Thursday, November 10, 2016

East Bay Feis Review

Hello dear ones! We are deep in the midst of Fall and the changing colors of the leaves add such a nice tinge of color to the world. Life has been very busy for me, but hopefully this holiday season we can relax a little! ;) 

This is also a busy time for Irish Dancing, because the Western Regional Oireachtas is happening near me the weekend before Thanksgiving! I'm dancing in the Adult Traditional Set solos on Nov 20, so I've been working hard and practicing my set a lot! I'll be dancing Job of Journeywork, which I love and enjoy dancing. 

On October 30, I danced at the East Bay Feis and had a great time! I even brought home a crystal vase! It was my first time dancing in Adult Novice (except for my Hornpipe, which is Adult Beginner since I learned it over the summer) and I enjoyed it. The Feis was running behind schedule which was a little stressful and I think it made me feel really tired. When we arrived at the Feis, I stretched, practiced, and snacked until I felt ready to dance. Then, we find out that we were going to dance late, but no one knew when. I started feeling tired and a little drained by then. 

The venue was lovely and we found a place to camp out, which was important since we brought all three kids. I was able to practice pretty comfortably. There were a lot of Halloween decorations, which the kids loved. It was very festive! Lots of vendors, but I wish I had done some shopping instead of worrying about when we were going to dance. I wanted some hard shoe buckles for the Oireachtas, but I ordered some online so that should be fine. 

Finally, after checking the room where my stage was going to be, I hear that the adults were going to go on right then! They had decided that we ought to dance before the U13s or U15s, I forget which. I was surprised and rushed into the room. XD

My new Novice Reel didn't go as well as I would have liked, but it was my first time dancing it at a Feis and I was really nervous about it, not to mention a little flustered. My other soft shoe dances went well, but the slip jig that the musician played was unlike any one I had heard before and it was hard for me to hear the counts in it. I told my TC about it and after describing the musician to her, she said he probably played a championship slip jig, which is slower and more flowy. 

My hard shoe went really well! I placed first in Novice Hard Jig out of seven, which means I am now in Adult Prizewinner Hard Jig! That made me feel really happy because I worked on that dance a lot during the summer. After Oireachtas, my TC is going to teach me a slow hard jig! :D My hornpipe went very well and I got a comment: "Very Good." I even won the Adult Beginner Hornpipe Trophy Special and received a huge crystal vase! That felt amazing! 

Here are my results: 
Novice Reel: 6th
Novice Light Jig: 5th
Novice Slip Jig: 3rd
Novice Single Jig: 3rd 
Novice Hard Jig: 1st
Novice Trad Set: 3rd
Beginner Hornpipe: 1st 
Trophy Special: 1st 

I wish my soft shoe had gone a little better, but I think I was feeling nervous. Some of the other Novice Adults are very good at soft shoe and I felt a little intimidated, which I should not have felt. I need to be more confident about my soft shoe dances. So, my goal is to work on pointing my toes better and higher toe height. 

I think it was when I was dancing my single jig that I began to relax and really enjoy myself, and then my hard shoe went really well! For the Oireachtas, I need to remember that competing is about having fun and doing your best, not worrying about what the other dancers will do or what the judges think. I am glad I was able to do my Job of Journeywork at the Feis because I realized what I needed to work on before the O. ;) 

Dress Update: I found out last week that the seamstress wasn't planning on making the adult dresses, so I freaked out. I was so upset about it, since it was really last minute. My wonderful TC and her grandmother stepped in to the rescue and are making me a dress for the Oireachtas because, as she said, I "earned it." That means a lot to me and I can't wait to see the dress! :D It will feel amazing to finally dance in an Irish Dancing dress! It will be black and pink to match my headband and school colors. 

Irish dancing is a lot of fun, and while competing can be stressful and exhausting, it's so worth it! I danced 8 dances in a row at the Feis and I am so proud of myself for being able to do that. I am getting ready for the Western Regional Oireachtas!! Let's gooooo! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Two Special Pieces and Great News!

Hi all! 

I haven't had a lot of time to write lately, but I do have some exciting news! 

Remember how I was writing a book? Well, I took a break for it for a while because something wasn't quite right about it. After talking to my dad a few weeks ago, he mentioned writing a series and it was as though lightning struck my brain. I realized that my book works better as two books and the first one is all done! :D It's about 60,000 words right now and I am still in the process of editing and adding some scenes to help the continuity. The second book is about a quarter of the way done and I'm putting that one on the back burner for now so I can focus on revising the first one. :) 

I am so pumped about this and I feel so much better about my book! It makes more sense now and I think it will flow better. I've found a few agents I'd like to send it to, however it won't be ready for a little while. I'm hoping to start sending it out after January, maybe early spring? I'm still waiting to hear back from the Sustainable Arts Foundation to see if I won a writing grant. The awards will be announced in a week or so. 

In other news, I've had two pieces published in September and I am very happy about them. 

Literary Mama published a short piece about inspiration as part of their After Page One blog series: After Page One: Inspiration

Stone Bridge Press, a great publisher that publishes books about Asia, started a Flash Fiction Series in their blog and one of my pieces was chosen to be published! I was so excited when I found out! They published one of my writing heroes, Donald Richie, who wrote about Japan. To have one of my pieces chosen by the same publishers makes me feel very proud and honored. :D Check it out here: The Mountains of Minoh

How are all your projects going?