Broad Street Diner

September 2020 Update

posted in: Drawing, Goals, Photography, Reading, Writing | 0

I think my big news for September is actually about October. I found out that there will be a Philadelphia Film Festival this year which has been great for my mood. Although it will be mostly virtual (and, actually, entirely virtual for us), it is nice having something to look forward to. They are doing some drive-in movie events, but since we don’t have a car, we’ll be sticking with the at home options.

We usually align the film festival with our Staycation which mainly involves a lot of going out to eat. This year, we’ll probably do some extra delivery and takeout, but, as I’ve mentioned before, we have no interest in going to restaurants during the pandemic.

The weather during September started getting more pleasant so we’ve been able to go out for some nice walks. Those usually involve some picture taking which seems like a good transition.


Photography

In September, I posted about a couple of our previous photo walks along with another couple of other photography related things:

As I mentioned above, we’ve been able to get out for some nice walks, and I shot 4 rolls during the month which are out for developing so I should be posting about them soon.

We also took a neighborhood walk with a friend of ours who is starting to get into photography. We went out one evening when the sun was starting to set. Since I wasn’t sure how long I would have good light, I brought my Olympus TG-5 digital camera for its flexibility. I was glad I did since it was starting to get fairly dark by the time we were done.

Broad Street Diner
Broad Street Diner
Bienvenidos al Jarocho
Bienvenidos al Jarocho

During the month, I also pulled all my film out of the cabinet I keep it in and did an inventory of what I had. I also tried to figure out when I bought each roll and actually started a spreadsheet to track them. I’m glad I did since I have more film (27 rolls) than I thought I had, and I realized some of the rolls were over a year old. Now I can make sure I use the older rolls first and not buy any more film until I know I really need it.

Film Inventory September 2020
Film Inventory September 2020

Drawing and Graphic Design

Early in the month, I dedicated myself to a lettering project. I first drew by hand and then imported and traced it in Procreate. I would like to also do a version in Adobe Illustrator. Although I’m not a total novice with Illustrator, I don’t quite have the skills yet to tackle what I want to do. I’m especially clumsy with the pen tools which are what I mostly need for a lettering project. That’s been on hold while I work my way through an Illustrator tutorial, Illustrator 2020 Essential Training.

I hope to post something about all this next month.


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.

I continue to post here regularly with 6 September posts which adds up to 48 posts for the year. Last year, I posted only 20 times.

Last month, I had the most traffic yet with 377 visits. I surpassed that this month with 478 visits. Last September, I had 128. I haven’t done anything to promote this blog so I’m not sure why my site visits keep going up other than perhaps because I’ve been posting consistently.

Last month, I expressed some frustration about feeling stuck with some of the old stories I had been trying to revise. I solved that by putting that work aside and by working on a couple new ideas. For one of those ideas, I have so far only made some notes for, but I have a decent draft of the other story.

Last month, I also said I wanted to start trying to find homes for some of my stories, and I sent 4 submissions out in September.

In terms of being more thoughtful about my approach to short stories, I began reading The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction (Compact Eighth Edition). I actually had an older edition when I was in college and have since regretted not holding onto it. A lot of books were sacrificed when I first moved across the country.

Unfortunately, this book is rather pricey so I checked it out from out library. It would be nice having my own copy again, but I’m not going the spend over $100 for a new edition.

This text is not only a collection of famous short stories but also a collection of essays related to most of those stories providing insights into the creation of them.

Speaking of The Story and Its Writer…


Reading

Short Stories

The Story and Its Writer is arranged alphabetically by author, but it also lists the stories in chronological order, which is how I’m approaching my reading.

So far, I’ve read 4 of the stories, all of which I had read before, none of which I had read this century.

Based on my memory of prior readings, I was not surprised that Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown, and Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado didn’t do much for me. I certainly can appreciate their craft and their important historical impact, but they don’t particularly speak to me.

Based on my memory of prior readings, I was surprised how much I loved Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener. The last time I read it was in college so the story probably resonates more with me now that I’ve been working full time for a couple dozen years or more.

I also read a few contemporary stories that I liked: Susan Choi’s Flashlight, Nicole Krauss’ Switzerland, and Lorrie Moore’s Face Time, all from the New Yorker. I had recently read and loved Choi’s Trust Exercise so I was excited to read this new story. Several years ago, I had read Moore’s Birds of America and recall really liking it. The only work of hers I have read since was her novel, A Gate at the Stairs, which I wasn’t as enthusiastic about. I did, however, really like Face Time so I’m glad Moore is back on my radar. I need to revisit Birds of America and read more of her short stories.

Short Stories Read in 2020

So far in 2020, I’ve read 43 stories that I have enjoyed.

Books

I continued my Thomas Pynchon re-read and finished Mason & Dixon in September. I may have enjoyed it more this time than the other couple times I read it, but I still have mixed feelings about it. Parts are wonderful, but other parts don’t seem to contribute much to the overall story and are a bit of a drag.

I also continued revisiting Shakespeare’s plays and read Titus Andronicus. Late last year, I read Taming of the Shrew and Richard III. I’m not reading in strict chronological order but am following a loose chronology.

Titus Andronicus is as crazy and violent as I remembered, but it is an exciting reading because of such. I followed up my reading of the play by watching Julie Taymor’s Titus which really captures the spirit of the play.

Finally, I read Chris Franz’s autobiography, Remain in Love. As a longtime Talking Heads fan, I was really interested when this came out. I was a little disappointed by it. Franz spends most of the book recalling anecdotes about the early years of the band, many of which are interesting but they don’t add up to much. I was mainly disappointed by his cursory review of the later years of the band and of the Tom Tom Club. He also seemed unnecessarily harsh toward David Byrne and barely mentions Jerry Harrison.

September 2020 Reading Update
September 2020 Reading Update

Books Read in 2020

So far in 2020, I have read 29 books:

This Creative Midlife Posts in 2020

Leave a Reply

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