Thursday, September 26, 2013


"The way Signor Brasini stopped, turned to his wife, put his big farmer's hands out and caressed her face.  Pulled her close to him and kissed her just like in the films.  He kissed her for a long time and then looked at her and smiled… And when I saw all that, I knew that their way would be my way.  Their way, not my father's...way - their way was how I wanted my life to be.  I knew that someday I would be loved by a man like Brasini.  I understood how things worked and how they didn't work." ~ Marlena De Blasi That Summer in Sicily

This is a story of a 9-year-old girl whose cold-hearted father sells her to a rich prince.  The prince inquires "How did you manage to emerge from such hurtful abandonment by your father without growing bitter yourself?"  She answered by telling of an experience she had in the market one day.

"Well", you're probably asking yourself, "why is this soccer mom writing about a little Italian girl?" It goes back to a challenge I was given to tell who my hero was from growing up.  I thought long and hard on this and realized that I didn't really have a person in my life that I would call hero.  I felt pretty bad about that but realized there had to be someone or something that motivated me to crawl out of the life I was born into.  Someone that made me believe in something better. 

My "Brasini" were the characters in my book.  Hundreds and probably thousands of books I kept my nose deeply buried in.  Every book in my school library was polished off.  Then I finished every last book at the public library close to my house.  The librarians would save the new books so that I could read them before anyone else.  

My books were my escape.  I lived in Narnia.  Then traveled through the universe on a tesseract.  You might find me swinging over a creek in Terabithia or solving mysteries with Encyclopedia Brown.  And then as I got older, murder mysteries to solve and then romances where the fair prince would come and steal me away from all of the pain.

But the characters - that was what hooked me.  Their normal families doing normal things in a house with a white picket fence.  "Their way was how I wanted my life to be."  They showed me there was something better.  There was no screaming and fighting.  No crying mom or worn-out dad.  No divorce.  No alcoholism.  In books I could be anyone.  I wasn't a scared, shy little girl who was afraid of her own shadow.  There were no limits as to where I could go or what I could do. Or to the kind of life I could have.  

I realize now that all of the fiction that I devoured caused me to romanticize every facet of my life:  my relationships, my career, and my family.  Just as I hid from reality in my books, I chose not to look at the reality of my reality.  I wanted to believe in the good.  I wanted everything to work out and I guess I thought if I just wished it that way that it would.  I mean - it always worked out in the books, right?

So, just as the books gave me my dreams, I have found a new set of heroes to help me rebuild my reality - a completely amazing community that is helping me to find my dreams and become the person I am meant to be.  It took me being broken to see through the fantasy world I had always hoped for into a little bit harsher, more serious world.  There is still beauty, but the sun does have to set, the thorns do make me bleed, and the prince may or may not carry me off into the sunset.  I am going to have to make it on my own.  I am going to have to make adult decisions and I won't always like the consequences.  But I have a feeling that the ending of this story is going to be ever so much better than any book I could write...


  1. I can really relate to the need for reading so much when you were younger. I was very much the same. It was my escape too. Fortunately for me, I met and had my prince for 23 great years but my book is far from being finished!! You are one tough cookie!