Friday, August 31, 2007

"To Diana, Who Understands..."

I'm not sure exactly when it was that I realized that I had been born in the wrong decade, and would have been much happier and less out-of-place had I been a member of my grandparents' generation (of course, if I were, they wouldn't have been my grandparents then, would they?)

(Aren't they beautiful? I think I look quite a bit like my grandmother, and I have my grandpa to thank for all of this crazy hair. I've had this picture framed on my desk for years...sometimes I'll look at their young, lovely, smiley faces and think, "Could they had ever imagined when they were posing for those photo that it would end up on the desk of a granddaughter they would never get to know?")

I grew up in a house filled with Frank Sinatra and big band music and old movies...perhaps that played into it...but my sister managed to escape falling in love with the 1940's. Maybe it's because she always wore headphones and listened to the New Kids on the Block and Debbie Gibson, while my parents brainwashed me with "Stormy Weather" and "I'll Be Seeing You."

It might have been that Molly McIntyre doll I got when I was 8.

I loved my Molly doll and the books that went along with her. Through Molly, I learned all about what it was like to be a kid in America during the 1940's. When Molly's books were made into a movie last year (starring Molly Ringwald), I was thrilled and tuned in, laughing and crying at all the right parts.

(And, of course, exclaiming to myself, "THAT WASN'T HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE BOOKS!" whenever the movie strayed.)

People were, without doubt, just more beautiful back then. They didn't try so hard. Look at the Britneys and Parises (is that the right pural?) and Lindsays...not to say that these girls aren't pretty, but how could anything compare to the pure, effortless beauty of the 1940's?!

Exhibits A and B:

Cary Grant! How handsome and masculine was he?

Rita Hayworth! To this day, she is one person I would love to look like. (Not that I'm not happy looking like my grandmother.)

See what I mean?

People were just so gorgeous back then.

And more romantic.

Although this generation most certainly has its share of romantic, old-fashioned songwriters (Mr. Peter Cincotti, I'm looking at you when I say this), there is just something about songs like:

The mere idea of you, the longing here for you
You'll never know how slow the moments go till I'm near to you
I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It's just the thought of you
The very thought of you, my love


I'll be seeing you
In every lovely summer's day;
In every thing that's light and gay.
I'll always think of you that way.

I'll find you
In the morning sun
And when the night is new.
I'll be looking at the moon,
But I'll be seeing you.


How much do I love you?
I’ll tell you no lie
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?

How many times a day do I think of you?
How many roses are sprinkled with dew?

How far would I travel
To be where you are?
How far is the journey
From here to a star?

And if I ever lost you
How much would I cry?
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?


Things just do not get more romantic and lovlier and hotter than that.

Several years ago, Tom Brokaw published the first of his Greatest Generation books. These books celebrated the generation which was Tom's parents and my grandparents...their courage, their determination, their good hearts. I read every one of these books cover to cover, and when I sent Mr. Brokaw a copy of my school's literary magazine (which included a story about my obsession with the 1940's), I received a package from NBC studios a few weeks later in the mail.

(My sister got the mail that day, and brought it in saying, "I don't even want to KNOW what you are getting from NBC studios...")

Tom had sent me a signed copy of The Greatest Generation Speaks, in which he inscribed, "To Diana...who understands...Tom Brokaw."

It remains one of my most prized posessions.

And I take it as a great compliment that I do "understand".

This picture was used for the cover of the book, and is entitled "She Said Yes!" A soldier proposed to his girlfriend via letters and she wrote back accepting his proposal. He read her letter with a photo of her propped up on his hat.

It was an amazing era, one we can all learn a great deal from, and one day I hope that our generation will strive to be just as great...

Diana Rissetto

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's a Curl Thing...

There are many fictional characters that I feel a strong connection to.

Among them:

Lisa Simpson (we are both idealistic vegetarians. And she wears pearls. And she eats Jackie-O's, I played the saxophone briefly in the fifth grade. Not many people know that)

Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility. (we are both extremely sensitive and passionate. And then Kate Winslet played her in the movie, who is number 1 on my "British Actresses I want to be Best Friends" list)

"Ugly" Betty Suarez (when this show first came on, my mom watched and called me up and asked if I was writing the scripts for this show because Betty was JUST LIKE ME. I tuned in, and instantly agreed. Like me, she's klutzy and awkward and insecure, as well as smart and goodhearted and well-meaning)

And then there's Frieda from the Peanuts comic strip.

Frieda didn't have much of a personality or a significance in the Peanuts strip, but she DID have naturally curly hair.

And she made it a point to point out her naturally curly hair every time she was allowed to speak.

I also have naturally curly hair.

I have no idea where it came from. My sister has stick-straight, glossy hair and when we shared a bathroom, our hair products cabinet was quite diverse. My mom's father had thick, wavy hair, and I'm guessing I got SOME of this from him, but the rest of it, I have no idea.

You really cannot judge how hard a girl has had it until you have walked a mile in her ringlets.

When I was in middle school, I was clueless as of how to care for my naturally curly hair and took to washing it every day and BRUSHING IT (today, I do not even OWN a brush.)

There were two boys on my schoolbus that took to screaming out "Ch-ch-ch-CHIA!" every day when I got off at my stop. They soon had half of the bus shouting at me and laughing.

To this day, I can remember the first and last names of those two boys, and if I ever passed them in the street, I would definitely cringe. I used to dread riding the schoolbus every day, and would be crying by the time I walked through my door. "Kids can be cruel", "Boys will be boys"...hearing those things doesn't help.

As I got older, I learned to embrace all of this hair. I learned to take care of it, and found that beneath all that chia hair were bouncy, happy curls just begging to be freed. I started testing out multitudes of conditioners, cremes, and gels. I stopped shampooing so frequently. I can honestly say that I have never, for a second, wanted straight hair. This hair is ME. It is my signature. This is how it comes out of my head. Why would I mess with nature?

My mother hasn't exactly been a fan of my curly hair. When I went through an extremely frustrating jobhunt, my mom insisted that nobody would hire somebody with long, curly hair. Only girls with short, straight bobs got jobs. (That makes sense...New York City IS a terribly whitebread city, after all...hmmm...)

My curly hair, she claims, is also part of the reason that I haven't been the luckiest in love. (It has nothing to do with the fact that I only meet gay men.) She says men look at me and can't get past my hair...(the same hair I get stopped in the street and compilmented on? THAT hair? And yes, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts and Keri Russell obviously can't get boyfriends OR jobs, right?!)

