A Month in Obsession: March 2017

March has always been my most hated month and this one has been particularly cruel. Not only was it gloomier, rainier and snowier than usual–after a freakishly mild February–but I also lost my steam and my mojo along the way. There were a few bright spots, though, and this is my round-up of my crumble of blessings.

Book: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin 


The reasons will soon be up on Book Riot, so stay tuned!

Movie: “Get Out” and “I Am Not Your Negro”

For the first time on this blog, I’m declaring a tie. If you’re the one person who hasn’t seen Jordan Peele’s stellar directorial debut, “Get Out,” I have one question: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? Rarely has a film portrayed the damage of well-meaning racism with such clarity. Though it’s being categorized as a horror film, the anxiety you feel pressing on your chest won’t be due to gore, but due to the psychological violence that is inflicted on POC on a pretty regular basis.

If you prefer to explore racism through a more intellectual angle, then the documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” is a must-see. Based on a 30-page letter author James Baldwin wrote to his literary agent about the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. It will make you uncomfortable, sad, and angry. It will force you to see how little we’ve yet to overcome when it comes to race relations. It will also fill you with a sense of wonder, for Baldwin is the kind of writer that can’t help but instill each word with beauty, even when describing something as horrific as the suffering of people.

TV: Trial & Error

Is it the new Parks & Rec? Not really. This new show about a murder trial in a kooky redneck town is not as cerebral or as inspired as Amy Poehler’s show. It is, though, delightful in its goofiness and absolutely committed to not taking themselves seriously for even a second. I like watching it before going to bed. Very effective at shutting down my overly analytical brain.

Podcast: In the Dark 

Aaaaaaaand of course I can’t tolerate too much lightness, so I have to fill up the rest of my time with a podcast about an actual, not-funny-at-all murder. The first season of In the Dark examines the disappearance of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling in 1989. The show isn’t that interested in the whodunit. In fact, they reveal who the murderer is in the first episode. What it does instead is examine the many failures of the investigation and the ramifications that said failures have in the rural small town, the state, and even the country.

Listen to episodes here

Tweet I Was Particularly Proud Of:

Charlie Pic of the Month:

Charlie waiting to start his day.

A post shared by Ines Bellina (@ines.bellina) on

My Tiny List of Small Victories:

  • Over on Book Riot, I celebrated Women’s History Month by writing about the Latin American women authors that are getting major buzz.
  • We keep having amazing guests over at XX, Will Travel. This month we talked about vulnerable travel with LGBTQ diversity trainer and Peace Corps alum Char J. Stoeveer as well as travel entrepreneurship with Beth Santos of Wanderful. I’ve also been experiencing a bit of an existential crisis and have decided to crowdsource advice on my major next step in life. Want to weigh in? Then, check out the poll I set up. Yes, I’m tired of adulting and I don’t want to make decisions haha. If you want to keep with all our latest podcast news, sign up for our newsletter. It is my pride and joy, and easily the funnest part of my month.
  • I had two great performances in March as well. It was my first time at The Skewer, a monthly satirical live news show, and had a blast. They have a podcast of all their shows, so you can listen to my performance here. I also participated in my first ever Literary Death Match as part of Volumes Bookcafe’s anniversary celebrations. Sadly, I did not go through to the final round but getting to read my piece was enough of a win.
  • Other than that, March was a bummer. My productivity went down, my mood went down, my general outlook on life went down as well. April is just around the corner and hopefully with it some renewed energy. What tips do you have to regain focus and hope? Send them my way!