SD/PEN Profile: Cheryl Mealy

SD/PEN regularly selects members at random and profiles their background and experience in an interview-style blog post. These are valuable opportunities for members to introduce themselves to other members and prospective clients through this newsletter and on SD/PEN’s website and social media outlets. This profile features editor and writer Cheryl Mealy.

How do you describe what you do to someone whom you’ve just met at a networking function?

I am gearing up to make a transition from full-time legal assistant/paralegal to professional freelance editor, which encompasses copy editing and proofreading. I hope to work toward specialization in memoir/biography as well as detective fiction.

What made you decide to become a professional editor?

For decades, my prior professional life offered me the opportunity to learn how to edit and proofread legal and other documents of all kinds and types. Now that I am semiretired, I thought it might be a good idea to take advantage of the skills I have learned over the years so that others could benefit from that knowledge and expertise.

What do you enjoy most about being a member of SD/PEN?

I have been a member a short time but have found the membership I have come in contact with to be a group of warm, kind-hearted, skilled professionals who are willing to offer a helping hand to someone like me who’s just breaking into the profession.

Tell us about a book you recently read that you would recommend.

For a variety of reasons, I am reading books more these days than in the past and could choose from several excellent books I’ve recently read. However, I heartily recommend Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, originally published in 1994. A few months ago, I ordered a used copy from Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon (the best bookstore on the West Coast), and read it in very few sittings. While reading this treasure, I found myself laughing out loud a lot, crying a little, tearing up quite a bit, and—more than once—taking considerable time to reflect on my own life.

Where would you like to go on your next vacation and why?

Ireland. I’m Irish to the bone; that’s pretty much the reason. Many friends have encouraged me to go.

What is the number one item on your bucket list and why?

Two weeks in Paris sightseeing and visiting museums, while lodged in a fabulous hotel in the 2nd or 3rd arrondissement. When I was twelve years old and in my first year of French in school, I made a promise to myself to visit Paris one day. I haven’t been to the City of Lights yet but am confident I will get there some day.

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