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Spotlight On: In the Dark Podcast Season Two and the Case of Curtis Flowers

itdThe timing here is uncanny. In the Dark was always going to be my Spotlight post for this month, but a few days ago, major news came out about the case, which I’ll link to at the end.

In the Dark is a podcast put out by APM Reports. The first season of the podcast focused on the kidnapping of Jacob Wetterling in Minnesota, one of the first missing children cases to get national attention. While they were reporting, though it was decades later, some major news came out about the case, which informed the podcast. In Season One, they discuss the case, the handling of it, and its implications on a national level. It was really well done, and the host, Madeleine Baron, has a way of reporting and interviewing that’s disarming and unassuming and supremely listenable.

Season One was good. But Season Two is in a category all its own. Madeleine and her reporting team moved to Mississippi for a year to fully investigate and report on the case of Curtis Flowers.

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Creativity Goals Check-In September 6, 2020

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Goals from Last Week – How Did it Go?

Writing

  • work on Moonchild all seven days – DONE.
  • work on blog at least five days – DONE.
  • journal about blog at least once – DONE.
  • five digitizing sessions – DONE.

Music

Lifestyle

  • sleep without the phone (a struggle you can read about here) – this will put me at 168 nights (24 weeks) in a row – DONE.
  • write Morning Pages every day – DONE.
  • don’t pick up the phone until after Morning Pages – I held off on picking up the phone until after MPs on four days, and definitely felt the MPs went smoother and faster on days I didn’t look at my phone first.
  • do an Artist Date – DONE. I took time out and watched a movie.

Reflections on the Week

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Tarot, Podcasts, Dreams and a Little Music

thestarIn last week’s Artist’s Way Reflections post, in the Shadow Artists section, I wrote about how looking at what I obsess and fangirl over is like looking at a compass showing me what secret yearnings lurk in my artist heart. In doing that looking, I wrote mostly about music and TV/film.

After writing the post, I thought, hmm maybe I need to add podcasting to that list because that’s probably the thing, pop culture wise, that I consume the most, although there are times when I trade out for audiobooks instead. I constantly listen to podcasts. While getting ready for the day or ready for bed, while doing any type of chore around the house whether it’s just washing one dish I need to use or doing a full-on cleaning, while working out, while in the shower or bath, while practicing guitar or keyboard, while cooking, while eating meals, while commuting when that was a thing, while falling asleep back in the day when I fell asleep with my phone. Podcasts in the morning, podcasts in the afternoon, podcasts in the evening. Podcasts all day long. I’m obsessed with so many of them, so shouldn’t that be a Shadow Artist art form too?

I dismissed the thought–the post was already long enough–and went about my day, and I’m sure, listened to more podcasts, which as you can see in my end-of-month Pop Culture Digest post, mostly meant listening to old Bachelor-related podcasts.

Then that night, I dreamt about starting a podcast. I don’t remember much. I hardly ever remember dreams anymore, and this snippet is maybe the only one I’ve remembered at all in the last month. I was going through a drawer of random electronics and cords and shit, and an unidentified friend or mentor (didn’t seem to be anyone I knew in real life), a dude, was telling me not to use a certain mic, and pointing out that I already had a better one, and to use that instead.

It’s not the first time I’ve dreamt of podcasting.

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I Can’t Sleep With or Without You (My iPhone)

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The closest pic I could find to my own beloved phone and case

Sung to the tune of the U2 song “With or Without You.”

In some of my recent goals posts, I’ve mentioned a goal to sleep without my phone. This has been an ongoing struggle for me ever since I got an iPhone (and I was just telling a friend that I got one the day they became available to Verizon people), and in different iterations even before then. I thought it would make sense to give some background on this habit that I’ve struggled to break.

