Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I think I look for signs too often

About six years ago, I was volunteering with my church's youth group (which is what I still do to this day...and it doesn't surprise people when they hear I do) and a young woman I never met before randomly showed-up and was interested in helping-out. We got to talking, and she told me that she did publicity for books.

Shortly after, I went to a book signing...Maria Shriver (I love Maria Shriver! Maria Shriver is smart and funny and beautiful and the fact that we live in a world where a girl like Maria Shriver is cheated-on by her husband just makes me shake my head) was signing her new self-help book. I told her I wasn't sure what I was doing with my life...I was newly graduated and freaking-out.

Maria told me not to freak-out...what I was feeling what completely normal and that everything was going to be okay.

I thanked her and told her how pretty her hair looked (it was curly that day.)

The next day, I was checking for jobs on MediaBistro.com and came across a posting for a book publicity company whose clients included Maria Shriver.

The contact for this job?


Everything started to make sense.

Maria Shriver TOLD me everything was going to be okay, and then there was her in, in a job posting for a position I was most certainly qualified for, with the contact being somebody I had met in church. (A sign from God if there ever was one!)

I emailed the woman and reminded her of who I was.

I was certain this was it.

I envisioned my new cubicle.

The woman wrote back and told me that the position had sadly been filled.

Okay, didn't this girl GET it? Didn't she know about all the signs? Maria Shriver TOLD me everything was going to be okay and I was intent on MAKING everything okay!

Last week, I was sitting behind this girl in church. She had never come back to volunteer with the kids after that one time and I hadn't seen her since.

I was wondering if this was another sign...if I was supposed to talk to her, remind her of who I was (probably freak her out).

Maybe she had a great job for me or a really nice guy to introduce me to! (I am in the market for both!)

I didn't say anything, but I will...next time.

If I get another sign.

Diana Rissetto

Awful taste, Newsweek. Awful.

I was named after Diana. I was up in the wee small hours of the morning on April 29th. I feel like I grew-up with William and Harry, have that extra-special kinship in that I also lost a parent as a teenager, and I care about them both. 
That sad...I think this cover of Newsweek is in horrible taste and I don't understand who thought it was a good idea.

Inside the magazine, you can see what Di's Facebook page might have looked like. (She "is now friends" with Camilla and Prince Charles "likes" this. I really, really wish I was making this up.)

I think it's incredibly sad and I think that, as thick-skinned as I am sure Prince William and Prince Harry have gotten over the years...it has to hurt to see it.

Here's one Di who does not approve...

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I never quite felt so Lloyd Dobler in my life.

I'm not one to quote John Cusack movies besides Serendipity ("Life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Uh-uh. But rather, its a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan...if we are to live life in harmony with the universe, we must all possess a powerful faith in what the ancients used to call "fatum", what we currently refer to as destiny.") but a couple of weeks ago? 

I was feeling very, very much like Lloyd Dobler.

In Say Anything, John Cusack's character gives Ione Skye's his heart.

And she gives him a pen.

I poured-out my own heart, said some things that were really very hard to put in writing and admit to, and hoped for the best...and by "the best", I mean a friendly, "You're really great! You deserve all the happiness in the world and the best from life!" from this person. (I would have settled for just "great". I didn't even need anything like brilliant//hilarious/talented/one in a gazillion/the next Wendy Wasserstein or anything like that.)

That was really all that I wanted.

And I didn't get that. 

I didn't get anything close to that.

Instead, I got a two-word text message.  

(And, just so we're on the same page, those two words were not "You're fantastic!")

I felt my heart more or less shatter...not because this wasn't going in the direction of You've Got Mail or When Harry Met Sally... (once again...that is not what I was expecting at all) but because, at that moment, I felt like this person didn't even think I was worth cellphone minutes. 

Yes, I felt really terrible! 

Although letting-go of that hurt isn't as easy as I wanted it to be, I ended-up vowing to myself that I wouldn't let those two words from that one person have such an effect on me...because NOBODY'S words should,in any kind of uplifting or crushing way.

I could say stuff like, "Well, how about that random woman I met at my friend's show last month? I talked to her for five minutes and she went on-and-on about how wonderful I was. If a total stranger could tell me how great I am...why am I focusing on the negative..." but I shouldn't let that woman's praise positively influence my self-worth any more than this other person's two words did to hurt it. I should be standing on my own two feet and not care either way.

