Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Being snowed-in brings a certain element of crazy boredom.

I know, I know...people over twelve-years-0ld aren't SUPPOSED to complain about being "bored".

I filled my hours with writing a new play, which is almost done, but I'm still not quite happy with it.

I then watched a few hours of Adolf Hitler documentaries on the Military Channel. (Those shows are rather addictive.)

And then I thought, "Maybe I should call somebody-up and completely pour my heart-out to them."

If Drew Barrymore was playing me, it would have worked out extremely well. That person would have proclaimed his affections back. There would be a very happy ending.

However, I realized this is NOT a movie, I am NOT Drew Barrymore, and it's best to start a new novel than do anything so hopelessly romantic and drastic as that.

There is, though, a part of me that wonders, "Well...what if I did that???"

Hmmmm.

Diana Rissetto

Monday, December 27, 2010

I've been doing some reading on abusive relationships lately

There's many different kinds...and I was in one for a while.

No, I was never hit, but I was abused...emotionally, psychologically and verbally...and I took it for years instead of walking away. It would have been really easy to just walk away.

I am often able to find the comedy in bad situations. I mean, I come from a family that is able to make plenty of jokes at funerals. We cope with hardships with a lot of laughter.

For years, I took this abuse, and joked about it...how this would all make such a great book one day. It was all so outlandish that it HAD to be funny...I joked that I had Stockholm syndrome...growing fond of my kidnapper.

Until one day, that relationship ended, by no decision of my own...and I began to reflect on just how abusive it had been all the while.

I went through (literally) hundreds of emails from the past few years to friends...so many said, "I just cannot take this anymore" "I am so sick of being treated like this" and "I cannot stop crying."

After a while, I stopped crying so much because the abuse became so routine. I told myself that I was getting stronger...but perhaps a stronger person would have walked away a long time ago.

Four days before everything ended, I wrote in an email:

"I just cried for the first time in about two years. I can't take being dehumanized anymore. I really can't. "

But, for some reason, when this relationship ended, I felt like I had been completely crushed. I cried for hours, and, almost two months later, I'm STILL sad.

I still feel bad.

I still think back to what I could have done differently to have had another ending and feel like I would have stayed had I been given the choice.

I still blame myself a little.

I'm not sure what I learned from all of this...if anything. I think one thing I know is that I need to have the confidence to never let people treat me or talk to me in a way that isn't completely respectful.

I have the basic human right not be demeaned, criticized irrationally, yelled at and humiliated in front of others and it is up to me whether or not I take it. I gave this person the power to treat me like that, and because I didn't say anything, this person will just continue to treat others the way they treated me.

I know that, for the most part, I am really good to other people. I believe we should treat others the way we would like to be treated...and somebody like this person will never know a true friend.

Perhaps that should make me feel better, but it just makes me feel incredibly sorry for them.

Diana Rissetto

"Deep in December, our hearts will remember...and follow..."

One thing that has always made me especially sad is that I didn't grow-up with grandparents. My mom's father died when I was five, my father's when I was ten, and I never met either of my grandmothers.

When I was in the sixth grade, we had to interview an older relative about their lives.

It seemed like everybody had a grandparent to interview but me...

So, I interviewed my father's cousin, Eddie, who was actually older than my mom's father would have been.

My obsession with all things 1940's and WWII was already in full swing, and Eddie was, of course, a member of The Greatest Generation, had been a war hero, and was more than happy to tell me all about it.

After my father died, Eddie would often come over and help my mother fix things around our house.

Eddie passed away on Christmas Day. I wish everybody could have such a long, full, wonderful life as Cousin Eddie did, and I'll always be so grateful that I had somebody very special to interview for that assignment, when I was feeling extra-sad that I didn't have a grandparent.

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I am going to stop putting so much faith in karma...

I don't think it does much good.

A few weeks ago, I was carrying around a great deal of hurt, anger and disappointment...caused by one individual in particular.

Hate's a strong word. I try not to use it too often. I will not say that I hate this person...but I was definitely having some hateful feelings that I am not used to having.

Several friends told me not to worry about it...that karma would take care of 'em.

That was a comfort for a little while...but I really don't think it goes too far. It doesn't really help ME much to know that karma will one day get them.

The best and healthiest thing I can do right now is 100% distance myself from this person and put them far out of my mind. They don't DESERVE to be in my mind in any way.

Maybe karma will get them...and I will hear that they are failing miserable in everything they attempt in life...but even if they are, how does that help me out at all? They're successes have nothing to do with my successes, nor do their failures have anything to do with my failures.

I try to be really nice to most people. I always hold the door open and say, "Bless you" when I hear a stranger sneeze. I donate to charities even if I don't have much money. I volunteer my time working with children at my church. (They're not inner city children in desperate need of guidance, but good kids who choose to hang-out at church on weekends. But I still enjoy it.) I write happy stories and plays that I hope make other people happy and put something positive out into the world. I don't do all of this because because I want good karma. I am a nice person because I am a nice person. Maybe it won't bring wonderful things into my life. Maybe I will never quite catch a break, become wildly successful, fall in love with the great love of my life, forever have great health...but I can sleep well (or as well as an insomniac can sleep) knowing that I am nice to people and treat them with respect and have always tried my best.

Maybe that peace of mind is what is "in it for me". Maybe I'm not looking to be rewarded or punished...and maybe I don't need to care at all if other people are or aren't.

I remember watching a television show which had a Holocaust survivor as a character. Her friend asked her how on earth she managed to go on with her life, and be such a sweet, loving person, despite everything that she had seen and gone through. She responded with, "My revenge is being happy."

Okay, if a Holocaust survivor can feel that way, sure as heck I can as well.

I am going to be happy.

And I am going to wish nothing but happiness and health and prosperity on that person who crushed me so much a few weeks ago. It does me no good if other people are failing and suffering.

There are so many wonderful, beautiful people in my life to concern myself with. Some people just aren't worth it...and those are the ones I will let out of my life and mind and wish nothing but the best...

Diana Rissetto

Friday, November 26, 2010

Today is a new day...

I am a famous insomniac (have been for almost twenty years) and over the past few years, that insomnia has been brought on by worrying completely irrationally about everything under the sun at 3:00 AM.

I did that last night.

The last few weeks had its moments which were nothing short of a nightmare.

As I said earlier, though, it did bring-out good moments, since it made me realize how many true friends I had that were willing to be so supportive and patient when I was this inconsolable mess.

But I'm still worrying.

About everything.

It has been said and written a million times that "everything happens for a reason." I definitely believe that...but sometimes I wonder if that is just something people say so you don't completely lose your mind and become discouraged when you can't catch a break. Same goes for, "you find love when you least expect it." Do people just say that to stop us from becoming too brokenhearted or is it true?

I also have major issues with change. Always have, and I expect I always will. Perhaps that's how I found myself in the situation I was in a few weeks ago. I wasn't able to make a change for myself, and it was forced upon me. Had I been braver and more willing to make that change earlier...I could have spared myself the disappointment, sadness and humiliation I felt.

I am going to stop worrying and fixating on things that I cannot control...right now.

I have control over whether or not I worry. Nobody is forcing me to. It does absolutely no good and doesn't help anything get fixed or accomplished. I am going to take it second-by-second, minute-by-minute, day-by-day, year-by-year...until I realize I haven't quite worried in a long, long time.

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I started my first full-time job almost five years ago.

I was overwhelmed and excited and knew it was the perfect office for me.

On one of my first days there, a new coworker was writing-out envelopes near my desk.

She announced out-loud, "I love writing envelopes to the Richard Rodgers...the Neil Simon...the August Wilson...I feel like I'm writing love letters to these brilliant men...and Richard Rodgers is my favorite, because I love thinking of the kind of things he'd write back to me..."

I knew at that very moment that I had just met somebody who would be one of my very best friends for life.

This past weekend, that friend became engaged to be married.

Congratulations, Laura!

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I took my SAT's right after my father died.

I'm not sure exactly how much time had past...I think it was about a week.

I remember seeing people and they said to me, "Wait...didn't your father just die?"

And I'd say, "Yes. But I need to take my SAT's."

I did really well on the SAT's that time. I think it was a combination between the fact that I was remarkably at peace, but with a racing mind at the same time.

On Sunday night, I went to see The Merchant of Venice on Broadway. It was the opening night, and Lily Rabe was returning to the stage just two days (two days!) after her mother, Jill Clayburgh, died from cancer.

The moment she stepped on stage, I remembered taking those SAT's and how everybody thought I was strange...or maybe just really strong...for being able to do that...

She gave a beautiful performance, and broke-down at curtain call. And as Al Pacino (who was in a relationship with her mom for five years) gave her flowers, I think a lot of us in the audience cried, too.

I wanted to hug her and to tell her what I am sure she already knew...her mom was definitely with her that night.



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blessings in disguise...

I really AM a big believer in the "everything happens for a reason" theory, but usually it takes a while before you realize things really DID happen for a reason. A few weeks, a month, a year. It's never quite immediate...but last week, it was immediate for me.

Something happened.

