Interview With Michele Vecchitto


Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview with Michele Vecchitto. Michele is a friendly and kind woman who has a talent for writing wonderful poetry and engaging stories. I have been following her for a couple of years now, so I hope you will like her writing as much as I do. You can visit her blog here: Steps Times Two – Love and Life . . . The Second Time Around.


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Credit: Michele Vicchetto

1. Hi Michele, Please Tell Us About Where You’re From?

I live in Niantic. It’s a lovely town on the Connecticut shoreline that somehow manages to hold on to the charm of days gone by while still offering all the conveniences I might need.

One of the many treasures in Niantic is a used bookstore called The Book Barn.It now has four or five satellite locations, but the main store is a complex which includes a large barn and several quirky, smaller buildings, each overflowing with books devoted to a particular genre. The few resident cats and some goats, add to its unique vibe. It’s a place to spend the day and get lost in books. Niantic also recently opened a new boardwalk along the beach that offers fantastic views and a place to meet neighbors.


2. Can You Tell Us More About Yourself, Your Everyday Life?

I’m the second of four sisters. My family is especially close and the fifteen children my sisters and I have between behave more like siblings than cousins. My parents are definitely the foundation of our lives. I love everything about belonging to a large family – the support, the laughter, the chaos, and the history we create.

My three children are young adults, busy finding their place in the world. In some ways, they could not be more different from one another, but they remain close. I’m enjoying watching them evolve into the adults they will become. I’m proud of the choices they’ve made and the direction each of them is following in life.

I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.

Our personalities are different but we complement each other well. We are each other’s top priority and do everything we can to support each other in our many endeavors. We’ve intertwined our families and I feel blessed to have his three strong, caring, and talented children in my life as well. They, along with their families, are a vital part of my life.

On a professional level, I teach middle school Literature and Language Arts. I love working with students of this age. It’s my favorite age group of kids. I’ve taught math and science and enjoy teaching each subject, but I’m most thrilled to spend my days sharing Literature with my classes. Preteens and teens this age are discovering their voice and it’s exciting to see the world through their eyes.

Additionally, I work as a freelance editor. I’m working with an audio book company and enjoy the exposure to books I might not otherwise read.


“I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.” – Michele Vecchitto


3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging? 

I started my blog in 2014 as a way of keeping myself disciplined about writing, but I’ve always been a writer. I kept journals as a teenager and still have poems I wrote for a memorable class in high school.

My teacher, Ms. Jordan, helped me discover my voice and probably inspired me to become a teacher. I was a stay at home mom for fifteen-years, and when my children were in school, I’d spend eight or more hours a day writing. I took writing classes and completed two novels and a few children’s books.

When I divorced in 2007 and returned to work full time, I lost some of my dedication to the craft. Steps Times Two is my blog and remedy to not being able to write all day anymore.


4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? Why Do You Write?

I’ve always been a writer as mentioned earlier. I many of my stories and poems from younger days and used to write tales for my kids, nieces, and nephews.

I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.

Beyond these meanings, I love the way writing connects people. I am so excited to be able to talk with people from all over the world about subjects I have brought up or someone else has written about. It sounds sappy, but I believe people are more alike than different and we all have something to share. I am a big fan of the community writing fosters between writers and readers (etc).


“I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.” – Michelle Vecchitto


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Credit: Michele Vecchitto

5.  Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?

Sometimes motivation comes from pure emotion. I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of it’s own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.

Inspiration for me can come from anywhere: a look between two people; a snippet of conversation I overhear; the expression on someone’s face when they don’t notice I’m looking; and/or an unexpected situation or some mundane activity we all experience. Music also inspires me. My playlist has a bit of everything on it and I love to hit play and let my mind drift. Sometimes I’ll find something to write about immediately and other times, I have to file an idea away and let it resurface when it’s ready.

As well, I’m a huge fan of writing prompts and blogging events. It’s a terrific way to stay involved in the writing community and interact with other people. I love to follow and read what other people are writing because each piece leaves me with something to think about and offers a varied perspective to consider. Prompts for me are similar to a puzzle. Each of us figures out how to put the pieces together in a different way to create authentic images. It’s fun when someone has a completely unique take on the same prompt.


6. Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer to Write?

I prefer to write in the mornings, although, it’s not always possible. During the week, I will write when I come home from teaching school. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I’d write from the time the kids went to school until they came home. I miss those days! I’m hoping to stay home next year and write full time.


“I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of its own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.” – Michele Vecchitto


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Credit: Michele Vecchtto

7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? 