But I love this hair! It's MY hair. It's ME. It's MY personality. I wouldn't be the same Diana with straight hair. (Plus, when you have curly hair, you get compared to just about every famous curly-haired woman in the world...I have been told that I looked like Mariah Carey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brittany Murphy and Julianna Margulies all in the same year. Odd.)

Frieda once stated that, "I can do anything because I have naturally curly hair!" and "People always expect more from you when you have naturally curly hair."

Thank you, Frieda.

Diana Rissetto

Taking Angie's Side

Over the past couple of years, I have argued with many people about Angelina Jolie.

Now, many people who know me probably know of my slightly prudish and old-fashioned values. (I should have been born in 1925.) They probably think that when I say that I get into arguments about Angelina Jolie that it means I am saying things like: "That shameless hushy!" (an expression I am quite fond of...sometimes it's just the perfect description for somebody.)
"That Jennifer Aniston is such a nice girl and that Jolie floozie breezes in and ruins everything for her!"

Not so.

Not so.

In fact, when I get into arguments about Angelina Jolie, I take her side.

I don't think I have ever seen a single one of her movies...(wait, actually, I did...I had to write a paper on her movie Taking Lives when I was in college. Don't ask. Yes, I guess you can say my school was a bit of a soupy one.) I am not exactly a fan of her work (as I have never seen much of it, but I tend to miss a lot of movies), but I am a fan of her humanitarian work.

I think I started defending Angelina Jolie when I was watching TV with a friend and we first heard that she had adopted her second child, a little girl from Ethiopia. My immediate reaction was, "That is wonderful! Good for her!!!" My friend rolled her eyes and said, "It's not fair...because she's so rich and famous, she probably got the kid really easily, but other people have to wait years for a baby." I said, "But she's adopting a child from Africa...healthy white infants are in high demand, children in Africa aren't." My friend replied, "I bet she was put higher on the waiting list, though." This was when I wanted to pretty much shake my friend. "THERE IS NO WAITING LIST TO ADOPT ETHIOPIAN AIDS ORPHANS!!!!!!" Sure, Angelina has plenty of money to just fly to Africa whenever she wants, which certainly puts her at an advantage...but do you honestly think people are going crazy trying to adopt Ethiopian AIDS orphans???

I have found that many people share similar views of Angelina, claiming that she SHOULD be adopting American children in need because we have enough of them here. (For those who say that...I would love to know just how many American children THEY have adopted themselves.) A child is a child is a child. Does it matter what country it comes from? In the end, a child who didn't have a home or a family before now has one. That really should be all that matters. Anybody who sees the situation otherwise has some serious issues.

Also, do we judge people who go to extremes in order to have their own biological children? If you are going to judge Angelina for not adopting American, let's judge the couples who transport embryos and buy eggs and do whatever else so they can have their "own" child. (Sidenote: I am not judging these people.)

Others claim that Angelina is having nannies raise her children. (Honestly? Does it really matter? Yes, the child is MUCH BETTER OFF in an orphanage sleeping in a crib with five other babies and not getting any attention than it would be with an attentive nanny.)

Madonna met similar criticism when she adopted a baby from Africa. When she appeared on Oprah, Oprah asked her if she had any final words for the viewers, and Madonna said that she challenged ANYBODY to go over to Africa and see how many starving and sick children there were and NOT want to "rescue" one. I agree with her. I would most likely come home with ten. In fact, when I read The Kite Runner , I was ready to go to the Middle East and bring home a bunch of babies.

And then there are those who feel that Angelina and Madonna aren't doing any good at all...they are only rescuing a few children, when there are millions. This reminds me of a poster that my high school psychologist had hanging in her office. (I used to have to go see her reguarily when my father died. I knew that office well.)

It is such times that I am reminded of The Starfish Story - A man was throwing starfish stranded on the beach to the water. Another person who saw the man doing this remarked the futility of this task as there must be millions of starfish stranded on shore. As the man picked up another starfish and threw it back to the ocean, he said "Well, it made a difference to that one."

And, of course, of this quote from the Tablet, now forever attached to Oskar Schindler:

He Who Saves One Life, Saves the World Entire.

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chick Lit

I worked at Barnes and Noble for about 94 years, and over those years, I brought home many stripped books (when a book isn't selling and they can't return it to the vender, so they had to RIP THE COVERS OFF!!!!!!!!!!!! and trash the books. Those were freebies) and advanced copies (which were kept in a basket in the breakroom and were also freebies.) I brought home as many books as I could with the intention on reading them ALL, but never got around to them until I had a flat tire a year ago and had to empty out my trunk to get to the spare. I finally had to go through the dozens of books that had built up there over the years.

There was a great deal of Chick Lit in my trunk...("Chick Lit in my Trunk", THAT is my next country western song...)

The other day, I brought along an advanced copy (at least, it was an advanced copy back in 2000) of Meg Cabot's (the author of The Princess Diaries) to read on the train.

It's a breezy, cute little New York City story. One paragraph struck a chord with me...

I admire people with goals and all, but shouldn't women in this day and age be striving to help improve the planet, or at least their community in some small way, instead of focusing all of their energy on finding a husband? I guess I should be more accepting of other people's dreams, but, really, I don't think marrying an investment banker is going to solve all of your problems. I just don't. I mean, it might HELP, in the long run, with rent and everything, but you can't just go around life being Mrs. Investment Banker. I mean, you have to find where YOU as an individual, not Mrs. Whoever You Marry, fits into the world. And, franklyy, no matter how many Upper East Side bars you hit on a Saturday night, there is no guarentee you are going to meet someone decend in any of them. All the bridal magazines in the world aren't going to change that. I mean, you're better off volunteering somewhere. At least that way you'll be doing something to improve the earth, in addition to trolling for a man. So it won't be a COMPLETE waste.

Truer words have never been spoken.

I am 25-years-old without a fellow in sight. Most of the guys I come into contact with are gay (that happens when your professional and social life involves New York City theatre...)

All of a sudden, everybody around me is getting married. (And I mean EVERYBODY, even an old friend who said numerous times since we were 8 that she didn't believe in marriage and never planned on marrying.)

I am starting to feel quite left-out that I am the only girl without a MySpace photo my my jeweled left hand covering my face. ("Look at me! Look at me! I am engaged!") Heck, I might take one of those photos just so I will no longer feel left-out.

