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Pete's May 2023 update
Call of Jury; coaching and workshops; cheesy dog selfie; improv.
May started with my final week at Young Change Agents, then a week of catching up with admin, then jury duty, and finally a couple of weeks of the new normal: startup coaching, writing, braindoodles, and house/dog/life stuff.
Jury duty was interesting. Great ‘onboarding’ of the jury, with lots of explanations about what was going to happen, and what to ignore because it was standard protocol, e.g. guards around the defendant and privacy screens for a witness. Lots of little ceremonial procedures, too, that seemed to work against efficiency: I was the foreperson so always had to be 7th person out of the door so I’d be sitting front-right in the jury box. The letter said to expect up to a two-week trial, but we were out of there in 2 days (“Guilty”) and I got a story idea out of it.
My weekly stats update from Medium regularly has my article on buying a house in NZ as my most-popular post. Last week I heard from someone who was very happy to have found it.
Otherwise, though, I’ve not thought much about Medium. It’s no longer my go-to place to read — whether it’s my profile or the algorithm generally, my feed there is mostly “content” rather than “writing”. Substack is my new default idle reading platform, with a very small list of publications I subscribe to based on quality.
I’m coaching startups with Startup Dunedin and Remarkable Accelerator and I am having the best time! Helping founders with decision-making and go-to-market strategy and growing their team and planning and investment and pitches. Yes yes, more of this, please universe.
I have ideas for more startup-related projects which I expect to start chipping away at this month. Weather permitting.
I’ve been invited to a new writing group. Some of them are crazily prolific — as in, they have 80+ stories out for submission right now. I have two stories that are out on submission, one that needs a complete re-write, and three that I’m in the middle of. (These are short stories, not novels.) And a long list of ideas. But, yeah, lots of room to grow.
One of my insights from returning to writing fiction is that I have 20+ years of experience telling stories: through improv, and more recently through pitch coaching. Speculative short fiction writing has its own rules and conventions, sure, but I’ve been experimenting with incorporating improv principles into my writing. Next month I’m running a test workshop on Improv for Creative Writers with one of my writing groups, to see if it’s something worth selling to other writers.
The first writing group I joined is part of the speculative fiction magazine DreamForge. They have a kickstarter running now to support their fifth year. If you like hopeful stories — “Positive Science and Fantasy Fiction where The Human Adventure is Just Beginning” — it’s ~$30 (depending on your local currency) well spent!
The little fuzzy is doing well and enjoying life. Especially the bits where she gets to make trouble with dogs who are safely behind fences, and the bits where she gets to lie in the sun. She is now allowed up on one of our couches and, well, I think the selfie below tells that story.
Sleeping in the lounge room is now her every night thing. And now that it’s still dark when we get up at 6:30am, she mostly stays there until we get up for coffee and cuddles. Once every so often she’ll come and find Lucy before the alarm goes off.
We’ve been advised to teach her more tricks, and especially ones that help her learn to moderate her emotions (i.e. not get instant gratification). Really not sure how that’s going to go, but something fun for us all to look forward to.
Watch / read / listen
[Watch: 2 hours] Watch Kill Boksoon (Netflix) if you want more John Wick. Ignore the little Netflix blurb, which makes it sound like a sitcom: “At work, she's a renowned assassin. At home, she's a single mom to a teenage daughter. Killing? That's easy. It's parenting that's the hard part.” Nope nope nope. Don’t expect that from the movie.
[Read: 15 minutes] Blame is a dark short story told via email excerpts and text chats and code blocks.
[Listen: 5:37] Bulgarian choir with symphony orchestra.
[Listen: 26 minutes] Miles Davis - Elevator to the Gallows soundtrack. I’d never heard of this until last week. Miles Davis improvised this French movie soundtrack, and he wasn’t even playing with his usual band.
““Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll.