43 Comments

Elizabeth, this act of stepping back is as inspiring to me as your writing here. I also walk the tightrope of deciding which things should be let go and which things ought to push forward. The courageous choices always seem to pay back so much (though not always in the ways we expect). I’ll be cheering you from the sidelines, and trying to make some hard choices myself!

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Thank you very much, Judith. I look at this period as an abundance problem. It's so much easier to make adjustments if you are unhappy in one place rather than having a number of really choices. You're right about not knowing how things will go but, like you, I believe that choices always yield growth even if it comes in an unexpected form. I'm cheering for you too as you make some of those choices yourself.

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Jun 8Liked by Elizabeth Marro

There is a sweetness in giving up.

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Thanks for the mention - I like to think that everything we "try" whether we judge it a fail or a success, is worth it and part of the holy learning process of being human (and creative)! ❤️

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Exactly!

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Elizabeth, taking time for your novel is clearly what you need to do, and there's no reason not to reconfigure your time to make that happen. Follow your instincts; they're never wrong. I'm a big believer in change, and sometime big changes. All my life I'd said I would live in Italy someday, my ancestral homeland, but you know, life yada yada. Then one day in summer 2016, at age 60, I said, "If not now, when?" I moved here in 2018 and have zero regrets. Live your life, baby; it's the only one you've got! And I for one will stick with Spark however often it's published. Forza!

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Beautiful words. Ciao!

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Ciao! Grazie mille.

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Just subscribed to your Substack. Sounds fun...Italy is a dream vacation destination for me. So I can visit through your posts!

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Great, thank you! Hope you make it here for real someday!

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Cheryl, one of the things taking a little more time this summer will do is give me time to read and catch up. I love your newsletter and have shared a number of issues with my husband. Now I have learned that your big change came the same year one of mine did. And you were the same age I was. I feel connected in a new way.

My husband is Italian American and has family in Italy. We've visited many times and hope to again. In the meantime, I've been learning Italian. One of my greatest joys is the weekly video chat I have with a friend I made in Lecco. I practice Italian, she practices English. It's been six years now and we have become good friends. Your observation in your recent post about learning Italian is so dead on. The more you learn, the more you realize you don't know. I've often wondered how much better I'd be able to speak and learn if I had a more immersive experience. I was hoping to write a future post about my relationship with this language and would love to ask you for your perspective if you are up for a cross-chat at some point. In the meantime, thank you for your support. Here's a link to an early Spark post about "My Italian Friend." https://elizabethmarro.substack.com/p/my-italian-friend?utm_source=publication-search

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Wow, so much to respond to here! And your post—yes, absolutely, permission to fail, and I would add that we are somehow different when we speak a language not our own—I mean, in that moment, as we are speaking, we are a different version of ourselves. Maybe that’s one reason you chose Italian over French, for what it allows you to be and think.

You wrote a story in Italian? You’ve got me beat! But I’m in the early stages of planning a theater project which will have me translating some English plays into Italian, which will certainly be a good language exercise. I’ll make sure to have expert backup for that!

You’re right; we do have lots of parallels, and I’d love to talk language (and books, and writing, and transitions, and …) with you. When the moment is right, just holler. And if you’re open to it, please let me know the next time you plan a trip here, and I’ll do what I can to swing even un caffé insieme.

Thank you for reading and sharing my words!

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Congratulations on the difficult, necessary decision to scale back your publishing schedule for Spark in order to work on your novel—and keep your own inner spark alive.

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Thank you, Rona. It's heartening to have your support.

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Why not once a month? The thought of you and Spark on the 1st is a good one, then you would have even more time to for your book, to take walks and, above all, think.

I have written a good few times about the 14th July 1975. The biggest of a good few life changing days I have had. From London to Birmingham with my then job in 1969 resulted in an overnight love of the great English provincial city. I arrived in Nottingham in 1979. I love writing, fountain pen in hand, but I so many other things I love doing as well.

At 80 I am more insular than I have ever been and enjoying it, so those of us who love you won’t begrudge you a moment of the time you grab for yourself. You have shared a lot with us already. ❤️🐰

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Sounds like an important anniversary of a big decision is coming up for you soon, Robert. Thank you for your encouraging words. Time to think is one of the goals here. I am eager to see if this adjustment helps with that.

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You know I'm a huge fan of your writing--in a book or weekly post--and I'm so excited to read your next novel whenever it is ready. As to sentences from this week, this is a line about Freya Stark, who I learned about from the memoir "Queering the American Dream" I know you said no context but I was excited to learn about this nomadic writer, born just before 1900:

"There are tales of her riding camels through rebel territory, taking refuge in Bedouin camps, diving into shark-infested waters off the coast of Turkey simply because the water called to her and was too beautiful to avoid immersion, or in her old age (she lived to 100), driving wildly in her handcrafted “camper” through the Italian countryside."

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Thank you, Jen! I love this passage. Actually, I am not worried about providing context or sharing passages with multiple sentences. I just want to keep it easy for folks because I love reading lines like these and learning about books I might otherwise miss.

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Jun 8Liked by Elizabeth Marro

Go! Go! Go! Take the time. Finish it. And thanks for this. I needed to hear it. Those dogs were no help!

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Ha! No, they were no help at all. I'm glad there were some words in there you can use for yourself. Keep me posted!

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You got this! I'm gearing up to finish a draft this summer as well!

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Thank you! Here's to our books and the summer.

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Elizabeth, first of all I’m so touched by this — and I am going to be the first in line at your book signing when your second book is completed, released and you are touring. ✨I’m so glad you are creating a writing schedule that allows this to happen. And I’m honored to be included in this piece — and I also loved learning more about you. Thank you! ❤️

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How lovely of you to say all of this, Jolene. Thank you. I really loved your essay and look forward to more of like this one. In the meantime, here's to both our journeys. May they continue to bring us ever closer to who we are and what we are meant to do.

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Beautifully said, Elizabeth! ❤️

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This sounds like a good summer plan: the summer of writing. I love it ❤️

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The summer of writing. I will post this on my wall in case my spirit lags or I simply forget that summer, like every minute of every day, is fleeting. Thanks for the support, Janice!

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Good for you! Enjoy your focused novel writing time. You deserve it!

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Thank you very much, Andromeda. I do expect to enjoy this!

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Jun 8Liked by Elizabeth Marro

I had just picked up my class cards for the next semester at the U of Nevada (Reno) & was about to pay for those classes, when, a VOICE said..."GO!" So I went home, gave a 2 week job notice, loaded up a few belongings & went to live in San Diego.

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Jun 8Liked by Elizabeth Marro

From Ann Napolitano's "Within Arms Reach" --> "I have the sense that I am walking towards my strength, toward my saving grace."

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Jun 8Liked by Elizabeth Marro

Elizabeth; for what it's worth, SPARK is a time-consuming adventure & I enjoy the stimulation, but you must set your priorities so you can finish your book. Your energy is BEST spent to that end, NOT on SPARK. I suggest you do a monthly, and your followers would still be happy: NO discounts necessary; our contribution is quite minimal.

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From Our Strangers by Lydia Davis "I don't like not knowing how to spell a word, since I am interested in how words are spelled." Same, Lydia, same. As to staying or going, I have agonized over this question so many times in my life. Going was always the right answer in my case.

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Jun 8Liked by Elizabeth Marro

We will still be here every other week--taking inspiration from you, cheering you on. More isn't better when you're already the best. xoxo

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Glad to know you'll hang in and thanks for the kind words, Courtney!

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