5 Things I’m Interested in Right Now

Recently, I have been struggling to write. It’s like my well of ideas has dried up, and I haven’t yet dowsed another water source. I’ve been collecting writing prompts, but so far only a very few have even stood out as good topics for this journal. In the meantime, let me tell you about five things that interest me right now.

1. Duotrope
A catalogue of journals and magazines that publish creative writing (poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction), Duotrope also acts as a submissions tracker. Put together, it’s become a useful tool for me in the past few months. As you may imagine, I have received mostly rejections since I started using Duotrope, but at least it’s prevented me from submitting the same thing to the same place more than once.

2. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for 3DS
Ocarina of Time is a Zelda game that first came out on Nintendo 64 in late 1998. I believe I probably first played it in summer of 1999, but I can’t remember that far back, except that it would’ve been on my cousin’s console because my parents didn’t allow video gaming in the house for a long time. Mostly, the kids in my family watched our cousin play since he knew how to use the controller, etc.

I never bothered with handheld consoles, either, so things like Gameboy and PSP sorta slid off my radar into the realm of my siblings. That being said, this past year a close friend of mine Yager got me a 3DS for my birthday and let me borrow some of his games. When he discovered that I had beat A Link Between Worlds and was trying to re-beat it in hard mode, he gave me Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask for Christmas. I’m learning a lot of stuff I didn’t know about the game when I was still a kid, such as how to get things to fall from trees by rolling into them. I haven’t gotten too far in the game yet, but it’s really fun, even almost 20 years later.

3. BookBuddyPro iPhone app
I have a lot of books. In case you didn’t already know this, I’m telling you now; I have a lot of books. BookBuddyPro is helping me catalog all of them. I picked it up for $4.99 late last year and have been very slowly going through my bookshelves and adding books to the app. After I’ve completed this, I’ll be able to search for books I may already have on the spot, and that will keep me from buying yet another copy of Becoming a Writer (of which I found two hardcopies after I thought I culled everything down) or A Handmaid’s Tale (of which I found three hardcopies and a Kindle version—yes, really). The challenge now is to finish adding all the books I currently have to the app so that I will be able to look at a complete collection of works instead of trying to guess what’s on my last two bookcases.

4. AMC Best Picture Showcase
I’ve talked about this before, but I’m always interested in the Best Picture Showcase, which is a two-day event held on the two Saturdays before the Academy Awards in February. If you like movies, I highly recommend it. This year, I hope to spend time with my best friend Daylin up in New York since she was keen on the second day last year, but if not, I’ll still be able to see the nominees in Columbia, MD. I started this tradition with my dad and sister in Southern California a few years back and have been going myself ever since. Last year was my first year on the East Coast since I started attending the Best Picture Showcase, and I saw the first set of Best Picture nominees in Columbia alone and the second set in New York with Daylin. Tickets go on sale next Thursday!

5. Finding a good poet mentor
This one seems to be the most difficult because, while of course I’m interested in said, I don’t actually know how to go about doing it. There are tens—maybe even hundreds—of great articles on “how to find a mentor” and even a bunch on “how to find a writing mentor” (which is more what I’m going for), but I’m worried that somehow that advice won’t work for me. I know that’s not true; the advice would likely work if I put it into practice, but how do I ask someone to mentor me when I’m not even sure what I want from them? I want someone to look at my work, my poetry especially, and tell me it’s good or at least has potential. I want someone to show me how to make my work better. I need writing help. I’m in a rut and I don’t know what to do to get out of it.

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

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