In case you’ve never met me or read any blog I’ve ever written, let me tell you that I love stories. I’ve been immersing myself in stellar stories lately, so thought I’d share some with you.

For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with the Oscars. Before COVID, I tried to see as many nominated movies as possible in the theater, often with my brother who is equally obsessed. I haven’t been as captivated by the awards season since COVID, but I still saw most of the nominated films, many in the past few weeks.

I saw Everything, Everywhere, All at Once when it was released in May and then again at home in the fall. I loved that movie, which is why I watched it twice and plan to watch again for a third time soon. I was happy it won so many awards. It was weird and existential, a contemplation of depression and finding meaning and the complexity of mother-daughter relationships.

I saw The Whale last week, which my son accurately described as one of the saddest movies he’d ever seen. It was powerful, and I highly recommend it. Women Talking was surprisingly compelling, since I incorrectly thought it would be boring to watch a group of women discussing whether they, as an abused collective, will stay in their community and do nothing, stay and fight, or leave. Another in the group of Oscar movies I recommend is The Banshees of Inisherin. It’s about a friendship breakup that comes out of nowhere, no one understands, and the main character cannot accept. A slow, quiet, tale of desperation and loneliness and confusion. So none of these movies were rom-coms, none were easy, but all were really good. That is also true for Elvis, which I was disappointed didn’t win any Oscars. My conspiracy theory is that the Academy has a bias against Baz Luhrmann, who I love. Kind of like how NBA refs have a bias against the Golden State Warriors, although now I’m getting off track.

Onto another story. . . the final episode of season one of The Last of Us aired at the same time as the Oscars, so it’s kind of lumped in for me, since I watched them on the same night. It’s an HBO series that made me cry during most, if not all, of its nine episodes. The first thirty minutes of the series feel like a horror movie but push through because that’s not what it is. It changes after its intense opening and settles into something else entirely (okay, maybe not entirely, but mostly something else). I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say the story is about my favorite themes, the ones I love to read and watch and write about. Grief and resilience. Parent-child relationships. What people sacrifice for each other. How to maintain hope when there is every reason to give up. Finding meaning and purpose, especially when things are exceptionally bleak. How to forgive yourself and others. How to trust yourself and others. It was so much more than I expected from a TV show based on a video game. So much better than The Witcher, the last (and only other) show based on a video game that I loved, and that is saying a lot. If you need reminding of how much I loved that show, I wrote a whole blog about it that you can revisit.

All of this has taken me away from reading, so time to get back to stories on a page. And back to writing and editing my own!