3 January 2020

“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.”

This Week

Welcome to the new year, friends. Your mileage may vary, but a clean slate state of mind is rarely a bad thing.

The official end of last year means that I wrapped up my year in watching, reading and listening to things. I read 66 books and watched 376 films. I didn’t listen to many podcasts. I only went to a couple theater performances. This year was clearly for movie catch-up. Which is fine! I like movies, and I filled in a lot of gaps this past year.

I put together my customary list of things I liked in 2019, including books, films, television series, theater performances, websites and places. And whatever Baby Yoda is.

I also completed my yearly media log, my third complete year since I began with 2017. I also wrote last year about why and how I keep such a log, including the HTML template I use so you can grab it and create your own log on your website. If you do grab it and create your own log, I’m now adding links to other logs at the template repository. Send me a pull request to add your own.

I usually write a personal rundown of the year past, but I found I wasn’t inspired to do one for 2019. It was not a bad year, but it was an odd and quiet one. My energy was taken up with things like moving (not a particularly fun thing to do as a single adult with a kid), looking for a new job and trying to find the heart of my creative work. Large-scale visions come easily to me, but I’m still learning not only how to break them down into manageable parts, but also how to determine whether something is truly worth making. Just because something could functionally work as a story or project doesn’t always mean it’s something I’m meant to make. Instead of working from the outside in, I’ve been learning how to move from the inside out. Instead of creating from the top and breaking it down, I’m trying to start from the bottom and building up. In short, this year has involved more thinking, considering and exploring than it has action or production; the result of which is that I don’t have a simple list of accomplishments to share. Which is fine. These years are just as necessary as any others.

I would like to foretell more finished projects in 2020, but the truth is I have no idea what my timeline looks like anymore. All I can say is that there are many things I want to make and I haven’t given up figuring out how. The rest will take the time that it takes.

Wishing you all clarity and peace as we move on.


Links

The decade of enduring male fragility.

How we killed the old internet.

Is it time to embrace the idea of “digital nutrition”?

Welcome to the era of the post-shopping mall.

“The Final Girl is an empty promise. What it seems to offer women is the guarantee of survival if we do everything right. But what it actually ensures is that, if you are hurt, there will be a way to trace it back to a rule you broke. You become the Final Girl by attrition, not achievement. You can’t earn the title. You can only outlast everyone who didn’t get it.” A love letter to the girls who die first in horror films.

35 directors on their favorite movies and television of 2019.

Directors on their hidden gem films of the 2010s.

The most anticipated films of 2020.

I liked The Mandalorian more and more as the season went on and the season finale was fantastic. Alan Sepinwall breaks down why it was so good.

“The adoration that fan art owns up to, unapologetically, isn’t girly; it’s fucking magic.” Girls’ fan art isn’t embarrassing—it’s radical.

I like the idea of Submittable’s #Rejection100 challenge. This year, resolve to be rejected as often as you can, from anything that will reject you.

“If a person’s behavior doesn’t make sense to you, it is because you are missing a part of their context. It’s that simple.” Laziness does not exist.


Reading/Watching/Listening

  • I didn’t rush out and see Little Women (now in theatrical release) right away—not because I didn’t want to see it but because I knew I wasn’t emotionally prepared to handle it over much of the holidays. But I made it out for a New Year’s Eve viewing. And it’s really wonderful. Spirited and beautiful and modern.

  • I saw The Last Black Man in San Francisco pop up on others’ recommendations throughout the past year but I hadn’t been able to catch it. It is now, however, on Amazon Prime, and it’s worth watching. It’s a romantic sort of film, in the classical sense of word, that wears its opinionated heart on its sleeve, and it’s about societal change and responsibility as much as it’s about how people determine which stories they need to tell to survive, and which stories they need to tell to thrive.

  • Like many another bookish child, I filled myself with mythology when I was younger. I had a kids encyclopedia of Greek and Roman gods and stories that I basically committed to memory. In high school, I read everything from Edith Hamilton to Euripides just to get more of those stories. Now, as a grown women, it would seem I’m the target audience for Nina MacLaughlin’s Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung, a thick volume of something approaching prose poetry that remixes Ovid’s tales with modern, feminist sensibility. If you ever wanted to read about Eurydice as an indie musician fleeing to the underworld to escape her abusive rock star partner, this book is for you.


Happy new year. You got this.

Love,

Jen


Connections

Substack archive: https://jenmyers.substack.com/archive

TinyLetter archive: http://tinyletter.com/jenmyers/archive

Essay archive: http://modernadventuress.com/

Website: http://jenmyers.net

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Email: hello@jenmyers.net

Post: P.O. Box 13114 Chicago, IL 60613

This week’s quote is from Louisa May Alcott, Little Women.