I know that little kids are the best indicators of character and I know that the ones in my life run to me like I'm a celebrity and crack-up at me like I am Jerry Seinfeld. That has to mean something.

I can make a list of all my accomplishments and realize that, even if I'm unemployed at the moment it IS only "at the moment" and I probably HAVE done a lot more than most people my age and I like to think I'm just getting started. More importantly, I KNOW I would never treat the outpouring of anybody's heart (anybody's!!!) with the insignificance of a two-word text message or a pen. 

It's just one crazy foreign thought to me.

I don't really feel as sad about this all anymore, but it's more that I am completely baffled by this person's reaction because it's just not like them. I know I can't possibly know what is going-on in somebody else's head, and I can't even try...

I just have to move on. A wise man once told me that we can't sit around and wait for closure...we NEVER fully get closure. We need to just understand what we're feeling and know we have to move on and DO it. There is no other option.

Moving-on with my brilliant//hilarious/talented/one in a gazillion/the next Wendy Wasserstein-self (not because anybody else told me I was...I am telling myself that I am..)

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gratitude 101.

Last night, I sent a long, rambling, probably very pathetic email to a friend of mine with subject line, "Okay, you're allowed to throw things at me."

I ranted.

I raved.

I overanalyzed.

I made some serious mountains out of mole hills.

Less than an hour later, this friend called me and he began the conversation with, "Okay, I AM going to throw things at you...BECAUSE I love you..."

And, a half hour later, I felt a million times better about the situation.

I was feeling very tossed-away and sad...because of the actions or the non-actions of one person. (We're talking full-on broken heart...see previous entries.)  I was letting the way this person treated me effect the way I ultimately felt about myself...which is a very stupid thing to do.

I would not blame this friend if he called me a raving, melodramatic, hypersensitive lunatic and told me to figure-out my problems on my own.

So...while one person's actions disappointed me, another's made me feel better and realize that I am worthy of being loved and respected, because I have friends willing to put-up with me with so much patience and calmness. I don't know what is going-on on that other person's end, but I do know what I can expect from the friends that really DO care about me...and that's all that matters...and for that, I am grateful.

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A nose is a nose is a nose.

Last night, a male friend and I were talking about another guy we both know, who is, by all accounts, quite a stellar young man (at least, in my opinion.)...handsome (while also being very adorable at the same time), talented, funny, smart...(etc. etc. etc.)

I brought-up that despite all of that, he seems very insecure sometimes and has absolutely no reason to be, since he's pretty fantastic and should realize that.

My friend was able to explain this with a theory of his...he said he was sure that this guy didn't quite grow into his looks until he was a young adult, and when he was in high school and college, just felt like an awkward mess because he was "all nose." My friend said he had the same problem and didn't quite feel like an attractive young man until he was out-of-college, because he, too, felt like he was "all nose."

I never even realized that either one of these guys had big noses. Or even remotely big noses...certainly nothing to be self-conscious about. I'm not even kidding.

When Olympic champion Evan Lysacek was all over the place for a while, I commented that he looked like an old friend of mine, Sean. My mom said, "Oh, yeah...he was the kid with the big nose."

I pictured Sean's face. "Sean didn't have a big nose!"

My mom replied, "Diana, he looked just like Evan...and Evan has a big nose."

We then argued about whether or not Evan Lysacek had a big nose.

I still don't think he does.

Maybe I am blind.

Or maybe I just find large noses attractive.

Consider other men I find pretty darn great.

Adrien Brody (whose big nose isn't even his own natural big nose, but the result of having a broken one years ago.) That nose gives that face some serious character.

James McAvoy as Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. (I'm sorry...it's near impossible to unadorablize James McAvoy.) When I first saw this movie, I wasn't even sure if he had a fake nose...but it didn't matter. How many young man can be just as attractive as a Fawn as they are a heartsick World War I soldier?

An earlier Harry Connick, Jr. (honestly, his nose doesn't seem that big at ALL these days...even to me...maybe he, too, had to grow into it. Maybe Harry Connick, Jr. is painfully insecure as well. Who knows?)

The supersweet and talented Broadway actor, Sebastian Arcelus...who WILL talk about his nose if you get him started on it.

I don't really see what's wrong with having a big nose. Who says noses need to be "not big" in order to look good?

If that young man really IS insecure because, deep down, he feels like the kid who felt out-of-place because of his big nose, I hope he can learn to realize just how great he really is...schnoz and all.

