OMG! By the time you read this post, I’ll be back at the Iceland Writers Retreat!! 😀
I have to admit, though: The past two months have been a whirlwind. A big part of that was launching my business Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services in February. Since then, life has been a juggling act between that, the day job, preparing for the Iceland trip, preparing for the ACES Conference (more on that shortly), and some unexpected things in my offline life, including a relative’s health emergency. And I’m aware that while I’m keeping up with my blogging schedule, I’ve fallen behind in just about every other area of this part of my life. 😦
In a way, I knew this was coming… and once I’m back from Iceland, it might be time to slow things down here and finally get the Heart of the Story blog up and running. But for now, let’s focus on the good that’s happened since the previous edition of What’s Making Me Happy. And as always, feel free to share the things that have made you smile recently in your comments on this post!
Let’s begin with…
What Made Me Happy in February
Reading at the First Open Mic Night at SheBreathes Balance & Wellness Studio
I’d heard about SheBreathes a few months ago and been meaning to visit it. I mean, a facility for yoga classes, aromatherapy workshops, creative writing courses, career coaching, and other awesomeness geared toward women’s health, wellness, and empowerment? Yes, please! ❤ So when SheBreathes announced they were hosting their first open mic night, I signed up as soon as I could.
And what a lovely evening it turned out to be! The audience filled to near-capacity, and the lineup featured poets, comediennes, musicians, and singers (including one who had auditioned for American Idol). Most of the people there seemed to know each other already. But after speaking to the studio’s owner before the event and then getting a warm and enthusiastic reaction for my poems, I quickly felt right at home. So now I’m planning to spend more time at SheBreathes in the future – for creative, spiritual, and… well, other reasons I might be sharing in the future. 😉
The “Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin” Documentary
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might know that Ursula K. Le Guin is my favorite author of all time. So when I learned that the documentary “Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin” would be playing at this year’s Boston Science Fiction Film Festival… well, first I freaked out. And then I bought a ticket. There was NO WAY I was going to miss it, in case this might be the only time the film comes to the Boston area.
And, well, I loved every second of it. ❤ The film packs so much into 68 minutes and flows smoothly from topic to topic. It shares Le Guin’s insights into some of her most well-known stories, like the Earthsea series, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Dispossessed; as well as more personal bits, from how her father’s anthropology work influenced her worldbuilding and worldview to how she balanced her writing career with raising a family. It also features clips of interviews from Le Guin herself (of course), family members, close friends, and authors like Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, and David Mitchell who consider Le Guin to be one of their greatest influences. It’s a beautiful tribute that feels like a window into an incredible author’s life and ideas. And other people must have agreed – the documentary won Best Film of the Festival!
Greek Dinner at a Friend’s House
Before this, the only Greek dishes I’d eaten were baklava (phyllo dough layered with nuts and sweetened), pastitsio (a layered pasta dish that’s similar to lasagna), and Greek yogurt (Icelandic skyr is SOOOOO much better, tbh). So imagine how much my taste palate expanded when a friend from my day job invited me to a big dinner get-together that was ALL GREEK FOOD. A lamb roast, fasolakia (green beans in tomato sauce), spanakopita (spinach pie), pastitsio (of course!), and baklava and kourabiedes (almond / butter cookies covered in powdered sugar) for dessert… There might have been other dishes, too, but I’ve forgotten what they are now. *lol*
It was a fun night, though. One of those nights where the food was so delicious, you go back for seconds yet forget to take pictures. (That’s the best kind of dinner, though, right?) And while the company was different from the people I normally hang out with, it was nice to get to know a new crowd and enjoy myself. Plus, the dinner was the night of Heart of the Story’s launch, so it helped to take my mind off of things for a few hours.
What Made Me Happy in March
The Mary Oliver Poetry Celebration at Falmouth Public Library
As you may have read a few weeks ago, Mary Oliver, my favorite poet, passed away in January. So when I learned the Falmouth Public Library was hosting a Mary Oliver poetry celebration during one of my trips to visit my family in Cape Cod, I knew I had to go. (Falmouth is part of the Cape Cod region.)
And what a lovely, intimate event it turned out to be! Everyone who attended brought at least two poems of Mary’s to read (I read “Heart Poem” and “Ocean”). We also shared how we first came across Mary’s poetry and what we appreciated or connected with most about the poems we chose or her work in general. A few people got quite emotional when it was their turn to read. I completely understand why: Mary’s poems are so accessible because of their subject matter and her simplistic, precise style of writing. And for that same reason, they’re also able to open your mind and touch your heart so easily.
FINALLY!!! Marvel releases its first movie with a female superhero lead, and it’s AWESOME. 😀 I love how Captain Marvel wasn’t so much an origin story as it was a mystery that Carol Danvers solves and, in the process, helps her remember her origins. (This will make more sense if you see the movie, of course.)
What else did I love? Brie Larson’s portrayal of our flawed, fiercely determined, and slightly rebellious heroine. Samuel L. Jackson’s younger version of the pragmatic yet cynical Nick Fury. (Honestly, I swear I was watching him in Pulp Fiction all over again – the CGI is that seamless.) The film’s focus on alliances and friendship (especially Carol’s Air Force buddy Marie Rambeau) instead of romance. Some of the 90s songs featured in the soundtrack (though one or two threw off the timing in the fight scenes, IMO). And a bunch of other things. This is an exciting, funny, feminist-flavored addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that’s both timely due to current events and deeply human at its heart.
The 2019 ACES Conference
I attended my first conference as an editor last weekend! The annual conference for the Society for Editing (formerly known as the American Copy Editors Society, or ACES) was held in Providence, Rhode Island, which is about a 20-minute train ride from where I live. This event was different than the writing conferences I’ve attended in that it focuses on professional editing, from specific industries and best practices to freelancing, working with clients, and marketing. It’s also a great networking opportunity; I met editors from all over the country and from various disciplines, and had some time to catch up with some of the local freelancers I’ve met over the past few months.
Oh! And I ran into Zezee from Zezee with Books! Neither of us had any idea we were both attending ACES beforehand, so it was a fantastic surprise and wonderful to be able to meet another of my online friends. 🙂
On a Semi-Blogging Hiatus Until Wednesday, May 1st
Since I’m out of the country, it’s a good time to take a blogging hiatus… sort of. *lol* My next DIY MFA post is scheduled to go live later this month. So apart from sharing that link once it’s ready, I won’t post anything new here until Wednesday, May 1st.
Also, at that point, I should finally start shifting my focus from this blog to a new one at Heart of the Story. That blog will be strictly about tips on writing, working with editors, and “the writer’s life.” I’ll continue posting here if time allows and when I’ve got news to share or other ideas that don’t fit Heart of the Story’s niche.
Again, I know I gave a heads-up about this transition a couple months ago, but I also hope you understand why I’m doing it. I’ll still be around here. It won’t be as often, but I do hope you’ll come back whenever I have something new to share. (*hugs*)
How were February and March for you? What’s made you happy over the past couple months? Did you do anything fun? Go someplace new?