Whom I’ve Been Reading: Katharine McGee

It might be tempting for someone over the age of maybe thirty to read the dust jacket of Katharine McGee’s The Thousandth Floor and dismiss it as a story about entitled rich kids and their #firstworldproblemz.

Don’t do that. This book is really well written.

Continue reading “Whom I’ve Been Reading: Katharine McGee”

2017 and the Concept of the Reset

Happy New Year! (Let it not suck.)

As is usually my wont at this time of year, I like to post with some fun statistics about my blog’s performance over the past year and with a discussion of my New Year’s Resolutions. I’ll get the stats out of the way first; I find them interesting and hope you will, too.

Even though I did not make nearly as many posts in 2016 as I’d hoped to, Sappho’s Torque was being read in 83 countries, with the vast majority of hits coming from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Brazil, Germany, and India.

Most of my posts this past year happened during April and December, which is no surprise since those are the two months in which I have consistent daily series: the Poem-A-Day for National Poetry Month in April and 12 Days of Christmas Music (the description changes each year) in December. Look for those two series to continue, by the way, in 2017; I’m already curating them both.

But I had plenty of other posts which did well in 2016 that weren’t part of those series. Not all of them were written in 2016, but they did get a lot of attention. Perhaps unsurprisingly, quite a few of the posts contain my critiques on society and culture, although if that’s all you looked at, you wouldn’t get a complete sense of who I am or what I do or think. Here’s a list of some of last year’s greatest hits:

A Graduation Message and the Fundamental Lies of Our Culture

This Ish Just Isn’t Fun Anymore

Observations on a Long Drive Through the Country

Our First Home

Thanksgiving 2016

Why Our Society Is Failing As A Collection Of Human Beings

Is It August Already?

Rocket Science at Bedtime

Waffle Wednesday and AP Gothic Lit.

Electric Car Diaries: The Inspection

It’s Time

A Rule-Breaking Poem for a Nail-Biting Vigil

Forbidden Cookbook: Can’t Complain Beef Stew

I also had quite a few queries from potential guest posters to my blog this year. Generally, I’m open to this, particularly in the areas of fashion, food, culture, writing, and literature, so if you want to query me to guest post, please send me an email at forest [dot] of [dot] diamonds [at] gmail [dot] com.

Now, as to the Resolutions. I’m actually not making them anymore. Not entirely. They always fail. Instead I’ve been making Goals. That seems to be more successful, I guess because of some sort of subconscious semantic baggage? I don’t know. But recently I heard a really interesting piece on the radio with some commentary by nutritionist Roberta Anding (whose daughter I used to teach). Dr. Anding made an excellent presentation on food with regards to health and wellness at our school a few years back, and I think she generally has a lot of wisdom to share on the subject. Anyway, her basic idea was that a Reset is a better way of approaching the traditional New Year’s Resolution, because a Reset is a specific daily goal that you can evaluate every evening and then set a new one — or continue the same one — for the next day.

So what are my goals for 2017? Well, one goal for every day of 2017 is to write something. We shall see. I have several projects knocking around over here at the moment so we’ll hope for the best.

2016 was, not gonna lie, a rough year in many ways. I’m at an age where the cultural icons of my youth are at an age to be exceedingly mortal. That’s never a cheerful place to be. And anyone who knows me at all probably understands how very opposite of my values and hopes for the world the toxic results of our current political system’s brokenness is. Like many creative types, the last couple of months haven’t been super awesome for artistic output. But as other authors more famous and accomplished than I have pointed out, we must endure. We must make art. It is through art that we will retain our sanity and reflect our deeper purpose. So I’m making that my daily goal. Oh, and also to become even more politically active, which I’m doing like gangbusters, yo. That feels useful. And sometimes the results are immediate and positive, which feels good.

As rough and shocking as 2016 was, though, lots of good things happened too. Among those were a visit to see my dear friend Sarah Warburton, doing several Book Fair or other author events (with significant sales at each), and adopting my lovely kitten, Salaadin. Please to enjoy these charming cat pics.


Salaadin and me on September 6, 2016, the night I brought him home from the shelter. He was about two months old and weighed 2.3 pounds.
Salaadin and me on September 6, 2016, the night I brought him home from the shelter. He was about two months old and weighed 2.3 pounds.


And here he was this afternoon, just over six months old and weighting in at about nine pounds.
And here he was napping this afternoon, just over six months old and weighing in at about nine pounds. So much growing makes a kitty tired!


So what are your resolutions/goals/resets for 2017 or for today? I’d love to hear how it’s going for you.