Every year for the last 10+ years, I've slapped together a music playlist that is patchwork quilted from movies, television shows, videogames, and trailers.
This year was no exception. I'm a sentimental old fool and a lover of both the big and little screens and everything in between really. You can listen to this year's playlist NOW on Spotify or YouTube Music.
Featuring bangers from the following:
I promise this a totally valid use of my time. You can also find past playlists on my Spotify (Mindy Crouchley) through 2017, and 2011-2016 are available on Daniel Robertson's YouTube Music account.
What were some of your favorite media-related musics of 2021?
Had a lovely chat with Megan Jessop yesterday, for her Book Publishing thesis research, about what it means to steward a Little Free Library during a global pandemic, and especially during a time where there's a coordinated and concerted effort to ban, burn, and censor books from diverse perspectives.
Feeling excited and reinvigorated to place our LFL in its new Salem, Oregon home---with a strengthened mission to not only include diverse books, but also banned and censored books.
Check out her blog post here.
It might NOT surprise you to learn that in the last two weeks, literally nothing has happened on Rosita Ruins the Heist. There's been literally no forward momentum. No additional word count. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
SO, WHAT NOW?
My plan, now that I've finished my side hustle CE for the month and am ramping up for another one, is to still find some time to write.
But THE PROBLEM IS... I spent this weekend up in the attic of my old house, sifting through boxes and as much as humanly possible, downsizing. And the end result is that I stumbled upon some old writing, a zombie screenplay, to be more precise, and it's VERY ALLURING.
That's the neurodivergent in me CRAVING the excitement and possibility of something new, but it's at war with the part of me that understands the only way I will be successful in making "art" and/or publishing a book IS TO FINISH WRITING THE DAMN THING.
That's honestly the most challenging part of any project for me and now I have two books that are basically 80k words that are not complete and SO HELP ME... I don't want to follow this little new, inspirational beacon to it's inevitable conclusion because I have two whole books that are demanding my limited attention right now. You know, and all the other things!
I AM DOING THE HARD THING
I'm NOT pursuing the itch to turn this screenplay into a manuscript... yet. I've decided that will be my Nanowrimo project for November 2022. I've already taken some mental notes which will soon take the form of physical notes, but ultimately there are just a few tweaks (plus, translating small bursts of description into prose narration) to be made to turn this completed story into a book. It's a pretty easy win that's literally already done which is WHY IT IS SO TEMPTING.
Anywho. Finishing up another 5k words on Rosita by the end of the month. That will not be easy because...
MORE BAD THINGS
After three weeks of bearing the brunt of our packing, moving, and unpacking---my spouse sustained a significant injury to his back. He is out of commission for packing, moving, unpacking, building furniture, cleaning, doing ANYTHING really. The poor guy. We don't really know yet the full extent of the injury but he's had spinal surgery before and well, we're just hoping it's not that.
But it could be. I don't really know what my current emotional state is... numb but determined?
Tonight, I have to unload a POD because it's due to be picked up tomorrow. Today is my spouse's birthday and he's barely able to move. I haven't gotten him a present or a cake (I got a card), but I also haven't even unpacked the car from yesterday's Salem to Portland, Portland to Salem grind.
I spent yesterday morning tearing boxes open in our packed-full garage, desperately trying to find muscle relaxers/pain killers only to give up hope, drive to Portland, and find them in a bag that was tucked up next to the door, ready to travel down in the next POD or car load.
Meanwhile, gas prices have lurched over $5 a gallon. What a time to be alive!
But you know, at least we're alive. I'm currently drowning my daily sorrows in pickles and Schitt's Creek and re-applying myself to the new job and side hustle work and desperately trying to put together a functional household in a new city whilst cleaning up my old home of 20+ years and trying NOT to drown in nostalgia (but, my god, I do LOVE nostalgia).
It's been quite a time. Full of joy and euphoria and deep sadness and adventure.
I feel in my bones that SOMETHING is going to happen by the end of the month, but I don't know what that will be yet. Stay tuned, dear readers?
I left you all with a bit of a cliff hanger last time dear readers, because my daughter had two negative COVID results and we'd set up an advice nurse visit and were desperately trying to still keep everything on track whilst things were decidedly going off the rails.
My daughter got COVID--her PCR test came back positive. Both Dan and I took our own PCR tests just to be sure (even though we'd both been testing negative) and somehow, despite having ALL THE SYMPTOMS, we have continued to test negative via home tests and a PCR test.
