Writing has been a big part of me ever since I was a little girl writing for my own amusement. As a woman, I filled many a journal, doing my best reflections in writing. Then in 1992, a friend developed terminal cancer. I shared that journey with her for thirteen months. My journal helped me find some sanity in the insanity; birthing an essay, “Friendship Elevates Our Lives.” When my friend read it, she got this determined look in her eyes.
“Promise me,” she said. “Promise me you’ll get this published. It could help so many people.”
I made and kept that promise. In 1995, I received my first writing check. I knew I would continue to write for publication after requests for reprints came in from people who had friends with cancer.
After the publication of subsequent essays, the Senior Editor of Woman’s Day called me and asked for an essay!
Simultaneously I worked online for Inscriptions Magazine doing book reviews, and working as a stringer for our local weekly newspaper from 1997 until the paper’s demise in 2005. Working on a series on Tottenville’s history for the newspaper, another door opened.
In 1999, the Council on the Arts & Humanities Staten Island (COAHSI) gave me a grant to research Tottenville history and to hold an interactive workshop in the community. In 2000, the New York Public Library had me conduct an additional workshop at the Tottenville Branch. In 2002, the N.Y. State Assembly cited me as a Staten Island Woman in History. The 50 Plus show interviewed me on Staten Island Community TV, as did WNBC’s Gabe Pressman for his news report on Tottenville.
Everything was looking up for my writing career.
Then life intervened.
My husband’s poor health got progressively worse, forcing his disability retirement in 2008. I assumed more caretaking responsibilities, and had less time to pursue my writing career. He developed gangrene during Christmas 2010, was admitted to the hospital on January 4th, had his leg amputated on January 31st, and died on February 28th.
However, this is not how my children and I want to remember him. As a memorial to their father, my children are walking on October 23rd to fundraise for the American Diabetes Association. I am so proud of my children for starting Team Carmine to remember their father, doing something positive in his memory to help others.
For Christmas, with my husband aware this was probably going to be our last one together, Carmine gave me the iPad I coveted, inscribed with “Always believe,” as a tangible sign of his support for my writing career. Between our children’s following in his footsteps caring for others, and my husband’s encouraging last gift to me, it comforts me to witness his love living on, propelling me to continue to work growing my writing career.
Angie Mangino, a former investigative reporter for the Staten Island Register weekly newspaper, is a freelance writer who has been providing quality service to editors since 1995. Publications online and in print include articles on a variety of subjects, essays, and book reviews.
Her website http://www.angiemangino.com has her full writing resume.
Angie networks on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and is always open to meeting other writers, firmly believing writers have so much to learn from, and to share, with each other.