I really do want to get married and have children, hopefully sometime before 2034. However, I am not worried at all, but, at the same time, I am also worried that I am NOT worrying. Do we NEED to worry and stress in order to find a husband? Do the girls who are "husband hunting" know what they are doing? Is going to college and majoring in "pre-wed" to get your "MRS" degree (yes, I have heard of people using those expressions...) the only way to go? A guy isn't going to fall out of the sky, after all...

Right now, I shall live my life for ME and if a guy comes along, it will be because it is the right person and the right time. I have my writing, my job, my friends, tons of theatre to see, books to read and, starting in September, Irish stepdancing lessons to take. (Wahoo!)

The bar scene is a completely other story. I am going to make a confession...I have never been drunk in my entire life. Never. It's not a matter of principle or anything...I just never have really felt the desire to.

However, it has been my experience that the only way you WILL enjoy yourself in a bar scene and even THINK of talking to a guy or giving him your number is if you are completely drunk. At my sister's bachelorette party a few weeks ago, a guy came over to us and asked if there were any drunk or horny girls among us. Now, I don't care HOW drunk ANY of your are...that is degrading and disgusting and there is never an excuse to talk to a young lady like that.

Plus, we live near the ocean...yes, lots of nice guys come down to the bars along the shore on weekends looking for a smart girl to have an meaningful relationship with. Of course!

Besides, I don't want to meet my future husband in a bar...I really want a great "how we met" story (like the couple in the NY Times wedding announcements who met at a crossword puzzle convention and then he proposed to her in a crossword puzzle!)

Now, THAT is a Chick Lit book waiting to happen.

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thank You, Anonymous...

I got my first Anonymous blog comment the other day.

It was on THIS entry:

Hi Diana:

Like you, I just watched A Bronx Tale and heard the words that felt like a stinging slap across the face: "The saddest thing in life is wasted talent."

I Googled the phrase and stumbled upon your post.

You say you feel like you're getting old. How I wish I could be 25 again, to have a chance to change the path I've chosen. I'm unhappy with my decisions in recent years and know that the older I get, the more locked into this fate I become.

You have all kinds of time, Diana, but you have to make it happen. No one is going to "discover" you. That was my mistake. I had adopted a "if I build it, they will come" mentality. It doesn't work that way. You've got to pimp yourself and suck up the rejection because one day, you may find an agent who will be happy to represent you.

"The saddest thing in life is wasted talent." In time, the sting of those words fades away, but it takes perseverance.

I think this anonymous comment was just what I needed.

Thank you.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Funny the way songs conjure up images...

Yesterday, I put on the radio and an old song came on. It automatically made me laugh and imagine one of my close friends from high school (that I still count among my closest friends) rollerblading on the boardwalk with a guy she had a really big crush on (whom I haven't seen in eight years) (while they giggled and ate frozen yogurt, of course).

The song?

More Today Than Yesterday by the Spiral Staircase. (I had to look up both the correct title of the song, AND the artists. It is one of those songs that I am pretty sure everybody in the world knows and can sing along with, but has no idea who sang it or what it's called.)

I don't remember what day it was
I didn't notice what time it was
All I know is that I fell in love with you
And if all my dreams come true
I'll be spending time with you

Anyway, there is a reason that this song makes me think of one of my close friends from high school rollerblading on the boardwalk with a guy she had a really big crush on (while they giggled and ate frozen yogurt, of course). Although I admit to being a completely random person, this story is actually going somewhere.

When I was a freshman in college, my friend was still a senior in high school and spent the afternoon with said boy. She told me, "It was just like that know...'I love you more today than yesterday...but not as much as tomorrow.'"

Immediately, that boardwalk and frozen yogurt vision of them came into my mind. I will never hear that song without thinking of them. I am sure both of them have forgotten that day and have moved on with their lives, but it is forever etched upon my mind.I have no idea WHERE the rollerblading and frozen yogurt came from, because she gave me no indication that either were involved. It just really did seem like the perfect "rollerblade and eat frozen yogurt and giggle" song.

I was just spreading the Peter Cincotti (if you've missed my countless raves about this kid...the boy is fantastic. What a talent. And he's going to be performing alongside Michael Buble and Idina Menzel in a few weeks at Madison Square Garden, and I can just see him skyrocketing into superstardeom)love and telling my friend Laura all about him via AIM. I told her that his cover of "Up on the Roof" is absolutely beautiful and makes you wish that you were sitting up on that damn roof with Peter (or a Peter-like fellow), and it was a late fall evening (or early winter) and he was wearing a long knit scarf (that you've made yourself) and you are surrounded by your Jack Russell terriers. (Who are also wearing knit scarves.)

(I read in an interview with Peter when he says that he never won a girl over by singing to her. I have a hard time believing that. Heck, he's practically won ME over by singing to me, and we have never even met.)

At night the stars put on a show for free
And darlin', you can share it all with me

(Seriously! Beautiful! I don't care if he didn't write it...he made that song modern and youthful and crazy romantic.)

When my sister and I would drive to school together (I was a freshman, she was a senior), we would listen to one of her mix tapes every day that had "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" on it.

I remember my sister saying that this was her "theme song" and it's a song you want a guy to hear when he is thinking about you...we started making up different plays in the guy's mind as he watches you take your hair out of a scrunchie and shake out your you're walking down the street with your poodles (or maybe a really big dog like a Great Dane!) and the laeshes get wrapped around your leg and you trip (which would most certainly happen to me)...skipping in the park with a bunch of little kids. I'll never hear that song without thinking about scrunchies and tripping over dog leashes.

(I will also admit to watching about 98 different YouTube videoes of Ron Weasley thinking about Hermione Granger with that song playing. It is a true example of why I need a life that I am so involved with the love lives of fictional teenagers.)

Anyway, songs are some very powerful tools (and weapons.)

To this day, there are still certain songs to me that scream "rollerblade on the Boardwalk and eat frozen yogurt and giggle." (Among them...Frank Sinatra's "I Get a Kick out of You", "Happy Together" by the Turtles and James Taylor's "Your Smiling Face.")

I will never change. I accept that.

Diana Rissetto

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I haven't written all day

I am painfully tired and am anticipating at least 6.5 hours of sleep last night. God willing!!!!!

Just a couple of quick updates:

-Something happened today that made me feel like a real writer. Cross your fingers, please!

-I am still listening to Peter Cincotti's "Cinderella Beautiful" over and over and over. Seriously, go listen to it. That is some (cinderella) beautiful stuff. Peter has a nice Christmas-y voice. If he ever decides to release a holiday album made up standards and original songs (as he is one fantastic songwriter), I just might throw a very big old-fashioned Christmas party and we'll all gather around a piano and...listen to the CD.

