As a writer, most of the time, it is great to have too much to write about. Unfortunately this week, there was too much bad news to cover. However, when I began writing a piece for Merrimack Valley Business Magazine this morning, I realized tons of feel-good material. Writing a profile on someone who has so many inspirational stories was a great way to spend a Saturday morning, after a long Friday of horrible news.
Giovanni Capato is the founder of Reach Fashion, and Reach Design Center, on Wingate Street, in Haverhill. I am a sucker for a good Haverhill story, especially since my dad used to have his office on Wingate Street, and my siblings and I spent many afternoons exploring the local shops that never seemed to survive long enough. After buying a birthday present at Reach Fashion, I knew I wanted to do a story on the store and its owner, but I had no idea just how captivated I would be by Giovanni.
Reach Fashion is much more than just a boutique, although you will certainly find cute clothes. Through the adjoining Reach Design Center, Giovanni invites anyone to become involved in the Fashion industry. He takes interns from Haverhill High, runs fashion camps for students, and will share his knowledge with anyone who is interested. Seeing someone with an impressive professional resume who has such a genuine interest in helping the community is inspiring and encouraging. Giovanni takes away the intimidation of what he admits can sometimes be a cruel industry, and makes fashion and creativity available to anyone who walks through his doors.
Giovanni's personal story is also amazing. He immigrated to the United States from Brazil over fifteen years ago, not speaking any English. Having been through the immigration process with my husband, I cannot imagine conquering that while trying to learn the language. I know how frustrating it can be to feel like your life is in the hands of the government, or to desperately need something many people take for granted. I look forward to the day Mark can become a citizen, something Giovanni understands. "Becoming a citizen opened doors," he told me.
Giovanni has two sons, who he and his husband adopted through the Massachusetts foster care system. After talking to me about his professional life, Giovanni was more than willing to tell me about his experiences with domestic adoption. "We found love. I see that if I can give a child an opportunity for a better life, that's my goal here."
Love, local business, and American pride - things we can all appreciate everyday, but especially this week. Thanks, Giovanni, for being so open with me, and for everything you are doing for Haverhill. Look for more from my interview with Giovanni in the summer edition of Merrimack Valley Business Magazine, and check out Reach Fashion!
One of my favorite views, taken on a gorgeous Boston day from the BU Bridge.
Like the rest of Boston, I am still reeling today from the attacks at the Boston Marathon yesterday. No matter whether you live in Boston currently, or have moved on to a new place, everyone who has been blessed enough to call Boston home knows the magic that is Marathon Monday. On Comm Ave, the trees are blossoming, and I assure you there is nothing more beautiful than Boston in the springtime. Families on April vacation are freed from the indoors to explore their city, and college students - who can practically taste summer - take to the street to celebrate life by punishing their livers. The first time that I watched the Boston Marathon in Kenmore Square, I was in awe that an event could be so life-affirming.
All tragedies are awful, but I learned yesterday that there is a unique and heart-wrenching ache when the bombs are placed on sidewalks your feet have touched, and the wounded are wheeled along a path you used to walk to quietly take in the spring.
Fortunately, the spirit of the marathon was reflected in the response. When we see pictures of people running toward the blast, and read stories of everyday Bostonians offering up their homes to visitors, we can see the good. Today, I visited a middle school, sitting in on a media class for a story I am writing. Class opened with a brief discussion of the bombings, and when the students were mostly silent, the teacher urged them to remember the words of Mr. Rodgers, and "look for the helpers." Look for the people who put themselves aside in the face of danger and tragedy to help others. In Boston yesterday, there were plenty of helpers.
Being a writer certainly affected my reactions after hearing the news. I hugged my husband, and told my family I loved them, but then I turned to my journal. A long time ago I wrote down a quote: I write to find out what I am thinking. When the unimaginable happens, putting pen to paper (and later, fingers to keys) is the best therapy.
As a journalist, I have to consider what is the proper way to cover such an event. I can't imagine the scramble to get the information out to millions of scared, confused, and angry people. National Public Radio continues to amaze me with their reporting skills. They resisted the urge to report the latest whispers, and stuck to the facts. Although they were not the first to report many aspects of the attack, they did not make the mistakes of reporting false information, like so many other outlets. I'd imagine it takes a strong team to be so patient, but as a consumer, it was incredibly valuable to know that I was only getting the facts.
In addition, the space NPR provided to callers to share their stories was a refreshing change from the awful video shown again and again on television. As horrible as some of them were, sharing experiences is no doubt a healing process. Whether it is tragedy, joy, fear, or pride, by sharing stories we connect with people we have never met, and may never see. That's the amazing power of words.
After last week's blog post, I have been thinking a lot about what role the blog should play on this website. As you can see, I've decided that it should have a bigger one. You can still learn all about me, view my projects, and see the different ways that a writer can help you, but now the home page will be the blog.
On a personal level, I am excited to have a blog that I will update regularly again, something I was surprised to learn I loved when I blogged at Boston to Brisbane. Professionally, I think that the blog will give me a chance to show potential clients my voice, in its own space, without the tone or style I may need to adopt when I write for other publications (not to say that I don't love writing for other outlets!)
Since I am establishing a career writing on any number of topics, I'll incorporate anything of interest here. I look forward to writing about the serious, the silly, and anything in between. As always, I'd love to hear from you - stories, comments, or anything else. Let the blogging begin!
It's amazing what a few warm days can do to motivation levels for a young professional. Yesterday the sun was shining, and I wanted to conquer everything - get out with the dog, pitch great stories to The Eagle Tribune, and apply to every writing gig I could get my hands on. I was a woman inspired!
Of course, there aren't enough hours in the day, and by the time I had sent emails and got the green light on a pitch, it was time for me to attend an event.
When I sat down today and tried to rekindle the fire that was burning yesterday afternoon, I realized that there were a few things that needed work before I could jump head first into The Next Great Thing. My resume definitely needed attention. As wonderful as I am, I finally accepted that there is no reason for someone only a few years out of college to have a resume that's more than a page long. I chopped and burned, and now have a clean and concise resume.
Updating the resume led to updating my LinkedIn Profile, which was feeling sorely neglected. I must admit I'm a little hesitant on LinkedIn, but when I logged in recently and saw that an editor at a newspaper I had applied to had viewed my profile, I realized that it really is a resource. I certainly don't want any professional opportunities passing me by. I spruced up the profile, and even found a picture that somehow managed to be both professional and presentable.
All of my work today and yesterday has led to a lot of thinking on my part. I know what I want - to freelance from home, and be able to support myself, and tell the great stories that are everywhere. I have had a little trouble blending my want to express myself, with my desire to have a professional website. I realized that I miss having my travel blog. In Australia, everything was new and interesting, but here, does anyone really care what a 24-year-old wife trying to get the adult life going has to say?
At its base, a blog is a way to get your voice heard, and the voice of Burch Creative isn't just the voice of a professional, but also the voice of someone trying new things, and figuring out how to achieve her goals. I really believe that my personal decision to step outside of the status quo and pursue self-employment from the start says a lot about the qualities that define me professionally - drive, responsibility, and just a little bit of risk.
So, from now on, I won't struggle to keep Kelly out of Burch Creative, because Kelly is Burch Creative. This space will continue to update you on the projects I am working on, but will also include general updates on how things are going. What worked, what didn't, and what I might try next.
And, of course, feedback from the older and wise and the fellow starters-out is always appreciated!
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