**(After several sad and emotional entries in a row, I needed this one!) **

Diana Rissetto

A broken heart is a broken heart is a broken heart.

I've been feeling the hurt of one lately...and I don't even think I have a legitimate, significant excuse to have one. All around me, I see people that really DO have reasons to claim their hearts are broken.  I am witnessing people finding out their partners of many years have cheated on them...friends contemplating calling-off their engagements...and my problem? Just seems so petty and seventh grade and like one of the Mary Anne and Logan editions of The Baby-Sitter's Club.


I'm realizing if you feel like you have a broken heart, then you feel like you have a broken heart. These things aren't meant to be explained and if there was any logic to any of it, we'd well be able to avoid it all and the pain that comes with it. My feelings ARE legitimate and significant, because they are my feelings.

I feel pretty sad right now, and I'll give myself a little time to listen to "You Don't Know Me", "I Wish You Love" and Billy Joel's "And So It Goes" on repeat and then, I'm sure, I'll be feeling better.

I'm remembering that "without a hurt, the heart is hollow" and...who knows? Maybe it can be used as fuel to get something great written.

Diana Rissetto

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Most of the time, people don't act the way you want them to.

Lesson learned the hard way. 

I've had a lot of let-downs lately.

Today, I told myself that I can't expect people to act the way that I want them to or the way I'd act if I were them.

That doesn't make them bad people...it just makes them different from me.  (And I learned many years ago, time and again, that the majority of the world isn't nearly as sensitive as I am.)

It's okay to feel completely crushed sometimes (as I do today) because I can remember, not too long ago, when everything was going right and I felt so great about my life and the world. I think about the patient, loving, supportive friends (God bless them...seriously) I have that outweigh the people that disappointed me. I think about that random stranger lady I met at a play last month who kept telling me how she could tell I was something special.

When I think about all of those things and people, I feel a little better.

I'm still going to sleep tonight with a heavy heart (I won't say it's broken), but I know I'll also feel a lot better tomorrow...because anything can happen tomorrow.

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Matthew Lapierre

I lost track of days and completely forgot one of my very bestest's birthdays.

I have a habit of randomly talking to people I don't know at shows.

I'm glad that I do that.

Because at one of these shows, seven years ago, I met Matthew Lapierre, in Joe's Pub, at a concert where Cheyenne Jackson, a then somewhat unknown actor I had befriended the year before, was performing. (Who knew that one day, we would be IN Cheyenne Jackson's dressing room together. Things truly do come full circle.)

During those seven years, Matthew Lapierre and I have developed more inside jokes with each other than I have ever had with any other person other than my sister.


Jenn Colella.

Waynesville, Ohio.

Kiddo from West Side Story and his glorious solo.

Yeah...I know...you're not laughing...these things aren't funny to you.

But they are funny to me and Matthew Lapierre and that is really all that matters.

My mother would really love for me to marry Matthew Lapierre and...who knows! It just could happen one day...as long as we can have a Cole Porter wedding.

A very big HAPPY BIRTHDAY, eternal apologies that I totally confused my days, to a very stand-up guy...

Matthew Lapierre.


Diana Rissetto

Come tomorrow...

When you are in the midst of a broken heart, and somebody very close to you is also piecing together a very broken heart, and you're unemployed and frustrated and feeling a bit lonely and confused and don't feel like you are being a particularly good writer or a friend or family member...your mind starts to wander a lot.

I went to Our Lady of Pompeii elementary school when I was a kid. It's in the heart of Greenwich Village, and just a few blocks away from where my parents also went to elementary school and grew-up. (My mom grew-up in a building with all of her cousins...I think I will be forever be envious of that childhood. I will always be forever envious that I wasn't alive during the 50's.) I have memories of going to my great-aunt's store on Sunday mornings, sitting on the counter and drinking a Yoo-Hoo. (Yoo-Hoos make me very nostalgic.)

Yesterday, I had a job interview (which is what I do most days) and then wandered around, all by myself, trying to collect my thoughts. I've had a rough few weeks...it's one of those times when it doesn't feel like anything is really going right and sometimes it helps to walk around aimlessly and think about things. I would call it the Quarterlife Crisis, but I should be beyond that right. (Doubtful I will live to be over 100...but here's hoping.)

I ended-up sitting in the little park by my old school, watching kids in my old school uniform run by for probably over an hour. One little girl (she was probably in the fourth grade)  was telling her mother that some boy announced that she wanted to kiss him and she just LAUGHED at him. The mom applauded the little girl and said, "That is EXACTLY what you are supposed to do! LAUGH at him! So he doesn't know you're upset...if you act upset, he'll bother you more. Just keep laughing in his face!"

