Monday Minutiae – 02.15.2021

Extra Recess

Are you still getting your #friluftsliv on? I am. I’ll admit, during the work week, I have not been loving the sub-zero temps. I dress well enough for my daily commute, but the drive early in the morning is sometimes tricky, especially if we’ve gotten a little bit of snow, and basic errands in a pandemic are hard enough, let alone adding in always having to endure a cold car to do them.

Frozen waterfall with people walking "into" the waterfall.

On the weekends, though? My hikes have been A+. The sun has usually been out, the trails pretty, and my warm gear is warm. It’s a good workout and the deliberate welcoming of fresh air when I have the energy for it has done wonders.

A few more days of this super cold this week and we’ll be hitting upper 20s and low 30s again. I’ve managed the cold and done pretty well to (partly) embrace it, but don’t get me wrong, I will welcome the warmer temps again.

(Photo at right: Frozen waterfall! Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, MN)

Academic Stamina

I was thinking about this a bit over the past week as the remaining two grades in the elementary school I work in returned to in-person learning. Not hybrid, but full in-person learning for the families that still chose that. The safety to all is a different conversation, but what our teachers (and students) have been re-learning is stamina. We started out the year in full distance, then had a couple of months of hybrid learning (ie: no more than about 12 students in the classroom at a time), then full distance, and then to come back to full in-person? It’s a whole different kind of energy. I heard teachers talking about getting used to so many moving bodies and the extra stimulation and how that alone, is exhausting.

It got me thinking about later this calendar year or next year. How will we all adapt as most return (hopefully) to workplaces? For those with children, I’m sure there might be a feeling of relief, a respite. On the other hand, it is a different kind of energy and thinking of the article I posted two weeks ago, about how our many different kinds of relationships have changed or disappeared, I wonder if we are prepared for the transition. I wonder how my Youngest Child, currently in 8th grade, who has been doing quite well with distance learning, how he will do starting high school next fall in a presumably full in-person model? Will his anxiety, which has more or less simmered under a controlled temperature this year skyrocket?

It’s a good problem to worry about, but still one I think we should keep in the back of our heads so that it doesn’t take us completely unaware when the transition to another new normal arrives.

Curriculum Review

Looking for a book written by a BIPOC author? Or are you a BIPOC writer hoping to connect with an agent or editor who knows how to support you? The BIPOC Bookshelf is bigger and better every day. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about the site before, but it’s worth another mention. It’s a great database to help you find the kinds of books you want to read and depending on your reading habits, encourage a more diverse reading experience.

Along those same lines, I read this post by Foz Meadows about the continuing problem of jaded reviews of works by BIPOC authors or authors from other underrepresented populations. For my own part, I’ve been frustrated with beta readers and other critiques of my work for having “too many” of a certain kind of character, even though none of them had any complaints about how many white, cis, straight, etc characters I had. And that’s not even close to what ACTUAL authors of the different lived experiences are having about representing their OWN experience. Before you write your next review of a book that is written by someone who doesn’t “look” like you, take a step back and pause. Is any of your negative criticism based upon the idea that you haven’t experienced what the characters have? I’ve made mistakes like that in the past, but I continue to learn and do better. We all have room to grow in this area.

Geography

I haven’t been writing as much lately, for a variety of reasons (one of which is I still have a story that’s trying to work itself out in my brain), which has left me LOTS of time to read and I’m off to an amazing start this year. For Christmas, Middle Child gave me a bulletin board map with pushpins so I can indicate the setting for each book I read this year. FUN. Here’s what it looks like so far. Pretty US-centric, but it’s only mid-February. Lots of time to broaden my horizons!

World map with push pins in various parts of the map.

Currently Reading (audio) Their Eyes Were Watching God  (A) – Zora Neale Hurston

Currently Reading (print) Amari and the Night Brothers (MG) – B.B. Alston

Song of the Week

Thank you to my friend Cerrissa for posting this a couple of days ago. It’s a re-make of Peter Gabriel’s “Biko”, recorded with artists from around the world and it’s a beautiful and better rendition than the original, IMO.

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