-I used pumpkin conditioner in my hair this morning and kept getting wiffs of Thanksgiving all day.

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Son, the Season's Over...the complete lyrics.

I am so winning my first Country Music grammy for this.

You might remember...

(Please know that I am not being serious...however, I do think "Son, the Season's Over" will be a spectacular hit.)

He was just nothing but a fifth-grade boy
With a beagle named Sparky and an older sister he loved to annoy
But everything changed on that springtime day
When all he did was go out to the ballpark to play

Some woman said she was an agent
and handed him a card
And said with a face like that
He'd surely be a star

He took the number home to Mama
And they gave her a call
And for one afternoon, he missed playing ball
They got him a headshot, and then he read some scenes
And made a Hollywood actor out of a little boy in just a red shirt and blue jeans

For that next whole year, he was American's darlin'
Three motion pictures and a sitcom he was starrin'
After three months in LA, he couldn't wait to get back home
Always surrounded by people, yet he just felt so alone

He got off the bus, with one thing on his mind
That life of a little boy that he had to leave behind
"Mama, how's my Little League team doing
Have they won
Will they take me back?
Because I miss the smell of the grass
And my best friends Bobby and Jack"

He looked up at her with those big brown eyes
And that look on his face had nearly broken her heart
She had to tell him that the season was over
When it seemed like it barely had start
And then she said, "Son, the season's over"
And he said, "Mama, I am done"
"I wanna give up being a big time movie star
And just hit one more home run"

Thirty years later, his daddy had died
And they all hugged each other 'round his beside and cried
But the son was smiling
Because he was believin'
That where his daddy had gone
It was ALWAYS baseball season

Diana Rissetto

Monday, August 13, 2007

Just a Couple of Diananecdotes

That just might be the title of my memoir. (It was supposed to be Hey, Get Your Elbow out of my Prosciutto!). Maybe that can be the subtitle.

This weekend, was my sister's bachelorette party. I could write on and on about how, to me, barhopping isn't nearly as fun as a trip to the dentist, or I could just share two somewhat funny exchanges that occured.

I am crazy allergic to most animals. (I can live without cats, but I absolutely love dogs, so that saddens me greatly.) My sister's black Lab Jack is a lovely young fellow, but after a few minutes around him, I am rubbing my eyes and wanting to stick a knife in my ear. (They get very very very itchy.)

We were hanging out at my sister's house, and Jack was sitting by my feet. I started to sneeze, and then looked down at Jack and said, "Sorry Buddy!"

My cousin Kelly looked very confused and asked me who I was apologizing too. She thought I was saying, "Sorry Buddy" to GOD for sneezing. I'm not sure WHY I would do that...maybe because people say "God Bless You" when you I was apologizing to God for sneezing, and being blessed, and giving him a little extra work to do?

Anyway, the idea of bowing my head and calling God "Buddy" was funny.

Later on, the gang of us headed over to a spa. A woman came over to us and asked, "Is one of you Millie? I need to see Millie."

Now, she was talking to six young women all between the ages of 25 and 35. (Among these girls...Kelly...Liz...Jen...)

Afterwards, my sister commented, "How could she think one of us was MILLIE? Do we LOOK like Millies?" My cousin laughed and said, "That's right...Millie is such an old lady's name." My sister tilted her head to the side and said, "Actually, Diana looks like a Millie." My cousin nodded and agreed, "Yes, Diana could definitely be a Millie (don't you love it when people talk about you like you are not even in the room?) Diana, you're an old soul."

I have always known this.

I often say that I am a 75-year-old woman in a young body. Heck, I was even president (and at times, the only member) of the Intergenerational Club in high school. (We hung out with old people.)

However, the name Millie conjures up very positive thoughts for me.

I think about this:

And I am very proud to be a Millie.

Diana Rissetto

"Son, the season's over..."

...a bit younger, I used to watch the Country Music Television station, not because I like country music, but because those videoes were always tiny little Lifetime movies summed up in two minutes. There's drama, there's death, there's broken hearts, there are chevys, there's kids running away from home. (Although sometimes, the guy looks so much older than the girl that you wonder, " that supposed to be his wife or his granddaughter?") And this was all years before we had Carrie Underwood bashing in the windows of her unfaithful boyfriend's car.

Those videoes covered absolutely everything...I especially liked the Brad Paisley one, when his wife is having a baby and he is singing about his stepfather and hoping that he'll be half the dad "he didn't have to be." In fact, I liked a lot of Brad's the one about how doesn't need a camera 'cause he's got kodak film in his heart (or something like that. It's been a while.) Reba McEntire's were always fun as well, and when she starred in a TV movie as a woman who was in a coma for 20 years and finally comes out to find that her daughter is all grown-up and her husband and best friend have gotten together, I just KNEW she was able to nail that role because she had so much practice in those country music videoes.

(Sidenote, I freaking love Reba McEntire's sitcom. Luckily for me, it's on about 23 times a day. She is an absolute delight. I wish she was my aunt...we would have so much fun together. Her constantly makes little when she said, "I always thought I'd be a famous country singer when I grew up...and then look at how I turned out!" And when Kelly Clarkson was on as an aspiring weathergirl and Reba said, "I bet if that girl ever ends up on TV, America will just fall in love with her!" Oh, Reba, you crazy nut.)

Over the years, I have realized that country songs are all around us. I think I would be pretty good at writing them.

I once worked with this very sweet lady named Carol, who had a son that was a child actor. Carol was very proud of her boy and how well he did, and would often tell stories of him almost getting the lead in A Christmas Story (he ended up playing one of the kids in Ralphie's class), doing Jell-O commercials with Bill Cosby and working with Kathleen Turner (she used to buy him coloring books) and James Caan (Sonny Corleone! Awesome!)

When he was around twelve years old, he went off to film a movie, and Carol went with him. They took the bus home, and Carol's husband picked them up at the bus stop.

Carol's son looked up at her husband and said, " is my Little League team dong?"

Carol's husband looked down at him and said sadly, "The season's...the season's over, son."

Carol's young son shook his head and said, "I don't want to do this anymore!"

I think this is seriously an incredible country music song just waiting to happen.

Can't you just see it?

He looked up at me with those big brown eyes
And that look on his face had nearly broken my heart
I had to tell him that the season was over
When it seemed like it barely had start
And then I said, "Son, the season's over"
And he said, "Mama, I am done"
"I wanna give up being a big time movie star
And just hit one more home run"

The video will end with the little boy becoming a major league ballplayer (did you ever think otherwise would happen?) and his dad is either cheering him on in the stands or looking down at him and cheering from Heaven.