I laughed to myself. 

Excellent advice ALL of us girls should learn at 9 and I hope the little girl remembers it.

Twenty years ago (twenty years!), I was running through those very doors, making my first communion, playing Baby-Sitter's Club in the street at recess, writing my very first stories.

I thought about how this area was my family and my "old stomping grounds" and now I can't imagine ever being able to afford to live there! It made me quite sad.  I wondered how different my life might have been had my family never moved and I had graduated 8th grade in that very school with the same faces I had seen every day since kindergarten. I couldn't imagine...(oddly enough, many of them have found me on Facebook. It's funny...I know that I remember everybody but never really realized that people might also remember me.)

I thought about all the various twists and turns my life has taken, the people I have met along the way...and deep deep down, how it always seems to fall into place and that I shouldn't regret a thing.

Weird thoughts started to cross my mind...I started thinking, "If my family had never left, would my entire life had been on a different track right now? Maybe my father never would have died, maybe I would have written a Broadway play or a hit movie by now, maybe I wouldn't be sitting here trying to piece together a broken heart and was instead in a blissfully happy relationship where I was very much appreciated and maybe I wouldn't be sitting on this very bench, frustrated at the thought of another crazy jobhunt wild goose chase."

(I realize, logistically, nothing about this makes any sense whatsoever, but when you're upset and not feeling your greatest, you do think about these things.)

I was recently telling a friend all of this and he told me, "You gotta have faith that everything you're going through is leading to something fantastic."   
I have to keep reminding myself that, and hope one day, I will look back at that time in my life where nothing seemed to be going right and realize that it all eventually made sense...that things didn't work-out with that boy, or that job, or that old neighborhood because something infinitely greater was on its way.

I completely love Peter Cincotti and also love reading his lyrics as much as I love his voice. Honestly, I'm not even sure if he wrote the lyrics of this song, but I listened to it several times last night and it seemed to connect with the thoughts that have been going through my head lately.

"And I turn the corner, hoping that I'll see/a miracle, just waiting there for me...."

Diana Rissetto

The trees on Golden Avenue were green as Irish morning
We were wearing caps and gowns
My mother took a photograph
I was the only one not smiling, I was too big for this town
I can't believe that I was only 17
A catholic punk who couldn't wait to scream

Come tomorrow
I'll be leaving this worn out, worn down place
I'll be drinking sunlight and dancing on the moon
I'll find me a girl that suits my ways
Spending all my nights and days
Just singing drunken love songs out of tune
I'll be rolling like a pair of dice, come tomorrow

The trees on Golden Avenue were bitter red this morning
As I shuffled through the crowd
Another dose of daily news, another cup of coffee
The same old runaround
And I turn each corner hoping that I'll see
A miracle just waiting there for me

Come tomorrow
I'll be leaving this worn out, worn down place
[ From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/p/peter-cincotti-lyrics/come-tomorrow-lyrics.html]
I'll be drinking sunlight and dancing on the moon
I'll find me a girl that suits my ways
Spending all my nights and days
Just singing drunken love songs out of tune
I'll be rolling like a pair of dice, come tomorrow

Going nowhere, like leaves are blowing past my window
Caught up in a wind they can't control
That's my story, a two bit kind of Peter Pan
Who never tried for Neverland
And I think it's time to find my wings and go

Come tomorrow
I'll be leaving this worn out, worn down place
I'll be drinking sunlight, dancing on the moon
Find me a girl that suits my ways
Spending all my nights and days
Just singing drunken love songs out of tune
I'm gonna make it up to paradise, come tomorrow
Come tomorrow, come tomorrow

Sunday, June 5, 2011

When you have plenty of time on your hands, you get to support the arts a lot.

This past week, I have been able to catch a lot of great theatre.

Last Sunday, my friend, his roommate and I caught a double feature...the matinee of The Normal Heart on Broadway and the (sadly) late Lucky Guy off-Broadway.

I have always found stories of the early days of the AIDS epidemic fascinating and heartbreaking...I've read And the Band Played On several times (and if you've seen how large that book is, you'd find it quite strange that "read" and "several times" would even be used in the same sentence) and Longtime Companion, which tells the story of the day in the life of each year for ten years of a circle of friends, starting with the day the New York Times announced there was a strange new disease spreading among young gay men, is among one of my favorite movies. (One of many reasons why I love that film so much...Campbell Scott. Why wouldn't Colleen Dewhurst and George C. Scott have one insanely talented son?)

