Wait! It’s November now! Isn’t this post late?
Well, sort of. (Better late than never, right?) But with my new DIY MFA article posting earlier this week and S.J. Higbee’s blog tour stopping here last week, today is the most convenient day to look back on the joys of October.
And, boy, do I need this post right now. October was very stressful, between sudden changes at my day job and unexpected (and expensive) car repairs. And when I’m already stressed / anxious about one thing, it’s so easy for me to get stressed / anxious about other things. If you’ve felt the same way lately, let’s take a moment to inhale deeply, exhale slowly, and give thanks for our accomplishments and joys over the past month. And as always, feel free to share what’s made you happy lately in your comments.
I Went to the 2017 Boston Book Festival
Last Saturday was the 9th Annual Boston Book Festival, and once again it was fantastic. I spent a gorgeous fall day in Copley Square, attending book signings and panels on poetry and YA fiction, drinking tea and hot cocoa, and generally being inspired by the vibrant, inviting atmosphere. In fact, I was so focused on getting from one panel to the next (all four I was interested in were back to back) that I forgot to take photos after the first panel. So the slideshow above only shows the “YA: Truth and Consequences” panel and my book haul from the event. Then I went reunited with Yoga Friend (she also went to BBF, but attended different panels) for dinner and dessert.
My highlights from this year’s BBF? Meeting Daniel Jose Older and Kristin Cashore after their respective panels. Older, who writes urban fantasy for adults (Bone Street Rumba series) and teens (Shadowshaper Cypher series), took part in my favorite panel of the day, “YA: It’s Getting Real.” He and three other authors discussed (among other topics) the importance of writing diverse characters and addressing racial injustice and other societal wrongs in YA literature. As for Cashore, I read her Graceling series after hearing her speak at the 2010 BBF. So it was utterly satisfying for things to finally come full-circle and meet her in person.
I Went on My First Whale Watch
During a recent trip to Cape Cod to visit my parents, I finally went on my first whale watch! We took a Hyannis Whale Watch Cruise out of Barnstable and traveled out about 1 hour to Stellwagen Bank, a marine sanctuary at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay. Since the Cape weather was drizzly and foggy that morning, we didn’t know how much we’d see once we were out in the ocean. But the skies cleared the further north we went – and within minutes of arriving at our destination, we spotted our first whale.
In total, we saw about 20 whales (all humpbacks) during our 90-minute stop. The tour guide (a marine mammal expert who has studied these whales for years) was incredibly knowledgeable, sharing the whales’ many behaviors, how she and other experts identify each whale from their fins and other markings, and the efforts to protect these magnificent creatures. One of the juvenile whales, Abyss, also came within feet of our boat! The guide said this particular behavior, usually exhibited by younger whales like Abyss, is called a “curious approach,” and is rare to witness during whale watches.
I Met Abigail K. Perry, Another of My DIY MFA Colleagues
I enjoy reading my fellow staff writers’ posts at DIY MFA. So I was reading Abigail K. Perry‘s debut article this summer (click here to read it), and when I reached her bio, my mouth dropped open. To make a long story short: Abigail lives two towns away from me!
So Abigail and I finally met last week at An Unlikely Story (a local indie bookseller I first blogged about here), and it was a blast. We spent over 2 hours chatting about books, our own novels-in-progress, bridesmaid tales, and life in general. It’s so nice to have a new writing friend who lives so closeby, and we’re already planning to get together again soon.
I’m Listening to Guided Meditations by Madeline Reinhart
Since I’m still having trouble with anxiety, I was recently searching YouTube for guided meditations that might help. Then I stumbled on Madeline Reinhart’s work – and oh my GOODNESS. The first one made me more relaxed and empowered than I’d felt in a while. And then I listened to a few others, then went to her website, and…. let’s just say I swear by her work now. ❤
The best place for an introduction to Madeline is her YouTube page. There, she has dozens of meditation recordings that assist with the seven chakras, abundance, self-love, and other forms of spiritual healing. If you find them helpful, then visit Madeline’s website for meditation downloads you can purchase. I splurged on one of her “meditation designs,” where you can create your own meditation by choosing the focal intention / topic, background music, and subliminal sound effects.
I’m Also Listening to the Music Choice: Soundscapes Channel
With all the changes that happened this month, I’ve felt the need to listen to more relaxing music. So in addition to my usual fare on my iPod, I’ve also been listening to Music Choice: Soundscapes. It’s an all-day music channel on cable TV that plays a mix of classical, ambient, and acoustic instrumentals. It’s soothing and especially helpful for concentration, and I’ve already discovered some incredible songs and artists over the past couple weeks. Here are my favorites so far:
- “Night” by Ludovico Einaudi (see YouTube video above)
- “Look to the Sky” by Douglas Blue Feather
- “Into Light” by Bryan Carrigan
- “Finding Forever” by Michael Brant Demaria
What were some of the things that made you happy in October? Have you gone anywhere exciting or done something you’ve been meaning to do for a long time? If you’ve been experiencing stress or anxiety lately, what has helped you relax or maintain your sanity?