Posted in Personals

How to Be Saved

Howdy! Sorry this post is so delayed…it may be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but it’s gotten off to a bit of a rocky start. I’ve been stressed out for a while and finding it difficult to buckle down on what I want/need to do.

There’s a certain line in Hugh Wheeler’s book for A Little Night Music

“I should never have gone to flirt with rescue when one has no intention of being saved.”

These words are spoken by Fredrik Egerman right before his soulmate, Desiree Armfeldt, sings “Send in the Clowns.” Fredrik and Desiree regret that their paths didn’t cross at the right times; they are now both changed people, and frustrated that their present circumstances will likely keep them apart.

Of course, for those two, the musical comedy world mandates that they overcome this obstacle and get together in the end. In the real world, it’s more complicated.

I often think about myself, and how I’ve always felt a need to “save” people. But I also think about how I occasionally think that I, too, need to be “saved.” What does it all mean? Why do I feel this compulsion to make people happy, to lighten their burdens? It doesn’t fall on me to do it for them, especially if they don’t want to be “rescued” from whatever they’re going through.

But Lord, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be the one who makes it better from them. As for me- to name an example- I look at this one relationship of mine. How one of the things I really like about it is that it enables me to “escape.” But at the same time, I don’t think I am doing all I can to save myself…for reasons both internal and external. And tethering the “escape” to an interpersonal relationship creates unnecessary pressure for the other party, and dependence within myself.

I suppose the point of this whole thing is the following: do I keep trying to rescue others, or know when to stop? And at the end of the day, can I gain a new life for myself?

Posted in Personals

Do you love him, Loretta?

“Love don’t make things nice. It ruins everything. It breaks your heart.”

Dearest Anonymous…we had a good talk last night, I think. It always feels good when you get things out on the table, because then you can work on fixing them. Step by step.

Of course, in our case, that will take quite some time.

It’s easy to fall in love with love. It makes your brain run on all cylinders. It makes your heart race in the best way. You get this stupid grin on your face for no discernible reason. And you feel at peace with your world. In my humble opinion, love is the most important driving force of the human spirit. It’s what keeps us together as a species. When channeled, it can move mountains.

Unfortunately, no matter how powerful love is, sometimes it gets misdirected. When that happens, you get what Nicolas Cage describes in the above quote from one of my favorite movies. Or you get what’s transpired between you and me over the past year.

Neither of us may have regrets, but I will still maintain that leaving me was a mistake on your part. Maybe that’s at the core of why I seem to get pulled into your gravitational field over and over. Because I don’t believe I got a fair chance to prove that I could be what you needed.

Near the beginning of Moonstruck, Olympia Dukakis asks Cher if she loves her fiancee. When Cher replies “No,” Olympia says that this is a good thing: “When you love them, they drive you crazy because they know they can.” Well…I don’t think you are quite that sadistic! But, you will lie in the bed you made.


For now, Anonymous, have a lovely summer, good luck with your new gig, and may we both find the happiness we deserve. See you on the flip side.

Posted in Writing


by Amanda DeLalla


It was good to talk again.

‘Cause every now and then,

You’ve gotta let your feelings show.

I hope to see you before long.

When I’m at the end of my rope,

The thought of you makes me strong.

I carry a piece of you with me every day.

And you have a part

Of my fragile heart.

It’ll be even better when you stay.

I’ve felt the fears of 23 years,

But they won’t come back anymore,

All because you walked through my door.

If it’s true that all roads lead to Rome,

And if it is meant to be,

I’m sure that you will come back home- to me.


Posted in Writing

“What Do You See, My Dear?”

by Amanda DeLalla

What do you see, my dear?

When you look into my eyes,

Am I sensing your fear?

Could you tell me lies?

What do you see, sweet boy?

Someone who you could adore?

Or perhaps you see merely a toy,

You can put aside once you’re bored?

What holds you back, my dear?

Why don’t you feel so free?

Is your reflection what you’re afraid to get near?

Or are you ashamed of me?

They say that one’s worth should come from within.

Some have trouble adhering to that.

If I tell myself I have thick skin,

My dear, why do I ask what you’re looking at?


Posted in Writing

I’m on SwoonReads!