The one thing that kept going through my mind while watching The Normal Heart , especially sitting next to a close friend who happens to be a young, gay man, is that had we all been born twenty years earlier, that would have been our generation...we would have been watching many of our friends die. (I know I'm speaking like EVERY young woman in America hangs-out with mostly gay men and that's not the case at all.) It's truly the most terrifying, numbing thought and I'll always be incredibly grateful that we weren't around for that.

This production is fantastic, each and every performance is beautiful. (I will be very honest in admitting that when I see Ellen Barkin, I can't get Faerie Tale Theatre's "The Princess Who Had Never Laughed" out of my head. In fact, until The Normal Heart, that was my favorite Ellen Barkin performance of all time..not gonna lie.When she finally laughs at the end, and you KNOW it's just because she really loves Howie Mandel and wants to marry him...stirring.)

A very heart-wrenching, devastating show...will be rooting for the show to win Best Revival at the Tony's next week, and I think Ellen's going to take home her own statue.(On a disappointing note, one of my very favorite guys, Cheyenne Jackson, was supposed to be in this show, but wasn't able due to a conflicting television filming schedule. While every single actor on that stage was terrific, it would have been extra-special to have my buddy up there.)

That night, we caught Lucky Guy. Since the show has since closed (that very day, in fact), I don't want to say too much about it, since it will just make you all feel really bad that you didn't get to see it. (All four of you reading this right now...there are 5, but Matt is one of them, and he WAS there with me.)

All I WILL say about Lucky Guy is that Jenn Colella should just be in every single show ever produced.


She really, really should.

We gave her entrance applause and a standing ovation.

I am not kidding. 

On Friday night, I went to go see Midnight in Paris with my good pal Megan. Megan and I became friends when we were both cast in a high school production of Play it Again, Sam so it is appropriate that we would go see Woody Allen's latest together.

This was one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time.

In fact, several times during this movie, I proclaimed, probably way too loudly, "I LOVE THIS MOVIE!"

Because I just really, really did.

I will go so far as to say that it made my heart soar. The writer in me connected with the writer main character...played WONDERFULLY by Owen Wilson...who feels he was born in the wrong era.

It was just so clever..so funny...so poignant...so darn quotable.

And, so, so Woody Allen.

Mr.Allen has still got it.

And, I always say that the only thing that can make a great movie even greater is a cameo by Adrien Brody which you didn't even know was going to happen...and then suddenly comes Mr. Brody (whom I love. That last scene in The Pianist when he is sitting at his piano and he looks-up and smiles...and that entire movie seems to be summed-up in this lovely, heartbreaking smile of his...just brilliant) appeared playing Salvador Dali.

He is so good. They all are. The whole movie is.

This girl who was almost named "Annie Hall" gives this film two very enthusiastic thumbs-up and anxiously awaits the DVD release with lots of extras and deleted scenes. It awakened the writer in me and made me remember what is really important. I want to write something that good.

Today, I went upstate to see Carl Howell, an extremely talented young actor that starred in my romantic comedy Pigeons, Knishes and Rockettes last year, in the World's End Theatre production of Chekhov's The Seagull. My gut told me Carl was the guy for my show before he even auditioned, and I apparently have really great instincts because this guy has some serious star quality. I have only ever seen one other Chekhov tale on stage, which was a musical production of The Black Monk that my friend starred in a few years ago. The shows were similar to each other...they started-out rather light and then just kept getting deeper and sadder. (In The Black Monk, my friend's character lost his mind and there was the most gut-wrenching scene with him eating pancakes with his hands towards the end. For some odd reason, that scene really got to me. I had to remind myself that it was just a play...but I am yet to go to a diner with this friend for any breakfasts for dinner since then.) The Seagull is also a story about a writer and a lot of it really kind of depressed me as a writer, but the story is brilliantly written and the actors were excellent. I know one day I'll be very proud to tell people that Carl starred in one of my shows back when he was a young actor making it in New York City.

It was also nice to see a different part of New York State. I actually said out loud, "Hey! I think we're near the Almanzo Wilder Boyhood Home Museum!" (My mother told me that we were, most certainly, not stopping there.)

Great, inspiring arts=all around us.

Diana Rissetto