September. September. What the heck did I do in September?
Well, I went to Washington, DC, for work for a few days. Unfortunately, my visit coincided with the Pope’s, which kept a lot of the faculty members I had planned to meet with on campus away. I didn’t have any problem at Georgetown, the Tuesday the Pontiff was still in transit, but Wednesday at GWU in Foggy Bottom was pretty quiet. I met with only one professor all day, which is an all-time low. I had plenty of cancellations the next day at American University, too, but there I easily met with three times as many people.
I’ve spent a lot of this past week making phone calls with instructors to reschedule our chats. It’s now finally done, for better or worse, and I have notes from about seventeen instructors I’ll likely spend most of this coming Monday typing up.
Beyond that, I’m hard-pressed to think what I actually did with the month.
I watched five movies:
- The Rules of the Game
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
I think Byzantium was the best of them, and Next easily the worst. The former’s a genuinely interesting and unique take on the vampire myth, with really great performances by Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton, while the latter’s a painfully dumb Nicolas Cage movie. (And to think, it’s the movie I decided on after I quit watching Crank midway though because I thought it was unenjoyable and stupid.)
Kwaidan is gorgeous, if very slow, but at least it does something with its beautiful visuals. Walter Mitty, on the other hand, looks great, but in the service of such an uninteresting story.
I liked The Rules of the Game a lot, but I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, I guess.
In September, I managed to read three books, which is at least one better than what I’ve been averaging each month this year. (Seriously, as of today, I’ve only read sixteen books since January. It’s a little sad.) This month, I was helped by my long drive to and from DC, listening to Amy Poehler read from her memoir Yes Please along the way. (It’s really great.) I also read A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar, which is kind of deliriously beautiful, and The Martian, which is…well, it’s enjoyable for what it is.
I finally caught up with Andy Weir’s book in anticipation of the movie, opening this weekend I think, and I’m a little surprised it became such a sensation. Mark Watney, Weir’s stranded astronaut, can be entertaining, but I hesitate to call him, much less anyone else in the book, a character. There’s nothing elegant to Weir’s prose, nor any real depth to the people he’s writing about. I didn’t dislike the book, and heaven knows it reads quickly and does exactly what it says on the tin, but at times I felt like I was trapped inside a math problem.
I feel like Weir would write a really interesting intro science textbook, but I’m not losing sleep waiting on his next novel.
I read fifty-two stories in September. (I may have been helped considerably by the purchase of this flash fiction collection. The stories are very short.) Favorites, listed in the order I read them, include:
- “Nothing Is Pixels Here” by K.M. Szpara (Lightspeed)
- “This Side of Time” by Sarah Gray (Fantastic Stories of the Imagination)
- “Five Drinks in Siltown” by Frances Rowat (Betwixt)
- “Ouroboros” by Casandra Khaw (Unsung Stories)
- “The Attic of Memories” by Sunil Patel Fantastic Stories of the Imagination)
- “And This Is the Song It Sings” by Megan Arkenberg (Nightmare)
- “Neuraugment, verb” by Felicia Davin(Nature)
- “Ten Stamps Viewed Under Water” by Marissa Lingen (Fantasy & Science Fiction)
- “Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World” by Caroline Yoachim (Lightspeed)
- “Murder Goes Hungry” by Margaret Ronald (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
- “Today I Am Paul” by Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld)
- “First Impressions” by Ricardo Sumalavia (Flash Fiction International)
- “Dustbaby” by Alix E. Harrow (Shimmer)
I do note most of those Flash Fiction International stories, much as I may like them in the moment — and as much as they may help me make my story-a-day quota — don’t really stick with me, nor make the favorites list. Oh well.
I don’t include any of my own stories, of course — though I do have one in Mythic Delirium that just went live — or the stories I bought and edited for Kaleidotrope — whose newest issue also just went live, by the way. Let’s take it as read that I love all of those and you will too.
Finally, in September, I listed to some music. If you’re so inclined, you could listen to it too: