On the Oscars and Bad Childhood Poetry

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.

Hi, friends! It’s been a little while as we’ve been busy settling into our home, getting our second vaccines (!), and seeing some family and friends back in New York for a few days, but I’m back with a new edition of Simon Says! Here’s what’s up:

What I’m writing

TBH, not a lot at the moment. I do have a few exciting freelance stories in the works (more on those soon!), but as far as my own book-to-be, I’ve been taking a little break. I’m absolutely not putting it aside, but I’ve been enjoying spending the last few weeks focusing on other things I care about. If I’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that slowing down can be good sometimes, and that it’s not the end of the world if I put the book aside for a bit and get back to when I’m ready.

What I’m reading

After finishing Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind, an imperfect but highly compelling novel, I read two more books: Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, a classic I’d never gotten around to reading but liked a lot, and Lauren Wolk’s Echo Mountain, a lovely YA novel I really enjoyed.

Now, I’m onto David Hopen’s The Orchard, a novel about an Orthodox Jew in a (relatively) secular community. So far, it’s a fascinating read.

What I’m watching

After having the disturbing realization that I’d seen only a few of this year’s Oscar nominees, I spent the last week or two catching up on some of the other contenders. My thoughts:

Minari - A. Beautiful, poignant, loving. Lives up to all the hype.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom - B+. I don’t normally love plays-turned-movies, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one! Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman are fantastic.

One Night in Miami - B. Solidly entertaining and thought-provoking, but a bit too cramped for my liking.

And now it’s Oscars night! I’ll be mainly rooting for Sound of Metal, Minari, and Nomadland, but it’s a solid batch of nominees overall.

What I’m listening to

I really like the Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears” remix featuring Ariana Grande, as well as everything off Noah Cyrus’ new EP, like this song:

Closing thoughts

My custom crosswords are now on Etsy! I’m still working on the store, but you can check its in-progress state now.

Speaking of crosswords, order your Mother’s Day puzzle now to get it in time for the holiday! It’ll make a great gift for the moms in your life, and you can have it themed about her/her family, her favorite things, or a combo. Details here.

In other news, I greatly enjoyed this profile of Seth Rogen, who continues to be a delight.

Did I buy myself this Evermore-themed T-shirt like a grown ass woman? Maybe.

This Spotify playlist understands me in my soul:

I will leave you with this book of poetry written by my 10- or 11-year-old self that I found back in New York:

I will not share the poems themselves, which, trust me, is for your own good.


Have a great week, everyone!

-Rachel