So, yes, that means I am working on a novel. You can connect with me on the site here. I haven’t published anything yet, but the story is in progress. How about I share an excerpt with you right now? Lemme hear you say YEAH!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…a sneak peek of “Nineteen”…

I remember meeting the famous (infamous?) Maribelle Anselmi like it was yesterday. She was a freshman at our university, and as the graduate assistant for the media department, it was up to me to aid her in planning a schedule for next semester.

She arrived in the dean’s office exactly two minutes before her appointment time, a camera bag wrapped around her shoulder, and sat unceremoniously on a leather couch. I didn’t think much at first until I looked up a second time and spotted her gazing at me from the corner of her eye. Those eyes struck me- ice blue in opposition to her cascading chestnut waves. I figured she was Italian for two reasons. One, the last name. Everyone knows that if you are Caucasian and your name ends in a vowel, you are probably Italian. Two, this town. It has the highest concentration of Italian-Americans outside of New York’s five boroughs. Chances are, if you were born here, you are Italian. Or you speak Italian. Or you wish you were Italian. Or you eat Italian food. I myself have family roots in Sicily.

Anyway- back to Maribelle.

“Hi,” I said with a smile. “Would you kindly present your student ID and check in?”


She approached the desk with her card and handed it over. Maribelle Annina Anselmi, Film Studies major, nineteen years of age. I swiped it into the computer and her course grades popped up on the screen.

“Okay, we’re all set,” I said. “You can sit back down. Dean Morales will be with you in a few minutes.”

She winked. “Thanks, Mr.…?”

“Rizzoli,” I replied, holding out an ink-stained palm. “Christophe Rizzoli- some people call me Toff.”

After we shook hands, she cocked her head slightly. “Rizzoli, huh? That name sounds familiar. I once attended an indie rock show at the civic center where the lead singer’s name was Rizzoli, but I suspect there’s no relation here.”

“Jaime Rizzoli?”

She raised her eyebrows. “Yeah!”

“He’s my older brother.”

“Oh! I knew this couldn’t be a coincidence. Well, if his guitar skills are any indication, talent must run in your family! I may have to ask you to read for my next short. Thanks!” And with that, she laughed and returned to the sofa.

Dean Morales called Maribelle in not long after. I heard her sashay into the office, a simple pair of black pumps clacking against the wooden floor. As the door shut behind them, like clockwork, another girl came in. This one was the antithesis of Miss Anselmi- porcelain skin, flame-red hair pulled into a bun, and brown eyes. She did not sit on the waiting couch but came right to the desk with her ID card.

I swiped it. Felicity Lena Contini, Dramatic Acting major.

“May I help you?” I asked.

“Not really. I was just wondering if I could speak to Dean Morales regarding my application for honors credit.”

“You’ll have to wait a bit. She’s in an advising appointment with Maribelle…” I stopped myself. Why in the world had I mentioned her name? The identity of the person in advisement was none of this girl’s business. Or so I believed.

“Maribelle?” Felicity’s interest was officially piqued- yet she didn’t pursue it any further. “Well, that’s all right. I’ll come back later.” And just as suddenly as she’d drifted in, was Felicity Contini drifting out.

I then tried to get back to work- but I guess you could say I was already spellbound.

Posted in Personals

A Real-Life Christmas Story

In honor of this week’s holiday festivities, allow me to share with you a personal story of something that happened two days ago, on Christmas Eve. You see, I work at a retail store some days as a cashier and one of my coworkers is effectively homeless; most of her paychecks go toward paying for her mother’s medication.

So on Christmas Eve, my coworker Wendy tells me that many of the employees would be chipping in some money to buy Christmas dinner for this girl. I gave a $10 bill. The higher-ups at human resources told us it might look suspicious to security if we handed over cash, so they recommended we use the money to buy Visa gift cards and give them to her. Before Wendy paid for the gift cards, she told me that we’d collected $194. As it turned out- and here’s the really freaky part- with the purchase fees on $175 worth of Visas, the total of the transaction came to EXACTLY $194!

Wendy gave our present to the girl privately, as it was (correctly) predicted that it would evoke an emotional reaction. I spoke to the girl later that day, and she said that she’s not a crier- but bawled when she received the Visas. She also said that in all her years of living in Oklahoma, no one had ever done anything that nice. So the moral of the story, folks: even a small act of kindness can mean the world to someone, and NOT just around the holidays. Keep the faith!

