Let's all channel Ellen Pompeo's energy

This week's edition of Simon Says.

This is Simon Says, Rachel Simon’s weekly newsletter that’s part life updates, part pop culture recs, and part whatever else is going on in her brain at the moment. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for more, and subscribe here to get this in your inbox every Sunday night.

Hello! It’s been a busy week over here—ICYMI, I launched YourCrossword.com on Friday, a site where you can easily buy my custom puzzles. I loooove making these, and I’m so excited to turn this ‘lil hobby into something more. I wrote about the details here, but shoot me a message if you have any questions or want a puzzle!

In other news, here’s what been going on this week:

What I’m writing

I didn’t make a ton of word count progress on my novel (still at about 19k), but I did make some necessary changes to my outline, which will make the road easier going forward. I’m starting to understand my protagonist better and better, as well as the little fictional world she lives in.

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about as I’ve worked on this book is the idea of fear when it comes writing—not just fear of messing up/not being good enough, but also of actually doing the damn thing. Often, when I find myself procrastinating, it’s not because I’m worried what I’ll write will be bad (although it very well might be), but because I know it could be something good. Really good! And that potential is a scary thing, because it makes it feel like I have an obligation to myself to see this project through and live up to my expectations.

Anyone else feel this way when they write or do something else creative? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What I’m reading

I finished Big Friendship, which was super interesting! Highly recommend if you’re interested in the complexities of platonic relationships and have had some “big friendships” of your own in your life.

I also sped my way through Concrete Rose, the newest YA book from The Hate U Give author Angie Thomas. I didn’t love it as much as THUG or Thomas’ second book, On the Come Up, but it was still a really thought-provoking, entertaining read.

Later today or tomorrow, I’ll start Uncanny Valley, a memoir about life in the Silicon Valley tech world that got rave reviews when it came out last year.

What I’m watching

On Friday night, we watched Judas and the Black Messiah on HBO Now, which was very good. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t previously know a ton about Fred Hampton and the events leading to his death, but the movie told his story in a really effective way. LaKeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya were both excellent.

I also got an early screener of the Billie Eilish documentary, Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry which I’m not able to talk about yet but left me with many thoughts I will share when I am legally allowed!

Speaking of music docs, the trailer for Demi Lovato’s Dancing with the Devil is gooooood. Marking March 23 on my calendar now.

What I’m listening to

Haim blessed us with a Taylor Swift-ified version of the band’s song “Gasoline” and it. Is. Perfect.

Closing thoughts

I mentioned last week that I’ll be teaching a new, 6-week class with Redbud Writing Project starting mid-March, but that’s not all—starting April 7, I’ll also be teaching a 6-week Creative Nonfiction course with Gotham Writers Workshop, held over Zoom. Sign up here!

Strongly recommend taking a few minutes to read this moving, thoughtful conversation between Roxane Gay and Monica Lewinsky about trauma, writing, and surviving public criticism.

I am always happy for Jesse Plemons, the second most successful Friday Night Lights alum (after Michael B. Jordan, of course), but especially so now as he’s replacing Leo (!) in Martin Scorsese’s new movie. Go Landry go!!

Last but not least, let’s all go into this week with the energy of Ellen Pompeo:


Amen to that. Talk soon, friends!

-Rachel