Writing About Problems You Don't Have the Answers To

Writing About Problems You Don't Have the Answers To

This week, I started listening to the Dear Hank and John podcast while working on shelf reading at the library.  One of the many perks of being a circulation assistant at my library is that we are allowed to listen to music while we’re in the stacks, but I learned quickly, however, that it takes all the power in my being not to laugh out loud while listening to the vlogbrothers give their typical dubious advice in response to typically hilarious questions.

If you’re not a John Green fan, you might not know of the podcast he hosts with his brother Hank Green, or that John is in fact in the process of writing a new book.  An avid vlogbrothers follower, I was psyched to hear John read an excerpt aloud from it some months back during the Project for Awesome livestream, and to find that the new novel John has been laboring so hard over is on a subject very close to home for him; living with OCD.

Shai Cotten

Adapting for TV: The Magicians

Adapting for TV: The Magicians

I FINALLY DID IT.

I finally finished reading Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.

I started watched The Magicians SyFy TV adaptation mid-February, and quickly realized that I needed to be reading the source material.  Stalking “The Magicians” tag on Tumblr led me to believe that there was more to the story, and to the central theme of the series - the crippling depression that haunts the series main character, Quentin Coldwater, even as he steps foot into a world of fantasy and magic, and his quest to escape his own miserable existence.  I hurriedly bought the first installation off Amazon (you can find it here) and started reading it alongside the first season premiere.

If you haven’t read the books, or if you’ve read the books, but haven’t watched the series, let me just tell you: the TV adaptation and Lev Grossman’s novel are two entirely different beasts.

Shai Cotten

I Am Worthy of a Creative Life

I Am Worthy of a Creative Life

After wrapping up a meeting downtown for the pre-production of After Oil, my webseries with Jessica Naftaly, I headed down to a new cafe on Main Street and grabbed myself an iced coffee.  While I was sitting out under the awning, I slipped out my copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and decided that, right then and there, I was going to finish reading it.

It dawns on me as I’m writing this that Big Magic is the first book that I’ve been able to get through all summer.  I found myself nearing the end, and when I approached this quote, I felt I was about to cry:

Shai Cotten

Travel Won't Save You. You Will.

Travel Won't Save You. You Will.

I received a handful of gift cards for my 21st birthday, including one to Barnes and Nobles (my one true weakness).  So of course, I rushed out to the store to gift myself with yet more books to throw onto my "to be read pile".  I came home clutching Juliet Marillier's Flame of Sevenwaters (the last in her Sevenwaters saga) and Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic, which I had been dying to get my hands on for the last several months.

There's a painful irony there, however, considering that in my recent blog post, Depression Riding Shotgun, I called out Gilbert's best-selling book  Eat Pray Love as "a fucking myth".

I want to elaborate on that for a moment.

Shai Cotten

Creation Isn't Easy

Creation Isn't Easy

A while back, I started looking at all of this old footage I had accumulated my freshman year of college (when I still had hopes of vlogging consistently), and it used to make me feel so bitter.

I remember starkly, I was watching this younger version of myself blithely say to friends, "Can you imagine when we finally get the point where we can say, I'm a director? Like, when we can list that as our occupation!" and I couldn't stop myself from cringing inwardly, even as I felt myself bubbling over with envy.

Shai Cotten