Monthly Archives: December 2010

Emilie’s 2010 Best List

I’ve been thinking about this post in the back of my head for the last few weeks. And now it’s come time to look back at my favorites of the year…

Books are pretty easy because I read fewer books this year than…ever. At least, any year since I’ve been keeping track and that’s a decade’s worth of reading. The last time I read fewer than 100 books in a year was my second year of grad school and I read considerably fewer than 100 books this year. So my quantity was down, but not the quality – a read quite a few books this year that I’d had on my to-read list a while.

1. Kai Meyer‘s The Dark Reflections Trilogy and most of The Wave Walkers Trilogy
2. Rebecca Cantrell‘s A Trace of Smoke
3. Audrey Niffennegger‘s The Time Traveler’s Wife
4. John Kennedy Toole‘s A Confederacy of Dunces
5. Alice Sebold‘s The Lovely Bones
6. David Madden‘s Abducted by Circumstance
7. Mary McMyne‘s Wait. (manuscript)
8. Suzanne Collins‘s last Hunger Games book Mockingjay
9. M.O. Walsh‘s The Prospect of Magic
10. Stieg Larsson‘s Millennium Trilogy (still working on the last, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest)

In the interests of full disclosure, I have some reservations about labeling some of these “best,” as I had some issues with a few of these books – notably Stieg Larsson’s books and The Lovely Bones – but they are unconditionally the ones that I invested the most time in, spent time thinking about. And there are some absolutely stellar BEST books on this list. And, of course, I read dozens of short stories through my work with Narrative, several of which I’d love to put on a best list, but can’t disclose. Interestingly, there’s no non-fiction on my list this year.

I actually saw quite a few movies in the theater this year, or maybe they stand out because I quite liked so many that I saw there. Rentals were often disappointing – slightly better than I’d expected or boring or not as good as I’d heard. So this is tough, but the movies I enjoyed the most this year:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (I have to do it, it was so good…)
2. Inception (I saw it 3.5 times in the theater)
3. Toy Story 3 (Pixar has always been really smart with these sequels)
4. Easy A (it was as funny and good as my favorite 80s comedies)
5. Red (it was like Sneakers jacked up, so of course I loved it)
6. Exit Through the Gift Shop (of course, it’s about Banksy)
7. Going the Distance, Get Him to the Greek (a tie)
8. Twilight: Eclipse and How to Train Your Dragon (a tie)
9. Nine (I love musicals)
10. The Kids are Alright

Honorable mentions: Last Station, Hereafter, Black Swan, True Grit, Despicable Me, The Ramen Girl, St. Trinian’s, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, The Young Victoria and Coco Before Chanel.

TV had to take a serious back burner this year because I never knew when I’d get home from work and had so much going on. This list is basically comprised of the shows that I kept up with in the chaos. Also, it should be said that I watched every episode of Law & Order SVU through Season 10 this year.

1. So You Think You Can Dance
2. Survivor
3. Castle
4. Glee
5. Raising Hope
6. Dancing with the Stars
7. United States of Tara
8. How I Met Your Mother
9. Bones
10. Fringe

My super notables:  The Tudors, In Plain Sight and 30 Rock.

I might go so far as to say that music was one of my biggest influences this year. I probably went to more concerts this year than I have every other year combined. Because my favorite songs are generally still my favorite songs from last year and the year before (with a few new exceptions), I’d much rather outline the best concerts of the year and the cds that I’ve been listening to obsessively.

CDs:

1. Lissie‘s Catching a Tiger, as well as her EP Why You Runnin’
2. Roisin Murphy‘s Ruby Blue
3. Mark Growden‘s Saint Judas
4. The Dresden Dolls‘s Yes, Virginia…
5. Black Gold‘s Rush

Shows:

1. Dresden Dolls at Tipitina’s in New Orleans
2. Black Gold at Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans
3. Citizen Cope at Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans
4. Simon Lott at Hi Ho Lounge in New Orleans
5. Mark Growden at Circle Bar in New Orleans

I think that just about covers the highlights of 2010, so all that’s left to say is Happy 2011!

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My end of 2010 homework

A short while back, Jamey gave me some homework. She said (a loose quote here), “I don’t think you realize how much you’ve done and accomplished this year. I’m assigning you homework. You have to make a list of everything you’ve done in 2010.”

So, finally, I’m doing my homework. Here it is, 10 things I accomplished in 2010:

1. I’ve worked on five movies

In January, I worked for 2 days on the set of Legendary (Brother’s Keeper) and then went on to work on three more WWE Studios movies, up till October. Currently, I’m working on So Undercover. That’s five and that’s a lot in one year, as I’m realizing.