I cried, I lost sleep, I didn't eat for about three days. I became frightened about my future, I felt like a bit of a failure, I wondered what would happen to me and got into that very dangerous mindset of comparing myself to other people. I said many times, "This is not FAIR."

I wondered if everything would be okay. It didn't feel like it at the time.

I didn't have to wait a while until I found things happening for a reason, though.

While everything was going on, while I was crying and exhausted and couldn't handle looking at food...several people really came through for me and I realized that I am very much cared-about and loved.

Maybe that's why that all happened.

Maybe it was so I could realize how lucky I am to have such great friends...maybe another person would have went through the same thing and not had anybody there for her.

I will take this as a sign of only good things to come, and keep moving-on...

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Carnegie Hall, October 29th 2010



When I was a kid, we used to listen to the same music for our frequent car trips from New York City to New Jersey. (We had relatives to visit and supermarkets to go to in NJ.) Our favorites were showtunes (lots and lots and lots of showtunes), Frank Sinatra (of course), Mandy Patinkin (who falls into the "showtunes" category for the most part) and...Michael Feinstein. Last year, I was fortunate enough to work on Michael's Broadway show and when the show closed, I finally decided to tell him about my family's history with his records. (I didn't want to tell him this sooner...in case he wondered, "Why is this girl I don't even really know rambling to me about her father who died who used to play my albums on family car trips?") Michael is a lovely, gracious person and it was wonderful to work with him as a person and a performer.

Almost eight years ago, as a young, wide-eyed intern, I met an actor who had recently moved to New York City and immediately landed a role in a Broadway musical called Thoroughly Modern Millie. I thought he seemed very nice and looked him-up and sent him an email. He wrote back, an email correspondence that would continue many years was born, and soon that chorus boy slash understudy would be a star in his own right...his name is Cheyenne Jackson. I always say if I had to pick an older brother, I would choose Cheyenne Jackson for that role.

On Friday night, these guys joined forces for a beautiful evening of musical and comedy. They're both funny...very funny...and bounce-off each other very well.

Lately, I have been feeling like time is going by very quickly and I am getting up-there in years. One cure for feeling slightly old is going to see such a concert at Carnegie Hall.

The two women next to me, for example, discussed how much they have shrunk over the years. (One claimed she started-out as 5'10 and is only 5'6. Now, I am 5'0. I am going to be very, very short in fifty years, aren't I?)

There were two very special eighty-somethings in the audience...Michael's parents, who stood-up and waved as he dedicated "How Do You Keep the Music Playing" to them. Cheyenne and Michael sang "We Kiss in a Shadow" from The King an I which, of course, takes on a new meaning when two men sing it.

There is something a bit surreal about being in the gorgeous and historic Carnegie Hall and watching two men perform on the stage together...one with a voice that immediately reminds you of childhood car trips and the other you consider a friend that you have watched skyrocket into stardom over the past few years.

I'm happy and grateful I was able to experience it firsthand, in my third row seat, surrounded by shrinking ladies...

Diana Rissetto

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm so happy for her...

I might have to wait, I’ll never give up
I guess it's half timin' and the other half's luck
Wherever you are, whenever it's right
You'll come outta nowhere and into my life

And I know that we can be so amazin'
And baby your love is gonna change me
And now I can see every possibility

Somehow I know that it’ll all turn out
You'll make me work so we can work to work it out
And promise you kid I'll give so much more than I get
I just haven't met you yet


I know a very nice, lovely, smart, funny girl who hasn't had the best of luck with relationships.

However, she hasn't let it get her down, and has confided in me that she's a bit of a skeptic about relationships anyway.

She is always saying that she refuses to settle...and her mother told her, "Eventually, you WILL have to settle...EVERYBODY settles at SOME POINT."

My friend squinted as she told me this and said, "Says who? Why do I HAVE to settle? If it's just me on my own forever...there are much worse things to be than alone."

And then everything changed.

And then she literally met a guy in the grocery store.

And a month later, she has never been happier...

I can't tell you how excited I am to be able to say that I actually know somebody who might have just met the great love of her life in the grocery store.

That really happens!

Who knew!!!!

She raved on and on and on...about how she never knew things could happen like this...that she absolutely never saw it coming...that she is truly, truly happy.

I kept telling my friend how much hope her story was giving me.

Those things really DO happen and aren't limited to AT&T commercials.

Recently, a friend told me that her boyfriend told her that he was surprised that "guys weren't knocking down my door." It was a compliment. I get that. But at the same time, I'm glad that they're not...I'm glad that I've had my moments when I've felt discouraged and left-out and a bit hopeless...because then I hear a story like my friend's and it proves that everything really works-out and it really DOES happen when you least expect it.

When it's right...it's right.

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, October 2, 2010

“Kindred Spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. Its splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

What really knocks me out is a book, when you're all done reading it, you wished the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.


I tend to read every Holocaust novel I can get my hands on, and four years ago I came across this one...

http://www.amazon.com/Those-Who-Save-Jenna-Blum/dp/0156031663/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1286061912&sr=8-1

...and completely loved it.

I had a specific question about the plot, so I shot the author, Jenna Blum, an email. She responded, and was so nice and happy to get such a nice email that she forgot to answer my question...and then sent me another message answering it, and telling me I was the only reader to pick-up on that part so far.

For the next few years, Jenna and I exchanged many emails and Facebook wallposts. Like myself, Jenna loves a good Lifetime "Give Me Back My Baby" movie.

I could tell almost immediately that Jenna was a kindred spirit.

And then she posted this blog about working at Borders...I worked at Barnes and Noble for five years...I read the last line of this story and burst into tears.

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH BORDERS, by Jenna Blum

Before I became a full-time writer, working at Borders was the only job I ever loved. Moreover, it was the only job, outside of writing, I was able to hold. Straight out of college, when a Random House interviewer asked me why I wanted to work there, I couldn’t think of an answer. When a friend’s father gave me a job in an advertising firm, I lasted one day, then called in and said I had mono. For years I was a serial monogamist in the food service industry, working one low-level job after another—including a prep-chef position requiring me to wear a hat shaped like a garlic clove—to support my expensive writing habit. In my late twenties I was gently fired from being an assistant restaurant manager because, I was told after exploding a bottle of Merlot on a customer, “the food industry is not in your blood.” I nodded. I knew this. I accepted it. But what, aside from writing, was in my blood?

Books.

This was in the late 1990s, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was jobless, almost thirty, on the cusp of divorce, publishing short stories and applying to grad school for the sixth time (“When I Go To Heaven, Here Are The Fictional Characters I Expect To Meet”). After losing the last restaurant job, I was shaking in my boots. Literally. It was winter, below freezing. I had to pay rent. I drove to Richfield, MN and applied at a flagship Borders opening there. The manager, Paul Bartlett, wore a gray t-shirt despite the cold and looked like a football coach, except much more suspicious. But he was kind. Despite my patchy track record, he hired me as an assistant manager. I’d start in the cafĂ©, he said, and we’d see how I’d do.

And voila, I’d found the first job that I could not only tolerate but that I loved.

What I remember about working at Borders: the eighteen-hour days as we got the football-field-sized store ready to open. Running the full length of it several times a day in six-inch platform-heeled boots. Installing the espresso machine. Training booksellers to make espresso drinks. Consuming six espresso drinks a day (to this day I remain impervious to the effects of caffeine; it’s like water to me).

Most importantly, though, I remember the sense of coming home. In the broader world, I had discovered to my chagrin, people didn’t seem to read a lot. When I confessed I was a writer, a frequent response was, “I always wanted to be a writer, but I watch too much TV.” Not so at Borders. If not everyone wanted to be a writer (though plenty of my colleagues did), we all cared passionately about books. From 18-year-old Mark, the first vegan I ever met, to Howard, a 72-year-old retiree who insisted on shelving the computer books to keep in shape, we were all obsessed with the written word. We placed bets on what book Oprah would choose for her next selection. We lovingly arranged and rearranged the New Hardcover Fiction and Nonfiction tables every day. We made a point of knowing our customers so we could hand-sell to their satisfaction. I learned the importance of end-caps and enthusiasm. A good bookseller can move the world.

I loved working at Borders, and after six months, Paul Bartlett told me I had a good shot at becoming a general manager. But that same afternoon I found a letter from Boston University in my mailbox, welcoming me to their graduate writing program. It was a chance I’d been longing for since I was a little girl, since I have always wanted to write. But I was really torn, and it was heartbreaking to go.

When my debut novel THOSE WHO SAVE US was published in 2004, I returned to the Richfield Borders for a reading. Paul Bartlett was there, in his gray t-shirt. He said, “I always knew you’d make it.” Really? I hadn’t. I’d hoped. But I hadn’t known. I bless and credit Paul, and Borders, for having more faith in me than I’d had in myself.





Last week, Jenna was signing her new book in a little independent bookstore not far from me which I never knew existed.

I left early.

I told my office I was going to a "book signing."

I think they thought I was trying to cover something-up.

Jenna gave a delightful lecture and Q and A at the signing, and told a story about how when her father died, she realized he had kept every story she had written as a kid and that she knows how proud he would have been of her.