COVID crud severely limited our packing activities, and other assorted house closing stuff took us even further off course so we ended up rescheduling our POD delivery date for this week (TODAY, actually). Our seller was gracious enough to give us the key this past Friday so we were able to move a few items via our cars (we've taken about six trips to Salem in the last five days).
Some weird issues with the Title company meant that we had to hire a traveling notary to sign the papers at the house and then, despite HAVING THE FUNDS in our account, the company won't accept them until this Wednesday?
I don't know. Don't ask me. The point is WE HAVE THE HOUSE KEYS and are now officially home owners again. It's a very intense thing.
Very emotionally and physically draining. I'm still recovering from COVID which means some days are better than others. Trying to pack and clean and unpack and paint whilst having COVID is perhaps the most physically miserable thing that has happened to me in quite some time.
I cannot recommend it whatsoever.
Other silly little bits that have happened... yesterday when we needed to do the big final push to pack our PODS with all the bedroom furniture (beds, mostly) there was severe rain and flood warnings. Because of course there was. OF COURSE THERE WAS.
It really feels like the Universe is intentionally making this difficult and we're getting tested here. Always getting tested. But I'm bound and determined. I didn't come this far to give up and there's literally nothing that will stop me from moving into this damn house. It's ours now. And we're gonna make this happen.
IT'S NOT ALL BAD, IS IT?
Of course not! We've had lovely moments of sincere help from my in-laws (ALSO recovering from COVID, mind you). Our realtor left us the sweetest "Welcome Home" gift basket and we were happy to share it with our loved ones. Audrey has been an absolutely trooper not only through COVID but through the first (and perhaps biggest) move of her young life.
Our big-little house has continually given us good surprises, including a dormant laundry chute (aside from built-ins, I really wanted a laundry chute of all things). It's been a joy to add little bits of personality to it, and even to do boring things like weatherize the basement windows. We've updated some of our furniture as well. Just, little moments of joy and pleasure when you're personalizing and putting a stamp on something that you've worked hard to achieve.
We had to hit up Home Depot for a few things on Sunday and wandered past the "make a key" station and in a fit of inspiration, Dan and I made keys for everyone that will be inhabiting the house. We personalized them--Audrey received a cheetah print, my Mom a Mickey Mouse, Dan got a skeleton key, and I got a Spiderman themed key. Everyone was thrilled to receive theirs.
It was a nice little moment in the swarm of chaos.
The general lawlessness of COVID + moving has definitely contributed to moments of euphoric disruption where I take a strange and giddy pleasure in breaking the rules. It has shaken up our Coronaworld routine to completely new heights, but it's also been difficult to grasp at the straws of somewhat normalcy during this time.
I'm grateful that everyone around me seems patient and understanding and I'm really just muddling through as best I can here.
WHAT ABOUT ROSITA?
Unfortunately, the reality of moving to a new city while battling COVID has meant that I have paused additional activities like writing on Rosita Ruins the Heist at least until we've officially moved in (likely this weekend, perhaps next as well).
What I have done, is loaded up the current draft of the book onto my Google Books and listened to it when I'm in solo transit between Portland and Salem. It's helped keep me in the world while my physical body and mind are otherwise occupied. I continue to listen to my playlists and build out characterization and motivations in my head. I'm just sort of visiting in the world right now and it's been helpful.
We all must have realized how impossible it would be to conduct a move and write a book while having COVID, right? I mean, WE MUST HAVE KNOWN, right? Anything else was starry-eyed optimism, which I am prone to fits of, now and then.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
It's March now, a new month, and I COULD continue on with my 100k goal. Or I could take stock of all that is ahead of me--and feel confident that I can hit 90k by the end of this month. With the pressures and responsibilities and joys of a move, a CE, a day job, a funeral, and a wedding to attend to--netting only 5k words this month is likely the only sane outcome.
These past few weeks have been incredibly hard. There are lots of swirling emotions and it's all just been quite A LOT on top of national and world events. I've got to give myself a break where I can, and this, right here, is where I can. Sometimes we must suffer for art, and sometimes the art must suffer. But it all shakes out in the end, doesn't it?
As of right now: I've logged 84,870 words. My current hope is to hit 90k words by end of March 2022. That seems like the only reasonable course of action at the moment. I love Rosita and I haven't abandoned her in the slightest. I'm still firmly entrenched in her world. I just have to close out this particular chapter of MY life, before I can finish hers.
Melinda Jasmine Crouchley, YA science fiction author and professional editor.