I’m currently out in country New South Wales housesitting and editing the last of my upcoming book “Becoming Martian”. It’s been a fairly full-on 3 weeks proofing and rewriting for about 6 hours a day, but with 1 week left I’m looking forward to a more regular writing program (and more on-schedule Patreon posts!) once I’m back in civilisation again.
In the meantime the place I’m housesitting has Netflix and Foxtel, so I’ve been breaking up all the intense book work with plenty of garbage television.
What I’m Reading
Reading new things has been a particular challenge this last month because I’ve spent so much time reading and reviewing material for the book – I’ve been pretty fried each night after staring at a screen most of the day! That said, I did manage to read one short book…
The Hidden School by Dan Millman – After re-reading Dan Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior again recently, I’ve been eagerly awaiting The Hidden School – the final book in the series – to be released. While Way of the Peaceful Warrior is really the all-encompassing book for all of Dan Millman’s journey, both Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior and The Hidden School can be seen as side-journeys that investigate specific spiritual lessons inside that larger arc. In The Hidden School’s case it’s all about our relationship with death, change, and the unexpected.
This is definitely a book for folks who’ve read Way of The Peaceful Warrior, and preferably Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior too – the Hidden School is excellent, but you’ll miss the larger context if you haven’t read the original book.
What I’m watching
As I mentioned last month, housesitting is an absolutely perfect environment for writing AND catching up on things you might have missed on TV or the cinema. Unfortunately it can be a little too good for catching on things you might have missed, so I probably spent way more time watching garbage than writing the first 2 weeks I was here – at least I’ve made up for it since.
There’s also been a few stand-outs from among some of the utter nonsense I’ve watched.
The Mars Generation – This is a great documentary about the dreams of American kids coming true with a trip to space camp. I’ve had a little to do with the Mars Generation folks through Twitter, and while I love what they do to inspire kids, I’m really glad they’ve had a documentary made about them and that it’s pretty good… I just find the whole American “hyper enthusiastic” thing a little unsettling, and after 40 years of “the kids born today will be the first on Mars” I don’t have a lot of faith in the narrative that traditional government space agencies and folks like the Mars Generation repeat.
Bojack Horseman Season 3 – Bojack and I have a… complicated relationship. I watched Season 1 when I first moved to Melbourne in 2015 and loved it, so when Season 2 was released I leaped straight into it. The end of Season 2 is unexpectedly and emotionally brutal, so I’ve been in no rush to venture back into the cartoon world of “Hollywoo” again until recently. Bojack is hilarious, challenging, and vicious… and the end of Season 3 is no different. It didn’t hurt me the way the end of Season 2 did though – I suspect I’m in a much better place now than I was when Bojack decided to rip my heart out last time.
Alien: Covenant – I decided to do a day trip over to Dubbo one morning to break the writing monotony with a cafe breakfast buying a new journal to replace the one I’m about to finish. I was just about to start the 2 hour drive back to Mudgee when I remembered that Alien: Covenant has just been released and Dubbo is the nearest cinema – a quick check online and I found a screening starting in 20 minutes just 5 minutes away!
I’ve always loved the mythology of the Alien universe – especially H.R. Giger’s incredibly confronting artwork and creature designs – and as much as it was deeply flawed I still loved Prometheus too. Alien: Covenant is far from perfect and still feels like a connecting step toward the original Alien, but it is a LOT closer than Prometheus was. It’s great learning more of how the xenomorph came to be, but it’s really the return to those old-school scares, that unsettling imagery and the relationship between creator and created that really make this film shine. Whatever Ridley Scott has in store for us next I’m really excited about it – it’s safe to say the Alien franchise is back on solid ground.
What I’m listening to
After revisiting quite a few old albums last month, I’ve made a solid attempt to explore new territory this month. Using recommendations from Spotify’s “Discover Weekly”, I’ve noted the stand-out songs and then dug up the albums they’re from to see if there’s more gold to be found
Kintsugi by Death Cab For Cutie – I’ve never been a huge fan of Death Cab For Cutie, but after the extended version of I Will Possess Your Heart popped up in my recommended listening a few times I decided to give their latest album a proper listen… and I was on board right from the first track No Room In Frame. It’s pretty easy listening all round and while it won’t ever be a lifetime favourite it’s definitely something I’d put on if I had an hour with nothing to do.
Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons by Blonde Redhead – After re-watching Rick and Morty last month, I was reminded how much I love the track that plays at the end of Season 1’s “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind” episode. After a bit of digging around I found out it’s by Blond Redhead, and the entire album is all sorts of weird and wonderful. Definitely not every day listening, but it certainly has a beautifully hypnotic quality that allows the tracks to loop over so you’re never sure if you’re at the start, middle or end of the album.
Alien: Covenant by Jed Kurzel – Naturally watching Alien: Covenant reminded me just how great the music in all the Alien films is (yes, even Alien 3). From what I’ve heard there were some concerns that Jed Kurzel’s previous work might not fit with the eerie and unsettlingly organic sound Alien is so well known for, but this album fits perfectly with the sound the franchise is so well known for. I wouldn’t recommend trying to write about space exploration while listening to this though – the tracks labelled “Facehugger” and “Chest Burster” are named that way so they could be easy listening…
With all this book work I’m still a long way behind on my regular Patreon writing, but hopefully I’ll be back on the usual publishing schedule in July. Can’t wait to share everything I’ve been working on very soon – there’s some seriously exciting news to share over the next few weeks! In the meantime stay awesome,