The big news from April is that Holly and I both got our COVID vaccination shots! The second one was toward the end of the month so we’ll be fully vaccinated early in May. We’ve been pretty cautious during the pandemic so I’m sure we’ll be taking our time getting back into some of our old activities, but it’s just such a relief that doing so is becoming a possibility.
I’ve been referring to this time that we’ve been working from home and limiting our activities as our “self-isolation.” I need to figure out when I want to declare it to be over. Should that be the day two weeks after our second shot when we’re likely to be fully vaccinated? Or should it be the first time we do something we haven’t done for the past 13+ months? It doesn’t really matter, but it will feel good saying that it’s over. Obviously, the pandemic is still on-going, and we’ll be following the CDC guidelines but it will be nice when we won’t be as restricted as we have been.
Other than that, April was a pretty quiet but enjoyable month. The weather has been mostly nice, and we’ve gotten out for more frequent and longer walks. I documented one in my Spring Walk with Olympus TG-5 post. I did take other film photos which should be developed and scanned in the near future.
We’re starting to have some discussion at work about transitioning back to campus for those of us who have been working at home this past year or so. Nothing definite yet, and it still seems like we won’t be heading back until closer to the start of the fall semester. I’m glad our workplace has been cautious about bringing all staff back since it’s a large campus with tens of thousands of staff and students.
As I mentioned, I’ll soon be posting some photos from other recent walks that I took with my film cameras. In April, I did post about my experience using my new Olympus XA.
Drawing and Graphic Design
I started and finished another wine label tracing project in Procreate. This one was more simple than some of the others I’ve done but was still fun, satisfying, and therapeutic.
As always, one of the fun things about Procreate is being able to capture a video of the drawing.
In addition to my posts here, I also posted once to SimpleGoodness, our food blog. I restarted it in March after a long hiatus. I still have some enthusiasm for it, but it’s often difficult to prioritize posting there given my other writing projects. I’m not sure how active that blog will be or if it will continue to slip into long, unanticipated hiatuses.
We do have a week off at the end of May so, depending on what we do that week, I might have some food adventures worth posting about. And we may soon be easing into some outdoor dining.
I finished a draft of another story. I think it may be done except for some proofreading.
I sent out 8 submissions in April countered by a couple rejections.
I didn’t read any short stories of note in April. I kept up with reading the stories in The New Yorker but none of those particularly appealed to me.
Short Stories Read in 2021
So far in 2021, I’ve read 7 stories that I enjoyed.
- The Rivals, Andrea Lee (New Yorker)
- A Challenge You Have Overcome, Allegra Goodman (New Yorker)
- The Wind, Lauren Groff (New Yorker)
- Casting Shadows, Jhumpa Lahiri (New Yorker)
- Good-Looking, Souvankham Thammavongsa (New Yorker)
- The Case For and Against Love Potions, Imbolo Mbue (New Yorker)
- Future Selves, Ayşegül Savaş (New Yorker)
I read Against the Day shortly after it came out in 2006. I’m not sure when the last time I read The Sun Also Rises was, but I’m sure it was more than a decade ago.
I started reading Against the Day in December. It’s a big book so it took a while to finish, and I had taken some breaks to read other books along the way. It’s far from a perfect book. Some of the subplots don’t really go anywhere. There are too many situations when characters just happen to cross paths. But most of it works well. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is not already a Pynchon fan since it’s his biggest and most sprawling book. It would be best to come to it knowing something about Pynchon’s style and sensibilities. The main family is connected to the characters in his Vineland so reading it is enhanced by knowing that book.
I came back to The Sun Also Rises after watching the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick fascinating documentary about him.
I once considered it to be among my favorite books and was glad that my re-read confirmed how fond I am of it.
I followed up my reading by watching the 1957 film adaptation and was prepared to be thoroughly disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised by how reasonably well it captures the feel of the book. My biggest complaint is that most of the actors are a good 10-15 years older than the characters they portray.
Books Read in 2021
So far in 2021, I have read 17 books:
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare
- Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes, Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau
- To Be a Man, Nicole Krauss
- Richard II, William Shakespeare
- Henry IV, Part 1, William Shakespeare
- Henry IV, Part 2, William Shakespeare
- Henry V, William Shakespeare
- A Promised Land, Barack Obama
- The Shadow Box, Luanne Rice (Kindle)
- The Ardent Swarm, Yamen Manai (Kindle)
- The Trouble with Being Born, E.M. Cioran
- In Other Words, Jhumpa Lahiri (Kindle)
- Soutine / de Kooning: Conversations in Paint, Simonetta Fraquelli and Claire Bernardi, eds.
- Minimal To Conceptual Art: Works From The Dorothy And Herbert Vogel Collection, John T. Paoletti
- This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Kindle)
- Against the Day, Thomas Pynchon
- The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
This Creative Midlife Posts in 2021
- December 2020 Update
- Canon AE-1 with Kodak Tri-X
- Minolta XE with Arista EDU Ultra
- New Photo Light Box
- Favorite Photos from the 2nd Half of 2020
- January 2021 Update
- Snow, the West, and Old Digital Cameras
- Testing My New Replacement Cameras
- Another Wine Label Tracing Project in Procreate
- One More Roll from 2020
- February 2021 Update
- Reaching One Year of Self-Isolation
- Two Cameras One Kind of Film
- Minolta X-700 with Kodak Pro Image 100
- Spring Walk with My Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
- March 2021 Update
- Canon Rebel 2000 with Kodak Color Plus
- New to Me Olympus XA
- Spring Walk with Olympus TG-5