The very last scene will be Reba turning around and tipping her baseball cap at the camera (Reba's going to record this hit, I promise you) and walking off into the sunset.

And once my cousin told me a story about an old man he knew who was in charge of doing fireworks every Fourth of July, and then eventually went deaf. I think that also has the makings of a country music video. The last scene will be the old man dying and going to Heaven and hearing again, and all these fireworks will go off.

I got a million of 'em.

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, August 12, 2007

And you were Cinderella Beautiful...

Taking a moment to plug one of the best young voices and songwriters out there right now...

About five years ago, I heard a cover of "Rainbow Connection" and absolutely fell in love with it.

There is just something about a cute young guy singing a Kermit the Frog classic that makes me melt.

The young fellow I speak of is Peter Cincotti.

I urge you (all three or four of you that are reading this) to check out Peter Cincotti's music. He has two CD's out and one on the way.

There are three new songs on his myspace page to hold us over until the full album comes out (the date keeps getting pushed back!):

one of which I could listen to all day. ("Cinderella Beautiful", if you must know...)





Seriously, how beautiful is that?

(And, I cannot help but adding, how beautiful is HE?)

(By the way, the title of this journal was borrowed from Peter's song "On the Moon." I love that song.)

An absolutely wonderful songwriter, musician and singer...and he's only 24. I cannot even imagine what else is in store for this boy.

I'd love to collaborate on a musical with him. I think we'd work well together, as we have loads in common. (We both have Italian last names with double "t's", are Native New Yorkers and lost our dads at a young age.)

Check him out!

Diana Rissetto

Little Fingers For Toes

Yesterday, it came to my attention that both my sister and my cousin read this blog, and commented that I have written about how they used to torment and tease me as a youngster. ("Don't think we don't read that blog of yours...and you're WEIRD!" Seriously, how long have they known me? They need to read this blog to tell them that?)

I would like to give another example of how they've made fun of me. (Honestly, I know it's always done out of love and never maliciously, before anything gets misconstrued!)

I once had two grandpas (as do most people.) My mom's father passed away when I was five, my father's father when I was 10. My mom's father was quite tall (actually, he probably wasn't. In my family, if you're a girl and you break 5'4, they send you to modeling he was probably about 5'9. That is very very tall in my family) and my dad's dad was short. Even though my mom's dad was quite a bit younger than my dad's, we called my mom's father Big Grandpa and my father's father Little Grandpa.

One day, we were talking about our grandpas, and my cousin commented that it sounded like we were talking about an Indian tribe. We then proceded to give each other Indian nicknames.

I was dubbed Little Fingers for Toes.

I most certainly DO have fingers for toes, but it just sounds so insulting when somebody else notices it. My toes are freakishly long, and as I look down at them right now, my fourth toe is probably as long as the first one. When we would be hanging out on the couch as kids, my sister would always make me put a blanket over my barefeet so she wouldn't have to look at them. My own father used to joke that I'd probably be really really great at climbing trees.

When we had to send our RSVP cards for my cousin's wedding seven years ago, my sister wrote the name "Miss Britney Spears" on hers, and I put "Miss Little Fingers For Toes" on mine

(If you can't beat 'em...)

Yes, I have crazy hideous feet. Plus, I am now developing hammertoes due to all the walking in uncomfortable shoes that I do. (Too much information?)

While we're on this topic of my deformities and my sister and my cousin, I would now like to talk about my crazy fingers. I think I actually have quite nice hands and fingers. For a 5'0 person, my hands are on the larger side, and my fingers are long and slender.

I would most likely be able to be a hand model in dish detergent if it weren't for one thing:

My pinkies.

They are oddly crooked and I absolutely cannot straighten them. (Like my toes, they are also freakishly long, and if they WERE straight, my pinkies would probably be as long as my ring maybe this was God's way of evening my hands out so I wouldn't look like a total freak.) They don't hurt, but I do get uncomfortable while driving and need to tuck them under when I use a computer mouse. I really don't know if there's anything I could do to fix them...perhaps I could get them broken and reset.

But I bet that would hurt.

This weekend was my sister's bachelorette party weekend. While the barhopping portion of it was about as fun for me as a trip to the DMV, we spent yesterday afternoon at the spa. I had my very first organic boisenberry facial (and now I want to get one every week! Those things are AWESOME!).

The woman gave me a hand massage as the mask on my face dried, and she began tugging on my fingers.

Including my pinkies.

She was tugging on my pinkies!


I tensed up and just prayed that she'd leave my pinkies alone.

She finally said, "Is this bothering you?" and I blurt out, "Yes! My pinkies don't straighten! They're just really really crooked!"

This fascinated her, and I had to explain to her, "Yes, they've always been like that. No, I've never tried to get them fixed. No, they don't hurt, but it is uncomfortable, and I don't like people tugging on them."

She responded with, "Well, everybody has their abnormalities."


I repeated this experience to my sister and cousin on the way home, and they both laughed, and talked about my crazy pinkies and ridiculous Fingers for Toes.

They DID just open a Ripley's Believe it or Not in NYC.

Here I come!

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Taking a moment... promote myself...(since I never do anything crazy like that on here....)

Oh, It Will Happen Someday!

For one fabulous summer in New York City, Diana Rissetto lived her dream of working on Broadway-- and found inspiration and a kindred spirit in the person of an optimistic chorus boy. A contributor to Teen People magazine, up-and-coming young writer Diana Rissetto brings her light and humor to Dare To Be Fabulous and reminds us all in O h, It Will Happen Someday! that life is all about the possibilities, and being able to laugh at the absurdities along the way. Link to Diana's story here:

We welcome your feedback! Please share your comments under our DTBF column regarding this story:

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Johanna & Patti
Co-creators/ Co-Editors

DARE To Be Fabulous

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I was once the curly-haired girl who knew everything...

It's summertime, and something is missing.

I am not working at Barnes and Noble.

I began my journey with Barnes and Noble (route 36 in West Long Branch, NJ) my first year of college. Little did I know at the time (especially after I messed up at the cash register my first week, and as I was hysterically crying in the cashroom and telling the manager that this would NEVER happen again, and she raised her eyebrows and said, "It BETTER not happen again, or you won't be here much longer") that I would end up staying there all throughout college and four almost two years after graduation.