I have my blog which I try to work on each day. I also post on Poet’s Corner on WordPress and do my best to keep up. I am working on a historical fiction novel based on my husband’s grandfather who escaped from Poland in the early 1900’s. I’m enjoying the research portion of this novel greatly. In addition, I recently cleaned up a YA novel I wrote about ten-years ago. My romance novel also needs editing and I have two short stories to finish.

My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!


8. Can You Tell Us About What Your Publishing Process Has Been for Some of Your Writing?

I’ve had poems published in anthologies and in places like The Reverie Journal. I have self-published two volumes of poetry which can be found on Amazon. I’m considering adding a third volume but I think my next push will be seeking a publisher for a novel.

Years ago, when I had more time, I was organized about sending my work out. I had a contract with Blue Mountain Arts and several ‘good rejections’ from publishing houses. I took classes and attended conferences. I think networking is a huge part of the publishing process and hope to get back to it in the next year.

I’ve been invited to participate in the Austin International Poetry Festival next April. Eight of my poems will be included in their anthology and I plan to travel to the event to do some readings.


“My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!” – Michele Vecchitto


9. Are You Able to Describe Your Writing Process To Us?

My writing process varies, depending on the type of project I’m working on, but it always includes music. I have a million playlists and a great pair of headphones.

The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me. If I’m working on a poem, I jot ideas or prompts on post-it notes and arrange them around my writing space.

If I’m working on a formal piece, I’ll have notes on rhyme schemes and various types of poetry. After I write, I’ll look for photos to accompany what I’ve written and then decide on a title. My titles always happen last.

If I’m working on a novel or short story, the music part is the same, but I’ll have notes on my bulletin board or in folders which I can flip through. I also send rough drafts to my sister Maureen. She’s read everything I’ve ever written and offers me honest feedback. She’ll tell me what works for her as a reader and what doesn’t, then I go back and edit.

I set my larger pieces aside, sometimes for days but often for months, and then return to them so I can see them with fresh eyes. My YA book has been through three major revisions already and I think it’s almost ready to send out.


11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading? Any Genres In Particular?

 I’m not sure you can be a writer without being a reader. I love both equally and will read almost anything. I like to balance my writing with quick, light reads and books which require more concentration. I’m  a big non-fiction reader. It must be the teacher in me, but there’s never too much knowledge to learn. I always want to discover new things.

My own writing style has surprised me at times. My YA book is a fantasy novel which is something I’ve never followed, however; a fantasy story was the tale waiting to be told when I tackled the YA book project.

I must confess, I do enjoy writing darker, more provocative pieces. There’s such power there. I enjoy  inspirational pieces as well. Both of these kinds of writing have their place.


“The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.” – Michele Vecchitto


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Credit: Michele Vecchitto

12. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers or Anything Else You Would Like To Add?

I find the more I write, the better I get. It’s a commitment and like any other craft, needs to be nurtured so, keep writing.

I’ve also started a Facebook page and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitter has been a great resource for finding writing communities and sharing information for me as well.


13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?

I’m not sure I have favorites. I love to read blogs of all styles and content. A friend of mine started a blog in which she combines book reviews and running called Belle of the Book. It’s fun to follow a blog when you know the writer personally. If the writing is good I want to read it.


14. Here is A Piece of Michele’s Writing She Has Shared:

“Deerfield’s Ghosts”

By Michele Vecchitto

deerfield
photo: Atlas Obscura

Wandered into a cemetery

surrounded by a stone wall

hidden in the deep wood

The cold winter’s wind

calling the shadows and

whispering my name

Air weighted with sadness

as tombs of sorrow beckoned

like a house so empty

I stood alone, waiting

as voices of the lost

washed me in time’s tempest

My hands embraced each soul

as I traced those crumbling stones

placed long ago with care

Overcome with tears

as I read of Martha. loving daughter

a life lived five short years

And her mother, wife of John

who shared the same last day

in another time, another place

Night fell and mockingbirds

resumed their evening song, playing chords

that matched a funeral march

Chilled to the bone and wearied

I sank to my knees beside a family plot, crying

Tell me where hope lives

Awareness that each stone was marked

with that date, February 29, 1704,

came slowly, deliberately

Echoes of war drums rang

through the silence as fear

electrified the hallowed space

The massacre of yesterday

forgotten as time moved on

still hosts ghosts of the innocent

Every once and awhile

the lost invite someone back

to share their story

And so I did


Michele says about “Deerfield’s Ghost:” “I love this one because it almost wrote itself. When I came to the point when I narrowed in on a subject, I googled “massacre” to find a specific date to use and came across a list of victims from the Deerfield massacre of 1704. The funny thing is, it included the names and ages of people I had included in my poem.”


