Sal was at the first-ever meeting of the Bethlehem Writers Group in 2006. She had written several vignettes that she hoped would be inspirational, and brought them to the group for a critique. I remember it well. We had never met before, and here was a bright-eyed, white-haired woman with short bits of writing on several aspects of life and spirituality. The only problem was . . . they came across as preachy.
All of us who knew Sal know she was never preachy—but that’s how her writing came across. And that’s what we told her.
Instead of being discouraged, she went home and tinkered with them some more. At the next meeting she brought another draft, then another and another at the meetings that followed. She told us later that after each meeting she would go home and Mel would ask, did they like this one better? She just shook her head. Nope.
But, in true Sal fashion, she never gave up. She kept writing until she finally found her voice—by writing about her life. And when she did, she wrote from her heart.
One of the first such stories was about being in her writing cabin and looking out the window to discover that someone had stolen her Vespa. In her story, she went through the stages of grief over losing her beloved scooter, only to find as she walked back to her house . . . that she had parked it somewhere else.
Sal could laugh at herself.
Once she found her voice she wrote about nature. She wrote about recovery. She wrote about strong women, good friends, and spirituality. And then she combined the best of all of them when she wrote about building her house.
It took her years to complete her memoir, From Scratch: Why I Walked Away from My Life and Built This Home. At first, it was hard for her to share her private pain with members of the writers group—let alone imagine sharing it with the world. But every time she gave more of herself to her story, she lent it a truth that, when published, helped others in pain to find their path to healing.
When she finally published the book, all of the writers group family celebrated. And, in the months that followed, she learned that her words were inspirational—and anything but preachy.
She stayed with our writers group for the rest of her life. Over the years, Sal became so much more than a fellow writer. She became a cherished friend.
We are so happy to have been part of her journey, and feel very blessed that she was a part of ours.
Carol, Beautiful memories. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Veronica. Sal gave us all many beautiful memories over the years.
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