(I really wish I had been warned that she was going to tell that story. When I was rehearsing for my play this summer, I was on the train one night and it suddenly hit me that my dad was missing this show and so much more and I realized I had tears running down my face as I stared out the window. Suddenly, Frank Sinatra singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" came-on my iPod. Great timing.)

I seemed to be the only person at this signing who wasn't a part of a book club...in fact, I kind of want to join a book club now because I was enjoying watching the dynamics between these other women and felt a bit left-out.

However, I DID "know" one person at the signing...Jenna herself...who seems so happy to finally meet me and had me sit next to her as she signed so we could talk. I have waited-off to the side for friends to finish signing Playbills, but this was the first time I had waited-off to the side for friends to finish signing New York Times bestselling novels.

This girl is pretty awesome, and I was so thrilled to finally meet her!

Thank you, Jenna!

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I don't consider myself a political person...

...really.

And I don't like being around people who also aren't very political, but pretend they are to be in style. (I say this with all respect for President Obama, but I felt like many members of my generation expressed their enthusiasm for him during the election because it was the cool thing to do.)

But, yesterday, I was told that I was too political and that I force my very liberal politics onto other people and let politics get in the way of friendships.

(I am going to pause for a moment and let Matthew Lapierre, who is reading this right now, stop laughing.)

Me?

I was told these things in a very odd exchange, which started all because I told somebody that I am not suspicious of Muslim-Americans since 9/11...and that demonizing them in any way is the same thing that Americans did to Japanese-Americans during World War II.

This person I was talking to said that they can think whatever they want, and that, "It's the same thing I told you right now that I don't support gay marriage...even if it meant I was prejudice...so what? It has nothing to do with you."

Back-up.

Did they really just say, "Even if that meant I was prejudice...so what?"

Prejudice is a "so what" kind of topic?

Really?

Seriously?

What decade is this? What generation are we from? Aren't we supposed to be much more open-minded than our parents and grandparents? Aren't we supposed to learn from previous generations' mistakes, that ignorance, hate and bigotry is bad?

And back-up a little more.

Did they really just say that something that involves about 10 percent of the population and many, many of my close friends had nothing to do with me?

I told this person just that.

And they accused me of forcing my liberal politics down her throat...

I told this person that wanting my friends to have equal rights had nothing to do with politics.

It's just that simple and clear-cut to me.

I must say, this was the first narrow-minded, ignorant person I have come across in a very long time...and instead of being frustrated, I am going to realize just how lucky I am that I can say that.

Thank you, New York City theatre community, which I am so proud to be a part of, and that accepts and celebrates all different kinds of people.

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Yesterday, I passed a little boy in the street...

...he was on a bicycle. He looked a little older than my 5-year-old little cousin.

We made eye contact, and then he flashed me the peace sign.

I smiled and gave him one back.

And on September 11th, 9 years later...my eyes welled with tears as we went in our opposite directions.

I thought about how that little boy wasn't alive in 2001. He will have no memories, no "where were you?" answer...he'll never know what the world was like before September 11th.

And as he gave me that peace sign, I was filled with a lot of hope for the world...

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I still think about her...

...a day or two after the World Trade Center was destroyed, the Today Show was interviewing a young woman.

Both her boyfriend and her brother had been working in the Twin Towers that day and there was no sign of either one of them.

She was young. She probably hadn't slept in two days. She was talking very fast, and even trying to joke around with Katie Couric, telling her that not too long ago, her boyfriend asked who Katie Couric was and, "Who doesn't know who Katie Couric is???"

I realized that there was no difference between her and me and my friends...except that she had two of the most important guys in her life in those buildings that day.

I didn't know this girl, but for some reason, I thought about her for a long time after the attacks. She put a face to this tragedy. I thought about the thousands of other people out there just like her. Everybody had a story. Everybody lost somebody they loved very much.

I still think about her, especially today. I hope she found strength in the weeks and years that followed that day. I hope she's okay.

Diana Rissetto

We've seen evil...

The other night, my friend asked me if I wanted to check-out the new Holocaust documentary which was being shown in a movie theatre...definitely not a light film for a date night. We talked about our mutual interest in Holocaust films and books...he's the grandson of survivors, and I'm a Catholic girl.

We both said how the only movies that really "scare" us are Holocaust movies. I said that I can never watch or read anything Holocaust-related movies or books any time near bedtime because it guarantees less sleep than I usually get. He said that it scares him because it really happened...and it happened to his family...

We watched the movie and the faces on the screen haunted me for the rest of the night.

How can this happen? How can people be so evil, so brainwashed? How can people do that to other people? I have always been so in love with the styles of the 1940's. Sometimes when I watch Holocaust movies, I feel so guilty for feeling that way...for "loving" this era when such horror was going on in other countries. Americans never realize how lucky they are.

And then something happens in our own backyard.

Right now, I'm watching MSNBC air 9/11: How it Happened....the coverage from the dark, horrible day minute-by-minute.

The building my family and I live in for most of my childhood can be seen in some of the footage. I always felt really safe in that building.

I think after September 11th, none of us will ever really feel safe ever again.

I know there is still evil in this world, and people are still brainwashed, and people do still do reprehensible things to other people...because we saw it with our own eyes on that day.

Never, never forgot...

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"You never gave up hope..."

And maybe a happy ending doesn't include a guy, maybe... it's you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is... just... moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope. He's Just Not That Into You (the movie)

I got sucked-into reading my journals from ten years ago today.

Actual journals...handwritten journals...in notebooks with thoughtful quotes on each page. I used to write in them like mad.

Once I started going through them, I couldn't stop.

I kept thinking, "Wow, you were so naive/young/innocent/unjaded."

(However, at the same time, I had also quite lived a lot. I honestly think that losing a parent during your teen years cancels out a lot of otherwise innocence and unjadeded-ness one might have. Even though I was really innocent and young, I was also old for my years, with a certain seriousness you get when you've gone through such a hardship. My teen years weren't as simple as most of my friends'.)

One thing I was most certainly naive about, however, was the idea of falling in love...in my mind, it was supposed to be just like it was in novels and movies and, in my own little world, also like it was back in 1942...now, I thought I fell in love for the first time when I was a freshman in college. I would later compare the moment when I first saw that person to the scene in Big Fish when he first sees his wife and popcorn freezes in the air. I still remember that exact moment, and that guy will always have a place in my heart.

I WAS Drew Barrymore/Meg Ryan after all, and everything would work out for me just like it always did for them.

I have always been idealistic, hopelessly romantic and, to an extreme fault...very very (very) sensitive. I was actually talking to the same friend from my previous Billy Joel entry recently and he asked me why I had this undeniable insecure streak. I reminded him of that time I wrote that letter pouring out my heart to a boy in the 9th grade. He laughed at me and told the entire school. (Or, what felt like the entire school.) I told him that left an imprint on me...I never quite got over it, and I'll still hear that kid's name and cringe.

My friend told me he didn't remember.

I guess that shows that you never attract as much attention as you think you do.

You would have thought that experience would have taught me a lesson...not to be so open with my emotions and to always assume the worst and be on guard, knowing that getting hurt is always a very strong possibility...but it really didn't...and hasn't...

Although this might counteract with my previous, "I joke around too much" entry...for the most part, I completely wear my heart on my sleeve.

I am really open with my feelings, and often break the cardinal rule my mother tried to drill into me when I was younger...("Never put anything in writing." I can't help it. I'm a writer. I put everything in writing. It has been and will always be the way I am most comfortable expressing myself.)

If I had to go back, I probably still WOULD have written that letter pouring-out my heart in the 9th grade...because how is pouring-out your heart ever a bad thing? I don't think it ever could be. It's always okay to just be 100% yourself and tell people how you feel...and when you are finally telling that stuff to the right person, well, then...everything else was just for practice.

"...and the beauty is when you realize someone could be looking for a someone like you..." -The Light in the Piazza

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I can think of a Billy Joel song for a lot of situations...

Ask my cousin's 1-year-old son, Anthony. I have been singing him "Movin' Out" ("Anthony works at the grocery store...") since I first met him when he was two days old.

Sometimes as my train approaches the city and I see the skyline, "New York State of Mind" runs through my head.

When my nephew Andrew was brand-new, I used to sing him "Piano Man" on repeat. (That song in no way relates to a newborn baby...I just liked singing the "la da da da de da" part to him over and over.)

But, I definitely am a big Billy Joel fan. (Now that his last marriage has ended, I think he should go back with his first wife. He wrote "Just the Way You Are" about her! How could that not mean they would last forever?)

And today, I had a long conversation with a friend of mine...a close male heterosexual friend that I've known since the 4th grade. (I don't have many male friends that are heterosexuals, or ones that I've known since the 4th grade...he's the only one.)

I talked with him about stuff I couldn't exactly figure-out and needed a second opinion on...

And he gave me his opinion...the opinion of a heterosexual male who has known me for a very long time. I came to him with a certain dilemma, he read through emails I had written, I filled him in on other things.

And he told me what he thought...the opinion of a heterosexual male who has known me for a very long time and who cares about me and wants me to be happy and is giving me tough love.

He told me I joke around too much...I use humor as my defense mechanism, and I end-up giving-off mixed signals, even though I accuse other people of doing so. I expect people to understand exactly what I am trying to say and to take me seriously...even though my communication is anything but serious.

