Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Because of A Book with Melissa Sarno

This week I am pleased to have Melissa Sarno joining me on the blog.  Here is a little about her...

Melissa Sarno is a writer and producer living in Brooklyn, NY. After working in television production for several years, on the sets of live televised events, promos, commercials, and reality tv, she made the switch to children’s media. She now writes and produces content for toys and interactive games. When she’s not writing elegant prose for preschoolers, she writes for an adult audience and most recently finished her first novel, Spared. Now she begins the exciting journey to get it published. Read more about Melissa on her blog, This Too (http://www.melissasarno.com)

     I can think of many things that have happened to me because of a book. As a child, I definitely had an overly romantic and idealistic view of the world. I thought that things would be much more exciting if I could live on a farm with talking pigs like in Charlotte’s Web or prance around, following a red robin to an enormous secret garden. I wanted to be the fifth March sister in Little Women and I had lots of other nonsensical ideas that might have gotten me funny looks on the playground. Of course, I now believe that a healthy imagination led me to write the stories I write today. The fact that I knew stories existed at all must have led to my belief that I could create them too.
      I wrote stories from the time my Dad brought home a strange Apple computer when I was 7 years old. Pac Man got boring after a while and the only other thing to ‘play with’ on the strange contraption was a word processing program. I wrote all kinds of silly little things I wish I could read now. And if you had a computer that still read a floppy disk, maybe I could! I also told people I wanted to be an ‘author’ like Ann M. Martin, creator of the beloved Babysitter’s Club series.
      Despite the fact that I was so invested in the idea of becoming a ‘writer’ and that I had become so wrapped up in stories other people wrote as well as absorbed in the words I was putting on paper, it did not hit me that stories and words were powerful things until I read The Diary of Anne Frank. The fact that she sat down to write in her journal every day. That she told her story despite unimaginable human suffering. That she was just a young girl and she had a voice was remarkable to me. Of course we know her as a symbol of so much more. I mean the praise for this book is epic; her wisdom at such a young age, her faith in the human spirit, her haunting prose, all about a life cut tragically short. But for me, it was all about this idea of being 15 years old and writing out your thoughts even when no one cares and no one is listening. And then knowing that those words could become what they became. That it was just a paper and a pen that could make the whole world turn their heads and listen.
      Of course, there are many books that shaped me as a writer. But it was her diary that told me if you sit down and write what you think, it could mean something to someone. And at 15 years old myself, I thought, Well, this makes a lot of sense to me. This is pretty cool. You never know who will hear your stories. You never know who will relate to them. You just sit down and tell your story the best you can with the knowledge that someday it could mean something to someone.

About The Diary of Anne Frank - Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl is among the most enduring documents of the twentieth century. Since its publication in 1947, it has been read by tens of millions of people all over the world. It remains a beloved and deeply admired testament to the indestructible nature of the human spirit. Restored in this Definitive Edition are diary entries that were omitted from the original edition. These passages, which constitute 30 percent more material, reinforce the fact that Anne was first and foremost a teenage girl, not a remote and flawless symbol. She fretted about and tried to cope with her own sexuality. Like many young girls, she often found herself in disagreements with her mother. And like any teenager, she veered between the carefree nature of a child and the full-fledged sorrow of an adult. Anne emerges more human, more vulnerable and more vital than ever.

Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the horrors of Nazi occupation, hid in the back of an Amsterdam warehouse for two years. She was thirteen when she went into the Secret Annex with her family.

Buy it at IndieBound


Lori W. said...

What a cool blog, and I enjoyed your post, Melissa.

Jennifer said...

Great post. I was saying the whole time, me too, me too! Because as a little girl (and sometimes even now) I loved imagining that I was part of a book. I loved the possibilities that books created for me. And as soon as I got my first computer, I was typing away silly little stories about my dreams. And to this day, I can't help but create fantastical scenarios in my head. I just wish I made more time to write them down.

P-A-McGoldrick said...

Wonderful comment on books.
Some of your choices and responses echo mine.
It is always so interesting to learn how our point of view, our frame of reference, affects our responses to the same book. Little Women, for example, with the 4 sisters, matched my family situation. Jo was inspiring to me for the writing as I hoped to be a writer.
Well written, Melissa.

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