Monday, April 27, 2009

Twenty-Five Things

1. It took me almost two years and about 7,000 job interviews after college until I found my first full-time office job. Those two years took a really bad toll on me, and I was really frustrated and exhausted and discouraged. (Seriously, I would go on interviews when people would shake my hand and say, “WELCOME ABOARD!” and then I’d never hear from them again. And Scholastic called me in for about ten different jobs and never hired me, and I would have done anything to work for them.) I eventually got a job with Shubert…which I lost after a year and it absolutely broke my heart…and then another with Actors Equity…which I also lost after a few months. However, looking back, things absolutely happened for a reason, and I always ended-up in the exact place that I was supposed to be at the time. I never would have had certain experiences that I had or met the people I have had things happened any differently.

2. I have wanted to be a writer since before I knew how to write. It is something I take seriously, but I feel like I slack off sometimes. Sometimes I’ll see a movie or a play or read a book and know I can do better, and wonder why this thing is being produced or published and my stuff isn’t. (And when I was in elementary school, I wasn’t selected to be a part of “Young Authors Day” and ran home, flung myself on my bed, cried and vowed I would never write again…)

3. I was the lead story on Access Hollywood when I was 17. I presented at a Frank Sinatra conference and met Frank’s daughter Tina. Looking back, I have no idea why they did a story on me, since I am pretty sure nobody cared besides people who knew me. Tina wrote me a note that says, "I'm sorry you never met him, but hearing about you brought a big smile to his face." I still have that note. She also called me on the first Father's Day that my dad wasn't alive. You always hear what a tough personality Frank was, but that when he was your friend, he'd be loyal to you for life...I think Tina is probably a lot like him in that way.

4. I brush my teeth many times per day. I know there are people out there who don’t brush their teeth before they go to sleep, and I just think that’s wrong. I also have three different toothbrushes, and several different kinds of toothpaste in my bathroom at all times. (And I keep a separate set in my desk at work.) I have reoccurring dreams about teeth constantly…sometimes they fall-out, others they suddenly become very crooked or yellow.

5. I am a pescatarian…I eat fish but no other meat. It was a very gradual process….I gave up pork and beef first, then chicken, then turkey. It was all for ethical reasons, and I don’t get too emotional over fish…(even though I did have second thoughts after having two pet Beta fish that refused to die a couple of years ago…) I don’t judge other people, though…I just do what’s best for me.

6. I am pretty sure the movie Dream for an Insomniac was based on my life! It’s about a girl with severe sleeping problems who randomly walks around dressed-up as Holly Golightly and was raised in a family that loves Frank Sinatra and she lost a parent as a kid and hangs-out with gay guys…seriously…that is my life!

7. I don’t have a middle name! People think that’s really weird when they hear that. When I was confirmed, I took the name Grace and I use it as a regular middle name. However, that also makes my name TWO blond princesses that died in car accidents…which is kinda weird.

8. I never really grew-up with grandparents…both my grandmothers died before I was born, my mom’s dad died when I was in kindergarten, and my dad’s dad died when I was in the fifth grade. My father died when I was seventeen. It has always made me really sad when I look around and feel like everybody else has almost all of their grandparents and both of their parents.

9. I grew-up loving the Anne of Green Gables novels and movies. I love the character of Anne because she’s a hopeless romantic and fiercely sensitive hates change…I think I relate a lot to her in that sense…and I LOVE Gilbert Blythe and think he’s the most perfect romantic lead in all of literature. Two years ago, my friend Michelle and I met Jonathan Crombie, the actor who played him, and I think he was rather confused that he had such big fans…

10. I interned with a Broadway public relations firm when I was 21. I was paid about $5 a week (no joke!) and treated like a slave and ran around the city like a maniac and came home crying a lot…but, when all is said and done, it was one of the best experiences of my life and I am so glad that I did it.

11. I am a huge cryer. I cry a lot. It’s always been my first reaction to things. I cry when I’m upset, overwhelmed, tired. I cry over stupid commercials, reruns of Highway to Heaven, when I see cute old couples, everything.