And then I realized something.

I am a walking personification of Billy's "Leave a Tender Moment Alone."

(Disclaimer, I am not currently "in love"...but the rest of the lyrics certainly seem to fit.)


I know the moment isn't right
To tell the girl a comical line
To keep the conversation light
I guess I'm just frightened out of my mind

Yes I know I'm in love
But just when I ought to relax
I put my foot in my mouth
Cause I'm just avoiding the facts


After talking to my old friend, I think I'm afraid of rejection and getting hurt, so I veil everything in jokes so I can say, "Well, I was just joking, anyway!" when things don't go the way I was hoping they'd go.

I think I AM a funny person and witty person by nature (well...I am...) and it has helped me a lot in life...so I end-up using it too much.

I expect people to interpret exactly what I am trying to say and to take me seriously...but if I'm not being serious myself, so how is that fair to them?

I'm surprised that I needed somebody else to point this out to me and am grateful for this very old friend's (and I still remember the day he moved from California and joined our 4th grade math class) honesty.

I intend to face tomorrow with a new outlook.

Thank you to my old friend Nick and, of course, thank you Billy Joel...


Diana Rissetto

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How come we don't always believe our friends and family...

...but we believe total strangers?

People are always surprised to learn that I'm pretty lacking in self-confidence. I always have been. In fact, the main character in the play I just had produced is also lacking in self-confidence...but she's also happy and friendly and bubbly and bounces-off of walls...just like I do.

A friend who was helping me with my play told me I had to get to the root of her character...WHY was this girl so insecure, when she comes-off as anything but?

I told him if I was able to figure that out about a fictional character which I had created, I'd be able to figure it out for myself...and my life would be a lot easier!

Last week, I got a push from a person I had known for a half-hour to do something I normally would never do.

This random person I had only known a half-hour told me I was funny and smart and gorgeous with beautiful hair and that I had to be braver because I really had nothing to be so insecure about.

People who love us tell us stuff like that all the time...but we feel like they're telling us it for that very reason...because they love us.

But what did this random person I had only known for a half-hour owe me?

Nothing, really.

The fact that this person had all of this to say about me made me think maybe it's true! Maybe I have a lot of things to be confident about and there's no excuse to ever have any kind of Josie Geller 1989 outlook of life.

I feel like we meet people at exactly the right moments we are supposed to in life...and perhaps I needed to meet that person that night. I needed to hear all of that. I needed that push.

Diana Rissetto

It's been a busy summer...

I haven't had much free time this summer, so I haven't had much time to update over here.

I can now add "Off-Off-Broadway Playwright" to list of Things That I Am. I am also a former Barnes and Noble clerk (and the best Hermione that store had ever seen), a native New Yorker, a theatrical publicist, a dogwalker, a hopeless romantic, a very devoted aunt and, I'd like to think, a nice person.

And now I'm an Off-Off-Broadway Playwright.

I realized how incredibly lucky I am that I am doing what I always said I wanted to do and what I was going to do. I remember writing that I wanted to be a playwright whenever they'd give-us those "What Do You Want to Be When You Grow-Up" things at school. I'm somehow doing that...and that's pretty crazy to me.

I still don't quite feel like a grown-up...but I'm starting to feel like some kind of a playwright.

This entire process has been incredible, and I also learned a lot of lessons the hard way and also learned that I, amazingly, have a lot of people in my life that I can depend on throughout pretty much anything. I realized I had a friend that was willing to calm me down at 3 AM and tell me that everything was going to be okay and that "we'd" figure everything out. I met wonderful people who dove into this project with me, despite not getting paid much and having to give-up a few weeks of their lives in order to submerge themselves in my story.

I watched weirdos that came-out of my own mind come to life on stage and people that didn't know me sit in the audience, follow their journeys and care about them.

I'm glad there is still a place for writers like me in this world. (Actually, I'm glad there is still a place for people like me in this world...)

In the midst of everything, on the night our show opened, somebody from my past also danced (I always prefer to say danced) back into my life after several years. I thought about the 18-year-old girl, insecure and hopelessly romantic, I was when I first met this person and compared her to the person I was that night...a writer at the New York City premiere of her new play, with about fifty friends and relatives cheering her on.

However, part of me will always be that insecure, hopelessly romantic 18-year-old girl when this person is concerned.

I have been feeling withdrawal symptoms since the show closed, but there are no words for how grateful I am for this experience, and for the people it's brought into my life. I am ready and excited for whatever is next...you never know...

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

High School reunions can be tricky...

I had mixed feelings when I started getting notices about my upcoming high school reunion.

"Why on earth would I want to go? Everybody I care to keep in touch with, I am in touch with."

"It would be kinda fun to go and see everybody in the same place at the same time."

"I have Facebook...isn't that the same thing as a reunion?"

"Well, I know that a lot of my friends are actually going...so maybe I will go..."

"Will I feel weird going alone? Should I bring along a date so I don't feel awkward?"

"I DO look okay that I can feel confidant going?"

"Wait...do I even LOOK any different than I did in high school? I probably should..."

Back-and-forth.

Back-and-forth.

I even had a dream about my high school reunion.

In my dream, our reunion was at the beach (which isn't that strange...we lived near the beach), but during broad daylight in some kind of a cabana.

I kept leaving and changing my clothes and going back.

(When I told my friend Matt...who will be reading this shortly after I pres "publish post"...he asked me what I was wearing because it could have been the key to understanding what the dream was telling me.)

There was also a rule at this reunion that we weren't allowed to use cellphones...because nobody had cellphones when we were in high school. (And life was simpler before cellphones and text messages and Facebook! So much simpler!)

This dream wasn't hard to analyze...I felt uneasy about going to my reunion and about how quickly time has passed on by.

I started to think, "Maybe I WILL just go to this reunion, as long as I promise to be as friendly and pleasant as possible and not come home feeling badly or inadequate in any way."

Just when I was deciding that I should go, I got the schedule for the new play I am doing...and realized there was a performance on that very day.

I found that I had something else to do besides go to my high school reunion...and it was a bit of a relief to me...I legitimately had something more important to do.

Maybe that girl changing dresses who didn't have a cellphone needed to hear just that...

Diana Rissetto

Monday, August 2, 2010

I am really happy...

...in less than two weeks, I am making my full-length New York City theatrical debut.

And not only that, this full-length play is a sweet, happy, dorky, sentimental romantic comedy.

Last night, I watched our two adorable young romantic leads and realized that I really HAD authentically written a sweet, happy, dorky, sentimental romantic comedy...I have watched those things my entire life!

I will never turn-off the likes of Never Been Kissed or Circle of Friends...stories of nice girls that are often overlooked until things suddenly turn-around for them.

It makes me so happy to know that there's still room in this world for nice girls and nice stories!

Knit scarves play an important part in this show, and the scarf MUST perfectly match the romantic lead's eyes...so, why wouldn't I wander around the craft store with this young man's headshot in hand, trying to correctly match the shade and getting approval from the cashier before I did so?

While recounting this story hours later, I realized that I had, indeed, lost it...

But I'm glad to be losing it...I'm glad to be having this experience.

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I say...let the old man dance.

My mom asked me if I saw this video yesterday...strangely, I hadn't...

http://www.aolnews.com/article/dancing-holocaust-survivor-at-auschwitz-sparks-debate/19558297

I couldn't disagree more with the people protesting what this man and his family chose to do.

He survived. He is celebrating. He is not showing any disrespect to those who perished so horrifically on that very site.

Holocaust survivors have always fascinated me. I think it's an incredible tribute to the human spirit that these people were able to survive, and went-on to live, to love, to dream after everything they had seen.

When the movie United 93 came-out four years ago, people protested...however, that film had the full support of the family members of the victims. If people who had lost their loved ones on September 11th were okay with that film...who on earth is anybody else to judge?

I say, God bless Adolek and let him and his grandchildren dance.

He is living proof that the Nazis didn't succeed...and he should be celebrating that every single second.

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I am a big believer in karma...

...or, at least...I was until this morning!

I have always felt that everything really will come back to you...which is why I always make sure to shake random strangers to wake them-up if I am getting-off the train at the last stop and they are sound asleep.

I've done this many times, and people are always very grateful. One woman even thanked me a week later...perhaps she was too groggy to thank me right after she had woken-up.

I take Benedryl in the morning so it wears-off by the time I'm at work. This morning, I completely conked-out, in a way I have never conked-out before, on the train.

When I woke-up, the train was nearly empty.

Dozens of people had walked-by me and nobody thought to shake-me to wake-me up.

So much for karma.

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I should have taken my own advice...

A while ago, I posted here that sometimes you just have to say to yourself, "I know I'm a good person, even if I try too hard sometimes...I can't change the past or change other people...I need to take a deep breath, realize I have done all I can and move on."

I should have done just that.

Instead, I kept trying.

And it was a big mistake.

People always tell me I'm too nice...maybe I am...but I think my obsessive need to make things right and make sure people like me overshadows my niceness...making me wonder exactly how much of a genuinely nice person I really am.

Maybe I just have a lot of issues!