I worked parttime throughout the schoolyear, and during the summers, I would work fulltime. (Except for that one summer I interned with the PR firm and pretty much gave up sleeping for four months.) For that reason, the bookstore will always make me think of summer...people running in and out smelling of suntan lotion to pick up books on their way to the coming in with summer reading lists (my favorites were the ones that waited until the end of August, and then their parents would act like it was MY fault that their stupid kid waited until the last minute and now had to finish Moby Dick in four days.)

I never thought I'd say this...but I actually really miss it. I haven't been referred to as "the curly-haired girl who works in the kid's department who knows everything" in over a year, and I feel like I am missing a part of my identity without it. That place was my second home for a long time!

Recently, I stumbled upon a letter that I posted on the bulletin board in the breakroom of the bookstore after I began my job with Shubert and gave my notice. (I was intending on staying at the bookstore on weekends, but after three months, realized that there INDEED a reason why we have weekends and finally decided to just hold my breath and quit.)

This letter was taken seriously by several people, they became upset and thought I was really expecting the Muppets and tears...and I just take that as a compliment that I can really WRITE when I want to!

Hello Friends,

After over five long years (the past two of which I spent every moment I was NOT at Barnes and Noble sending out resumes and running around New York City in heals, clutching my portfolio and resumes and trying not to cry), I am moving on from Barnes and Noble.

It was a difficult decision to make, and although I left with no fanfare or formal announcement (I wasnt expecting muchI just wanted Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang to make a special appearance and sing "Sayin' Goodbye" from The Muppets Take Manhattan) I dont think they have been too hard to book these days.

Dont want to leave, but we both know
Sometimes it's better to go
Somehow I know we'll meet again
Not sure quite where, and I dont know just when
You're in my heart, so until then
Wanna smile, wanna cry
Sayin goodbye...

And a DVD montage of my many years of service at the store with Madonna's "This Used to be my Playground" playing in the background. And perhaps the lights in the childrens department to be dimmed (just for a week or two.)

And I got to work last Sunday and was told, "Diana, you're not on the schedule. You are not working today. You are not working here ever again."

That is that. Last Sunday was my last day ever, and I never really got to say goodbye so here is my goodbye. I will convince myself that it is much less painful this way...(the same way I found it comforting to tell myself that it took me so long to find a job after graduation because I just came off as too much fun in interviews and they were concerned they'd never get any work done with a riot like me around.)

So, goodbye, my bookstore...goodbye to that crazy old lady who calls every Sunday and asks for advice (well, she used to call, I wonder whatever happened to her and worry about her often)...goodbye to that 9 feet tall British woman with the limp who homeschools her children (I never did figure out if her child was a boy or a girl)...that really cute young male preschool teacher who loves his job that I always liked seeing...the millionaire Brooklynites that come down for the summer and treat us like garbage...the people who stuff pornographic magazines in the children's department and think it's hysterical.

I hope that Broadway showtunes, the color pink and Anne Frank will always remind you of meand when the next Harry Potter party rolls around and you realize, "Hey,we seem to be short one petite brunette with crazy hair to play Hermione...where has she gone?"

Please remember me...because I will never forget you!

In all honesty, despite all the complaining I have done over the past couple of years and how much I wanted to get out, this place has been a second home and very special to me and I will never forget any of you. I have made some very good friends here and feel that I have grown up a lot since I was 18 and first walked into this breakroom.


Diana Rissetto


I am making myself physically ill over a speech I have to give in a few weeks.

I will be saying this speech in front of about 190 people, half of which will be close friends or relatives of mine (so, chances are, they will still love me no matter how I do with this speech), while the other half I will not know at all (which means I shouldn't really care what they think of me).

I will say this speech wearing an expensive dark brown gown with a blue sash around the waste. (Not to mention gold Princess Amneris shoes.)Many of these people will most likely have a few drinks in them, and probably won't even remember this speech. I am not the star of this special day, and I bet nobody will even be paying attention to me.

However, I am still ready to throw-up at the thought of giving this speech.

I have to make the Maid-of-Honor toast at my sister's wedding.

Honestly, I have never had any problem with public speaking. When I was 7, I had to read a passage at the 2nd grade mass. It was a very long one, about Cain and Abel, and for some reason, I decided I should memorize it instead of reading it, and I did so. (Why did I do that? Not sure.) I remember people commending my teacher on what a good "reader" I was...but I wasn't reading. I also can still remember my speech from kindgergarten graduation. (Which is when the microphone wasn't working, and I nearly burst into tears.)

When I got older, I continued to nail anything related to public-speaking in school. When I dressed-up like Molly Pitcher and told the story of her life, my 4th grade teacher told me I should be an actress. (This was also the year we had to dress up as a famous New Jerseyan and talk about their lives...I was Frank Sinatra...OF COURSE!) When I hit college, I took the required public speaking course, and when the mornings came for speeches, my classmates would be stressing and going over their notecards. Meanwhile, I wouldn't even THINK about my speech until five minutes before I had to give it. And I always got good grades!

I took a Media Law course, where we had to act out trials, and my professor wrote on my gradesheet, "You are an EXCELLENT public speaker...have you considered becoming an lawyer?"

"No, kind sir...but I have considered...THE STAGE!"

So, I have never had any kind of a problem with public speaking or being in the spotlight.

Until now.

The pressure is on.

My sister told me she really wants me to give a speech, because everybody knows how clever and funny I am. (I can't be clever and funny on demand!) For the past few months, I have been thinking of what I am going to say that day, and I just cannot think of anything good.

There's a billion inside sibling jokes my sister and I have that I could talk about, but nobody else in that room will get them and will just look at me like I am crazy.(For instance, nobody else knows that Natalie Cole's "This Will Be An Everlasting Love" makes us crack up like a couple of freaking goons every time we hear it...honestly, I don't even know why we are so amused by that song) or that we pretend that Jane Kazmarack and Jere Burns are our favorite actors ever. (Once idea why we think that's so funny. But we do. And it is!)

I would love to mention our late father in my speech, but then we'll all start crying and everybody will be like, "Ugh, that little drama queen that had to bring up her dead father and make everybody cry at her sister's wedding!" (Then again, it really would just seem WRONG not to mention Dad at all!)

Or I could just go the easy route and say how happy I am for my sister and Mike and welcome him to the family...but that is really really boring. And not funny or clever at all. And it won't make anybody laugh or cry at all either.

I've gone to about 43 weddings in the past couple of years, and have paid attention to the speeches. I think the most memorable and touching ones are the ones where somebody just starts rambling and makes no sense. I feel those are the best men and maids of honor who are honestly trying the hardest.

