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Monday, August 24, 2015

Dear Diary. Or Not.

The August theme is “Dear Diary.” I kept a diary for all of two minutes when I was a young teen. My life wasn’t interesting enough to chronicle. However, I found another outlet for my teen angst—poetry.

I wrote my first poem after a family trip out West when I was thirteen. It wasn’t my first trip there. I’d lived in northern Nevada for three months when I was an infant. My father was stationed at the Fallon, Nevada, Naval Air Station during WW2. Other than that, I’d spent my whole life on the East Coast. I fell in love with the West, especially the Southwest desert, on that trip when I was thirteen. This love has lasted all these years since. My first poem was titled, “I Came, I Saw, I Left My Heart in the Western Desertland.” I can hear you sniggering now. What can I say? I was very young. I like to think my poems got better.

I wrote close to twenty poems from my teens until my early twenties. All were angst-ridden. I poured my heart out in those poems. Some of the last ones I wrote were when I was twenty-one. I went to the Jersey Shore with friends one weekend. While dancing in one of the clubs, a group of guys openly mocked my dancing talents, or lack thereof. I have no sense of rhythm and have never been able to dance, but I tried. After being mocked, I stopped dancing altogether, but I wrote a poem about my feelings. I stopped writing poetry as my life got busier and happier. It’s painful for me now to read those poems of an unhappy young woman still trying to find her way in the world.

At the Ancient Roman Forum
The closest I’ve come to keeping a diary was keeping travel journals. I’m passionate about travel but haven’t done nearly as much as I’d like. I kept my first journal on a trip to the Southwest in 1998 with my husband and son. I kept journals for other big trips, including a multi-national family reunion in Australia in 2002. It sounds ambitious to keep a travel journal, but I wrote most of them when the trips were over and I had to rely on my memory. When we travel, we’re too busy doing things for me to find the time to journal. One diary that was especially useful was the one I kept from our Italy trip in 2006. Soon after, I wrote Murder, Mi Amore, a romantic suspense set in Italy. I consulted my travel diary to make the setting as real as possible. Every place mentioned in that book is one we visited, and every meal is one we ate while in Italy. I’ve since written a novella set in Italy, on Capri, again using my diary, and I’m planning a book set in Ravello, another place we visited on that trip.
With Australian and Italian cousins, Melbourne, Australia, 2002

One thing my travel journals have in common is they each start with me chronicling our lateness in leaving for the airport. Remember the airport scene in the first Home Alone? The family running through the airport? That’s my family. On our first trip to Vegas in 2000, we were running very, very late. Philadelphia International Airport is no more than thirty minutes from us. On this day, our lateness was exacerbated by the heavy traffic. When we finally got to the airport and had to show ID, my husband discovered, in all the stress, he’d left his wallet with his ID’s at home. We barely had time to make the plane, let alone go back for his wallet. This was before 9/11. The airline person checking us in let my husband board without ID since my son and I had our ID’s. Can you imagine that happening now? Yes, all this is documented in my journal for that trip.
Cousins from three continents enjoying lunch in Abruzzo, Italy 

Another theme this month is the gem Peridot. It’s not my birthstone, but I love Peridot because I love green. I have a Peridot ring, a necklace with Peridot nuggets, and two pairs of Peridot earrings. And lots of green clothes to wear with my Peridot.

Sadly, summer is almost over. It’s my favorite time of year. To help you hang on a little longer, I have a deal for you. The boxed set Sizzling Summer, a collection of three full-length novels from authors Lynn Reynolds, Ann Whitaker, and yours truly, is on sale for only 99 cents at Amazon and BN. The price goes up when the leaves begin to turn.

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Ann Whitaker 
Cara Marsi 

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A sexy, sun-drenched romance set on the island of Capri. Can inept journalist Amanda Jackson get an exclusive on playboy Eric Greyford, or will she wind up as just another item on the gossip pages of his newspaper? 

Dog Nanny by Ann Whitaker 
A romantic comedy set in the heart of Texas 
When vet tech Julie Shields agrees to train two delinquent poodles to save them from becoming doggies of divorce, she doesn't count on having to harness her desire for hunky pilot Nick Worthington. 

A Catered Romance by Cara Marsi 
There's more than business brewing between two old high school flames. 
Stubbornly self-reliant Mary Beth Kendrick needs financial backing to keep her catering business cooking. A looming corporate buyout forces her to accept help from Tom Sackett, the man who broke her heart and left her with no appetite for love. 

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vicki batman said...

Hi, Cara! and something I never knew about you-writing poetry. I wrote my first at 9 and would do some every now and then until I married. I guess my angst was gone by then and replaced with frenetic mom.

Melissa Keir said...

You and I have a lot in common. The poetry is something I love to write. It is fun to choose just the right word to convey an image, especially one that resonates with the reader. The angst poems are the most interesting to go back and read. I still have my teen poems that I wrote in high school. Some days they are fun to read, just to see how much we've grown!

Janice Seagraves said...

That's wonderful that you were able to travel with your family and found a creative outlet at a young age.

I love Peridot too. I have a few pieces of jewelry and some emeralds I like to wear with my green clothing. It goes well with my green eyes and red hair.


jean hart stewart said...

A most interesting column, Cara. Love the pictures and getting to know a bit more about you.

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks, Vicki, Melissa, Janice, and Jean. I appreciate the comments. I've got family all over the world, in almost all hemispheres and continents. Wish I could visit them all. Lots of journaling then!

I think about writing poetry again, but luckily my life isn't so angst-filled.

Paris said...

I wrote a bit of angst ridden poetry in my early teens but it was never really my thing. Love the pictures of your amazing and far-flung family! This is the kind of journal that is the most fun to keep! Loved the post:)

Cara Marsi said...

Thank you, Paris. It's amazing we've connected with the family as many members left Italy after WW2 and went to South America, US, Australia.

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