• Amelia Dellos

It's so easy to "Google" words. Word has grammar and spell-check. There's Grammarly to copy edit documents.

The question is, as a writer, do you need a hard-covered old-fashioned dictionary?
The answer is ...
Yes, you do.

Here's my brand new copy of Merriam-Webster's Colligate Eleventh Edition dictionary with my name on the cover, just in case someone thinks they can nab it off the place of honor on my desk.

In celebration of Valentine's Day, here's the listing for the definition of the word "heart" with an illustration of six sections of the heart.

Illustration: Definition of the word "heart" featured in the Eleventh Edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

You need a dictionary for the love of words. For a writer, nothing gets the heart pumping, especially the right ventricle, like the thrill of running your finger over the page in searching for the perfect word.

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  • Amelia Dellos

Since lock-down anytime you log into social media, the question everyone is asking — “What are you watching?” At this point, we’ve all binged everything on Netflix, Hulu, and (gasp) basic cable has to offer.

Or have we???

Here in Chicago, it’s 15 below, and there’s nowhere to go, so I’m busy watching and making recommendations. Yes, of course, I’ve watched “The Queen’s Gambit,” “The Crown,” and “Bridgerton.” And, yes, five stars all around. Today, I’m going to do a deep dive into my COVID-19 must-see list.


“Game Face” - HULU - Comedian Roisin Conaty created and stars in this British comedy about a 30-something actress trying to recover from a bad break up. This show is RIDICULOUSLY FUNNY, even after multiple views. I could write an entire post about this show, come to think of it, I will.

My fav COVID-19, lock-down show "Game Face" created by superstar funny woman Roisin Conaty.

“After Life” - NETFLIX - Comedian Ricky Gervais created and stars in this dramedy about a man trying to live after his beloved wife dies from cancer. I have to admit I resisted this show, and hubs watched it without me because he has amazing taste in television. I was side watching a few episodes until, finally, I was like can we start this over from the beginning? Conaty also has a supporting role in this show, which is just a big additional bonus. Not that I’m a massive fan of hers or anything.

“All Creatures Great and Small” - PBS - This show is based on a book series about James Herriot's adventures as a veterinarian in 1930s Yorkshire. This show is pure comfort viewing for the soul, providing a much-needed respite from the current state of the world. Who doesn’t want to disappear into the bucolic English country-side where the only concern is whether or not the sick animal of the week will survive?

“The Flight Attendant” - HBO MAX - Staring The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco in a TV adaptation of the book with the same name. Cucco really flexes her acting chops playing an alcoholic flight attendant in this twisty turny thriller that kept me on the edge of reality, wondering what was “real” and what wasn’t.

The Good Lord Bird” - HULU - This series is based on the award-winning novel by author James McBride, starring Ethan Hawke, who, of course, delivers a stunning performance. Joshua Caleb Johnson, who plays Onion, the narrator, steals the show in this series about the failed 1859 raid on the US Army’s depot located at Harpers Fest, West Virginia, instigating the Civil War.

“High Fidelity” - HULU - Zoë Kravitz is the lead. Do I need to say more?

This remake of Nicky Hornby's novel "High Fidelity" which was made into a feature film, remade into TV series is a can't miss.

“Schitt'$ Creek” - NETFLIX- If you haven’t watched this yet, put it on your must-see list. Wait, why haven’t you watched this hilarious show yet? Do you really have something better to do? I don’t think you do.

Peaky Blinders” - NETFLIX - Written by one of my all-time fav writers, Steven Knight, this is a period drama about a gang led by Cillian Murphy and loosely based on stories told to Knight by his uncles. The writing is the very top of the top-notch.


“Amy Schumer Learns to Cook” - FOOD Network/Discover TV- Amy + Hubby Chef Chris + Cutie Pic Baby Gene + Nanny Jane on camera = delightful television viewing.

“House Hunters: Comedians on Couches” - HGTV - Because for me, watching hosts Dan Levy and Natasha Leggero and an assortment of their comedian friends yelling at the homeowners because they’re complaining that bathrooms are too small makes lock-down almost bearable.

House Hunters: Comedian on Couches hosted by Dan Levy and Natasha Leggero.

“Worth It” - HULU - Getting the color commentary on $1000 burgers from BuzzFeed hosts Steven Lim, and Andrew Ilnyckyj is adorable and fun to watch. But watching the mostly silent cameraman, who speaks volumes with his eyes, Adam Bianchi, eat after they film their segments is life-giving.


“Wild Mountain Thyme” - AMAZON PRIME - This movie starring Emily Blunt and Jamie Dornan with a heart-stopping performance by legend Christopher Walken has a 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (OUCH), and yet I’m still recommending it. Why is that? It was marketed as a Romcom, and it’s so not that. It’s steeped in Irish folklore with a splash of magical realism, and if you come at it from that POV, it’s time well spent.

“Rebecca” - NETFLIX - I know I’m stepping in it BIG TIME with this one. This movie remake was controversial BEFORE the scandal. Of course, you should watch the Hitchock masterpiece, and you should read Daphne du Maurier’s novel. There’s no question about that. I say give this updated version a chance because it centers on the protagonist, Girl/Mrs. de Winter and Lily James delivers a stunning performance. Side note: I wish Mr. de Winter was cast instead with a Brit like Sam Claflin, Richard Armitage, or Tom Hiddleston.

“One Night in Miami” - AMAZON PRIME - I’m a sucker for a good historical piece and center it around one event — like the night of Feb. 25, 1964, Cassius Clay defeated world heavyweight champion Sonny Liston and afterward “celebrates” with Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, and Malcolm X, in a Miami hotel room — I’m so in. And bonus, it’s directed by Regina King, who inspires some five-star performances from her lead actors.

Fun fact actor Kingsley Ben-Adir, who plays Malcolm X in "One Night in Miami" also stars in "High Fidelity" and "Peaky Blinders."

This is my list, and it’s in no way is it a complete list, because as I’m writing it, I have more I could add because it’s the golden age of television!

I have a question for you ...

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Updated: Feb 4

Writer’s block, just typing the words makes my heart constrict. It’s a term that gets tossed around freely in writing circles. Here’s the deal —you might have it, or you might not have it. Honestly, I hope that instead of the dreaded block, you have a bad case of procrastination or caught the resistance fever that’s been going around creative types since the beginning of time. Today, we are going to understand what writer's block is.

Before we dive into writer’s block, first, let’s define it. According to Merriam Webster, writer’s block is “a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece.”

In my mind, writer’s block is not the same thing as procrastination or resistance. It’s entirely another type of creative malignancy. Even though I’m not a doctor of any kind, I may be able to help you diagnose your current creative block. I even created this handy dandy chart (see below) for easy reference.

The truth is ... as a creative person, you'll have to learn how to face and manage all of the above to continue writing.

If you would like to learn more about the three types of creative blocks, along with pro tips on how to manage them, check out a talk I did on the very subject for the Chicago Screenwriters Network. Here is a link to my presentation, “Is Writer’s Block Taking You Down? Learn How to Fight it and Win.

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