Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Embracing Serafina

It's snowing out again, and the wind is howling. But I am warm and cozy and lately have been travelling through Europe.

How so? I've been immersed in a 603 page tome, "Embracing Serafina" by Penny Petrone. It's part memoir, part journey of self-discovery. And a great travelogue of Petrone's adventures.

I, who can find a dozen reasons to not even venture to the city in winter, am in awe of this woman's sense of courage and adventure. She often travelled alone, not something done by most women in the late 1950's.

Last summer I was signed up to take a memoir writing workshop taught by Dr. Penny Petrone. It was evident from the promo material that she was a well known author and teacher in the area. I was, as is common for me, oblivous to this fact and signed up for the workshop because it looked promising.

A few days before the workshop, Penny passed away. Her funeral was the day of the workshop. The class was taught by another excellent writer, and friend of Penny's, but it was evident from the memories and stories shared about her that day that she had indeed been an awesome woman. I found myself wistfully wishing I'd had the chance to meet her.

"Embracing Serafina" was given as a gift to those of us attending the workshop in honor of Penny's memory. This gift has been my opportunity to discover the woman who wrote it. To travel, to journey, to dream, to vicariously share her adventure. Her vivacious eyes sparkle from the photos within the pages. She must have indeed been a fascinating woman.

Fate may have cheated me the opportunity to meet her, but I am ever so grateful for writers who leave pieces of their soul forever bound in black ink between the pages of a book.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Penny and I are off to Egypt. * o

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