In the spirit of the Olympics, how do you think the state of Iowa would match-up against Hawaii? You may be surprised at the results. (Stick with me and I’ll tie it in with screenwriting.)
In a recent article I read on Yahoo! News written by Jeanna Bryner she reported on the happiest places to live in 2009. All 50 United States were graded on a well-being score.
Bryner writes, “The well-being score for each state is an average of six sub-categories, including: life evaluation (self-evaluation about your present life situation and anticipated one in five years); emotional health; work environment (such as job satisfaction); physical health; healthy behavior; basic access (access to healthcare, a doctor, a safe place to exercise and walk, as well as community satisfaction).
Who came out on top? Hawaii…but Iowa was close behind at #5. And if you add its neighbor just to the north, Minnesota which came in #4, then Iowa/Minnesota make the best one/two connected states in the U.S. on the old happy meter. (Granted Hawaii is at a disadvantage there.) Actually four of the top ten states are in the Midwest with Kansas and North Dakota being the other states. Who knew?
So Hawaii edges out Iowa as far well-being. But lets put Cedar Falls, Iowa up against Maui. Well, I’m sure there are many ways to judge such a thing but only one of those places was chosen earlier this month as a “distinctive destination of 2010.” Yep, Cedar Falls. (See the article Cedar Falls receives rare honor from National Trust.)
I think we’re officially on the map. Last month Sports Illustrated did a feature on the local college basketball team (UNI) and last summer Good Morning America taped a segment downtown. Remember this is the town that Julia Roberts escapes to in the movie Sleeping with the Enemy. That novel was written in Cedar Falls by Nancy Price as was The Bridges of Madison Country when Robert Waller lived in Cedar Falls. And the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine features an illustration of Sade that was created by local artist Gary Kelley. (And don’t forget the first screenwriting blog to win an Emmy was created in–of all places–Cedar Falls, Iowa.)
If you’re a screenwriter/filmmaker outside L.A. you probably have a chip on your shoulder. And it’s good to be reminded of people and places in your area of the world that have found some measure of local, regional, national or international success. Remember that “hope is a dangerous thing.” Isn’t it inspirational when you watch Olympic athletes who come from small middle of nowhere towns and villages around the world and stand on the world stage?
Focus on the prize. (And do the work when no one is watching.)
And if you’re ever in these parts stop by for a visit. (The above photo is for a client of mine The Black Hawk Hotel.) Here’s what the National Trust for Historic Preservation writes about Cedar Falls:
Situated in a picturesque bend in the Cedar River, Cedar Falls, Iowa offers an impressive mix of shopping, dining, entertainment and cultural activities, from eclectic shopping experiences along its historic Main Street to the many recreational opportunities in the surrounding forests, lakes and prairie preserves. Cedar Falls’ Main Street is a national model, a winner of the Great American Main Street Award that hums with activity nearly round the clock. In addition to its retail offerings, the historic downtown has been certified by the state of Iowa as an “Arts and Cultural District.”
P.S. If you’re looking to move to a happy place and you’re torn between Hawaii and Iowa (common problem)… you may want to compare housing prices.
Text & photo Copyright 2010 Scott W. Smith