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Pete's July 2023 update
An afternoon at the beach
The sun is getting up noticeably earlier, and we’re (mostly) sticking to our 5am wake-up time and early-morning creative routines.
I’ve been practicing writing descriptions in my short stories. Critiques on my stories asked for things like more intimacy with the characters, more immersion in the settings. I’m also conscious that I want to write useful alt text on images here — something I should go and look up and learn more about. (Incidentally, the alt text workflow here in Substack is a horrorshow 😱.) So, for funsies, why not do both at once and share the alt text for the sunrise photo above?
Photo of the beach at sunrise. The sun is an orange oval near the horizon, partly obscured by hazy clouds. The silhouette of a cargo ship is just below the sun, equidistant between sun and where the water meets the sand in a curvy line. A black-backed gull swoops through the air at the top of the frame.
From sunrise to sunset.
In the foreground are the long stems and fluffy seed heads of yellow grasses. The still, silvery, water of the bay reflects the bright setting sun. The sun itself is a bright ball just above the line of mountains, creating sharp, dark silhouettes of macrocarpa trees on the other side of the bay. The sky is blue, with white, fluffy clouds starting to turn a moody grey.
That’s just an image, though. It’s “brown hair and green eyes” but it doesn’t make you feel like you know the place or the character.
He stands amid the reeds, the feathery tips waving back and forth like the fluffy tail of an excited puppy. The wind feels cool on his sweaty neck. The ripples gurgle and slush on the gravely sand, reminding him to slow his breathing and enjoy the moment. He inhales, the scent of ocean and seaweed and the cotton of his jacket baking in the afternoon sun. Setting sun, the day is done; after this there are no more emails or meetings or projects to complete. He can already taste the bittersweet pineapple of the hazy pale ale chilling in the fridge back home.
I’m enjoying writing and writing-related stuff. I’m enjoying helping startups and working with the teams at Startup Dunedin and Remarkable. I’m having fun!
New startups! We are bringing three new startups into the Distiller Incubator at Startup Dunedin, so from August I’ll be diving deep into the board game industry, premium soju market, and youth wellness space.
Looks like I’ll be working with some startups down in Southland, too, through COIN South. Thanks Rach for the intro!
Coming up: Remarkable Demo Day is this Friday. Tune in to see the amazing AccessibilityTech startups I’ve been supporting over the past few months.
I’ll keep working with The Care Co for the next 10 weeks, in a more hands-on capacity, to support CX for their beta and launch.
Remember the slush reading I was doing for an anthology? Well, I got this invitation from the editor: “I would love to invite you to be a part of the editorial team for Playlist of the Damned. You have a great eye for story and have excellent feedback when it comes to development and craft.” Together with the editorial team, I helped select the final line-up of stories for the anthology, which will come out next year. All up, I read about 140 stories in 6 weeks, and analysed and wrote feedback on about 120 of those. It was intense and I learned a lot.
I read one of my old stories (written for Arthur B’s Fringe Affair!) for a podcast, and talked about the business of writing. It was midnight on a Friday for me, and I’m not entirely sure what I said. (I haven’t listened to myself yet. I’ve been putting it off… 😬) Listen here if you dare.
Things I have googlied this month:
do spiders have feet
circle of expectations impro
make faces from lettrs
recording faster than realtime
what are claws made from
do cats sweat
I just launched a new newsletter for my recommended reading/watching/listening in speculative fiction (which covers science fiction, fantasy, and horror). Edition 1: What if... stories were fun?
My goal is to get more people engaging with speculative fiction stories — because that’s what I write! And at the moment supply way outstrips demand.
Want to get even more reading/watching/listening recommendations from me? Subscribe to Spec Recs!
Teaser trailer for the next audio narration to be published:
Nutmeg turned 7! Which meant getting presents and lots of treats; so the usual day for her, really. 😆
The “toothy” photo below is one of only a handful of times she has let me rub her tummy. We are gradually building up the trust between us, and the medication is finally bringing her some reprieve from chronic pain. She has a pretty great life now.
Slow progress on training and behavioural issues. It’s easy to forget how far she has come when there’s such a long road ahead. We’re all learning here.
Read / Watch / Listen
[Read: 4 minutes] All my speculative fiction reading, watching and listening recommendations in Spec Recs #1: What if… stories were fun? 😉
[Watch: 3:20] Think of Nothing. This is an amazing poem (I guess) about meditation. Needs sound. Some swears.
[Watch: 14 minutes] Longtime readers know of my love for “coffee man with the nice jumpers” James Hoffman. He now has a competitor for my affections: Raghunath from Aramse. His sense of humour is dry and subtle, and in this grinder review he throws in an amazing tabla solo using the back of a cup.
[Watch: 2 minutes] That French football video everyone is talking about. For the first minute you’ll be like… “yeah, and?” Stick with it.
Colin Mochrie, on how cheap it was to make Whose Line is it Anyway? vs a show like Friends
“Our entire show cost less than one Friend.”