356 Comments

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who's gotten here late! Although I'm a longtime f/sf (fantasy & science fiction) junkie, my reading diet for the last many years has been nonfiction, both for pleasure (if driving yourself crazy about contemporary politics and U.S. history can be called pleasant) and for work. I'm a freelance editor by trade, a writer on the side. I live in a studio apartment in West Tisbury, MA, with a four-year-old malamute named Tam Lin (you can probably guess from his name that I'm a bit of a folkie). I learned about Backstory Serial from Joyce Vance's Substack, which is one of several I follow regularly.

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I love to read and love mysteries and knitting. This is my first time on substack and I love the shortness of the installments.

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What a delightful idea and story. I am second generation Italian and delighted to find this serial takes place in Italy. I am attempting to apply for Italian citizenship through my maternal grandparents who came to "America" in the early 1900's from Ischia, an island in the Bay of Naples. But I find myself here not because this serial takes place in Italy but because I have admired the three of you from afar. Grazie!

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I don't know why I am here except that I love Italy and all things Italian, I have, with moderate success, tried knitting, I love cats, and I love good food, both cooking and eating it. I also really got a lot out of reading Mary's book about her Uncle Donald, whom I abhor.

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Hello, Late to the gathering. Life was a little over-busy until an enforced stint of quarantine has provided a little breathing room. I’m a scientist (gene expression) and I really like my job. I love animals (cats are my reward for being an adult), making things, ballet, and eating outdoors. I have 2 kitties, a brother and sister who came to me Jan 2021,n couldn’t love them more if I tried. I am a delusional knitter (I believe that I can knit 6 sweaters/year…it’s more like 2…2.5). I’m a beginning weaver- my pandemic new hobby. I think of caring for my joints as a hobby—arthritis trouble, so I’m really into mind-body-wellness movement practices. I used my postoperative hip-replacement X-ray to make greeting cares— I’m that obsessed. If Mary ever wants to talk about the ‘Alex Studies’ I’m all in.

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I from flaming red Missouri. Born in rural Cape Girardeau, home of Rush Limbaugh, finally escaped to St Louis. Not in the city though, so I’m in South County, St Louis a bigger Cape. I’m 70 and the Group Leader of Indivisible St Louis. Our mission was to beat the Trump agenda! And now we just want to Locked Him Up! Enjoying your serial novel a lot

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Must agree with Patricia Wood! Women are smarter, braver, and far more interesting than men, and you, Mary Trump, E. Jean Carroll and Jennifer Taub, just make me happy. I love that all that brilliance is writing a romance novel. What fun! You must know that Stacy Abrams is a romance novelist. Her fans organized to get her elected. Alas …

As for me:

Without meaning to, I have succeeded at: being a ship’s cook in Sweden’s archipelago; performing bare-breasted at Moderna Museet in Stockholm (where I lived for two years); producing theater in NYC; teaching (adjunct) at SUNY New Paltz and Bard College; creating the makeup for Robert Wilson's Hi-Def Video Portraits; designing makeup and hair for Broadway, opera, film, television, and even circus (honestly, the best design I ever did); singing backup and playing harmonica for Holly Beth Vincent's post punk, new wave band, Holly And The Italians; and surviving two coups (Liberia and Haiti) and four marriages. Yes, four marriages, which earned me the moniker in Europe, The Immigration Angel.

When I finally decided to do something I meant to do, the only something that was important to me, I began to study writing. It took thirteen years to get good at it. I'm published only because an editor friend asked me to write an article about a Southern California artist for Bob Guccione Jr’s magazine, Wonderlust. My focus has been literary fiction but I thought it might be a fun lesson, like writing with a prompt. Turns out I love writing essays and realized I had been writing them in my head for years. When Bob asked me to write more, I said yes.

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I'm loving this concept of a Substack serial. I will be starting mine in the next week or so on Substack (protagonist is a 30-something Jewish woman working in corporate America who undergoes growth and change to put her on a path of fulfillment. Travel aids her in this journey.) There's romance, but it's more about self-discovery and falling in like with yourself. Thanks for the wonderful read here.

