Kathy walked into TheCorkScrew. During the day it had masqueraded as a cafe with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks, and any alcohol you felt like adding. At night the old place truly came alive as the beloved town bar where everyone met to have fun and catch up.
However, the building no longer met fire code regulations. It hadn’t when she started working here as a bartender when she was sixteen, having procured a fake ID. But twenty-five years later the place was so terrible it had to be torn down; even renovations couldn’t save The CorkScrew.
At the front of the bar were bottles from years gone by. For some reason one could still get an ancient bottle of 7Up to mix with lime juice and Vodka. There was original Coca Cola and original Pepsi, whatever you preferred to have with your Rye or Rum.
Kathy along with neighbors, patrons, and friends — some she’d known all her life — had come to the bar one last time to watch as The CorkScrew was boarded-up. Oddly enough, even the rats seemed to be leaving the building, which only made Kathy cry harder.
Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview withMicheleVecchitto. 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.
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 calledThe 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. Markis 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
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
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
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 aFacebookpage and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitterhas 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 calledBelle 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:
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 blogone 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!
Good Morning! I’m thrilled to share with you another blogger and writer for my bi-weekly interview series. For personal reasons The DifferentOnecannot share her true name. But she is a talented blogger trying to find herself in life through her writing and blogging. Her blog is called: Standing Out As The ‘Real Me’.
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself?
I used to use the pseudonymAirg but now I go by The Different One. I’m from the USA but my origin is Indian. I can’t share a picture of myself for personal reasons, but I am a girl.
I attend school and afterwards I share my experiences during the day on my blog. I’m told a have a pretty mature mind for my age. Sometimes I act my age. I only let people who know me well see I’m your average girl. I suppose I’m afraid to see certain people’s response if I don’t act maturely most of the time. I’m smart and intelligent, but other kids didn’t especially appreciate this fact. Particularly, during my preteen and teenage-age years, life was tough for me.
Something interesting about me was that I wasn’t supposed to be born. There were issues at my birth. The Doctors said I’d lose an eye, lose a leg, or die during my fourth month of life. But this didn’t happen thankfully.
I was born two-months premature at about seventeen-inches, weighing only a pound. But despite having issues at birth and when I was a small baby, it doesn’t affect me now. I had a blood infection when I was born. But, I survived and today I’m your average girl.
2. So How Do You Feel About Yourself Today?
Some people receive gifts or talents such as strength, beauty, or intelligence. Although, I’m smart, I’ve never felt pretty. Sometimes you see people walk by and think, “That person is pretty.” But it isn’t the case with ME! I don’t pay attention to what others think of my appearance because beauty is not my gift.
I have a medium brown complexion, which I think is an unattractive feature for a person to have. I used to worry about it. At school even though people don’t particularly try to be rude, Ican tell by their facial expressions what they think of my appearance.
It is and was difficult to be a girl who isn’t attractive. I wanted to standout at school and be noticed for my looks as some girls are. But, one day I realized beauty isn’t important, nor what others thinking about my appearance. I’m just me. God gave me, myself as a gift and I’m satisfied with her.
By the way, I don’t believe in popularity and certain religious principals and beliefs. I do believe, however, God gave me life, guides me, and allows me to take a hold of my life in the direction I best see fit. I guess you can tell now, I don’t talk as a person of my young age usually does.
” [O]ne day I realized beauty isn’t important, nor what others think about my appearance; I’m just me. God gave me myself as a gift and I’m satisfied with that.” – The Different One
3. When Did You First Start Blogging and Writing? What Value Does Writing Have To You?
I started blogging a few weeks before my birthday on June 23, 2016. Writing means a way I can show people who I am. A way they can appreciate me for who I am. I write to share my experiences and journey through life. Perhaps I write to find the real ME, I’ve been searching for her for a long time.I want to be able to act like myself and not feel judged.
