Naming places and this melancholy of mine
#4: Featuring three new poems I wrote this month, how to like what you write, excerpts from letters sent by Sylvia Plath, viewing recommendations and more.
Hope everyone’s had a good November. Mine was quite eventful. My fixed-term contract came to an end and I’m now on the hunt for my next day job. I also now have a portfolio site, which showcases all the work I’ve done in the past six months (if you’re interested).
Moving on to the regular programming of this newsletter, I had another play around with the format. I’ve still limited myself to 10 things, but the formats of the previous three newsletters were too rigid for my liking. I thought I’d try the more flexible approach Austin Kleon and Laura Olin use.
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Now, without further ado, here’s a list of 10 things from the month I wanted to share:
I’ve always liked to create fictional worlds to write in, but until recently I had never applied much thought as to how places are named. So I did some research and blogged about my findings, covering the name origins for countries like Papua New Guinea and Sierra Leone as well as some humorous place names (e.g. places like Assington and Twatt).
The only book I finished this month was Katie Goh’s short but excellent The End: Surviving the World Through Imagined Disasters. I wrote some thoughts about the book in my sixth Sunday Sharing post.
This month I also finally started reading Robert Shearman’s incredible three-tome We All Hear Stories in the Dark. He’s been a favourite writer of mine for a while now, penning the scripts for some of my favourite Doctor Who audios. (His audio play Jubilee was the basis for Dalek, the sixth episode of the revival series that reintroduced the Doctor’s archenemies1). I’ll always be grateful to Stuart Hardy for introducing me to Shearman’s short fiction.
Kate McKean’s Agents and Books newsletter is one of my favourites, and she’s mailed out some excellent pieces this month, including “How To Like What You Write” and “pivoting from planning to tracking.”
My recent obsession with Red Dead Redemption 2 has led me to Jacob Geller’s video essays on video games. His video on artificial loneliness was particularly interesting, although the creepy “Four Short Games About Pain” was a standout.
I thought Jaime Green’s article suggesting that we teach writing the way we teach acting was very interesting.
I’ve watched some incredible stuff this month. Promising Young Woman was undoubtedly the highlight, a unique revenge tale starring the superb Carey Mulligan. The End of Evangelion was also a shocking surprise, kickstarting the month with some despairing brutality. I’ve also finally turned up to the Squid Game party (late as usual) — I’m six episodes in and it’s lived up to the hype so far.
Philipp Temmel, the man behind the Creativerly website and newsletter, offers some alternative tools and services to build a personal website, which differ from mainstream website builders. So if you’ve ever thought about building your own website or starting a blog of your own, I’d recommend giving the list a look.
Finally, here are three poems I wrote this month.
You can find an expanded list of links and more details about what I’ve been up to in this month’s Sunday Sharings. My weekly logs will probably continue for another fortnight before I retire them for a different approach in 2022. I’ll also be working on some reflective posts next month, including a round-up of my favourite books from this year.
As always I welcome any feedback, which you can send to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Otherwise, I wish you all a Happy Holidays!! :)