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I’m 63, newly divorced from husband of 33 years who went careening from marital home to full time caregiver for my mom with dementia, in a rental house--my imagined next chapter vanished. I am wondering if there’s any romance for me in the future. That’s why I’m reading. Like Anastasia i lost myself too. And i suspect part of the answer is in Europe too.💗😀

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Hi Amy, The ink on my divorce papers from a 30-and-I’d-have-to-do-the-math year marriage dried on March 3, 2020. I find my 62 year old self both thriving and a little bit lost. I don’t know if there’s romance in your (our?) future, depends on your definition. But, I’m sure that there will be plenty of beauty and friendship; because having those is a matter of choosing those. I know the elder care is a real challenge, so I hope you can find all the help and patience you need. Warmest wishes, Kat

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So lovely of you to reply and in such an empathetic and insightful way. I really appreciate it. Thriving and lost--that about sums it up, the ups-and-downs of refinding ourselves in this new chapter. I absolutely believe in beauty and friendship as life sustaining and wholly fulfilling and I have chosen to fill my life with both, as much as possible, to keep myself afloat during this rocky time. If romance comes along, it will be icing on the cake. Warm wishes to you, too!

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I live in the desert, I am from Chicago I am retired and spend my time painting and playing music. I pay attention to politics and hope the women in the country will come out to vote for choice. I have 6 children that are wonderful people.

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Just starting to read the story and though I don't usually read romance, love and admire the authors here, and just picture them smiling to themselves as they write this... so enjoying it immensely!

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Buongiorno! That's close to the extent of my Italian......I so enjoy your Italian Story! I am a Sicilian - American and plan on visiting Sicily in October..... I love to garden, cook and sing. I'm hoping to learn Italian about Sicilian music, having only heard it when I was young. I'm a jazz singer in Boston (can't quit my day job)......... I'm very excited to find connections and roots. Congratulations to all 3 of you on this fun story.......My nieces and I actually made up a Bingo game about Hallmark romances (in order to make them more palatable for me to watch). Thanks for the great fun reading.....

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I’m late to the story. My friend gifted me a subscription to this, which is so lovely. I love cooking, knitting, all things with fiber really, writing, a love for travel but a lack of budget, and long to live somewhere with a friendly yarn shop, a garden of my own, a place to knit and have tea in the sunshine, a place to cook for friends, and a local market day to shop and meet the people who grow food locally. I try to do this in my city but the crime and grit and expensive prices at the farmers markets get in the way. I wish I could step into the pages of this novel in a way. I look forward to reading more.

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Hi there! First of all, I want to say that I just love The Italian Lesson. Like some of the people who have answered, I don’t read a lot of romance (I’m a pretty big fan of mysteries) but this story is totally charming and fun. My husband has written books (so I know how hard it is to be a writer), but I think it takes a special skill for three people to collaborate AND to serialize it in short bursts. I don’t know how you do it, but you manage to reveal a lot in each short installment and leave me waiting for the next one!

I’ve spent most of my professional life living in bright blue states (New York and New Jersey) and I’m a retired investment banker. I’ve lived in many urban areas (Detroit, Chicago, New York City, London, Philadelphia) but also spent seven terrific years in the Catskill mountains with deer, bears and coyotes as neighbors. I’m a University of Michigan grad (Go Blue!) as well as a Kellogg MBA.

When COVID struck, my husband and I moved to Charleston, SC to “join the family pod” as my brother put it. Thankfully, everyone in the SC family pod is a democrat. We are loving our house, the climate, the city of Charleston (with its culture and history) and being close to our family. Living in a bright red state???....hmmm not loving that as much! One of the women writing below, currently living in Texas, referred to herself as a “blueberry in a bowl of tomato soup” and that sure resonated with me.

What’s currently floating my boat? Well, it’s taking me longer down here to find “my people” and my causes, but a home renovation, family gatherings, gardening (LOTS of gardening and learning about a new climate zone), plus piano and French lessons are all keeping me busy. Oops, I forgot the most important item – I LOVE to knit! And Purl Soho has been my top “go-to” place for fabulous fibers, free patterns and great advice for the past three years. I’ll also give a shout out to my favorite Philadelphia yarn store – Loop Yarn. That’s where I first got back into knitting and took lessons to get me back in the groove. I’m looking forward to seeing some of you on Sunday for the KAL. I cast on my two-color mistake rib scarf last night and I’m ready to knit.