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
Whoa! This is tough! I started writing to find myself as I mentioned above. I was going through a stage trying to figure out my purpose and who I am; an experience everyone goes through at sometime. For me this stage occurred earlier than I expected. Nothing particularly, motivates me to write except myself sitting down and writing. I write for me, alone, if that makes any sense.
My inspiration is my cousin Nimi. She’s the reason I can say I’m happy to go through this stage I’m experiencing. We have always had this sisterly connection since I was six-years-old. In a way, she inspires me to be the person, the human being I am today. In this way she is an inspiration to me when I write. Other wise, I honestly don’t know what inspires or motivates me in my writing.
“Writing means a way I can show people who I am and they can appreciate me for who I am. I write to share my experiences and journey through life. Perhaps, I write to find the real ME I’ve been searching for, for a long time. The me I can’t act like at the moment, but I want to be able to act like.” – The Different One
5. What Time of Day Do You Most Enjoy Writing? Is There a Purpose To Your Writing? Have You Ever Had Any Writing Published?
Well after 3:00 pm is the best time for me to write because that’s when school ends. Mostly, I write from 6:oo pm through 10:00 pm. My purpose or project is to find my path in life, at the moment.
I have some writing pieces which I thought about publishing before. People at school used to try to act cool. To me it was as if they were acting so ‘sunshiny’ all the time; they weren’t authentic. They were hiding behind a shadow. I wanted to explore this shadow people hide behind and find out who they actually were. I approached my writing as if I was trying to get to know these people and their personas. I guess when I wrote, it fell into the topic of human psychology. But I don’t do that kind of writing anymore on people’s false personalities; however, I do plan writing more about human psychology, growing-up, life, and my beliefs in the future. That’s my ‘thing,’ my area of expertise.
6. On Your Blog, Do You Have Any Publishing or Writing Process You Go About? Are There Any Writing or Read Genres You Prefer?
I have no idea how I publish, even on my blog. I just write stuff and see what comes out. Publishing for real is something that will come much later for me. I have no writing process really. I am not writing as a professional. I want to write like me, to express myself and what I’m going through. I write,write,write and post it on my blog if I feel like it. That’s about it.
I enjoy writing about experiences in life, human behavior mostly. I always write something about humans and how they feel and react. I love reading biographies about famous individuals such as Anne Frank. I also enjoy reading realistic fiction or diaries which have been published.
“People at school used to try to act cool. To me it was as if they were acting so ‘sunshiny’ all the time; they weren’t authentic.They were hiding behind a shadow. I wanted to explore this shadow people hid behind and find out who they actually were. I approached my writing as if I was trying to get to know these people and their personas more.” – The Different One
7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers? Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share With Us About Your Self or Your Blog?
I don’t specifically have any helpful advice for other writers because I know some people might not listen to my advice. All I can say is for bloggers and writers is to write whatever you want.Be who you are and write, even with mistakes and spelling errors. Simply write and whatever comes out, comes out. Write like you!
I feel my writing journey will end sometime. I won’t write until I die on my blog. Once I figure out who am and deal with the realities of life bothering me, than for me, I’m done. I’ll remember writing and blogging as a ‘finding me,’ exercise in life.
My best friend died about a year ago. March 15,2015. I remember it very clearly. My grandparents called and it was 11pm night in USA.It was awkward because they never call at that time, we would be sleeping, But,that day my family was busy with stuff.
Phone : Beep beep
Mom: Your grandma might be calling. It’s late!
Grandma: Saying stuff.
Mom: Aww. Poor thing. When? I can’t believe it. When we used to visit India it was always there. *******( my name) loved him. I won’t tell.
Me: ( I was thinking it might be about Tyson. He was getting old. And dogs don’t live that long) Mom anything happen? Tyson?
Mom: No,no, he’s fine.
Me: Mom c’mon!
Mom:(Saying in a language I didn’t know to my dad random stuff.) I heard Tyson’s name though.