12. I spent most of my childhood in New York City and my family moved to New Jersey when I was in the fourth grade. I was not happy with this at all, and was only somewhat agreeable with it because I was promised a dog once we got to the suburbs. (That very dog died last year…I still miss her!) I had a really hard time sleeping the first year because I wasn’t used to it being so quiet… I still have many problems with sleeping.

13. I am watching The Way We Were right now on television, and cannot believe I never saw it before because it is a total Diana movie…I like my movies sappy, romantic and old-fashioned.

14. When Ugly Betty first came on air, my mother asked me if I was secretly writing the show because Betty was exactly like me. I started watching it and agreed...I AM Ugly Betty. It is the only television show that I watch regularly. Whenever I watch it, I feel like the writers must be following me around. She means well, but is a total disaster…and that’s how I am…

15. I went to Allentown College of Saint Francis DeSales for one semester. I had wanted a small Catholic college, and found that place, and was miserable and came home to go to Monmouth University. Allentown had absolutely no activities to get involved with, except the weekly bus ride to the “abortion mill” to pray. And many of the guys listed “hunting” as their favorite sport. I am glad I left, and was very happy with Monmouth, but sometimes I wish I had gone away to college and had the whole experience.

16. Over Christmas, I met-up with my first best friend, Daniela, whom I hadn’t seen since the third grade. We had so much to talk about, and I know we would have stayed best friends all those years had we not lived so far apart. She said she’s like an old woman and just likes to read and knit…kinda like me…

17. I love to crochet, and have made many people in my life objects made from yarn. I have given out lots of long scarves, and I love making them and I love how they look on other people…BUT I never wear scarves because when I was in the second grade I had a long knit scarf on, and my teacher (a nun) told me about how Isadora Duncan was killed because she had a long scarf on that got caught in a car door and strangled her. Looking back, I have no idea why a teacher would tell a little kid that story, but it definitely freaked me out and I stopped wearing scarves after that…

18. I really love babies and little kids, and considered becoming a kindergarten teacher, BUT I had this fear that I would teach them how to read wrong or something and mess them-up for life…and they’d always be behind in school and it would all be my fault.

19. There’s a Broadway actress, Mandy Gonzalez, that I share a close resemblance with…I have been asked for my autograph and told how great I was after shows…deep down, it makes me happy because I know nobody will EVER really be complimenting me about my singing or acting and asking for my autograph and that is the closest I will ever get…(then again, I think most people just think all girls with curly hair look exactly alike…)

20. I worked at Barnes and Noble for over five years. When I first started working there, I thought it was the most magical place in the world to work, and by the time I left, I was ready to start belting customers with the heaviest dictionaries I could find…however, I actually really miss it now, and miss being around all those books all the time.

21. I really wish I had been around in the 1940’s. I think that was my era. I don’t know where is started…I became hooked on the show Homefront in the early 90’s (which was about a community readjusting to life after WWII…bought the illegal DVDs from China last year…) and had a Molly McIntyre American Doll when I was a child. I listen to CDs like “Love Songs that Got Us Through WWII” and watch movies from that time and buy dresses off of that made me look like I am missing a couple of Andrews Sisters. It’s a random obsession, I know…

22. Michael Landon is one of my idols. He built his entire success on being sappy and sentimental and producing/writing quality, wholesome entertainment. That’s what I’d like to do. I wish I could had met and worked with him.

23. I have very curly hair and I have never wanted straight hair, and I think it’s really rude when people think they’re entitled to make comments assuming so…I’ve had guys tell me that they preferred straight hair…(It’s okay, I prefer guys with manners!) I think if I had straight hair, I wouldn’t feel like myself. I think it reflects my personality more.

24. It drives me CRAZY when people call me Diane. My name is not Diane. My name is Diana…and I always feel like I sound really rude when I correct people. “Hi…is this Diane?” “No…this is DianA.”

25. It bothers me to hear people obsessing over getting older and acting like turning 30 is the end of the world…but I do have my own fears about it. I also cannot STAND it when girls obsess over marriage and think that there is no other success in life than finding a husband…it bothers me, and I want to tell them to shut-up, but, once again, it IS something I worry about to myself.

Diana Rissetto