More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:

  • Ray holds special meaning for me because it was written for a dear friend who passed away. Reading it at his funeral was the first time I’d read my poetry in public and I feel grateful I had a chance to honor him in this way.
  • Small Town Hens is an example of a poem I wrote after I witnessed a situation that made my blood boil. It makes me chuckle now because it captured my disgust at poor behavior.
  •  Light of Love was written after the nightclub attack in Orlando. I will sometimes respond to current events in poetry. This incident demanded a response.
  •  The Choice and Metamorphosis are two old ones that I wrote during very difficult times.  I try to live my life as described in “The Choice” and “Metamorphosis” speaks to the ability to persevere in even the darkest of times.

Thanks to Michele for thoroughly and thoughtfully answering the interview questions. I wish her much luck with her writing and future endeavours. Here is the link to her blog one more time: Steps Times Two.


I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview. If you would like to share and answer interview questions on writing and blogging of any kind, feel free to reach-out to me on my contact page. See you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

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Part 5: Never Again: Kasia Meets Scott (her Dad).


Please Read Part 4 of ‘Never Again’ here.

Part 5: Never Again – Kasia Meets Scott (her Dad.)

(A month later).

Kasia was walking around a neighbourhood in Nice, shopping for Spring. She remembered a time when it was difficult for her mother Jolene to make ends meet.They could afford only items which were majorly on sale, or search for quality items of clothing from the thrift store. Sometimes, Kasia still found an item or two at the thrift shop.

Although, Kasia preferred to buy from La Petite Mademoiselle, her mother’s clothing store chain because of the sizable discount Kasia received, sometimes she enjoyed buying a few fashion pieces at some more unique boutiques. A sky-blue silk scarf and a shiney pair of gold leather heels, were Kasia’s unique fashion finds  this day. Jolene wouldn’t be expecting Kasia to be home for a few hours. Kasia had planned her trip that way, she had someone she needed to visit before she went home.

—–

Kasia had enjoyed spending a great deal of time back at the Chateau with her Auntie Cathy over the past month. Cathy had shown Kasia old pictures of her Mom,  as well as pictures of Kasia’s Grandparents. Kasia pointed out how beautiful Aunt Cathy was in some of her old pictures. Cathy smiled at her and changed the subject, showing Kasia pictures of her deceased husband Henry and telling Kasia stories of how Cathy and Henry met. Kasia had sipped her wine, while Aunt Cathy talked. She wasn’t paying much attention to Aunt Cathy’s repeated story but Kasia perked up when Aunt Cathy flipped to photographs of Jolene with a handsome young guy. Jolene seemed to be in many pictures with this one boy.

” Who’s that?” Kasia asked Aunt Cathy. Cathy’s hesitation was all Kasia needed. “That’s my Dad,  Scott right?” Kasia exclaimed. Cathy bit her lip and worried it between her teeth. She looked back at Kasia.

“Yes, that is Scott Jeune. Please, Kasia stay away from him. He’s not a nice man. Your Mom never told you about him sooner because he is selfish and arrogant. You don’t need him and his problems in your life. You are still so young Kasia, barely fifteen-years-old.” Kasia listened to her Aunt but in the back of her mind, she was already waiting for when she could be alone and Google Scott Jeune on her tablet. Kasia was going to meet her Dad one way or another, while Jolene was kept busy with meetings for work.

—–

Jolene had been spending hoards of her time with the owner of the Chateau, Luc Devreux. Kasia couldn’t remember her Mom actually dating a man more than once or twice. Her Mom always came home upset and dejected after the few dates she had. Luc was a fun guy and he made Jolene happy. Kasia couldn’t believe how light-hearted and content her Mom was when Luc was around.

Best of all, Luc was aware of how special Kasia was to her mother. Luc wasn’t outgoing as Jolene was, but he was a dependable and kind. He was the complement to Jolene’s outgoing personality. Luc was helpful, thoughtful, and a good listener. He invited Kasia along with him and Jolene often, but Kasia knew her Mom needed alone time with Luc too. Kasia was glad her Mom had someone to spend alone time with.

Kasia was a teenager and boys her age, were mostly in an awkward phase — even though she was friends with many of these boys. Kasia was often attracted to guys a bit older then herself, to her Mom’s horror. The last guy Kasia had liked had been eighteen.

