What Have I Been Up To Lately? | Open Mic Nights, Journalism, Books, & More

Hello, everyone! Soooo, it’s time for one of those posts where I fill you in on how I’ve filled my time lately. (The more I look at that last sentence the more I can’t decide whether I love or hate how many times the words “fill” and “time” appear in it.)

Anyway, here are some of the things I’ve been up to in October and November!

crime-and-punishment-reading-russian-edition-cupcakes1. Photographed a public reading of Crime and Punishment

For a journalism project, of course. DO I EVEN DO ANYTHING THAT ISN’T SOMEHOW RELATED TO A JOURNALISM PROJECT NOW? MY LIFE REVOLVES AROUND IT. (I actually adore these classes, but at the same time I’m going to be so happy when they’re over because the homework and projects are so demanding!)

I photographed a reading of Crime and Punishment held to A) kick off the Iowa City Book Festival and B) commemorate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Dostoyevsky’s classic novel. My favorite professor (AKA the one who taught Wonder Woman Unleashed last semester) organizes a different reading every year for the ICBF and since it’s my goal to make as many of these enormous journalism projects about books as possible, choosing a topic for this assignment was easy!

The reading took place over two days and lasted a total of 23.5 hours! (And that’s actually one of the shorter readings my professor has held, to give you an idea of type of huge, madcap plans she’s so fond of making… and, thankfully, good at pulling off.)

As you can see above, there was food involved in this thing! AS WELL THERE SHOULD BE. And as you can also see, the camera I borrowed from the journalism school is really really good! Ahhhh I need to finally buy my own DSLR.

You can find a photo slideshow of the event, as well as a mock press release, here.

img_8867 img_8869

2. Had professional headshots taken

Free photography sessions are held for honors students once a semester and since I forgot to sign up last spring, I made sure to get them done this fall! #adulting

I look super gay in these photos and also a lot like my dad.

Now I have something nice to use if/when I need a profile picture for a class website or a publication I write for. (I’m hoping to start submitting some of my work to some bookish and/or LGBTQ+ websites soon!)

3. Made a video

This was also for a journalism project! My most recent major assignment for Intro to Multimedia Storytelling was to create a video story that included at least two interviews plus some B-roll. I continued my bookish theme with a project about the Haunted Bookshop, my favorite bookstore in Iowa City, and learned a lot about the joys and struggles of running an indie bookstore in this day and age.

If I could do it over again, there are definitely some things I would change – the footage is sometimes blurry and the sound quality is questionable at times – but overall I’m really happy with how my first ever video turned out. I’m so grateful to the staff (+ cats) of the Bookshop for their help with this project!

4. Wrote some things for Her Campus at Iowa

I was too busy to pitch ideas for articles the first few months of this school year but now I’m on top of (almost) everything in my life and back with some new articles! I made a list of 8 Thoughts You Have When Registering For Next Semester’s Classes and interviewed my friend Elin (a “stage manager and meme lover extraordinaire,” as the headline says) for a profile. I missed writing for Her Campus so I’m really happy to be doing that again!

5. Participated in an open mic night


Actually, I joined this more or less on a whim because it was the Friday after the election and I’d had a shitty week and needed something to distract myself so that I didn’t mope around all evening. It was held in my dorm by the English Society and the Living Literature LLC, so I thought why not go? A lot of people read stuff they’d written about the election, particularly about what it is like to live through all this as a woman, a person of color, an LGBTQ+ individual, et cetera. Which was so heartening to hear!

I read a longer version of the piece I created at a writing workshop led by Roxane Gay. I’ve been expanding the piece, which is inspired by a quote from the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDTalk “The Danger of a Single Story,” over the past few weeks.

This was a nonfiction piece, as are most of the things I write. I don’t write poetry and rarely have the time/inspiration/motivation to write fiction anymore. However, one really cool thing that happened after the open mic was that multiple people told me they loved my poem! This made me laugh and I had to explain to them that it was actually a super short essay, but it did get me thinking: I’ve learned a lot about sentence structure and beautiful writing in my Prose Style class this semester, so it’s not entirely surprising that my writing has something of the poetic in it.

I’m now seriously considering turning my essay into a poem, just to see what happens, and reading the yet-further-expanded version at an LGBTQ+/feminist open mic night later this month. The reason I don’t write poetry is that I never know how to start or what form I should follow, but suddenly it doesn’t seem so difficult if I can use bits and pieces of things I’ve already written.


Whew, I’ve certainly been busy. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like I do anything special or fun or important, that my time is entirely taken up by turning in reading responses and reviewing vocab flashcards and getting up far too early in the morning to do it all, but that’s not true: This post proves otherwise.

What have you been up to these past few weeks?

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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3 Responses to What Have I Been Up To Lately? | Open Mic Nights, Journalism, Books, & More

  1. orphu44 says:

    That’s so many things! Congratulations on presenting at an open mic! (And for being referred to as a denizen of the Haunted Bookshop.)
    Also I’m very glad you decided to include your headshots in this post. I accidentally lost the comment I was trying to make on this post because I scrolled back up to click on one of your pictures to see if I could get a bigger version without first clicking ‘post comment,’ but you look so good! (I swear I had something else in my original comment, but even rereading your post isn’t reminding me what it was, so maybe not?)

  2. Shanti says:

    Wow, the journalism assignments sound so cool. (way more fun than me wrangling all my high school reporters into actually working, though I did manage to give an assignment to the assistant editor which will keep him out of my hair). Um, the last few weeks have been tiring and surprising and really not too bad. I surprised everyone, including mostly myself by realising that I wanted to apply to some prestigious US universities, despite the utter mess of the US right now (my parents policy is that if you HAVE to go to a university outside new zealand, it has to be a really good one) And I’ve been making costumes for the school play which finally finished yesterday and my mum is away to finish her PhD and go to a conference, so I’ve been doing lots of housework, and rediscovering L.M. Montgomery and I switched rooms with my brother so now I share with my twin sister and I occasionally find time to work on my novel. So yeah. I’m glad you’ve had some awesome things going on in your life–and I LOVED the video.

  3. Pingback: 20 Things I Did In 2016 That I’d Never Done Before | Musings From Neville's Navel

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