Stella Leventoyannis Harvey

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not but rejoices for those which he has. Epictetus

This has been a difficult year. Talk about an understatement. But this blog isn’t about COVID-19. Instead, I’d like to share some of the moments and experiences I was fortunate enough to enjoy this year. For me, focusing on all that is good helps me deal with my worries. It always has. And after the year we’ve had, where we’ve pivoted so many bits of our lives, I thought it was time to pivot from fear to gratefulness.

So here is my list.

First and foremost, I am thankful for the family and friends who lift me with every single interaction we have. I could not be me without you. FaceTime and ZOOM allowed me to visit many of you, see your smiling faces, catch up with your lives and share moments of closeness and laughter. 

I am fortunate to live where I live, a community of mountains and gorgeous scenery that allows me to spend as much time as I can outside walking and exploring. Walking and the mountains bring me peace.

I continued to work on my new manuscript this year. It’s slow going, but I haven’t given up. The more I show up, the more my characters show up. They are currently in a lot of trouble and I’m not sure what is going to happen next, but with every word, every surprise, every revelation, I have come to believe in my characters. I know they will point the way. They trust me to get their journey on the page and I am grateful. 

In early June, we decided to redesign the Whistler Writers Festival. You know that festival. It’s the little festival that could. And it’s the one I’m fortunate to lead. We pivoted to a virtual festival in order to meet the COVID-19 challenge. Most of the authors we had already invited agreed to come along for the ride and we delivered the festival in October without a hitch to an increased international audience. This couldn’t have been done without the support of the incredible team I am so fortunate to work with and call my friends. 

Despite the lock downs, I was invited to participate in a few readings online to promote my third novel, Finding Callidora, released in late 2019And I received some lovely notes of support for this novel as well as my first two novels. Here are some examples:

I finished Finding Callidora yesterday and loved it.  It was totally engrossing, the prose was realistic yet nuanced, and the plot unfolded smoothly and in a manner that kept me glued to the book. I feel a bit more knowledgeable about Greek history and culture. Congratulations!

 Just finished gobbling up, Finding Callidora. You did a masterful job of portraying the complicated family through all the twists and turns of writing. I loved your use of the newspaper headlines. 

 And here is a comment I received via Facebook from a Greek reader. The comment is translated from Greek, so I hope I’m doing it justice. 

Good Evening. I have in my hands your book Nicolai’s Daughters and I wanted to tell you how well you write. A book taken out of your soul. Congratulations.

In mid-June, I was fortunate enough to receive a grant from the BC Arts Council to produce a video or podcast discussing Finding Callidora. This recording is available on my website to book clubs and any school that is reading and discussing the Canadian immigrant story captured in this novel.

The grant program was a pilot project made possible by a generous donation from the Yosef Wosk Family Foundation, the timing of which has allowed the BC Arts Council to match funds and use this initiative in support of the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am grateful to the BC Arts Council and the Yosef Wosk Family Foundation for the funds they provided to make this project a reality. Their generosity has facilitated yet another opportunity for the public to engage with, access, and participate in, the literary arts. If you’re interested here is the video your book club or school could use to discuss my novel,  Finding Callidora.

Thank you to all of you who read my blog, who comment, stay in touch, and seek me out. I love people, their kindness, support and insights. So, every time I hear from someone it only reinforces my love and my undying gratitude!

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