I try too hard. I know that!

And there's no trying with some people.

At the end of the day, I will always know that I conducted myself with class and maturity. I never had to resort to cursing at somebody, insulting them and belittling their achievements, in order to make myself feel like a bigger person.

If somebody really wants to misinterpret my intentions and assume the worst of me, that's absolutely their problem and none of my business. It's out of my control...but I know I did my best. Sometimes you just have to let things go.

I really DO have plenty of friends, a big family, and little kids who act like I'm a huge celebrity when I enter the room. I know I have a great support system, and I know there are a lot of people who love me and are proud of me and support me, even at my craziest.

Those are the people I have to concern myself...the rest don't matter...

Diana Rissetto

Monday, July 12, 2010

And why can't that person be me?

The other day, I was going on and on and on about somebody I know. I don't even know him too well, but he has a way of making everybody feel like they are old, close friends of his.

I was saying that he had the best, happiest energy I have ever witnessed and how it's too bad we can't bottle it.

I wished that we could clone him.

I complained that this world needs more people just like him.

Last night, as I battled my usual insomnia (it's become such a part of my life, I figure I really should just accept it), my thoughts returned to this ray of sunshine and I realized, "Well, why can't I be one of those people like him? Wouldn't that be doing my part?"

Maybe some people are more naturally rays of sunshine with happy energy that make everybody around them feel better.

And maybe the rest of all CAN be with just a little effort.

I'm willing to try...

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I need to change the station my alarm clock is set to...

Their "This Day in History" is starting to annoy me.

The other day, it was, "This day in 2008, Mario Lopez was named People Magazine's Sexiest Bachelor Alive."

And, yes, that was such a historic day. I will never forget where I was when I heard the news.

Never.


Diana Rissetto

I realized something this week...

...I'm very lucky.

I pretty much LOOK for things to worry about. If things are going too good, I think of what can go wrong. I secondguess absolutely everything...and almost everybody.

These past few weeks, I have been especially stressed. I have taken on a huge project. It should be an exciting time, but instead I find myself imagining the worst case scenarios with every single aspect of it.

And there have been more than a few people that have truly been there to listen to me, encourage me, calm me down, and, if I needed it, yell at me.

I am so lucky.

I will never doubt that I have true friends in this world and that I'm cared about, because I know how much these people have put-up with with me...and not only do they qualify for sainthood in my eyes because I know I can really be irrational, ridiculous and impossible sometimes...but I feel a lot safer on this earth knowing that they're all here, too.

One day, I will stop worrying...but until then, I know I'm not alone.

Diana Rissetto

Adrien Brody is a fantastic actor

Seriously.

He was brilliant in The Pianist. In one of the last scenes, the war has ended, Adrien has been liberated, and he is sitting at a piano. Somebody enters, Adrien turns and smiles, and that entire movie is summed-up in this beautiful, heartbreaking, genuine smile.

Love him.

Maybe that's why I seem to see him absolutely everywhere.

At least once a week, I have an Adrien Brody sighting in New York City.

On Friday morning, I could have SWORN I saw him outside of Port Authority.

I tried to look at this guy without staring too obviously, and focused on his nose...the famous Adrien Brody schnozz, which actually wasn't that big until he broke it on the set of Summer of Sam . It's now his signature feature.

Things do indeed happen for a reason.

I looked at his nose and thought to myself, "Well, if this IS Adrien Brody, then his nose isn't nearly as big in person."

Then my eyes left his nose and noticed that this guy was wearing a tanktop and his arms were absolutely covered in tattoos.

COVERED.

Adrien Brody isn't covered in tattoos.

So...unless Adrien Brody doesn't have a big nose in person and was doing a movie which involved having him covered in tattoos...

...it wasn't Adrien Brody that I saw outside of Port Authority.

One day, a man is going to stop me for directions. I'll try to give him those directions, silently criticizing him because who in their RIGHT MIND asks ME for directions.

He'll walk away, and then I'll hear people whispering, "Wasn't that Adrien Brody?"

And it really WOULD have been Adrien Brody and I wouldn't have realized it, even though we were talking for forty-five seconds.

Mr. Adrien Brody, if you have your name set-up on google alerts and are reading this right now, I definitely hope that one day our paths will cross.

Until then, I'll be mistaking tattooed, average-nosed guys in the street for you...

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Complain complain complain

I have a friend on Facebook...I went to school with her, and said about three words to her over all those years, and now we're Facebook friends...which is more of friends than we ever were in the past.

She always seemed like a perfectly nice person, and I never had anything against her. I wish her happiness and health and blessings, as I do anybody.

However, every day, my Facebook feed is clogged with a good five status updates a day from her, complaining about her life. And not just..."I'm having a bad day" but a full paragraph detailing all of her problems.

She complains about everything...her job, her family, her health, her family's health problems, her car, her house, her mortgage, her hair, her dog...etc. etc. etc. I'm sure if she ever becomes pregnant, we will hear hourly complaints about that miracle as well.

A while ago, I heard my sister's father-in-law, a Vietnam vet's, philosophy and never forgot it..."As long as nobody is shooting at you...you're doing okay."

It's true.

So true.

I am very tempted to send this girl a message and ask her if she's heard about all those starving children in China yet.

Diana Rissetto

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's so easy to compare yourself to others in this day and age...

Technology makes it so easy.

It makes me wonder...exactly how did Laura and Almanzo and the rest of the gang make themselves feel bad by measuring themselves up to their old classmates without the likes of Facebook?

Or did they STILL do so, but had to wait until Mrs. Oleson published some gossipy newsletter about what all the graduates of the one room schoolhouse in Walnut Grove were up to?

I am absolutely guilty...guilty of logging-in and seeing pictures of people I wasn't even really friends with ten years ago...and feeling like I have somehow fallen behind...I don't have any pictures of my own wedding and kids and house and yard to share. It makes me wonder if I've taken some wrong turns and if things could be different right now had I made different decisions.

Why do I care about these people I wasn't even really friends with ten years ago, after all?

Who are they to me?

Last week, I was heading home after a long day in the 90 degree heat (however, throughout all the snowstorms we had last winter, I kept telling myself, "When it is superhot out and the city smells like pickles...don't complain. At all. It's better than this." And I won't. I swear.) I heard somebody calling my name.

I turned around and saw my next-door-neighbor from the 5th grade to college. I hadn't seen her in years.

We had many great walks to the bus stop together. She was always a good friend,k and we always shared a lot of laughs.

We caught-up, which took a while, since a lot had happened over the past ten years.

She kept bringing-up her mantra of, "Everything happens for a reason at the exact right time" and I realized that I ran into her for a reason because I really needed to hear that.

She told me that it seemed like I was really doing well, and that she was proud of me, and that my family must be really proud of me, too.

Things do happen for a reason, and it's funny how you run into an old friend who tells you that it seems like your life is going great...just when you needed to hear it the most because you were starting to doubt it...

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, June 3, 2010

To the Cab Driver I had tonight...

...had my feet not been ready to fall apart after walking 60 blocks with half-broken shoes on and making not want to have to walk up-and-down subway steps, I wouldn't have needed your help.

You were horrible.

That was the first time in my entire life that I didn't tip somebody.

I have never been in a cab before when the driver stops to pick-up other people along the way and says, "We're going in the same direction" and then still take full fare from everybody as they get-out of the cab.

Never.

And I really don't understand why you asked me if I was a Jew.

What on EARTH does that have to do with anything?

You were the worst cabdriver I have ever had in my entire life and I felt thoroughly uncomfortable the entire trip.

Grrr.

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A matter of perspective...

I saw a play the other night that was really really really not good.

As in, I might have sent a text message at intermission saying, "If Mia (my 4-year-old niece) wrote, directed and starred in her own one-woman show, it would look like A Streetcar Named Desire next to this thing."

(Actually, that play WOULD be pretty fun...)

The actors did the most with what they were given, and I really can't fault them, but they really looked pretty embarrassed up there. At curtain call, of course I applauded for them...but I really couldn't get over just how "really really really not good" this play was.

When I got home, I read through some reviews and found everybody else agreed with me.

I clicked-on the show's official Facebook page and found a series of photos of the cast...some were publicity shots, others were of the young actors hanging-out off-stage. They looked so happy! They looked like they were truly enjoying each other...like they had formed lifelong bonds through this experience together.

They left comments on the photos saying things like "I love you!" and "This is such a great photo of us!"

It made me tear-up a bit. Not gonna lie.

And I realized...maybe it doesn't matter just how "really really really not good" that play was.

Maybe the happy looks on their faces and the friendships they'll have forever are all that matter...

As a playwright, I can only hope that one day I'll write something and have the actors react the same way...

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A new song from...

...the scarily talented Peter Cincotti.

Lovely stuff.

Makes me wonder who "Madeline" is...but then I realize, "Well, he probably just went with it because rhymes enough with 'mind', 'time' and 'climb.'"

This song could also be about my dear Great-Aunt Adeline.

How great is this guy?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lURkMV7XQqc

Diana Rissetto

It's a strange thing to say...

..."If I had a son who was only a few years younger than me, I'd like to think he'd be a lot like you."

