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A plethora of lists - 2022 edition
A quirky, incomplete window into my year
I make lists. Almost every day. On mental notepads or on 3M sticky notes of all colours. For projects and tasks, to stock the fridge or scope out chores. How about you?
As we wind up 2022 and look to 2023, I’ve put together a few lists of stand-out things. I hope you enjoy them.
5 Brands that caught (and kept) my attention
FIVE: Remarkable 2 - I need to start a gofundme to realize the dream of owning this tablet and its monthly subscription. Until I saw this ad, I wasn’t aware of the remarkable-shaped hole in my heart.
FOUR: Lego - William lives and breathes bricks right now. I don’t build, but I watch him, and I get the ads, see the user-generated content fans of the product create, and have the app and the catalogues. I’m amazed!
THREE: The Camber sweatshirt, featured in GQ’s article The World’s Greatest Sweatshirt. #LifeGoal
TWO: The True Classic T-shirt. I’ve never been re-marketed so aggressively by any brand, ever. Can’t say it’s the best experience. But, it made my Christmas list. Will you stop now?
ONE: ROM’s Immortal Campaign - Do you cry when you’re watching trailers at the movies? Friends and family are sick of me talking about this. This is how it’s done, people!
Top 5 Films I Saw in the Theatre
FIVE: Jurassic World Dominion. Low brow, but highly entertaining. Don’t go for the plot (which basically rehashes the original film, with a few new genetic hacks and characters). If you like the franchise, it’s a fun time.
FOUR: Avatar: The Way of Water. Basically, watching the behind the scenes footage, interviews with stars, and reading up on the technology that made this movie possible should be required viewing before seeing this film. Part of me was like, “Hmm, 13 years, $1 Billion dollars and this is the story?” But it’s entertaining, visually spectacular, and dazzling to think how Cameron does what he wants and achieves his vision, studio execs and finances be darned. And yes, I long to swim with one of those alien whales.
THREE: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Emotionally touching and filled with thrills and strong performances. Marvel at its best.
TWO: Elvis. Those hips don’t lie, Shakira. What a story and what a tragic look into one of the greatest entertainers who ever shook a hip bone. Austin Butler’s performance is phenomenal.
ONE: Top Gun Maverick. I saw it twice. Nostalgic, visually stunning, worth the wait. It was fun to see multi-generational families watch the film together and have a good time. Because we all need a good time at the movies again.
The 5 Substacks of other writers I read most in 2022
What is he? A climate scientist, a politician, a breaking-news reporter? I love that Substack allows writers and thinkers to just be who they are and share content. I’ve been challenged and intrigued by this newsletter.
I learn a lot about the platform throughand her experimentations. She's generous, prolific and interesting.
We’re still here. I’m proud that we’ve put out some great content at Unveil this year as we continue to adapt in a constantly changing landscape. We’re tracking our adventures in filmmaking and launching a niche streaming service on our Substack with more great content to come in 2023.
I’m loving the work my younger brother, the award-winning filmmaker and best-selling author, is cranking out each week (and am inspired by his faith and vision).
ONE:(formerly Common Sense with )
If you haven’t been following along with how this publication is changing the news-reporting landscape, then go check it out! So much content. Wide-ranging. Informative. Funny. Challenging. A platform for discourse. Fascinating.
The 5 most-read posts on Things I Wrote Down
I launched this Substack in May of 2022. What a joy it’s been to explore the platform, connect with readers and share new work, like my serials Contesting and The Many Dreams of Joseph. I’ve enjoy learning what others like to read as I experiment and connecting my work and to the work of others here.
THANK YOU for your eyes on my words this year. Here are my five most-engaged posts in 2022:
FIVE: The man who overcame the wind - Week 5 in my Voices of Advent Series
FOUR: Last words and the marks they leave - A reflection at the one year mark of grief
THREE: My October 1 Weekly Recap - A look at my new book The Many Dreams of Joseph, remembering Brother Andrew, a guide to "all the Josephs"
TWO: Grieving as an Enneagram One - Thoughts on grief through the lens of a curious personality type; I’m grateful for all the shares, private notes and input!
ONE: I’m alive because of Canadian bravery - Reflections on Remembrance Day with a first-look at the script for my World War II screenplay Delft Blue.
My most popular Reels on Instagram
THREE: Coffee. I posted a lot of videos this year of cream mixing into coffee. And people like it hot, they like it iced, they like the cream heavy. Go figure.
TWO: Breath of Life. The promo videos featuring people like Tiffany Bluhm, Dallas Jenkins and the women from Skillet who we interviewed for our Unveil original series Breath of Life got lots of love.
ONE: #Dadlife. Sophie (then 2 yrs old) pushing me around the kitchen on a little scooter to Tracy Chapman’s sweet, earthy vocals, got the views.
3 songs I couldn’t get enough of.
THREE: I credit Petra for this. We hit the dance floor of our kitchen most nights with a little help from Sia. Cheap Thrills reverberated through our home many, many times.
TWO: The last few years we’ve almost worn out For King and Country’s Christmas album during the lead up to December 25th. The Little Drummer Boy is such great listening for the whole family. Every time I hear The Carol of Joseph I’m transported.
THREE: I’m out of this phase, now, but (with my apologies to my family), there were a few months where the first song (and sometimes the only song) I’d play in the SUV was Promise Land, the duet with Sheryl Crow and Toby Mac. I have my reasons. And Spotify has helpfully highlighted that my listening profile is the Loyalist. If I like it, I’ll play it until we’re all just ready to move on from it.
Do you have some best-ofs lists? Point me to them! I hope your written and unwritten lists of things accomplished, left to be done, content consumed and everything else in-between brought you purpose this past year.
Here’s to some more meaningful lists in 2023. Happy New Year, and thanks for joining me here on Things I Wrote Down.
I saw about 8 films in the theatre. I’m proud of that, in a busy household where a social life is primarily on hold, this year I said, “I have to get out of the house! I have to do something that I love with friends! I will watch movies!” And so I got a Cineclub membership and I did just that. (I came to the idea in the early Spring, so I’d say this was a success). Notice they’re almost all action.