Because the thing is, I know all the things. I know that you’re supposed to get off electronics before going to bed. I know taking the phone into the bed with me, scrolling endlessly, listening to podcasts, having the blue light in my face (and I hold the phone much closer to my face than the average person, thanks legal blindness) is all bad. I know when I fall asleep with the phone, my sleep is worse. I don’t sleep as deeply. I wake up more often to pee or just to wake up, most likely because I’m still in the lighter stages of sleep. I probably miss out on a lot of deep sleep and all the goodies that it provides. I even read somewhere, years ago, that screens in bed has been linked to weight gain.

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Jumping Back into the Blogging Ring

IMG_0349When I started posting again in April, as April, I thought I’d come back quickly to regular blogging. Yeeeeeah, about that. Clearly that wasn’t the case.

I’m going through some major life upheavals, and though I won’t go into it now, I plan on posting about it on here at a later time. Right now, a lot of it is still under wraps, kept off of here and off of my social media, but as things move forward that will start to shift.

There’s just a lot to work out and through and I’m really in the shit right now.

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Writing as Memory Window – Blue Alchemy 2

Sometimes memoir writing transforms your memory. The summer that I was fifteen, my friend Hope, who I’d known for a few years, ran away from blind camp with three guy friends during an overnight camping trip in the woods. They had planned this escape for a year and once they were found, they were all kicked out of camp. I thought I’d never see Hope again. Years later, writing about my summers at blind camp, I wanted to write about this incident but I couldn’t remember how I found out that Hope ran away. I talked with other friends from blind camp but nothing jarred my memory. I started writing about that summer, starting from arriving at Fox Cabin with its blue vinyl couches and orange, white and yellow checked curtains.

As I got closer in the writing to Monday, the night Hope went missing, I decided to just make it up. How I found out wasn’t that important to the overall story, I reasoned. I remembered that our cabin had shucked corn early that afternoon for a cookout we were having that night and I was just going to write in someone coming up to us while we were in the back of the dining hall complaining about the corn. But then, as I wrote into the scene, felt the New Jersey early August heat, remembered the bales of corn, recalled my friend Robyn doing Beavis and Butthead impressions, it suddenly came to me. It was later that afternoon, after we were done with the corn. We were having free swim, frolicking in the L-shaped, cyan-colored pool when Molly, the arts and crafts instructor, called me over to the side of the pool and asked if I knew where Hope might go if she was upset and wanted to get away. That’s how I found out she was missing. Nothing I had tried had helped me remember except writing right into it.

~~~

Here’s another little excerpt from “Blue Alchemy.” Read a previous excerpt here. This is an essay that’s about memoir writing, and how memory and writing both get transformed in the process. And this little snippet is about how the act of writing can help us remember.

Don’t forget you can find other Friday samples here, and you can always read Older Works and Published pieces.

~Emilia J

For the Love of Seasons – Geomagnetic Imprints and Natal Honing

I have always had a thing for seasons, and it would be dishonest to say that the Pacific Northwest doesn’t have them, but it would only be slightly less untrue to say that it does. Portland, Oregon has seasons the way a Sound (as in Puget or Long Island) has waves: technically it does, but they are small and gentle ripples, and have nothing at all of the power and fury of the wild sea. The seasons of New England obliterate the landscape with a cyclical frequency and a constant intensity that I somehow find very romantic.

My ache for the extreme seasons I grew up with hasn’t faded, as I thought it might, with more time and conditioning in this more temperate climate; instead, the wanting accumulates. Even though I live on a big hill known for its power outages, impassability in heavy snows and general storm susceptibility, the most winter I’ve seen out my window–invariably on mornings when I have exams in like organic chemistry–only lasts long enough to take some cell phone pictures of the fleeting moment. Every successive winter that passes without significant snow, I feel a little betrayed by Mother Nature, or by myself for having chosen to live somewhere without real winters. I yearn for a good blizzard, the sky before a good snow, so dark it makes the lights inside houses and hallways look warmer, howling wind so gusty it makes the lights go out, months of snow angels and snowmen and forts and snowball fights and hot chocolate and sledding and real bundling up and layers and fires in the fireplace, a coldness and a darkness that seems to permeate everything, grab hold of the Earth and never let go until spring, when the ground would get soggy with all its melting snow. I miss that.

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