Thanks to Martha Reynolds once again for featuring me on her blog. A Girl from the Hill is one of the hundreds of books that will be available at the Association of Rhode Island Auhors (ARIA) annual expo at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet this coming Saturday, December 2nd, 10am to 5 pm. Come visit- books make great gifts!
The Girl, with her fiance, in 1946
A Girl from the Hill is a tribute to my mother, who grew up on Federal Hill during the Great Depression. The collection of essays depicts her life of as one of laughter and love, as well as its share of suffering and sorrow.
Providence’s Federal Hill neighborhood was, and still is, Rhode Island’s “Little Italy.” Thousands of Italian immigrants, including my grandparents, came to Rhode Island at the turn of the 20th century to begin new, better lives. They struggled to assimilate into American culture, and my mother’s parents, Giovanni and Maria, tried their best to become John and Mary. My mom, their youngest of eight children, was full of joy, and enjoyed much of her childhood despite her mother’s struggle with diabetes.
I began the book merely as a simple exercise, to see if I could actually write a book…
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I don’t hate the way I look today, which for me is a huge accomplishment. Even bigger, I am not judging myself as good bad or ugly based on the way I look today. Why? Well, I’m actively in the process of losing some weight, I eat clean and vegan 99% of the time. I am getting more exercise and I belong to an incredible emotional eating (EE) group that is teaching me how to understand that feelings and urges are feelings and urges. They pass, I can separate myself from them. I can observe them. They are not me. But even if I wasn’t doing all that, I am learning to love myself, no matter what my size is. It’s a strange, but delightful feeling to reconnect with my body. We’ve been so distant from each other for so many years.
First post of 2017, and 2017 is nearly more than a quarter gone. Geez. Where have I been?
Book two is coming along slowly, a little too slowly for my liking, but I try each day to make progress, even if it’s just thinking about my story, my characters, the little world I am creating. I miss them when I’m away from them too long.
I find myself in a constant struggle to organize my time to suit my priorities. I have a day job, a husband, a sixteen year old, two aging parents and house and a beagle that all need some level of attention from me on a daily basis. Not to mention all of my friends whom I wish I could see more of, or my own body and spirit, that are not getting the best care I can give at all. I overwhelm myself with the intensity that I want to put behind each aspect of my life, and usually end up getting much less accomplished than I feel acceptable.
And while I continually feel angst that I’m missing something wonderful every day that I don’t spend writing, I observe my author friends and acquaintances moving on with their writing careers which causes me, on bad days, to feel left out. Almost jealous, that they have made writing their priority versus all the other things that complicate life. They labor and bear the fruit while I get angry at myself for being afraid to take the leap and re-prioritize my own life, fearing that I’ll lose some artificial sense of security.
I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. I also know that I can be a bit impatient at times. Most times. And a tad impulsive. I realize that life, over time, becomes a balancing act, a waiting game, and comes down to discernment between what can move you forward and what can bring you down. I don’t feel really great about my ability to follow this mindset, though, and do all that “make the journey into the destination” stuff. I’m always TRYING to do something – trying to write my book, trying to get healthy, trying to lose weight, trying to organize my house, trying to meet my work deadlines before they’re due.
My new practice: taking small steps, every day, no matter how microscopic, in the direction I’d like to travel, instead of planning giant leaps to immediate success (or failure).
That’s all I wanted to say really, and in doing so I have taken a tiny step. Please feel free to share your experiences, cheer me on, or tell me about a better way. I’m going to stop trying to put out infernos and just keep going, slow, but steady.