Posted in Writing

Back With a Vengeance, Congrats Scarlett Johansson, and Blog Announcements

Hey dilettantes, thespians, and artists alike!

Sorry it’s been a while since the last entry, but I was having trouble coming up with a decent way to close up Tudor England month here on Puccini’s Chronicles. And I think a nice way to take it full circle would be to bring it back to the story that started it: Phillipa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl. In contrast to the successful page-to-screen translation of A Man for All Seasons, highlighted in a previous post, TOBG wasn’t nearly as well-received by critics and audiences. We’re going to look at one particularly entertaining (and scathing!) review of the movie…and a couple of my own opinions…

The author of the film review was historian Alex von Tunzelmann. She first goes on to skewer the source material, which apparently changed the historical role of Mary Boleyn from that of a bed-hopping eldest sister to the innocent younger sister of Anne and George Boleyn. In the book, Mary’s motives and feelings are thoroughly explored to make this inaccuracy plausible, but for film, Gregory’s 600+ page yarn had to lose most of the detail that made it a great read. Ironically, she actually was a fan of the screenplay for her story. Von Tunzelmann (and other critics) note that while the casting of Anne (Natalie Portman), Mary (Scarlett Johansson), and Henry VIII (Eric Bana) was on point, the love triangle between the three was poorly staged and not terribly sincere.

One thing that Gregory’s novel got right was the number of Mary’s children by the king: two. In the movie, however, only one (the son) has existence. Also, my personal favorite parts of the book (the romance between Mary and her second husband William Stafford) were turned into a literal footnote of the film. But at least Stafford was portrayed by the then-unknown Les Mis star Eddie Redmayne.

By the way- congratulations to “Mary Boleyn” on the birth of her real-life daughter this week, who has a remarkably classic name: Rose Dorothy.

As for the announcements: One, the fictional Giacomo Puccini story that began this website will be suspended indefinitely until someone else submits a chapter for it. There’s only so much exposition I can create! If you like what you’ve seen so far, become an author for it. Please?

The second announcement is that of our theme for the month of September: COLOR. What do I mean by color? Well, anything- use of color in art, musical tone color, even color words in the titles of songs (think “Rhapsody in Blue” or “White Christmas”). This is going to be a very broad topic that investigates the different emotions evoked by notions of color.

Posted in Writing

Excerpt from “Once and Never Queen,” a novelette

“I am not going to toy around with frivolous small talk,” he said, “but I will get right to the matters at hand. For one, Lord Cromwell is due to be executed at dawn on the last day of the month.”
My jaw dropped. “Why would you order such a thing?”
“It was he who forced me into this marriage with you. And now look at us- do we seem like a happy couple?”
There was only one right answer. “No, sir.”
“Exactly. We both knew we weren’t a match for one another, and yet he insisted on this alliance with Germany. His foolishness put the both of us in a terrible predicament, do you understand?”
“I understand, but how was Lord Cromwell to know that France and Spain would not join forces against us?”
He grew impatient with my questioning and his face flared almost as red as the hair of his beard. “He is my chief advisor! He should have some degree of insight!” Taking a breath, he calmed down. “But my queen, my dear, peaceful queen- I may have found a way for us to be set free from our bondage.”
I didn’t consider my marriage to be bondage. It wasn’t the most affectionate, but it certainly wasn’t all that bad. I felt resentment flicker in my heart. “What did you have in mind?”
“My men have procured these documents for me,” he said. “On them it is recorded that you were once betrothed to a duke named Francis. Is this true?”
“Yes, but we were never married.”
“That is immaterial. As long as you were engaged to someone else at the time of our wedding, neither were you and I married. As a bonus to us, what remnant we did have of a marriage was never consummated.”
“Of course it was,” I replied.
His eyes widened. “This is no time for jokes. Listen to me. All you need do is sign a submission paper and our marriage will be annulled. You will make one more public appearance as my queen on May Day- and then you will leave my halls. Provided you stay in England, however, I will do whatever I can to ensure that you have everything you need.”
He paused and looked me in the eye, daring me to object. And I almost did. Clearly, he and his men had thought this all out and my fate was sealed already. I knew what had happened to Katherine of Aragon when she fought her husband’s wish for an annulment. Separated from her daughter, she died abused and alone at the hands of the King. Even if I cooperated, I was taking a gamble- the King could easily go back on his word to take care of me.

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