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Hi ladies. I so enjoy this for many reasons, one of which is the wit and whimsy of your collaboration. You make me feel like part of your tribe. (I’m guessing others might feel that way too.) I know quite a bit about you from your appearances on TV and your social media posts. Thank you for asking us to introduce ourselves to you. Twelve years ago, at age 48, I almost died from a DVT and Pulmonary Embolism, and discovered over the course of my recovery that I have two blood disorders. Inspired by my survivorship, my husband and I took a leap of faith away from our professional careers and launched what I affectionally call “Peter & Kim Part II.” Not retirement. Not a hobby. We went all in on an idea that took us from buying a building, to opening & operating a coffee roastery and bakery, to acquiring a liquor license, and expanding our business into the world’s largest bourbon bar. We live in Kentucky, so bourbon is our native spirit. Also, when you live in a MAGA GOP state like KY (& donald not yet behind bars), you need all the coffee & whiskey you can get. Cheers to more chapters, more laughs, more surprises, and meeting new friends.

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I grew up in the south and moved back to retire. My boat (a small pontoon) actually does float on the lake near Chattanooga,TN. My retirement is worth all the hard work and struggles I encountered during my career. I, at age 25, was happy to be a stat-at-home mom but my husband decided he liked a little chickie boom boom and divorced me. Learning to be self sufficient and strong didn’t come overnight but I’m able to say I am now better than just OK. After a number of frog kissing I found a guy who values me

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Hi from Gresham Oregon (sub of Portland). I’m just now catching up with the reading and I find it very entertaining so far. The writing is nice and light, a welcome distraction with the heaviness of what I normally read. As of late (last five years) I’ve woken myself up to the reality of the disturbing condition of the world: climate change, political injustice, etc.. I don’t knit, but I have crocheted. In fact I still have a half finished granny square blanket I started over 20 years ago with the full intention of finishing one day. Love the writing! Love the community. Peace, fairness, and equality float my boat. Cheers! Deanna

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I just found these as I'm getting used to using Substack. I love this story although I don't usually read romance. I see that many of the commenters are in my age group (77). I'm retired from a special education/speech pathology career and although I've always been somewhat disabled from an inherited connective tissue disorder, I've become much more limited in the last 8 years affecting mobility, vision, and voice more recently. I love to embroider (tried knitting but never got very good), read, listen to podcasts Kelly Corrigan, Ezra Klein, Diana Butler Bass and others. Since I can no longer act, or play much music and could not be vaccinated (that will really isolate you!!), I've been thinking about writing something for those who are disabled and/or aging. We'll see. I'm amazed at the breadth of talent in all these voices and love the connections. I'm a big believer in using what you have and am so glad I discovered your story and all these lovely readers. I look forward to the rest of the year.

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GO, HUSKIES! NIU 1968 for this Chicagoan. I grabbed early retirement from JP Morgan Chase with my 2nd marriage. We escaped to Pinehurst, NC - U.S. golf capital with 48 courses. My spouse traded his car for a golf cart and I bought a local real estate company. Our life as entrepreneurs was extremely gratifying with wonderful folks all along the way. We were blessed with amazing travel adventures. Italy has always been one of my favorites; whatever direction we start out in seems to wind us back into the Italian countryside. Thanks for the vicarious stimulation!

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Hi from Johnston, RI! When I bought my house in 2013 I had no idea I would be living in the trumpiest town in this very blue state. I’m enjoying your serial and am looking forward to the zoom knitalong!! Knitting has kept me sane and afloat through the stresses of raising medically fragile preemie twins. That and getting away from people and into nature on a regular basis (birding). Happy to meet kindred spirits here.

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I want to meet all of you! So much in common. I am 73 live in a small town on the Blue Ridge Mtns in NC . I love to knit, meditate/ centering prayer, hike, read, play mahjong, bike ride, and campaign for democrats. I’ve been: a dog catcher, waitress, farm hand, tour guide, park ranger at Everglades National Park, administrator of youth service, and most recently teacher.

