Volunteer Profile: Ellen Michelle

Volunteer role: Professional development committee member, West Coast Editor contributor, and event volunteer

Company name: Ellen Michelle Editorial Services

Website: ellenmichelle.com

Blog: sqsreviews.com

Which famous person (living or dead) do you think (or have you been told) you most resemble?
When I was younger, Avril Lavigne. More recently I’ve been told I look like Felicity Jones, who played Jyn Erso in Rogue One, one of the new Star Wars movies.

What’s the most important lesson you ever learned?
I have two, but they’re connected: Learn and move on from your mistakes, and do what will make you happy. If you’re in a situation that isn’t right for you and isn’t making you the happiest you could be, get out of it. Make a change, and don’t be afraid to do what’s right for you. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way a couple times, and I’m always grateful when I’m reminded of its importance.

What or who makes you laugh out loud?
Pictures of dogs. Seriously. I’m a sucker for dog pictures. I have often been caught cry-laughing at pictures and videos of puppies.

What is the best book you read in the last year?
Honestly, the bits and pieces of an unfinished manuscript written by someone close to me. I’ve read many books in the past year, but I’m holding my breath for this one to be completed.

What is your favourite reading: fiction, non-fiction, or poetry?

What are your guilty pleasures?
Chocolate, Netflix, and pineapple wine. Seriously, try pineapple wine. It’s incredible.

What is your favourite proofreading mark?
The pilcrow is my favourite proofreading mark. This goes back to the important life lessons. I like to think the pilcrow symbolizes the ability to start a new paragraph, or a new chapter or section if we’re thinking metaphorically. It offers the chance to move on and away from the past but also to connect back to it (paragraphs always have to be connected, right?) so you learn and don’t forget.

What is your favourite punctuation mark?
I may be over-obsessed with the semicolon. In high school English, one of my teachers told me I had used the mark wrong, so I went home and studied its proper usage. Once I learned how to use it properly, I felt the need to show it off. I didn’t master the comma until university, but I could rock a semicolon.

What is your dream vacation destination?
I’m partial to the staycation, but I’d love to do a cross-Canada road trip.

If you were presented with a book that told the story of your entire life from start to finish, what would you do with it?
This is a fascinating question. I’d like to think that I would read it up until the present then put it down until life has caught up to the book a bit more. However, if I’m being honest, my curiosity would likely get the better of me, and I would be tempted to read the ending. As much as I love the surprises that come along in life, I am also a planner, and I like to have control in situations—knowing what’s coming would be tempting.

What is your favourite word? Why?
My favourite word is definitely vehement. In elementary school (I was in grade 3, and my brother was in grade 6), the students in my brother’s class had to take turns—one every day—telling the class about a new word they had learned. The day before my brother’s turn, he had forgotten about the assignment completely, which was characteristic of him, so I decided to help him out. I opened a dictionary at random and pointed at a word—vehement. I made up a story that he would use to say how he discovered the word, and I remember him saying his teacher was really impressed. I don’t remember the story now, but I’ll always remember the word and the first of many times I helped my older brother with his English homework.

Who is your favourite poet?
Dante Alighieri. I have read The Divine Comedy more times than anything else, and I have read Inferno in one sitting more than once. It was originally introduced to me in my first year of university by an instructor that focused his English literature courses on magic and the occult. I was fascinated, and now my prized possession is a first-edition 1889 leather-bound copy of Inferno (with illustrations by Gustave Doré).

What is your favourite place in Canada?
Canoe, BC. I have family that lives there, and I visit as often as I can. I love how quiet and peaceful the small town is. I love Vancouver as well, and I’m eternally grateful to live near and go to school in the city, but sometimes the peace and quiet of a small town are a nice escape.

What is the last book you read?
MOM, by Collin Piprell.

What are your favourite book genres?
Science fiction, fantasy, crime, mystery, and horror.

Which actor would play you in a biopic of your life?
Emma Stone. She’s goofy and charismatic, and she clearly loves what she does, so I believe she’d be able to relate to my workaholic ways.

Which band or singer provided the soundtrack to your teen years?
Mayday Parade. Yes, I know; you’ve probably never heard of them. They were definitely the constant obsession through high school, but there were a number of others that came in and out of my music library as well: Sum 41, Blink 182, Rise Against, and Linkin Park, to name a few.