I can’t believe it’s been almost 3 months since my self-isolation started.
The first month was the month when I was trying to figure things out. There were still loads of worries and fears about what could happen and how it would affect my families and loved ones. I wrote in my journals almost every day, trying to understand what was happening inside of me and give things a bit of perspective. I stopped checking the news or updates surrounding the pandemic because I realized it didn’t do me any good.
I fell back into my meditation and journaling practice and did some light yoga or qi gong every now and then, to help me feel a bit more grounded. I did what I could, but then I also needed to accept the fact that I couldn’t do everything, help everyone, or control what was happening, and this was okay.
The second month was the month when I started to reconnect with friends, jumped into online meetings and calls. I knew I wasn’t fully ‘out there‘, yet. Some people were very productive during these times, and I sometimes felt like I didn’t do enough.
However, I tried to listen to my body and spent most of my time reading or learning without guilt-tripping myself. I felt like it was time for me to go inward instead of outward. Maybe I needed this month to refill myself, recover, and recharge?
The third month, the month of May, was the one where I felt most grounded. I felt the urge inside of me to move (both physically and mentally). I picked up on both client and personal projects, planned some stuff for the rest of the year, facilitated online courses and IG lives, and revisited some old projects with friends that got postponed or delayed.
And here are some of my favorites in May:
- Save The Cat!® Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody and Novelsmithing by David Sheppard. I think they are in my all-time top-3 books about the technical aspects of writing novels (especially when we talk about structures) alongside Story Genius by Lisa Cron. If you’ve been writing fiction for quite some time and have learned about the basics of story structure, character, plot, dialogue, etc., these books will give you more than the basics. Instead of telling you where you need to go, they give you a map and guide you on how to get there. They give you the blueprints for your story that you can really follow, step by step.
- Ask The Passengers and Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King. I have a soft spot for young adult novels, but I have never read about A.S. King until I watched Ariel Bisett‘s recommendation on YouTube. I have been binging on her novels these days, and I love every single one I’ve read, but these two are definitely my favorites so far.
- Parasite. A movie that has been recommended by so many people, including my brother-in-law, and finally I could watch it on Viu. It started out light and funny but ended up so dark so fast. I don’t want to spill more details, but I think it’s really a movie that will make us rethink the way we interact with others. I love movies where you can see a reflection of yourself in each of its characters.
- Unforgettable. A movie I watched on Viu, about a radio DJ that received a letter and song request from a listener, that brought him back to one summer when he was still a teenager, at a small beach town where he spent his time with his group of friends. This is such a simple, heart-warming story, but also a tear-jerker. I cried. A lot.
- Another Child. Another one from Viu. About a teenager who found out that her father was having an affair with the mother of one of her school mates. It was such a touching story about a teenager that got caught in the middle of her parents’ drama and how she ‘found’ herself (and a friend) in the process.
- Money Heist. A Netflix sensation my husband and I watched for days on end. The last time we did this kind of marathon was when we watched Stranger Things. Our friends already warned us that we should start watching Money Heist during the weeks when we didn’t have much to do because it was addictive. And it was! I wouldn’t think of myself as someone who would enjoy watching a heist movie, but Money Heist was addictive not only for the heist itself, but also for the drama and the character arches! I also watched the documentary at the end of Season 2, about how it went from a local series to a worldwide sensation; and listening to the team and the cast talking about it only convinced me about how much they love this production. It was truly a passion project.
- Creation and Development of Graphic Novels by María Luque in Domestika. I love Maria and the way she explains the way she works. I adore the way she used her journals to keep some ideas for her settings and characters, even the way she used a lunar calendar and amulets to create her own system in approaching her creative process.
- Narrate Vignettes with A Pen by Miguel Gallardo in Domestika. Another take into writing a graphic novel inspired by real stories, experience, or characters. I also love the fact that Miguel carried a notebook/journal to collect all the things/dialogues/experiences he would later use in his graphic novels.
- Animated Illustrations: Design Your Collection of GIFs in Procreate 5 by Iva Mikles in Skillshare. A basic course in creating simple GIFs, from the blinking effect, wobbly text, to an animated sequence.
- Duolingo. I’ve been using this app for quite some time, but picking it up again during isolation to self-taught myself Italian, and a little bit of Dutch.
- Blinkist. It’s an app that will give you a summary/key takeaways from popular books in around 15 minutes. I like to speed up the audio to 1.25x, so it’s around 10 minutes per book for me. Blinkist is an app to find out what the hype about a certain book is all about, get some nuggets from books you’ve heard about but haven’t had a chance to read, or to decide if a particular book piques your interest enough to be bought and read in its entirety. I like to listen to some books on personal development, creativity, and motivation & inspiration in the morning.
- Gramedia Digital. I was late to notice that the biggest Indonesian publisher & bookstore chain has a premium package of IDR89,000,- per month; and you can read unlimited e-books under their collections. It’s a bargain for me, especially when I realized how many books they have under their Literature & Fiction collection!
- FunRun 3. I’ve been playing this multiplayer racing game with my husband every day during our downtime. It’s a great way to bond and do some activities together, now that we can’t really go out much. Sure, we’ve been watching series/movies together, but playing games together (sometimes against one another) feels more active and fun!
What are some of your favorite books, movies, courses, or apps this month?
Do you find yourself having more time to read or chill, or on the contrary, you are even more swamped with work and other daily chores? (I know some of my friends find themselves much busier than the pre-pandemic time!)
Wherever you are and however you spend your time during these times, I hope you are well.
I hope you stay healthy, loving, and kind.