I have said somewhat similar things about celebrities in the past...I always tell Cheyenne Jackson that I feel like he's the older brother I never had...and I'd love to marry Apolo Ohno...Drew Barrymore and I would absolutely be best friends given the chance...and if Tovah Feldshuh was my aunt, we'd have a BALL together!

However, having a son three years younger than me is the most impossible out of all these ideals.

Logically, I know that.

But there's really no other way to describe how I feel about Jonathan Groff.

I wish he was my son.

Look at that face!



I first came familiar with Jonathan when the rest of the world did...with his star turning performance in Spring Awakening on Broadway. Over the past couple of years, I have dealt with Jonathan professionally. Briefly, but enough to pick-up on the fact that he is just the most delightful soul. A quality young gentleman out of another era.

His parents deserve a round of applause. They did a great job.

He couldn't be any cuter if he was training seeing eye dogs or volunteering in a senior citizen center.

Jonathan is currently making guest appearances every week on Fox's Glee as the new guy, Jesse St. James. And, this is said without any biased in favor of the boy I wish were my son, he's doing a fantastic job. That boy can act.

(He totally COULD physically pass as my son, too. I mean, look at the fair skin, the curly hair. Absolutely.)

I'm such a weirdo.

Diana Rissetto

Sometimes it's impossible not to listen in on other people's conversations on the train

Such as when...

--your Ipod has died.

--your phone has died.

--the train is rather quiet and empty.

--you don't have a good book with you.

--somebody is arguing very loudly on the phone and sitting right in front of you.

When all five of those things happen at the same time, it is next-to-impossible not to.

The other day, I was coming home and the man in front of me was fighting...loudly.

I learned his life story during that trip.

Another young woman was sitting across the aisle from me, and we occasionally looked over at each other...somewhat amused, but mostly horrified.

The way this man was talking to his wife was disgraceful...disrespectful...demeaning...disgusting.

I started to think about this couple I, of course, do not know, and started wondering what kind of a woman would put-up with being spoken to like that by the person who vowed to love and respect her for the rest of her life. It made me incredibly sad. I have a hard time believing it was a one-time thing, and if he speaks that way to her in public, I can only imagine how bad he is when nobody else was around. Granted, I had no idea what was being said on the other side of the line, but nothing warranted the way this man was talking to her.

It was horrible.

My new friend from across the aisle and I got-off at the same stop. We both shook our heads at each other. She said, "I was texting with my husband, 'You would not BELEIVE this guy on the train right now...'"

I told her, "And I bet it made you appreciate him more..."

(I realize that this conversation sounds quite fake, but, really...that's what I said.)

I would rather be single for the rest of my life than be married and spoken to the way that man was talking to his wife. I wonder why any woman would put-up with that.

It just makes me incredibly sad...

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Hey! Get your elbow out of my prosciutto!"

You know when something just strikes you as absolutely hilarious...and you're really not sure WHY...but it's the funniest thing you have ever heard, and you could think about it in the middle of the grocery store and crack-up?

That's exactly how I feel about, "Hey! Get your elbow out of my prosciutto!"

Several years ago, my family was sitting at Easter dinner, and my cousin Anthony turned and said to my (vegetarian self), "Hey! get your elbow out of my prosciutto!"

I filled my mother, who wasn't there, in on the new funniest thing in the world.

My mom asked me, "Why did he tell you to get your elbow out of his prosciutto?"

"Well...because...my elbow was in his prosciutto!"

I recently wrote a play which uses the line, "Hey! Get your elbow out of my prosciutto!" When I told my cousins that this line would be immortalized in theatre, we ended-up having a conversation about it in the car.

The man who gave us that line said, "See, it's only funny in context...it's really not funny if I were to just say, 'Hey! Get your elbow out of my prosciutto!"

His wife said, "No...it's still funny..."

I agreed, "Yeah...it will ALWAYS be funny."

In August, my play will make its world premiere, and part of me is nervous that nobody will laugh at the, "Hey! Get your elbow out of my prosciutto!" line. I will be really disappointed if that happens, and so I ask you, if you do come see the play...

Please laugh at that line.

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, May 2, 2010

There comes a time...

...when you just have to say to yourself, "I'm a good person and my heart is almost always in the right place...I can't change the past, and I can't control other people. I can't fix everything, but I can try...and I tried my best. It's time to let go and realize things have changed."

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, May 1, 2010

You know what commercial I really hate?

The AT&T commercial (and my dad worked for AT&T my entire life) with the couple watching their son become president. It flashes backwards, and we learn that the couple met when the husband spotted the wife on the train and he was able to change his train ticket and jump into the seat across from her...all because he has an iPhone.

Now, this commercial is a killer for hopeless romantics who don't get out much...such as myself.

It makes me figure...what's the point of stressing about anything or even attempting to meet anybody? Why bother with stuff like Match.com and blind dates?

Why should I do ANY of that when there's a very good chance that I can end-up with the best "how we met" story EVER? I'm perfectly fine staying home and reading and only meeting gay guys when I DO go out...because I could very well meet the great love of my life like THIS!

I also don't own an iPhone...and this commercial makes me wonder if I really SHOULD get one for this soul purpose.

Rather genius advertisement, then. You have proved your point, AT&T.

Diana Rissetto

Friday, April 30, 2010

I don't have any business cards.

I think it's about time that I get them printed-up.

On Tuesday night, somebody I have been anxious to collaborate with for years (years) asked me for my card...and I didn't have one to offer him.

This is somebody I consider to be absolutely brilliant, but at the same time, also a kindred spirit. We absolutely would work together well and become great buddies in the process! I just know we would (goshdarnit!)

HE ASKED ME FOR A BUSINESS CARD AND I DIDN'T HAVE ONE TO GIVE HIM.

I bet after I told him that, he walked away, saying to himself:

"You know what, I got the impression that that girl was a really good writer (just from talking to her for two minutes.) But, since she doesn't have a business card...how good can she be? I am going to find another unknown playwright to work with...somebody who DOES have a business card."

And then he walked-off into the NYC night...and we would never know what might have been.

I am kicking myself.

I should have had business cards.

They could say "DIANA"...PLAYWRIGHT...(some kind of) PUBLICIST...DOGWALKER...

Otherwise, I think I handled myself pretty well. I kissed this person goodbye the same way I would kiss my cousins (we're both Italian kids, that's how we were raised.)

And, magically, resisted the urge to punch him in the arm and say,"BIG FAN!" (which I usually do.)

Diana Rissetto

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How can you NOT acknowledge the anniversary of

the single day which changed the rest of your life?

I had just turned 17.

Some of my friends were getting ready for the various Spring Break trips our school would take for their language classes. A bunch were going to Italy and France and Spain. Others were preparing for the junior prom. Everybody was pretty much being young and carefree and high school students.

And I was waiting for my father to die.

I very often wonder if I'd be a different person had I not had that experience...had my father not been sick for over year, had I not watched him die a little each day and never prayed for the end after a while just because we knew his pain was so bad. You're not supposed to look back...I know that...you can't change the past...I know, that, too...but I still often wonder if I would even recognize the Diana who didn't lose her father when she was a teenager.

I always hear that people are supposed to grow-up really quickly when they lose a parent at a young age, and I think that did happen to me...I became serious and sad for a very long time. I wasn't given the luxury of having regular teenage problems. When my friends complained about how much they couldn't stand their parents or talked about boyfriend problems, I couldn't relate. I had bigger problems. I had real problems.

However, at the same time, I feel like the entire loss left me a bit stunted and prevented me from ever really being able to feel like a grown-up...maybe those feelings aren't specific to those who lost parents as children.

Today, it's hard for me to look around and feel like everybody has two parents but me...it's even harder when it feels like not even do they all have both parents, but most grew-up with more than one grandparent as well. I wasn't even given that.

Last year, my uncle, and the closest thing I had to a dad for ten years, passed away to cancer, just like my father did. It brought back every emotion I had felt when my dad died, and more. I watched my cousins go through what I went through, and realized how difficult it is, no matter what age you are. My cousins were about 20 years older than I was when we lost our dads. It's hard enough when you are an adult. That was a lot for a teenager to go through! Maybe I'm too hard on myself. I took my SATs less than a week after. Maybe I tried to jump back into regular life too quickly. Maybe life never really quite got back to "regular".

I probably WOULD be very different had my dad not died...but all I can do now is really like the person I became despite everything...I think it's what my father would have wanted.

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I feel terrible for Sandra Bullock.

Seriously.

I know I don't know the girl, but doesn't everybody love Sandra Bullock? She's sweet. She's down-to-earth. She's a nice, wholesome girl, just like I am. There's never any bad press about her and, goshdarnit...she gets some of the most appealing costars in the world. (Harry Connick...Aiden Quinn...Chris O'Donnell...Matthew McConaughey...etc...etc...etc...)

How could I NOT feel terrible for her right now? She waited until she was in her 40's until she got married for the first time, she raised her husband's child (because her mom was in prison) and then THIS HAPPENS TO HER?

Poor Sandra indeed.

I found myself repeating the same thing I said when Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt's marriage broke-up.

"Sandra...you really should have just married Tate Donovan!"





