Monthly Round-Up: August 2019

August has been a month of stress from beginning to end. Some stress good – the race to finish the novel – some stress bad (work isn’t going so well right now). It’s the kind of month where I’ve needed a lot of time to sit back and think about things, but that hasn’t been possible, so instead I’ve made some fairly large decisions despite not really having the headspace to do so, and I hope they turn out to be the right ones.

Highlights of the Month

  • Finishing the novel! And a week early, too. Very exciting. I’m now leaving it alone until mid-September, and then I’ll go through it and do a round of editing, and then I’ll send it to an agent.
  • Lammas. Lammas was fun. It fell on the first of August, and I baked a Lammas loaf the night before and did some new moon things to welcome the month.
  • Taking myself for dinner at Noble Rot (I recommend the experience) and then going to see Midsommar at the cinema. Normally I dislike the cinema because there are humans there, but I went to the Curzon in Bloomsbury and it was small and cozy and full of film snobs who were actually watching the movie and not checking their phones.
  • Learning the word ‘apanthropist’ which describes me perfectly:

  • Starting to work with a new client: the authors behind The First Slap, which is a very important book and one I’m proud to be working on.
  • Reading more. While I was finishing the book, I had less time to read other people’s books, but now I have more time again which is nice.
  • Rediscovering the joy of watching films. I hardly ever do, but I’m sick of binge-watching TV shows for hours, so I watched a few films this month and discovered it can be fun.
  • Beginning the Notebook Indexing Project, which I have been meaning to start for ages.
  • Nearly buying a house in Wales, and then deciding that wouldn’t be very prudent, and making a sensible plan instead that involves potentially buying one in a few years’ time.
  • Going for a long river walk and having a glass of wine on the banks of the Thames.

Things That Worked Well

  • Carving out small spaces for myself to sit in and work out what I should do about various upcoming life situations. I didn’t have as much space as I wanted to do this, but it still helped.
  • Giving more work to a particularly excellent freelancer, which cut down on the amount of time I needed to spend correcting work once it’d come back to me.
  • Reading. This month I averaged seven books per week, which is always my goal, but I rarely hit it.

Things That Didn’t Work So Well

  • The routine this month was disrupted a few times, and I Do Not Like it when that happens. There was nothing I could do about it, but in a month that already contained several stressful situations, it added more.
  • Driving: I bought a car at the beginning of the year (I passed my test in January), with the goal of going for a long drive at least once a month. I didn’t go this month, largely because my routines were all messed up, but I hope I can get back to it in September.
  • Work is not going well right now; there are a couple of potentially hairy situations involving clients having to scale back on their workloads, and naturally it’s all happening at the same time, and right before I’m about to get even busier. So I need to look for more new clients – we’ve got a few recently, but it won’t be enough – and work out a clever way to keep things ticking along as much as possible in the interim.

This Month I Walked… 

47.4 miles.

This Month I Swam… 

400 metres / 0.25 miles / 20 lengths.

This Month I Read…

  • Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti by Maya Deren ⭑⭑⭑
  • The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak by Randy Fertel ⭑
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole ⭑⭑⭑
  • Empire of Sin by Gary Krist ⭑⭑⭑
  • Haitian Vodou by Mambo Chita Tann ⭑⭑⭑
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman (re-read) ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑
  • Tell My Horse by Zora Neale Hurston ⭑⭑⭑
  • The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot by Louis Martinié & Sallie Ann Glassman ⭑⭑
  • Contes et Légendes d’Afrique d’Ouest en Est by Yves Pinguilly & Cathy Millet ⭑⭑⭑
  • See You In The Morning by Mairead Case ⭑⭑⭑
  • The First Slap by Tara K. ⭑⭑⭑⭑
  • Wilde About the Girl by Louise Pentland ⭑⭑
  • Voodoo In Haiti by Alfred Métraux ⭑⭑
  • Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose ⭑⭑
  • How To Be Famous by Caitlin Moran ⭑⭑⭑⭑
  • Bed by David Whitehouse ⭑
  • Tape by Steven Camden ⭑
  • The End We Start From by Megan Hunter ⭑⭑⭑
  • When All Is Said by Anne Griffin ⭑⭑⭑⭑
  • Spirits of the Night: Vaudun Gods of Haiti by Selden Rodman & Carole Cleaver ⭑⭑
  • Complete Book of Tarot by Cassandra Eason ⭑⭑⭑
  • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport ⭑⭑⭑
  • Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch ⭑⭑⭑⭑
  • The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn ⭑⭑⭑
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides ⭑⭑
  • A Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas ⭑⭑
  • The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor ⭑
  • Five Moral Pieces by Umberto Eco ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Guide to star ratings

This Month I Watched…

  • Midsommar in the cinema. Beautiful camerawork, weird storyline, I’m definitely going to look out for more from Ari Aster.
  • Suspiria, which was creepy as hell and weird as hell, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • Mother! which was kind of terrible but I felt like the whole thing was a metaphor for what it must feel like to be famous.
  • Us, which I wanted to love but I hated it so much I almost didn’t finish it. It did nothing for me: I didn’t find it creepy, it didn’t make me think, it just seemed… bad.
  • The end of Jane The Virgin. I can’t believe it’s over! It was beautiful.
  • Otherhood, which was fun and entertaining.
  • A Simple Favour, which I enjoyed.
  • Secret Obsession, which I also enjoyed.
  • Girls Trip, which was kind of terrible but in quite a fun way.
  • The first episode of the new series of Bake-Off. Yay! It’s back!
  • Aisling Bea’s This Way Up, which I binge-watched in a single evening and I enjoyed it.

How was your August?

Other round-ups from this year: January | February | March | April | May | June | July


  1. I want to see Midsommar! Didn’t get a chance before. Which version of Suspiria did you watch? I’ve seen the original (and loved) but not the remake.

    I enjoyed trying to work out the metaphors in both Mother! and Us. I thought that Mother! was as much about the creative process as it was about fame — all the influences on a work as it nears completion. And Us worked as a metaphor for parts of society we hide away and prefer not to think about — sort of Jungian on a societal scale? — but that in recent times, seems to be coming out to slay many of our illusions about who and what we really are. (And yes, I do find it ironic that someone as literal-minded as I am in personal interactions can think metaphorically about works of fiction. 😉 )

    Hoping the coming month smooths itself out for you. Things always do, but the timing is usually not what we’d like — something I’m living now myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Midsommar is pretty much what you’d expect if you’ve seen Hereditary (Aster’s last film) but it’s more obvious in its themes.

      Yeah, I agree about the metaphors in Us, but for me it wasn’t done cleverly enough: I didn’t care about any of the characters and I found the storyline clunky and faintly ridiculous, and I was bored all the way through. I liked the idea behind it, but I didn’t think it was well executed.

      Mother!, on the other hand, wasn’t boring, but it was still weird 😉 I too had the thought re. creative process; by the end I wasn’t 100% sure what I thought it’d been about, but I found it fairly enjoyable to watch.

      Suspiria – not sure, I saw the one with Tilda Swinton?


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