I was thinking I could just not give a speech at all, but get up there and start belting out Christina Aguilera's "I Turn to You" and go into "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and end it with the theme song to The King of Queens. ("I don't care 'cause all I wanna do/is cash my check and drive right home to you!/'Cause baby all my life I will be driving home to you!"

Luckily, I will not be completely alone, as my cousin is the Matron-of-Honor and she wants to say a few words as well. ("You two can do a 'who's on first' thing!!!" her husband quipped. Not a bad idea!)

I am open to suggestions.Come to think of it, my sister is getting married at the Molly Pitcher Inn. It just might be a fine time to drag out my Molly Pitcher costume from the 4th grade and tell the story of her life to the wedding guests!!!!

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I am now the proud owner of the following t-shirts:

Diana Rissetto

Things are not always as they appear...

I ride the train a lot. If I calculate it, I am probably on the train for about 15 hours ever week. (That sounds really quite disgusting, but the NJ transit monthly bill is affordable as long as my mom has moved to Florida and I am living in her house for in New York City, however, is not.)

I don't really mind all of this time on the train. In the morning, I take three Benedryl befofe I get on so I can conk out for a bit, and in the evenings, I kinda enjoy reading. (Just a little.) This is my reading time, and nobody can interupt this reading time. I am able to block out my surroundings and get swept away in a book. I laugh and smile to myself frequently, even though I have only broken down and wept exactly twice over books on the train...once for Lance Armstrong's memoir It's Not About the Bike and for the very last Harry Potter book ever. I have also missed my stop once...when I was in the middle of The Kite Runner...

However, sometimes you forget to bring a book, or aren't so into the one you are reading, or finish early and a girl has nothing to do. (Since this particular girl has not joined the 21st century yet and gotten an ipod.)

For all those times on the train when I have nothing else to do, I have taken up the timeless sport of peoplewatching. I remember reading Harriet the Spy when I was a kid. Harriet fancied herself a writer (as did I) and tried to find inspiration all around her, writing down every conversation she overheard. Things eventually caught up to her, and Harriet ended up with no friends because her whole class is mad at her for spying on them and writing about them in her notebook. It is quite sad.

Recently, I couldn't help but notice a young couple sitting a few rows ahead of me. The woman was quite pregnant, and both were in businessclothes. They didn't talk the entire trip, and I started thinking, "Ah, how amazing. They're so close and have such a great connection that they don't NEED to talk to know how the other is feeling."

When their stop came, they both stood up and the man helped get the woman's briefcase down. I continued to wistfully watch them.

In fact, I even continued to wistfully watch them as they got off the train...

And walked in opposite directions.

They weren't married.

Heck, they didn't even KNOW each other.

They were complete strangers, and that is why they weren't speaking to each other. So much for that spectacular connection!

I have also noticed an intense difference between the train on weekends and the train during the week. During the week, people are waiting on the platforms, clutching their coffee and looking like they truly hate their lives. (Honestly, people...nothing can be that bad!)

The weekends on the train, however, are magical, filled with families taking their chldren in for their first shows, dorky high school and college-aged students coming up to the city for the day and thinking they run the world because of it (I am allowed to talk about them like that, because I was once one of them) and cute little senior citizens coming in to see matinees. As a commuter, I try to ride the train at least two Saturdays or Sundays a month to remind myself how exciting and thrilling coming into Manhattan is for some people, so I will never become one of those 9 to 5ers...clutching coffee...hating life...

Diana Rissetto

Monday, August 6, 2007

My memory is freaky

I remember absolutely everything. I can't help it. It scares other people, and I even scare myself with it sometimes. I remember random details about people's childhoods that they mentioned in passing, and then I'll make the mistake of bringing it up months later and they'll look at me with fear in their eyes, assuming I have been stalking them and writing down every last detail about them in my notebooks. (And, yes, back in school, I think I was rather infamous for always carrying around a little notebook wherever I went.)

When I was in the 5th grade, I went to see a production of West Side Story at the high school I was eventually end up going to. I had already seen my first Broadway show at that point (Peter Pan when I was 8...wasn't that everybody's first Broadway show, though?) but I was not yet a Broadway snob. (My mother often calls me a Broadway snob...I tell her that if I WAS a Broadway snob, would I have already seen the show Xanadu several times already?! Would I have sat through Good Vibrations three times? And would I have ever thought In My Life...the story of a young man with Tourettes' Syndrome who falls in love with a girl with OCD was one of the best shows I had ever SEEN!? Plus, I am still a ardent supporter of community theatre...even though that dessert theatre production of The Diary of Anne Frank just seemed WRONG...why do we get to eat cake while we're watching these poor people pretend to be starving and hiding for their lives???)

When you are 10-years-old, a high school production is just as exciting and thrilling as a Broadway one, especially when you are watching your all-time favorite movie onstage for the first time. (To this day, West Side Story remains my all-time favorite movie...even though it did take me a few years to get over the shock of learning that most of the actors aren't really singing in it!)

I still remember that show...when the boys came into the audience before the rumble and stood right in front of me, yelling (singing) in each other's faces. It was so exciting! It was West Side Story!

Years later (about ten) I was working at Barnes and Noble (where I worked for about 89 years.) A young man would come in every so often and I recognized him as the kid who played Tony in that production of West Side Story.

I had seen this guy once in my entire life, when I was 10 years old, and he was onstage singing "Something's Coming" and "Maria."

And I remembered him.

As the young man browsed, I told a coworker, "I totally saw that guy in a production of West Side Story ten years ago...think it would freak him out if I said something?"

My coworker shrugged and went, "You know what you can do...we'll put the showtunes album on, and if you catch him singing along with a West Side Story song, go, 'THAT's where I know you from!'"

I didn't do that...

but the next time he came in, I came over while he was paying and said, "You're going to think I am really weird, but weren't you Tony in West Side Story once?"

He stared at me blankly for a moment, then went, "Yeah...I was...a very long time ago."

I completely freaked that poor guy out.

Then again, I might have also made his day at the same time.

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My sister deserves a monument...

...because she had the shortest, least painful bridal shower that I have ever gone to yesterday. (And that is saying a lot.) I would like to take some credit as the Maid of Honor, but I really can't. My sister was just being one incredibly easy-going guest of honor, who said a big "NO" to surprises, shower games, and a huge guest list.

