

May 2021 Reading Update
May 2021 Reading Update

Books Read in 2021

So far in 2021, I have read 17 books:


This Creative Midlife Posts in 2021

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