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Jun 21, 2023·edited Jun 21, 2023

72 yr old recently retired after 40 years in medicine (anesthesiologist). Miss it terribly but wouldn't go back now - enjoying my sleep-ins and days off.

Born in Hollywood, grew up in Long Beach, had horses through high school, worked at Disneyland, went to UCLA (sociology), moved to Bavaria (au pair), Vienna (student), then London to be flight attendant for Pan Am. Travelled lots and had many adventures. Laid off during fuel crisis '74; many odd jobs. Fell in love with baseball player for many years. Back to waitressing, chef, lifeguard, and to school for nursing which morphed into UCSF med school and MD. Then Harvard, U Washington, and Perth Australia. Global medical missions for many decades (most recent trip in March to Hue Vietnam). Worked in Williamstown MA then settled in Humboldt County CA, where I live now. Got MPH in Tucson, returned to Arcata. Divorced, homeschooled 2 sons, oldest now piano prof at Bard in NY (married to delightful soprano, also Bard) and my second son left robotics and is yogi guru who lives with me. He loves to tend the garden/yard and we get along great.

Taking some classes. Love to read, cook, DIY, hike, yoga, meditation, travel, animal rescue, and rant at the evening news. Rediscovering how to pamper myself. Romance novels fit into that project very well. And Marocchino. And I may have been inspired to resume knitting.

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p.s. - LOVE reading about the other followers here. It really gives me hope that so many thoughtful and caring people are out here echoing good thoughts and energy to counter the ne'er do wells...BDM

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Wow, I am a 75 year old Canadian who would love to learn how to knit if I could sit around listening to all of you - what a diverse smart group. Opposite experience to Connie (below) Had an independent life til 52 then became a couple - both were/are good. I am a political junkie - more regarding the states because it is more exciting’? Trumps’s first four years took me hostage basically, it was so unbelievable. So I love knowing there are such strong smart women (E.Jean, Mary) out there fighting for their rights and organizing the others like Joyce is. It has been wonderful following her and Heather and I have appreciated Steve Schmidt - I need him to explain the republicans voting for Trump. As far as the story - good must win out! Thank you!

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I am 77 year old widow;I hate the word but have learned to manage an independent life for the past two decades. I was 55 when my husband died. I wrote a book —Above and Beyond Wellfleet: a memoir about welcoming life after loss. The little book is a series of stories about how I did just what the subtitle suggests. I believe grief. is like a foreign language which most people feel uncomfortable talking about and most people feel awkward about listening. My hope was that the stories could be read in the middle of the night, when loneliness strikes and help ease anxiety; I’m told it does. I am in the process of writing the second book —embracing living a solo life. When your book was recommended, I signed up to read it immediately. Women writers, brave women, fighting the backlash of wicked people trying to take away our hard- fought for freedoms. Utter perfection to me. I love the installments:I savor them rather than binging them. Who wants to race through Tuscany!?!? Thank you for this delicious read and for all you do in your private lives (and not so private) to help give us hope for the future.

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I’m floated by smart women like yourselves! I love that you’re having FUN writing this book together. I’m also loving smart women like HCR, Joyce Vance, Jessica Valenti, etc write about our lives every day. The side that isn’t so entertaining because we’re being attacked EVERY DAY. Every single fucking day and it’s not pretty. So thank you!

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Greetings from the gorgeous Foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California and the little semi-rural town of Colfax. I'm a little blue dot in a red county in a bright blue state. I'm 69, a retired public school teacher (7th & 8th grades) of many years. But as a lifelong teacher/learning, I'm now teaching women's history and literature and writing classes to those "55 and better" in the OLLI program at my local college, Sierra College (OLLI = Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). And, my first book, an adventure memoir, "Force of Nature", is being published by Black Rose Writing in September! A lifelong dream of mine has been to be a published author, and soon I will be! I'm very enamored with the slow unrolling and interactive nature of "Backstory Serial", a format that really allows for lots of creative connections and "bird walks". Thank you, E. Jean, Jen, and Mary, for treating us to this creative venture of yours!

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Hi Joan! I am from Nevada City and currently live in Iowa. I miss home and am excited to come back for my 40 year reunion in August! Have a wonderful day!