Dorky, adorable, curly-haired, not-so-famous, pale, Irish, fiddle-playing Tate Donovan.

Sandra Bullock has referred to him as the great love of her life.

Jennifer Aniston was engaged to him and apparently, their relationship ended because he couldn't handle the fact that her career had skyrocketed so far beyond his.

Fast forward ten years, and Jennifer is divorced...so is Tate...and Sandra just might go in that same direction.

Which leads me to the conclusion that when in doubt...marry Tate Donovan. Sure, he's no Brad Pitt, if you want to get technical, and he's not covered in tattoos and on a show about motorcycles (or whatever Jesse does.)

But, he's still dorky, adorable, curly-haired, not-so-famous, pale, Irish, fiddle-playing Tate Donovan.

Not that I know these people (and I understand that's a HUGE factor) but I really think one of these woman should finally just marry Tate Donovan after all of these years. It would make a fantastic love story. They could play "The Second Time Around" at their wedding.

I just hope Sandra and Jen don't fight over him.

(Disclaimer: This is written about 80% tongue-in-cheek. I swear.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Broadway bios all have something in common...

...well, about 96% of them do.

They all list some form of Law and Order in them as a credit.

Cheyenne Jackson is not included in that 96%...even though this guy has been working steadily in the Broadway theatre scene for the past eight years and has done numerous television appearances, he is yet to appear on Law and Order.

Tomorrow night at 10PM?

That all changes!

Cheyenne Jackson will guest-star on Law and Order!

I am superproud of my supertall friend.




Diana Rissetto

I used to have this journal...

...well, I still have it in a stack with the rest of my old pre-internet journals, filled with very girlish, loopy handwriting and lots of exclamation points...

...that had a cover that said, "Just for today...be happy."

I feel like that's something I have to keep reminding myself to do...not so much the "be happy" part, but the "just for today" half.

I had a professor in college...it was my Communication Law course (I think that's what it called...towards the end, I was taking all of these legal and political courses...not sure why. My friend asked me if I was prepping myself to be the next Jackie Kennedy.) I remember him telling us how important it is to be happy...and if happiness to you is watching Wheel of Fortune and eating Cheezdoodles all day, then so be it.

Just be happy.

Who cares?

Just be happy.

I've been worrying a lot...maybe it's my upcoming birthday, which is making me feel like I haven't accomplished nearly as much as I wanted to by this point in my life (I've been talking about Apolo Anton Ohno a lot lately, and he's exactly two months younger than me! And look at what everything he's done! And those Jonas Brothers are young enough to be my sons! Kinda.)...I'm surrounded by girls my own age getting married and having babies and I feel so far away from all of that...I worry that it won't ever happen for me...I worry that I'll end-up being not a Crazy Cat Lady (I am dreadfully allergic to cats) but like the Crazy Westie Lady (Westies are hyperallergenic) I always see walking her four Westies...in a baby carriage...wearing Burberry coats. I worry about something happening to my mom the way that something happened to my dad...I have friends getting MBAs at Ivy League schools and will soon be making four times my salary (or something like that.) I worry that I'll never have a good idea for a story or a play ever again...I worry about my mother selling our family home...I worry about my train breaking down tomorrow, another 9/11 happening, becoming sick, walking into a pole and knocking-out my teeth.

Some of these things seem so ridiculous that it is like I look for things to worry about when there is nothing to worry about.

I know I can probably come-off quite "footloose and fancy-free" to others, but I'm really not.

It's really quite the opposite.

I am a complete, utter bundle-of-nerves.

But I really want to stop being one of those and writing it all down and announcing it to the four people that READ this blog is probably the first step...nobody is forcing me to feel this way, so why am I doing it to myself? What exactly is the point?

People always tell me great stuff about myself...I'm apparently hilariously funny, kind, talented, a fantastic writer, smart, a generous friend, lovely with children, and the word "adorable" is used frequently. If people are always telling me stuff like that, it must be true...so, why don't I feel a little better about myself? How come I'm not going through life with this unstoppable "CAN DO" attitude? (a la Apolo Anton Ohno. I think I just wanted an excuse to say "a la Apolo Anton Ohno.")

How come I devote so much time to worrying about things I have no control over?

What good does that do? What on earth does it accomplish?

Seriously? As cliche as it might sound, this could be my very last day on earth, and why should I spend it worrying about anything?

In two weeks, I start a new year...and I'm going to get a two-week headstart on a new start. Maybe 28 will be the best year ever.

Maybe I'll approach every day with a "just for today...be happy" attitude.

And then maybe everything else will take care of itself.

Diana Rissetto

I've talked about it a million times before...

...I was laid-off three years ago...

Three years ago this week.

I just realized it was the anniversary...well, now it can be known as the week I met Apolo Anton Ohno...but for three years, it was the week I lost a job that meant so much to me.

Three years ago, my boss told me how great I was, how much everybody liked me, how it was apparent how happy I was there, how hard I tried, how I made people smile.

And then told me to pack-up my desk and never come back.

He even stood over my desk as I did that. Looking back, he clearly did feel really bad and wanted to make sure I was okay...but, at the time, all I wanted was to yell at him, "Why are you staring at me? Do you think I'm going to steal paperclips from you or something?"

I left the office, I sobbed uncontrollably in the elevator, I told the front desk guy I was fired.

I walked-down 42nd Street and continued to sob uncontrollably. It was raining. I was juggling all the stuff from my desk. And I had tickets to see Les Miserables that night.

(Worst and best show ever to see when you're in such a state. A perfect excuse to keep ON sobbing uncontrollably at numerous death scenes.)

Three years have flown-by, but at the same time, so much has happened in those three years that I feel like a very different person than I was. I have grown-up a bit, and have had life-changing adventures and met people that I never would have had I not lost my job on that March day.

For a long time, I was very angry at my former company for what they did to me.

And now I can look back and, yes...I do think they were extremely wrong. There were people in that office that deserved the boot much more than I did.

I'll never understand why it had to be me...but it hurt. It broke my heart.

I finally am forgiving my boss for what happened. I'll forgive him, and I'll feel sorry for him, because I think the company lost somebody pretty cool that day.

I recognize that everything really does happen for a reason, and that losing that job was some kind of blessing in disguise...but I still remember that poor girl crying in the rain and feel so sorry for her! She didn't deserve that.

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, March 11, 2010

There are moments when...

...it is completely okay to once again feel like a 13-year-old.

This was one of them.




Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I am so excited!

Somebody stopped me in the street today and congratulated me on taking over the starring role in Broadway's Wicked!

I had no idea I was doing that!

Guess all those smiley curly-haired girls look alike to some people...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Last night, I listened to my good friend cry for an hour.

It's not something I enjoyed having to do.

I mean, part of being a good friend is listening to a friend cry sometimes...but the part I really hate is that such a fantastic, smart, funny, beautiful person should be crying so much and feeling so badly about herself.

And over what?

A guy.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

I kept telling her that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her...and she said that she knows that there is nothing wrong with ME and I often have the same issues she has...which left us to come to this conclusion...

We're just too great.

Just like my previous entry about Tiger Woods suggested that there is no room for nice girls left in this world...I don't think there really is.

This boy had led her on for months...saying some mighty suggestive things to her (yes, this is when the 80-year-old in me comes-out...but no way to talk to a young lady, darnit.)...and last night, she found out he's had a girlfriend all along.

I told her to feel sorry for the poor girlfriend...heck, I feel bad for the poor girlfriend and I don't know any of them.

I think she's too good to have to deal with this, and certainly too good to be crying and wondering what is wrong with her...and so am I.

We're going to stop feeling that way.

Right now.

We're too good for this! We really are!

It drives me absolutely mad to hear a girl of her quality tormenting herself like that, and I know the feeling is mutual.

Nice girls SO finish last. I'm very much looking forward to be proven wrong.........

Diana Rissetto

Friday, February 26, 2010

Even if you didn't bring home that gold...

...you still made my snow day(s) a little more exciting, Apolo Anton Ohno.



If I was a celebrity, I could tweet that I had a big 7th grade-ish crush on Apolo Anton Ohno, and word would get-out and it would make usmagazine.com, and then we'd completely end-up going on a date, which would result in a wedding and a posse of little speedskating writer children.

But since I'm just a nice, unknown playwright with a blog...that isn't going to happen.

Still.

(Are you looking for a new publicist by any chance? No?)

Congratulations on medal #8, Apolo Anton Ohno.

And you couldn't be any cuter if you were training seeing eye-dogs and helping old ladies skate while you were competing in those races.

Diana Rissetto

Allrighty, I need to comment on this...

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/tryst_gals_we_want_apology_62s2e9SPjO7gGEaTvHN1bN


Why on EARTH should he apologize to any of them?

If you had acted like a lady and had the slightest bit of respect for YOURSELF...you wouldn't have gotten yourself into such a situation where you felt you "deserved" an apology...from a married man you were having an affair with.

Sometimes I feel like there is just no place for "nice girls" left in this entire world............................................

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This past week, I have learned that I really need to let things go...