—–

Nevertheless, Kasia took a taxi into Nice today. Shopping was Kasia’s coverup story, because most of her time would actually be spent talking with her Dad. Kasia had made an appointment with Scott Jeune, through his assistant. Scott worked at Jeune Incorporated. Kasia had no idea what she would say to him, or if Scott would even believe she was his daughter. She simply wanted to meet Scott, to confirm in person, who her Dad was.

Kasia wouldn’t go as far as saying she wanted to spend time with Scott, after she met him. She didn’t want to cause trouble for her Mom, going to see Scott; her Mom had  kept herself and Kasia hidden from Scott for five-years. But Kasia felt she had a right to know her own father. Anyone, who saw them together and had eyes, would know Kasia was Scott’s daughter. Kasia had seen how similar she appeared to a young Scott in Auntie Cathy’s photographs.

When Kasia arrived at Jeune Incorporated, she checked in with a receptionist and was directed to Scott’s office, to his Personal Assistant. Kasia felt nauseous as she waited to meet Scott, she wondered if she was making the right choice coming to Scott’s office.

The green tea Kasia drank made Kasia’s stomach upset and she jerked when Scott’s assistant told her, ” Mr. Jeune will see you now, Miss Gudroe.” Kasia nervously stood up and straightened her pencil skirt. She followed Scott’s assistant to his office and sat down on a soft leather chair. A skeptical pair of brown eyes assessed her. Kasia couldn’t breath, she was sitting in front of her Dad.

“Hello Kasia, pleased to meet you. I’m Scott Jeune. My assistant told me you say you’re related to Jolene Gudroe. I’m a bit confused; I’m not sure why she didn’t come here with you. You seem a bit young to be attending business meetings.” Scott said smirking. Kasia bit her lip, drawing a dot of blood.

“Well the truth is, Scott, I’m here alone. I made this appointment on my own and Jolene doesn’t know about it. I’m Jolene’s daughter. I’m here to see you because I only found out a month ago, that you’re my biological father.” Scott looked shocked.

“That’s not possible. Your mother and I broke up when we were twenty-one.” Scott said gruffly.

” Yes I know,” Kasia replied. “But she was pregnant and you wanted her to abort the baby. She only told you she aborted her baby. She was trying to hide her pregnancy from you and that is partly why you never saw her in person after you told her to ‘take care of me.’  Jolene kept me. I’m her daughter and your daughter too.” Kasia said, emotion evident in her voice.

Scott laughed. ” How much money are you after Kasia? I know a trick when I see one. You’ll get nothing from me. I hear your Mother is doing financially well, ask her for money.”

“It has nothing to do with money,” Kasia said firmly.”It has everything with me wanting to meet my Dad.” Scott shook his head in disbelief.” Look at me Mr. Jeune, can’t you see we look related. Besides not having your brown eyes, we look a great deal alike.”

Scott’s face had gone white.”Jolene didn’t abort the baby. You are that baby, that would make you fourteen?” Scott said.

” Actually, I just turned fifteen.” Kasia was happy to be a year older and closer to being more grown up.

” I can’t believe she never told me, ” Scott declared suddenly angry. ” What  is wrong with Jolene. You have existed for fifteen years and she never once mentioned you.” Scott’s fingers dug into the leather of his armchair, making indents.

“Well,” Kasia said matter-of-factly, “It’s your own fault Mr. Jeune.” Scott looked taken aback by Kasia’s comment.

“My fault?”

“Yes, I will tell you why. And I will also tell you why you are going to leave me and my mother alone, despite the fact I’m your biological daughter. I needed to see you today to ensure I was right, that you are my Dad. Looking at you I know. The timing of when my Mom was pregnant lines up exactly for when my mother was seeing you.” Kasia explained.

“You told her you weren’t ready to have kids. You wanted her to get rid of me as if my life was worth nothing. You tried to take away her right to choose. But she loved me even at a few weeks old and kept me. She was so hurt and mad at you, you just threw your money in Jolene’s face and said to her to get me ‘taken care of.’ I hate you for that.” Kasia paused, sipping a glass of water in front of her. Scott was rapt.

“My mother wouldn’t talk to you for a month because she didn’t feel she could tell you she was pregnant — you didn’t want me. And you always planned everything for her. You never gave her a say in your relationship. You wanted her to remain a skinny model and not to achieve her dreams of going to fashion school. Then, you told my Mother you wanted her to stay home and have kids and when a kid arrived, you wanted to abort me.” Kasia shouted.

