I read: The Last Days of Night and Story Grid Podcast


This week marks the first full week that I am no longer seeing clients. I’m giving myself a grace period of three weeks to figure out the best way to switch between full-time client-facing music therapist (and full-time mother and wife and all that), to full-time freelance writer (and full-time mother and wife and all that). It feels so gross and selfish of me to even type that out. Regardless, that is where I really am transitioning. This week is filled by kids’ appointments and my appointments and things to get done before we four leave on a family trip next week. That’s my next two weeks, and then the third week of my grace period — which is the week after we get back — I will simply have to dedicate to unpacking and organizing how my new schedule will be. This is honestly a pretty big change for me, and pretty scary. I have a few goals in mind that I am planning to share at some point this week.

In any case, I’m reading a new book for one of my book clubs. I am about halfway through The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore, and even though my book club has already talked about it and is moving on to the next title, I am determined to finish it. (Just as I am determined to finish every book I start. I remember one I didn’t finish in fifth grade. I’m pretty sure I never gave the book back to my teacher. I’m assuming she doesn’t mind at this point.) The author of the book wrote the screenplay to “The Imitation Game,” a movie I have yet to see as is wont to happen with all of our baby kids.

The book’s main character is George Westinghouse’s lawyer in the copyright battle(s) between Westinghouse and Thomas Edison.
What I like about the book so far:

The main character is not Westinghouse or Edison.
The chapters are short and move me along.
There is an element of mystery: How will the lawyer navigate the lawsuits in addition to the eccentricities of all of the characters (a big one being Nikola Tesla)?

What the book lacks for me:

I find the writing to be flat. I think the content is interesting, but the language is plain and kind of boring. I’m thankful for the short chapters. The only character that is multi-dimensional, in my mind, is Tesla. Westinghouse and Edison are written to be two of the same bullheaded people. Agnes, the love interest, hasn’t really grown into anything different than she was in the first few sentences that introduced her.

This being said, I’ll still finish the book.

One of the podcasts I’m getting into this week is the Story Grid Podcast. Here is the description of the podcast on its website:

Helping you become a better writer.

Join Shawn Coyne, author of Story Grid and a top editor for 25+ years, and Tim Grahl, struggling writer, as they discuss the ins and outs of what makes a story great.

I enjoy it, but the big drawback is that the genre that Tim Grahl is writing in doesn’t appeal to me as a writer in any big way. Coyne has a name for the genre that I don’t remember, but think “The Hunger Games” and you’ll be close. However, the episodes about other topics, like “becoming pro as a writer” are informative and inspirational and the good sort of overwhelming.

Let me know your thoughts.

2 Replies to “I read: The Last Days of Night and Story Grid Podcast”

  1. Hello Erin! I hope that you’re feeling better and that you have a great time on vacation with your family!

    I want you to feel proud of yourself for transitioning into full-time mothering and embracing yourself as a professional freelance writer (I know, it sounds scary when you put those words in writing!) 😱 And it can feel pretty selfish.

    I want to tell you a story. As you know, I work full time and I am not my son’s primary caregiver. It took me a long time and I felt constantly guilted by myself, my family, and my friends, and I fell into a deep, deep depression over it all. I felt like something was wrong with me: I was wired wrong and needed to apologize for not being “maternal” enough, and for placing so much importance on my career and my writing. But the reality is, I have nothing to be sorry for, and I will apologize to NO ONE, ever again, because living my life – exactly the way I am, with a full-time career in publishing and then in writing and taking much smaller role in my son’s caretaking – is absolutely right for me. It is my calling, my destiny. I am my best self when I live this way, and my family benefits because they get the best of me.

    I want you to embrace your journey, too. ❤️ You are an amazing wife, mother, and writer and I am excited to see you transitioning into this space of you being your true self.

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