On the final Friday of each month, I take a look back at all the things I loved and put together this list of recommendations for you: the Friday Finale. It might include the best book I read, a particularly impressive recipe I tried, or the best thing I streamed this month. I hope these standout moments from my month inspire you to make some time for yourself looking forward!
Well that escalated quickly! All jokes aside, March has been a long, scary ordeal of a month for a lot of people around the world.
I basically took the entire month off from blogging because there was so much change. I just didn’t have the emotional or mental capacity to jump into the posts on my editorial calendar. Traveling through Canada via train and sustainably packing your lunch for work seemed neither relevant nor significant enough for the brave new world we suddenly find ourselves in.
My company has worked from home for the last two weeks, and I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of it. To be honest, it’s the most time I’ve gotten to spend with Spencer (and the cat) since our last vacation, so I’m feeling very grateful. I’m also grateful for all the healthcare professionals, grocery store workers, janitorial staff, and others who are working long, difficult hours to keep us all safe.
Ohio is currently under “shelter in place” guidelines, which means I’ve been doing everything possible to engage my brain and keep the cabin fever at bay. And that means a lot of my March favorites are the books, TV shows, and other things that are keeping me busy right now, and I hope they will help encourage you to stay at home. No matter how you feel politically, we need to flatten the curve if we’re going to have a chance!
Buckle up, guys, because this show is a trip. The latest bingeing craze on Netflix is Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, which is all about Joe Exotic and his Oklahoma zoo. It’s only seven episodes long, and I promise you each one is better than the last.
You think “Wow, that’s insane. How can they top that?” and then THEY DO. Pretty much every person on the show is the most interesting person you’ve ever seen in your life plus there are adorable tiger cubs. Run, don’t walk, to Netflix and start watching Tiger King!
Oh hey, fellow writers! Do I have a book rec for you. Save the Cat! is a well-known process for developing screenplays, but now Jessica Brody is bringing it to the bookshelf. Instead of a rigid plot structure, Save the Cat! works with a structure of 15 “beats,” or story event.
Brody breaks down each of the beats your story should contain, including the approximate percentage of the book they should occur during, and analyzes popular novels using the beat structure. She also then introduces ten genres that your book should fall into. Think “Buddy Love” and “Dude With a Problem,” not romance or mystery.
I read the whole thing in a matter of days (pre-coronavirus self-isolation) and have already used it to revolutionize the manuscript I’m currently writing. 10/10 would recommend to all my writer friends!
On Monday, I wrote a blog post about all the things I’m doing to keep my brain engaged during these long bouts of self-isolation. Everything on that list was free, including the two-month free trial to Skillshare Premium.
Skillshare has an insane number of completely online classes that can help you increase your skills in a variety of areas. I particularly like the Skillshare Originals because they’re fun, engaging courses that are taught by real experts in fields like marketing, the arts, and digital programs.
I’m currently taking a phone photography workshop and a course all about “going viral” on social media. Use my link for two months free of the Premium membership!
I figure since we’re all staying at home you wouldn’t mind another TV series recommendation. This one is significantly longer than Tiger King (4 seasons of 10-13 episodes), and it’s a really solid sci-fi epic based on a series of books by James S. A. Corey.
The Expanse is a series set in the future where humans have begun colonizing the solar system. It particularly deals with struggles between Earth, Mars, and “the Belt,” a struggling, outlaw type of Wild West situation in the asteroid belt. The series follows a number of characters, including a stolen ship’s crew, a UN official, a “Belter” detective, and a Mars Marine Corps gunnery sergeant. There’s space exploration, war in space, and a freaky new alien technology that takes over organic life. What more could you want from your sci-fi?
You can find it on Amazon Prime, which actually picked it up and saved it when SyFy canceled the show after Season 3. I will say that you can totally tell an uptick in quality during the fourth season thanks to that Prime cash flow, and I’m very pumped for the already-filmed fifth season.
How was your March? Are you under shelter at home? Self-isolation? Quarantine? Let me know how you’re holding up in the comments!
P.S. You can find more TV recommendations in past editions of the Friday Finale.