Me: Tell me! Is he dead? I started crying a bit.
Dad: No! He’s just in hospital. Stop crying.
Few days later I go on Facebook. But, now I don’t have it anymore. I see a post from my uncle’s account. It was posted March 17,2015 12:56 pm or am. It had a pic of my dog wearing sunglasses. It said something like” not forgotten”. I was like” huh”????? In the comment section everyone was saying “Rip”. I was like wtf. Something is totes wrong!
I called my uncle even though it was 2am in India. I screamed and cried. He said no no. They were kidding. Nothing happened. And all that shit. But, I believed it though.
That summer when I went to India I saw my uncle. I asked him at the airport what actually happened to Tyson. He told me this shitty story about a doctor having a lot of loans, so he took all the animals and ran away, Tyson was with them. I’m like stop! Tell me. But, at that point I knew he died. I just wanted to hear it from my uncle’s mouth. He said Tyson is dead. I started crying.
The whole 2 hour drive I cried. When I reached my grandparent’s house my face was crispy and dry, gooey at some edges.
I visited his graveyard and prayed. I learnt that he was sick one day. He threw up. And usually my grandma cleans it up. But,she just came from the hospital ,so my grandpa did. And he was staring at my grandma. Then he slept for a while, and wasn’t replying. My uncle was on tour. And my grandma called him immediately and said something happened to Tyson. And Tyson was my uncle’s son. He rushed back home but 6 hour drive though. My uncle’s friend came and in a blanket carried Tyson to ambulance.
After a few minutes in the ambulance, the thingy that shows if they are breathing normal was going straight. Then the nurse said,” Sir he is no more!” My uncle’s friend came with the bad news. And everyone cried. My grandparents fell sick because they were in grief.
My grandma closed his eyes and after my uncle came back they did his funeral. They dug him up near a field near our grandparent’s house.
Every time I go there,I see his graveyard and pray and cry.
But, time goes on. I can’t go on praying to God to see Tyson one more time. It won’t work. I kept saying,” Take my life. Not his”. But, c’mon guys. He’s gone alright. Gone.
This summer in India I got a key-chain with a piece of rice. It had his name on it. I put all my sadness in it.
The day before yesterday our family went to the beach. It was 8-9pm. I took the key-chain put all my emotions in it and threw it away. It kept coming back though, so finally I took it out of the box and threw it. I realized that he’s not dead to me anymore. He’s a part of me from now on. I shouldn’t be sad because I can’t see him. I believe he’s always there watching. When I grow up I’ll realize he wasn’t watching, I said that to make me feel better. I do know he isn’t. I know he’s dead. But, who said I can’t lie or believe in something to make me feel better about him.
I buried a letter about him in the sand. Whoever reads that years from now on will know about this foolish girl and her best friend.
Yes, yes, a dog as a best friend is foolishness for all of you guys. But he was my closest buddy until I was 3 years old. Don’t you all think I loved him like crazy?!
His death or absence made me look at animals differently. I don’t get too attached anymore because I don’t have that much left in me to get hurt. I am not tough, or strong physically and emotionally. I’m sensitive and emotional. I can’t go through anymore deaths.
I don’t believe in having multiple BFF in life. Have one for once and for all. Tyson will always be my best friend forever. Humans, nah, anything could happen. Lol. To be safer and happier I’d stay with one forever.
9. Here Are A Couple of Additional Links to A Different One’s Page:
Thank You To A Different One For Sharing With us her writing views and her journey to find herself and her path in life through her writing. I wish her all the best and hope that she finds writing not only helps her as she struggle through a difficult time now, but as she grows older. Once again here is a link to The Different One’sBlog:
Thank You for coming back and reading my bi-weekly interview series. I so appreciate your visits and those of you who have participated sharing about yourselves and your writing processes, whatever part of life you are in. If you would like to be featured in my bi-weekly interview series please reach-out to my on my contact page. Thanks and see you in two-weeks.