• Grace Novak

2019: Beware of the Feral Chickens

Updated: Apr 20, 2019

Sign that says "Please do not feed the feral chickens. They are a nuisance."

2018 was, overall, a good year for me. Looking more outwardly from myself and the people close to me, it gets a lot more grim for 2018 so I try to keep it to my own individual world when it comes to measuring up 365 days at a time. With that in mind, I feel good about 2018 and feel even better about moving on into 2019.

In 2018, I worked on a lot of different and really great video projects in the realm of editing and as a colorist. I got through my last full year of grad school with a semester left to go. I had a couple different internships and jobs to supplement my freelance work. I met some and talked to some awesome people with great talent who helped me further shape my career journey. I went to Broadway shows, traveled to Bermuda, ate a lot of ramen, and of course, I devoured more stories in various forms. Here were some of my favorite stories of the year:


2018 was also the year I started therapy for the first time which is great and everyone should do it if it’s financially possible for you. So, this year has also been an exploration of my own emotional state especially in the realm of grief. Almost unconsciously, I gravitated towards narratives of death, grief, and ceremony.

Book cover of "From Here to Eternity"

The Immortalists is a winding tale of a group of siblings who find out for certain the day they will die and follows each of them to their ends. On the other side of things, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death is a nonfiction book on how various cultures and parts of the world process death and grief in various rituals.

Reading these, I felt almost comforted and warmed, strangely enough. It was an understanding of what connects us all as a human tradition we must go through and knowing that there wasn’t just one right way to do so. I highly recommend both.


Image from "The Haunting of Hill House". The bottom side of a girl's face with a tear running down it and the top is the haunted house.

I’m a horror fan through and through meaning at any moment, I’m liable to scroll through Netflix and press play on any old thing in the “horror” category which is usually a bad idea. However, in this case, The Haunting of Hill House stood out to me as a lot more than just another horror story to devour. Continuing with my theme of death and grief, it’s a lot more than a story of horror. The Haunting of Hill House is the picture of a family going through the loss of their mother and how that affects their relationships to each other and elevates the nightmares within themselves.

I wouldn’t necessarily suggest you watch this if you can’t stomach a ghost in your face, but if you can, I think it’s a fantastically produced show with a surprisingly deep current of love and hurt that runs underneath the surface of it’s haunted moments.

And The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is still just as fun and rowdy as it was in the first season. I'm a sucker for any story that takes place in the late 50s and that's mostly because of the outfits.

Cover of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel". A woman in a red coat and hat surrounded by men in grey jackets.

3 different outfits from "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

I would wear that red dress TODAY.


Video game cover for "God of War" (2018)

I’ve never played a God of War game before this year. Despite my love of Greek and Roman mythology and the gods, I think the blatant hypermasculinity of it’s protagonist really repelled me as an adolescent. This entry in the series presented itself as a new chapter to the life of Kratos in which he’s now not only a father but a widower. The relationship between father and son is one that really holds you close as you play if the excellent game play and exploration of an ominous and beautiful world doesn’t do it for you.

The honourable mention didn’t actually come out this year, but I spent a lot of time playing it on my Nintendo Switch and loved how it scratched all my JRPG itches. Ys 8: Lacrimosa of Dana was my introduction into the YS series and I can’t wait to see what game comes out next.

Title image for video game "Ys 8: Lacrimosa of Dana"


I’m fairly obsessed with social media, Generation Z, and everything my younger, teenage cousins engage themselves with on the internet. It’s so fascinating to see these miniature adults grow up with such different technology than I had at their age. They have Instagram, and I had Pajama Sam. What can be so frustrating with movies/tv featuring teens is how stupidly inaccurate it can all be when it comes to that culture and dialogue. I thought Bo Burnham did such a great job at capturing that incredibly unromantic essence of being a teen especially in the present day.

It was sort of like an amalgamation of moments I distinctly remember being a teen girl (also, it’s great to have this be a teen movie about a young girl, not a young boy) and then things I couldn't relate to not being Gen Z which were hilarious and strange. I had such a strong emotional connection to this film, I came out immediately wanted everyone I knew to have seen it as well.

Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse really is just my other favorite movie of this year which is both very different in some ways from Eighth Grade but with some similar themes. All I need to say about Into the Spider-verse is SEE IT because not only is it a tightly written story, it’s a huge accomplishment in the art of animation and extremely fun just to WATCH the whole time.


As an editor, I see it as part of my job and lifelong education to throw myself into the world of fiction whether it’s a movie, a book or a video game. Not to mention that I love it obviously. All of it helps shape the way I want to tell stories and teaches me of the world. Here’s to even more tales (and also more boba tea) in 2019.

Other 2018 awards:

  • My 2018 drink of choice: Chai tea latte (from anywhere, but particularly there’s a place close to my apartment that I find does it best)

  • Artist I was really digging in 2018: Lizzo

  • Favorite animal of the year: the Feral Chicken from Bermuda. See picture at top of the page.