• Monthly Recap

    January 2024 Recap


    It’s time for another monthly recap! Take a look at previous recaps here.


    Hi readers!

     

    Started this year off with a bang with some extensive 2023 reflection and 2024 goal setting. I have yearly, monthly, and daily goals. I wrote an essay last year about hating the concept of batching, so the way I mainly work is to do everything I want to do each day for fifteen minutes at a time.

    This month we had all sorts of weather: rain, our personal version of “cold,” and a few days of heat that I got a lil sunburn from! I usually kind of hate January because it feels both dead and annoying (and my essay writing lately feels entirely like January in this regard), but staying focused on my goals and tiny beautiful moments has been really helpful.


    Writing Life:

     

    Days I wrote this month: 11/31

    Book details: It’s a pirate novel I started in December. I’m writing it like I’ve always written my novels: without an outline, very intuitively. It’s becoming a patchwork of scenes. I never know what’s going to happen until it happens. So far I have a female captain who’s tired and considering retirement (lol), a mutinous cook, a fire eater, a witch doctor, and an annoying little stowaway. My novels are always more character based, meaning, like, plot definitely does happen, but my main focus is these characters and how they develop, exploring different aspects of growth and meaning and purpose through them.

    Idk if it’s bad luck to be sharing excerpts from the baby beginnings of a new novel, especially when I have no idea where the story is going, but whatever. I think it’s fun.

    Excerpt:


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    Life in General:

     

    Snowboarding with Ethan in Utah! This was my first time ever snowboarding, so I was pretty nervous (this was also my first time being in snow since December 2021 lol). The first day was super rough, because I could barely stand up on an incline. I basically scooted down the mountain on my butt the first few tries. The second day had lots of fresh powder, so I think the extra padding gave me more confidence and I was able to bomb the first half of the little hill. Definitely excited for future trips, now that I’ve got a better hang of turning and stopping without falling. Snowboarding triggered my asthma super badly though (I got diagnosed in 2017 but threw my inhaler away because I’ve always been leery of drugs), so I decided I want to keep an inhaler on hand for future snowboarding trips because my breathing was super ragged the entire time. All in all, a difficult learning curve trip, but also very beautiful (hot tub under falling snow, cigarette by outside bonfire ((asthma . . . cigarette smoking . . . I know)) , snow sparkling like Edward Cullen, and fun new lingo “yewww we got some fresh pow pow!”).

    Super good food! I seriously love food. I love food so much that I write my favorite foods that I eat every single day in my little “one line a day” journal (I have tiny handwriting, so I can fit a lot more than just food into each entry . . . but food takes priority if I run out of room to write). So here’s a little rundown of favorite food situations this month. Dim sum at Tim Ho Wan and taro boba milk tea with Ethan, my sister, and her husband. Ube crepe with Ethan at this super cool Korean inspired coffee shop called Gabi Coffee & Bakery with Studio Ghibli vibes. And we checked out the new Durango casino in Vegas which I actually LOVED because it has very heavy SoCal vibes and hipster food places (yes I’m still a slut for California), and we went to this restaurant called Shang Artisan Noodle where I fell in love with noodles for the first time.


    Books I Read:

     

    The Miracle of Morning Pages—Julia Cameron

    A cozy little book going into more detail about the morning page journaling process than The Artist’s Way did.


    Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education—Stephanie Land

    This book enraged me. I quite enjoyed her first book, Maid, but was very disappointed in Class. What mostly angered me was the choices she made as a 35-year old single mother. She behaved like a 21-year-old, consistently prioritizing herself at the expense of her young daughter’s well-being. Normally I’m not going to judge someone’s memoir so harshly, but the way it was written, almost a decade after the events of the book, she had zero self-awareness, took zero responsibility for her actions, zero reflection on her choices, and had a heavy tone of entitlement and victimhood. The lack of that stuff kind of misses the point of writing a memoir in the first place, and kinda looks bad when you have a current estimated net worth of $500k to $2 million.


    Look Me in the Eye: A Memoir—John Elder Robison

    A favorite re-read. John is the older brother of the memoirist of Running With Scissors, Augusten Burroughs. This is his memoir on what it was like growing up not knowing he was autistic. He’s an incredible writer (much better than his more famous brother, imo), and he’s had such a vibrant life, including being the person who invented the stunt guitars used by the band KISS.


    The Covenant of Water—Abraham Verghese

    Beautiful book. Beautiful ending. Spanning three generations in 1900’s India. Incredible seeing how the stories spin together. Themes of family, medical issues, water, striving towards dreams.


    Mother, Nature: A 5000-Mile Journey to Discover if a Mother and Son Can Survive Their Differences—Jedidiah Jenkins

    I read all of his books. He’s a gay ex-Christian and an amazing writer. This is the story of him going on a trip with his homophobe Christian mother to retrace a famous walk across America she did in the 70’s, and coming to terms with their very different belief systems. Not as impactful as his first two books (I thought they were going to recreate the original walk and actually walk across America together, but it was just a two-week road trip, bummer), but always love his voice and storytelling style.


    Chill and Prosper—Denise Duffield-Thomas

    A kind of vibey business book. I read her money book Get Rich, Lucky B*tch almost three times last year. I really appreciate any non-fiction book that isn’t like “these are the cold hard facts of reality” because that’s not at all how I view life. I see things as fluid and changeable and feelings-based, so getting business advice from that perspective is really nice.

     

    Thanks for reading!
    Ally