An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Story Behind a Book


Once upon a time, my high school Spanish club held a fund raiser which required each member to sell boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. This was so out of my comfort zone. We had only recently moved to Georgia and I was struggling – to fit in, to be less shy, to be happy when I just wanted my old life back in Italy. So the thought of going door-to-door selling doughnuts to strangers filled me with anxiety. In the end, I sold two boxes to an elderly couple who lived behind us and a few boxes to our neighbors across the street. I used my babysitting money to buy the rest. 

Why am I telling you this story?

This week I formally announced that my book, An Ocean, an Airplane, and Two Countries Full of Kisses, was officially released and available for purchase. Truthfully, I could have made the announcement a week earlier, but I delayed because I wanted to do it in a way that didn’t make me feel as if I were selling those boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

And yet, if there is one thing I learned from writing this book is that I’m not that same person anymore. During those first years when I was trying to figure it all out, it was the written word—in all its forms—which gave me comfort. I read voraciously (my first job as a teenager was working in a library), I kept a journal, and I wrote stories. But mostly, it was the weekly letters from Nonna, my Italian grandmother, that gave me what I needed to keep trying. Nonna’s words (and her love) grounded me in ways nothing else could.

Eventually, I did find my way. Things became good, then better, and then even great.

It wasn’t until many years later when my mother and I were going through Nonna’s letters—years and years of letters—that I realized the true power of the written word. Just seeing Nonna’s handwriting helped me remember her hands, large and strong and thick-veined. Just reading her letters made me remember her passion, her laughter, and even what her voice sounded like. Her written words evoked memories, feelings, and more than a little nostalgia, and I recognized how so much of what she wrote and who she was could be woven into the fabric of my life—of who I was, am, and always will be.

The very next day I began writing An Ocean, an Airplane, and Two Countries Full of Kisses.

So last week, while contemplating how to announce my book in a way that was meaningful, the image of the Spanish Club fundraiser and those pesky boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts popped into my mind. But you know what? The memory made me smile. I am not selling doughnuts anymore; in fact, I am so beyond those doughnuts.

I’m telling a story.

Because that’s who I am.

It’s that simple.


To purchase 
An Ocean, an Airplane, and Two Countries Full of Kisses 
visit any of the links below. 
(Incidentally, books last longer than doughnuts;-)

(click on the "to purchase" button in the upper right hand corner)


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