The folks in my life who know me well know that I’m a big time drinker of tea. Historically it’s always been black tea WITHOUT any additional flavoring, aside from sugar (don’t even mention lemon, peach or raspberry in my presence!). Today I branched out and took a chance on a couple of different flavors. The cinnamon flavor I think I might’ve cautiously tried a few years ago and with a little sweetening it’s an acceptable addition to my pantry and office desk drawer. The salted carmel, though? 🤔 While not bad tasting by any means, I must say it . . . as I kinda expected . . . is doing too much.
As an artist/creator of stories and music, I keep everything I create. And I do mean everything. If my creations are my children, it’s very much a no child left behind!situation. Heh. My hard drives and archives are filled vastly with many seeds for various projects, be it a story, novel, song or album. To wit: tonight I stumbled across a video recording from early last year of me playing a brand new bass line that’d I’d forgotten all about. As I ramp up my music production activities in these winter months, I’m going to use those two riffs to base a new song around for the BRANDON: UNSUNG instrumental project. Probably add some piano, a little acoustic guitar and maybe the drum machine. That is if I can motivate myself to set up all the equipment again. It’s a bit of a tedious task given that I’ve moved all my creative activities up to the master bedroom (having had to convert what was once my personal study into an additional bedroom, FML.) Regardless I have a busy weekend ahead specifically because I am a pack rat who always has unfinished business.
So much easier said than done. Probably especially easier for those new to the craft. Those of us who have been at a while (and those of us who’ve also served as editors and dedicated work-shoppers) tend to have a more . . . I’ll just speak for myself as I have a more neurotic/OCD approach to writing fiction (nonfiction is not so bad). But I’m trying to curb that and I have at least taken the mental steps to writing free and clear of my usual obsessive-compulsive method of scrutinizing every word, comma and sentence as I write. I just have to put it in practice more. Not that I know first hand but I imagine it’s not much unlike a 12-step program. Heh.
After a 113-page marathon Sunday and Monday evenings, I finished my first book read of 2020. VESSEL (published in 2019) was a very enjoyable debut novel by Lisa A. Nichols. Her prose is fluid and very efficient (not too much, not too little) and her sense of mystery, suspense and storytelling structure are impressive for a first-time novelist; from a storytelling and craft standpoint I thought I was reading a veteran writer. I think the big reveal at the heart of the mystery was compelling enough. As a page-turner just under 300 pages, it has an open-ended ending that’s totally begging for a sequel, one I eagerly await. Apparently the marketing team did the book a disservice by comparing it to THE MARTIAN or DARK MATTER because I’ve seen some grumblings on Goodreads citing the lack of hard sci-fi, leaving that particular kind of SF reader a little underwhelmed by the somewhat ‘lite’ sci-fi content the story offers. That did not bother me at all, as I don’t need all the technical jargon to get me into a sci-fi story. There was plenty of astronaut and NASA info and intrigue to ground the story in that world. Yet it is fair to say the story is more character-driven than the you’d probably expect from a typical science fiction novel. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
The summary follows:
An astronaut returns to Earth after losing her entire crew to an inexplicable disaster, but is her version of what happened in space the truth? Or is there more to the story…A tense, psychological thriller perfect for fans of Dark Matter and The Martian.
After Catherine Wells’s ship experiences a deadly incident in deep space and loses contact with NASA, the entire world believes her dead. Miraculously—and mysteriously—she survived, but with little memory of what happened. Her reentry after a decade away is a turbulent one: her husband has moved on with another woman and the young daughter she left behind has grown into a teenager she barely recognizes. Catherine, too, is different. The long years alone changed her, and as she readjusts to being home, sometimes she feels disconnected and even, at times, deep rage toward her family and colleagues. There are periods of time she can’t account for, too, and she begins waking up in increasingly strange and worrisome locations, like restricted areas of NASA. Suddenly she’s questioning everything that happened up in space: how her crewmates died, how she survived, and now, what’s happening to her back on Earth.
Smart, gripping, and compelling, this page-turning sci-fi thriller will leave you breathless.
I dialed this album up last night before bed, realizing I hadn’t listened to it in well over 15 years and perhaps not far from 20 years. Classic lo-fi pre-grunge alt-rock. This was always my favorite music of the Breeders.
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