Joanna Castle Miller is a DC-based playwright and producer whose work has appeared on NBC, VH1, Food Network, and E! Entertainment. She is the founder of Wait Don’t Leave Productions and is currently writing a collection of monologues for women. These are her good things.
Good things to read.
Modern plays are a very quick read for the amount of storytelling you get. You can easily finish a whole play in a night, or over the course of a few rides on the train to work. Some of my favorites are laugh-out-loud funny. Try starting out with one of these: Theresa Rebeck’s Complete Plays (vol. 1 onward), Christopher Durang Explains It All for You, or David Ives’ All in the Timing.
I love returning to Pulitzer Prize Feature Writing winners. About once a year, I re-read “Fatal Distraction,” Gene Weingarten’s winning piece from 2010, as a powerful reminder that nothing is ever what it seems and that empathy matters.
Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (10th Anniversary Edition). I saw another writer on this site recently recommended this book. Great minds read alike? It’s an inspiring and down-to-earth memoir about writing, overcoming obstacles, and finding peace in your creative pursuits.
Good things to watch.
Live theater is the perfect conversation starter and makes for a killer date night or even family night out. It is unpredictable, exciting, and never exactly the same experience. Many theaters offer discounts for seniors, students, and 20-somethings. You can also look for pay-what-you-can (PWYC) performances, preview shows, and discounts online through sites like Goldstar. If you have kids, check out your area’s community theaters and children’s theaters for age-appropriate programming.
Ken Burns’ New York. This documentary covers the scope of American history through the microcosm of New York. I come back to it regularly because of its insight on immigration, urbanization, and political power. The story of the Big Apple is ever-relevant to America at large, and serves to prove history does in fact repeat itself.
Russell Foster – Why Do We Sleep? If you’re like me, you probably forget all the time how much sleep matters. I often don’t realize that whatever I’m going through is directly related to how much sleep I got the night before. Russell Foster realizes it, though, and his Ted Talk just might convince you to change your bedtime.
Good things to use.
A sunlamp. I suffer from acute seasonal affective disorder, and every winter I depend on sunlamps at home and work to help me get through the dark days. If you get the winter blues, light therapy may be able to help you as well. Use it properly, though, or you could get headaches and insomnia. Dr. Norman Rosenthal has a lot of great info on this subject.
Dyson Vacuum Cleaner. Investing in a Dyson was one of the best decisions of my life, after choosing to marry my husband and maybe deciding to grow my own basil. If you have a pet, get a Dyson. If you are hairy, get a Dyson. If both are true for you, get the equivalent of what we have: the DC65 Animal.
Vitamix. Another hefty investment, the Vitamix is a blender for the ages. It puts the pro in food processor. Ours was handed down to us, because they last forever. We use it to make healthy green shakes in the morning, hummus in the afternoon, pesto in the evening, and frosties for dessert.
Connect with Joanna on Twitter @jocastlemiller.