SandyLee Quinn

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How fun! Time flies, doesn't it! My niece is moving to Iowa right now to take a professorship in Iowa City!

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How wonderful! My daughter lives there as well. Great city☆

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Congrats, Joan. What a wonderful achievement for you. I'll watch for your book!

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Thanks! It's called Force of Nature and is due out in September!

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The story delights me, and so do the delicious vignettes I just read from the lives and minds of such spectacular women. What a time to be alive! And in such good company! I’m 73, just coming up to 10 years of marriage to my favorite human being. Covid, with all it’s horrors, blessed me with shifting my psychotherapy practice from a 100-mile commute to Silicon Valley to working right here, from my geodesic dome home on three acres of redwoods, oaks and wild turkeys in Sonoma County in Northern California. That preserved my health and sanity! I’ve said many times during the confounding years since Nov 2016, that my salvation is the company of deeply intelligent and caring people, not only in my personal life, but the “companions” I read on Substack every day (you, Mary, and Joyce Vance, Heather Cox Richardson, Robert Hubbell) and those I learned with in other excellent media. I remind myself often that what we baby-boomers brought into the culture and nourished in our own lives exactly prepared us for the challenges we face today. If not us, who? Thank you all, for convening us in the intrigue of this story. Isn’t this one ginormous knitting project with a multitude of yarns?

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Well this is FUN ! (Just the medicine needed to combat the exhaustion from THE most egregious, longest running horror series ever, starring a grifting, silver-spoon-fed two-bit cult leader determined to destroy democracy and the world at large.)

I am a 76 year old Canadian actress/ singer/ artist and have been closely following all things Mary, Jen T., Dahlia, Waj, Brian, Norm, Danielle, Jen R. , and other Nerds. The E.Jean Carroll verdict was music to my ears. Ditto the indictments. I read historian, Heather Cox-Richardson every morning. I subscribe to Victor Shi’s podcast, as well as following Lawrence O’Donnell, The Lincoln Project, Resolute Square, and The Meidas Touch.

Here in Canada, we have a very dangerous right-wing faction who are trying to use the MAGA playbook. I study American History and Politics because it matters to the whole world.

My profound thanks to you all for everything you write or broadcast.

And again....this is so much FUN to read ! 🍷

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So nice to know there is another Canadian who thinks the same way I do. I follow Heather, Lawrence, then Joyce Vance on the law, for awhile steve schmidt. I will check out Victor Shi’s podcast and others you mentioned although it takes up quite a bit of my time already lol. Ellen

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I’m an almost 74 year old mother of two and grandmother of two. I retired after more than 30 years in IT starting with programming on punched cards, ending as the IT Director of a small manufacturing company presiding over conversion to the web. One of my greatest pleasures in life is reading and I love being able to indulge myself since retirement. I’m looking forward to seeing this story unfold.

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Wonderful writing- I’m a huge fan. 🌸You’re two shining examples of exceptional humans who know how to rise to the occasion of your lives in these interesting & insane times we find ourselves in.

With humor-and grace- and dignity- and hardcore truth telling. Thank you.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s a great read.

It’s a great read.

I’m a songwriter/author who happens to have a childhood friend addicted to knitting. What are the odds? 😎 She teaches English. I’ll be sending her the link today.

May you continue to be an elegant irritant in our mighty campaign against stupidity.

I’m looking forward to your next installment

Leslie

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Hello everyone! I’m a retired business woman from Charlotte, NC. I grew up in West Virginia and moved to New York City and lived in The Village for 20 years before relocating to Charlotte. I’m a dog rescuer, gardener and avid reader (last book read was The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese. It’s magnificent!!). I’m new to Substack and was excited to discover Backstory and your innovative way of delivering it. Also happy to be in such a great literary tribe!! Thanks for your interest in your readers — I know we all appreciate it!! Cheers!!

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Hello y’all! - I am from Arizona, at least for 21 years. Prior to that I lived in Central PA, Southern California and was born and raised in Southwestern Kentucky!

I was married for 20 years, divorced and currently living with my partner, best friend and true love.

I am 67 and have 2 grown boys (men 🤦‍♀️) and I have 11?? Grandkids!