2. I watched a lot of football

I’ve always been a Saints fan, at least in theory. I became a fan in practice during 2009, but in the aftermath of our Super Bowl win (that could be its own entry on the list – I witnessed the Saints winning the Super Bowl!) and now, in this new season, I’ve been watching a lot of football. I’ve only missed one Saints game this season.

3. I started a major revision of my novel

I haven’t finished, but I began (and progressed pretty far) with what I hope will be my final draft before I finally send this baby out into the world — to agents first and then to editors at publishing companies, and then to actual real people who read, complete with hardback gift wrapping.

4. I had major surgery

And came face-to-face with the realities of physical recovery. And asked for help. And forced myself to rest.

5. I had a public disagreement with OffBeat Magazine

I, and several others, publicly and loudly disagreed with the image on OffBeat Magazine‘s March cover. This brought me a great deal of stress and frustration, although there was a bit of a surge in traffic here on my blog and I was quoted in the Huffington Post.

6. I escaped from the Book Section

I had the chance to write a piece for 225 Magazine that started out being a review of The Dictionary of Louisiana French and ended up being about so much more, including the grim situation at LSU lately. Not only was it longer than most of my published pieces, it was in the front half of the magazine, which was a personal first.

7. I published more than ever

And there’s nothing wrong with the Book Section (at all!), as I had more pieces (mostly book reviews) published in 225 Magazine this year than all the previous years I’ve written for them – combined. I continue to be honored and challenged and inspired in my work with this phenomenal magazine. Additionally, my web presence was stronger than ever, between my growing blog, my continued work with PureSYTYCD and a few posts I did for Write or Die.

8. I hung out with rock stars

Halfway through the year, I got the chance to interview Eric Ronick, the lead singer of the new band Black Gold during their New Orleans concert, I danced a little bit with Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls after their show at Tipitina’s and more recently (though I haven’t blogged about it yet), I met Mark Growden when he invited me out (via Twitter) after I mistook the date of one of his New Orleans shows and went out in the cold, only to be disappointed. I also went to Jazz Fest for the first time.

9. I started reading for Narrative Magazine

That one probably speaks for itself. I started out as an intern earlier in the year and was promoted to assistant editor around September.

10. I won NaNoWriMo

I managed to write 50,000 words during the month of November – despite my crazy hectic job, despite Thanksgiving and my parents being in town, despite not having a solid story or characters I was passionate about or interested in, I won!

Somehow, throughout the crucible that was 2010, I managed to (mostly) strike a balance between my consuming work in the film industry and my identity as a freelance writer and everything that entails. I grew my blog and spent a lot of time bragging on my amazing friends and family, something that makes me extraordinarily proud.

The balance isn’t perfect, of course, and there are still quite a lot of things I’d like to finish (my novel!) work out (my finances!) and do (travel!), but Jamey was right that I needed to sit down and reflect on everything that I have achieved this year. I feel much more prepared to tackle 2011 now!

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To brag, or not to brag – totally not even a question – BRAG!

This is seriously overdue.

Jamey has an essay in the 12th Annual Southern Music issue of Oxford American. Her name’s on the cover and everything. Her essay, “Hating the Blues,” is pretty stellar. It’s worth buying the issue just for her essay, but because it’s Oxford American, the entire issue is wonderful. There’s work from Tom Franklin, Dan Baum, Daniel Wallace, as well as Alex Cook, my fellow 225 Magazine writer and also a way-back-when patron of Baton Rouge’s M’s Fine and Mellow Cafe. So, Jamey‘s in great company. You should check out the extra online interview of Jamey (and everybody) — she sounds frighteningly brilliant and creative. Which, actually, she is.

And speaking of 225 Magazine, and while I’m bragging, I’m seriously remiss in mentioning my latest 225 piece. So remiss that there are two new ones now! December’s contribution is a review of the Autumn issue of The Southern Review, which celebrated its 75th year in 2010. And just now, the newest, a review of a book of stories called The Prospect of Magic, went up on the website, though it’s in the January issue.

There are a few people in my life who are achieving some personal milestones — moving to a new city, divorcing, marrying, going back to school, finding 2nd and 3rd careers, trying to discover what they really want to be when they grow up — but this isn’t the forum to divulge details or hyperlinks regarding those achievements. Yet, I want to brag on them, too. I want my friends and family to know that I’m proud of them for persevering, for surviving and for thriving.  These things are entirely brag-worthy.

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Filed under bragging on, family, freelance work, Friends, New Orleans