At last, I think I know
The past is where we keep what might have been
But it's best to let it go...
Peter Cincotti


When I was a kid and moved from New York City to New Jersey, I desperately tried to keep in touch with all of my old classmates. I'd write letters to many of them, and would feel genuinely hurt when not all of them responded. Fourth graders usually aren't big letter-writers. Had email been around, they probably wouldn't have been big emailers either. I didn't want to let go. I wanted to hold on to everybody I had once known and what we had all been.

This week, just like the 9-year-old I once was, I desperately tried to hold onto people and to control things...to fix them...to stop change of any kind at all costs.

I realized that when I feel the need to hold onto people, it's more about holding on to how things used to be, the "good ol' days", when things were happier and simpler.

I have learned that some friendships just aren't meant to last forever...and that's really okay.

I realized how blessed I am to HAVE the friends in my life that I can see being around for the long haul...friends that I have exchanged matching Star-of-David and crucifix necklaces with for the holidays...friends I have a million-and-one inside jokes with...friends I can go out for dinner with and never once consider having to split the bill evenly, because we know true friendship can never be divided.

True friendship always evens-out.

Last year, I experienced a very difficult loss when my uncle, who was the closest thing I had to a dad, died. I knew a couple of people that I considered among my closest friends for a long time, although they weren't any more, knew about my family's loss and didn't say anything. I let that knowledge hurt me even more...but looking back, I realize how wrong I was. Why should I have concerned myself with people like that during that difficult time? My thoughts should have been with my wonderful uncle, whose life was cut so short, my family, whom I have gone through SO much with, and the incredible friends I have that I KNOW will never let me down.

The other people? They don't really matter...not anymore...

I'm starting to really understand how very short life really is, and that one day we live on this earth is a day less we have to live. When you think of it that way, carrying around any kind of bitterness or hurt seems really dumb.

So I won't anymore, and instead just focus on the good and on the people I love and that love me. I'll always believe that everybody comes into your life at the right time for a reason...and I'll remember those friendships that are no more and smile for the happy times, and hope they are doing the same thing when they remember me.

Diana Rissetto

Well, I can now say...

...that I once sang "Over the Rainbow" on a Broadway stage, accompanied by Michael Feinstein on piano, as I wore an Elvis wig.

And I was fantastic.

Diana Rissetto

Friday, February 19, 2010

I'm not sure why I have so many issues...

People are always telling me that change is good. But all that means is that something you didn't want to happen has happened-You've Got Mail



I don't know why I get so attached to things and places that don't even have feelings. It's probably one of those things t hat I would easily be able to write-off as something that happened as the result of losing a parent when I was a kid...but I think I've always been like this.

I remember when my parents got a new car when I was in the third grade. My sister and my cousin were in the backseat of the brand-new gray Ford Taurus, playing with the automatic windows, while I locked myself in the old Granada and started sobbing. Totally irrational behavior, but, looking back? I haven't changed so much.

I wish I have...but I really haven't.

Right now, I am obsessing over selling a house.

A house I've known for almost 20 years.

Normal people don't get this upset over a house...but I do, and I have no idea WHY. Even if I focus on the bad things that have happened in that house. Even if I logically tell myself that a house is a house is a house...and it is JUST a house...a big house that nobody really needs or should have to take care of.

Even if I drive around and look at all these houses with "For Sale" signs on it, and the pages and pages of homes for sale in the newspaper...people sell houses all the time...all of them don't get this upset, right? Why am I? What's so weird and different about me that I can't emotionally turn-off my mind the way other people are able to? When did I become the loan sentimental freak?

For some reason, the idea of having to pack-up and leave and know I can never go back there is absolutely heartbreaking to me! I have no idea how people just do it all the time...

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Yesterday, only one person looked at the ashes on my forehead and said, "Oh, I always thought you were Jewish!"

Last year, it was three.

For some reason, people always think I am Jewish. Maybe it's all this curly dark hair.

Maybe it's the crucifix usually hanging-around my neck. That usually screams "nice Jewish girl" doesn't it?

Maybe I'll join JDate now.

Diana Rissetto

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This morning...

I was picking-up a giant cake with Dame Edna's picture on it for a work-related event.

A woman in the cake shop looked at the giant cake with Dame Edna's picture on it, smiled and said, "Awe, is that your grandma?"

(And is it wrong that I considered saying, "Yes" because one thing that has always made me really really sad was that I never had a grandma????)

And if I had to pick any grandma...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Strike a pose!!!

My friend and Broadway-turned-television heartthrob Cheyenne Jackson walks the runway for charity.



Sunday, February 14, 2010

There is something so wrong with this picture...

...I am writing, and I have the Lawrence Welk Show on in the background. (Do you know they air that show about twelve times a weekend on the local PBS stations???)

And I am singing along with every song.

Why do I know all of these songs?

How old am I, anyway?

Apolo Anton Ohno...

...you could not be any cuter if you were raising seeing eye dogs as you skated away with those medals.

And, seriously, HOW ON EARTH DO YOU DO IT?

I guess there's a reason why you are the Olympian, Apolo Anton Ohno (that name is kinda like Charlie Brown's) and I am the one blogging about you.

You're awesome.


At the grocery store today...

Two kids were running around like monkeys and jumped in front of my cart out-of-nowhere.

I most certainly DID NOT hit the child with my cart, but he screamed to his mother, "She almost KILLED me!" I walk quietly away with my cart. The mom shouts after me, "FOR REAL????" Nobody loves kids more than I do, but I can't stand kids (and parents!) like that.

For some reason (and I really am not sure WHY, the stories aren't similar at all, except they illustrate how horrible and rude some people are.) this reminded me of an incident at the bookstore once.

I dug-out a nearly five-year-old email documenting it...it's best to keep the original flavor of the ordeal...so, here it is in its entirety.


May I present to you one of the greatest stories in the history of "I Work in Barnes and Noble and Have Learned that People Who Like to Read Can Also Be Idiots" stories.

Family is sitting in the children's department. They are rude. (and stupid and trashy)They make a mess and they leave.

I put on my coat and clock out. I just worked for 9 hours on a Sunday, I had somewhere to be, I wanted out of there!

Man comes back into the store and stops me on my way out.

Man: Did you find a black ski cap?

Diana: I'm actually on my way out, but you can check the kid's department and if anybody turned the hat in, it would be at the lost and found up front.

I get stopped by Mel to talk over something.

I finally leave the store and walk to my car.

Man's wife had in the meanwhile pulled up her car to the front of the store and he's getting into the car.

I hear everything they are saying.

Woman: There's the girl that works there, ask her if she knows where the hat is!

Man: I ASKED her already. And you know what she f-ing SAID to me? (whiny voice.) "I'm offfffffffffffffffffff."

I storm over to the freaking idiot and go:

Diana: Actually, I did not SAY that. I SAID that I was on my way out and that you could check the kid's department and the lost-and-found. I just worked 9 hours and have someplace to go and need to leave. It's not my responsiblity to find your hat!

(Okay, I have been VERY stressed lately, this is really not the right time to cross me.)

Man: (taken aback because Diana is usually a rather timid thing) Don't worry about it.

Diana: Oh, I am NOT worried, but I am also not a rude person and don't appreciate my words being twisted around like that.

I go home, but our story does not end there.

My friend Brian and I talk on the phone when I get home.

Brian: So, the family came back in, looking for the hat and they FOUND the hat (YOU CAN ALL BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF!), and when they were paying, the wife said to Christina,

"I can't believe you would have such a BITCH work in the children's department. We just wanted her help and you know what she said to us? (whiny voice) I'm offffffffffffffffffffffffff."

(which is ridiculous, since the wife wasn't even THERE and didn't witness anything, except for me running after her idiot husband in the parking lot and attempting to tell him off.)

Seriously, if there's one thing I know, it's that I'm WONDERFUL in that children's department and am wonderful with children and of all the horrible names you can call me, bitch is not one of them!!!!!!

WHAT DID THEY WANT ME TO DO?

Lock down the store so nobody could get out in case someone was trying to steal the stupid hat?

AND IT WAS A SKI CAP.

If someone came to me and asked them to find their, I don't know...engagement ring...or BABY or something...I'd help them even if I was clocked out and had my purse and coat and was GOING OUT THE DOOR....But COME ON!

I just can't stand classless, rude people..

So, I decided that I'm not going to let the last two years be in vain. I'm going to write a book, the even-numbered chapters will be Barnes and Noble stories and the odd-numbered ones will be my interview stories. (The Night Club one when I was worried I wouldn't make it out alive. The one at the play publishing place that the HR woman told me that the guy I would be working for has made everyone cry at least once and that it was a very rewarding job, because each day, I would leave and feel happy just to have gotten through another 9 hours with him alive. And, of course, we must not forget...the place that shook my hand, said, "DIANA WELCOME ABOARD!" and yet still didn't give me the job!) Tales of Working in a Bookstore (and Tales of Trying to Not Work in a Bookstore Anymore.)

Honestly, if I ever get to the point where my life is so empty and miserable that I'm giving trouble to some random poor soul who works in Barnes and Noble, I'm counting on each and every one of you to just kick me in the head.

So, be nice to your retail workers. We're doing the best we can and just because we're working retail doesn't mean we're stupid or uneducated and immature. Please.