I often wonder if men have any idea how lucky they are that they don't have to go to showers. They are pure torture. Pretty much every single girl claims that she hates them and never wants one, but nobody actually goes through with that "never having one" thing...possibly because after going to ninety-five bridal showers over the course of two years, you feel that all the women who invited you to yours ought to be punished in SOME way and come to yours. (At least, that is how I am feeling.)

This is absolutely nothing personal, and I am not aiming this at any particular friend or relative, but I have played enough Bridal Shower Bingo to last the rest of my lifetime. Women actually get catty and nasty and fight over this ridiculous game. I also have absolutely NO need for a pink pencil that says "Tatianna's Bridal Shower June 9 2007". (I don't know anybody named Tatianna which is why I am using that name...actually, I did know a Tatianna once...some random girl who made First Communion with my class because she went to public school. I haven't seen her since that day in 1990, so I obviously haven't been invited to her bridal shower.)

I was at a shower once in which the favors were lollipops of...the male anatomy...attached to lips...with drops of white chocolate on it. There were grandmas and great-aunts and little kids there...(and lollipops of the male anatomy...attached to lips...with drops of white chocolate on it.) Something is not right there.

At another shower, the groom had to drive the bride around to five different restaurants before he brought her to the final destination (where her friends and relatives were waiting to shout-out "SURPRISE!"). He did this to throw-her off. Because, you know, she wasn't expecting a shower or anything crazy like that. None of these girls that have suprise showers see it coming. Nope nope nope. That look of surprise on their faces are purely genuine.

Ever since I was a kid, I have hated opening gifts in front of people...having to act surprised and that you LOVE the gift, even if the complete opposite is true. However, when it's a shower, and you are getting presents that you REGISTERED FOR AND TOLD PEOPLE TO BUY FOR YOU, how are you supposed to act when you open the gift (with the person sitting right there?) "Oh wow...a George Foreman grill, just like the one that I put on my Macy's registery, I can't believe somebody actually bought it for me after I came right out and asked fifty people to buy it for me! Thank you so much! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

My sister was the first person to arrive at the shower, was there to greet everybody, the shower began promptly at 1 and ended at 3:43.Things went very smoothly, and we even had little kids running around with mixing bowls on their heads for entertainment.

Even though, at the rate I am going, I will not be getting married until the year 2046, I have already decided that I DO indeed want a bridal shower, and I want a Breakfast at Tiffany's themed-one, at that. All of my friends will wear long gloves and tiaras and we will eat croissants and omelettes and play "pin the tail on the nameless cat." (This, of course, will go along with my Breakfast at Tiffany's themed wedding, when I will walk down the aisle to a string-quartet playing "Moon River."

There was one cringeworthy (and funny moment) when my sister opened one gift to find that it was a pair of underwear (I really really hate the word "panties") with "Mrs (Her Future Last Name)" written across them in sparkly letters.

Her future Mother-in-Law, whose name, of course, is Mrs. (My Sister's Future Last Name) joked, "Oh! Can I borrow those!?!?!" My sister giggled and widened her eyes...I did the same. It was funny.

It wouldn't be a shower without an awkward moment like that, of course.

By the way, I am registering for my "Not Getting Married, Not Having a Baby, Just Got a New Job and Really Don't Have Much Money and Am Still Not Sure What I am Doing With My Life" shower.

I will be sending out the Evite this week.

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, August 4, 2007


When I was in the fifth grade, I remember going crazy trying to find a biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series. (It was an obsession which carried well into adulthood...remember this?

My mother finally ordered me a copy, and soon, I had my very own little pink and purple copy of Maud: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Harry Bruce. I would get to know ALL about the girl who gave the world Anne Shirley (and Gilbert Blythe...of course.)

There was one part of this biography that absolutely gave me chills the first time I read it, and as I dug through my old books for the sole purpose of finding this book today and rereading this particular page, I found the chills even stronger than ever:

When asked if Anne was a real person, even Maud felt uneasy. Writing in her journal in 1911, she asked, "Does she not stand at my elbow even now...if I turned my head quickly should I not see her-with her eager, starry eyes and her long braids of red hair and her little pointed chin? To tell that haunting elf that she is not real, because forsooth, I never met her in the flesh. No, I cannot do it. She is so real that, although I've never met her, I feel quite sure that I shall do some day." Maud, of course, wasn't the only one who thought Anne was real to an uncanny degree. With her haunting, starry-eyed redheaded elf, Maud Montgomery enriched the lives of untold millions. They were everywhere in what both she and Anne called'this dear old world.'

There is a reason why I suddenly remembered that passage and felt the need to reflect upon it.

(I would also like to state that I WILL be using "forsooth" in a sentence this week.)

The reasons?

Harry Potter. And Hermione Granger. And Ron Weasley.

The series came to an end two weeks ago, and I feel like I just said goodbye to very close friends. Even though we know from the epilogue of the final book that all end's well for Harry and his gang, it just isn't enough. It's over. They're gone. I love these kids, and refuse to believe that they are not real just because I have never met them. It is really quite scary how tangible fictional characters can become after a while.

One thing I have wanted my entire life was to be a writer. I am not really a writer right now. I haven't published any novels, nobody has produced my plays or filmed my screenplays.

It is when I think about Lucy Maud Montgomery and JK Rowling that I become extremely discouraged and frustrated. In fact, working at a bookstore for so many years gave me that same feeling...being surrounded by all those books. Knowing I was no more special than a billion others who call themselves writers.

There's this thing we do at bookstores...we "strip" paperback books that don't sell. This doesn't reflect on the quality of the literature...classics and bestsellers often get stripped at some point. Many of "the strips", though, are books by authors we will never hear from again. Stripping books was the hardest thing I ever had to do at that store. These stripped books were once somebody's dream! Some writer put their heart and soul into those pages, and here I was, just ripping off the covers and throwing them away.

It would absolutely break my heart.

(Can I throw in the word "forsooth" right about now? Probably not.)

How often can a writer create somebody that millions will grow to know and love for years and often does an Anne Shirley or a Harry Potter come along?

I'm scared.

I guess back when I was ten and was just reading that biography of LM Montgomery, writing the next Anne of Green Gables would be quite an easy task, as I saw myself the next great writer of my generation. (Seriously, those fifth grade dreams were all wonderful. Why can't we all freeze them?)

Now I really have no idea what I am doing or how to go about things or if I will ever "make" it at all, and when I think about the great fictional characters and literary works that I have come across in my lifetime, I am filled with such a sense of great awe and admiration and dread.

Diana Rissetto