“Not to mention, I’m aware of how you slept around behind my Mother’s back. My Mom only learned about this later. She loved you so much, she would never have cheated on you. When my Mom first told you she was pregnant, you were dating your wife, Katrina because she had money and did what you wanted her to do. You can control Katrina…” Kasia cried. Scott looked furious.

” You’re just a teenager, what do you know Kasia?” Scott shouted. “Don’t talk about my wife that way. I couldn’t handle a kid at that time I was working, building a future, doing my Masters in Business, and trying to keep up with your Mother’s career. She was always travelling. Jolene loved showing off and having people look at her. If I used her beauty to my advantage so what. She used it, why shouldn’t I as her almost fiancé.” Scott said.

“And yes, I’ll be honest with you Kasia,” Scott said lowering his voice, “I’m a handsome guy. I’ve had my share of women. When your Mother was away, I needed other girls to keep me occupied.It’s how men are. You should know Kasia, you’re a smart girl who undoubtedly attracts her fair share of boys. My best advice for you if I’m your Dad, is that ‘boys will be boys,’ Kasia.” Scott said this last part with ridiculous self-assurance.

Kasia thought Scott was a disgusting pig. Not to mention, if Scott was her Dad, she didn’t need to know about him sleeping around at any point in his life. Still, Kasia was curious how Katrina felt about Scott’s unfaithfulness.

“Does Katrina know you cheat on her all the time? Do your kids know you sleep around? Do you have sons you are teaching to treat woman as badly as you do?” Kasia asked softly. Scott didn’t look perturbed by her questions.

“Fair question,” he mused. “Yes, Katrina knows I sleep around. And she has an ongoing affair with a guy she met in Madrid, on vacation. I don’t mind honestly, it keeps her occupied from bothering me. Not that I’m not ‘with’ my wife often but she knows how it works in our marriage; in many marriages. Just as I said, boys will be boys –men will be men.” Scott smirked again, annoying Kasia greatly.

” And your kids?” Kasia asked Scott again. He shrugged.

“I have a daughter who is about twelve-years-old, and when she is ready to date, I will make sure she eventually finds a guy who will take care of her. I can’t help it if the guy is faithful to her, I wish I could. But I’m not a hypocrite and don’t expect different behaviour from other guys when I am not faithful to my own wife. Sara’s mother will help her to understand. Katrina grew up in a world where she learned exactly what men behaved like in relationships.” Scott said matter-of-factly.

“I have two boys as well. They are young yet, but I imagine they will be a chip off the old block; I was. Does that answer your questions Kasia?” Kasia was tired and Scott made her feel disgusted about all men. She  hoped they weren’t all like Scott, or his Dad — her paternal Grandpa.

“You are awful Scott. I’m glad I never knew you were my Dad before this month. You’re supposed to be faithful to the person you marry, it’s a partnership. You don’t sleep around because you are supposed to love your spouse and be honest with them. Your view of marriage is screwed up Scott. ‘Boys will be boys,’ is a pitiful excuse you use to get away with being a coward and man-whore. No wonder Katrina has a long standing affair with another man. He’s probably treats her the way you should be treating her.” Kasia said angrily.

” My Mom always thought you were her ‘one and only.’ Then you tried to make her get an abortion. You dumped her two-months later. She never got over you and whenever she tried, you would contact her trying to hook-up and have an affair with her. She could never heal because you wouldn’t let her be. My Mom thought for the longest time she would only love you for life. But she was wrong, she is seeing someone now and he’s nothing like you, and I’m so glad.”

“Who’s she seeing?” Scott asked, “She still loves me. Jolene always will, this guy is only the newest model. Jolene was as much of a whore as I was.” Kasia shook her head in disgust at Scott’s jealousy and lies. She stood up and held out her hand. Scott appeared confused but he shook Kasia’s offered hand. His touch gave Kasia chills.

“Nice to meet you, mon pere, now stay the hell away from my Mom and me. Jolene hates you and so do I.  I understand why my Mom never told me about you, she was ashamed of you. You are an ass and I never want to speak to you again and I want nothing from you. Don’t contact us ever.” Kasia screamed the last part and Scott was taken aback at her fury.

“Wait Kasia…” Scott tried to reason with her, ” you’re my daughter, you can’t introduce yourself and then tell me to leave you alone.” Kasia was already striding out of Scott’s office.

” I just did,” Kasia replied giving Scott the appropriate finger.

—–

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.