I have been living with severe RA and a bunch of its friends for 16 years.

I have been writing from the time I could hold a pen. In the last several years I have been writing song lyrics as that is what comes to my mind most often now.

I will be headed back ‘home’ for my 50th High School reunion. Hard to believe it has been that long ago!

My partner is from HAWAII which we visit as often as possible. Once upon a time he was a surfer. He is a chef who at this age (70) works as Dining Service Director at an Alzheimer’s facility. We were best friends for several years and then something clicked - and the first kiss was an immediate one xxxx XXL YES! Forever! We were together like Velcro after that.

I subscribe to several Substack writings. I have gotten to know several writers a bit, and enjoy reading their take on things.

I was fairly

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What a sweet story of your own! So happy for you and your partner, but sorry about the RA. Hope it doesn't slow you down. Sounds like you are making the most of life.

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Thank you so very much. I appreciate it. It has slowed me down quite a bit but I pick my battles with it. I actually now smell the roses 🌹

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I’m an inveterate ex-pat New Yorker - grew up in Queens, became a rabid Mets fan thanks to my beloved grandpa, who taught me about baseball, hot dawgs, and unconditional love. He also was instrumental in my development of resilience, which I desperately needed after my dad raped me when I was three years old. I’m now 66, and in a state of relative peace. I have a 23 year-old daughter, who has rocked my world since the day she was born. I was a corporate lawyer for 31 years (I like to say I finally got it right and was able to stop practicing!). I’m now in my second career as a financial adviser, which I love, because I’m helping people. That floats my boat. Oh yeah, and my wife and I got married six years ago - we are coming up on our 15th anniversary this December. She is the first person I have fully trusted since I was three. I’m also a writer of poetry and prose, and am hard at work writing a memoir about my decades-long journey of healing. I love strong, smart, kind, and funny people, and feel so blessed to have found Substack and connection to you all!

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The Indictment of Donald Trump is floating my boat lately, too! I live in Michigan. I am retired. I am a “dog mom” who enjoys competing with her furry kids in Agility, Obedience, and Rally. I enjoyed seeing the “red” district I moved to 35 years ago turn “purple”. We elected a Democrat State Senator for the first time since I moved here. I am enjoying the Backstory Serial and looking forward to getting some knitting tips.

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I would like to introduce myself to the brilliant minds behind "The Italian Lesson."

Having embraced the wisdom of age and retired from a career in technology, I find solace in my time at the keyboard, where I become an explorer, free from reality's restraints and reclaiming my youthful curiosity.

I fearlessly create innovative stories through this fusion of creativity and age.

Your work inspires me to write and remember my global adventures. Your words captivate me as I eagerly await each installment.

Thank you for creating a mesmerizing world within "The Italian Lesson" and showing genuine interest in us, your devoted readers.

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Love floats my boat. Romantic love yes but also the love that passes all understanding, patience, acceptance, justice and finding such a treat such as this collaboration. Great writing, elegant use of language in a complex and original story floats my boat. I am just 74, still active and still learning. Winning at pickleball is a thrill and a challenge. Life and being with others that love life and made big moves in life floats my boat.

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Hello all! I'm loving this serial and so admire the women who are writing it (and all us women reading it)! The first line of the story hooked me and am so glad that sentiment has been written 'out loud' and acknowledged. Who else resonates with that?

Born in Chicago, grew up amongst the corn fields west of there, graduated from Northern Illinois Univ and ran away for 20 years (L.A., Wis, Mesa) only to return after a liberating divorce and 2 kids to raise. Five years ago I retired and moved to Soldiers Grove WI to be near my daughter & granddaughter who's now 13 and a super talented violinist/Waldorf School attendee. Just 2 months ago I moved back to the cornfields where the majority of family and friends live. Comfortable.

Owned by 2 cats (Smokee Dokee, a crabby old man and Hunny Bunny, a chubby cali). Big fan of British telly murder mysteries, community theater (20+ years) and crocheting. I've tried knitting...um not so good ;) but I love reading about it LOL. I'm hooked on this plot and am very grateful for the beautiful telling by three super women and for Joyce V who turned me on to it!

The motto of NIU (where I also returned to work for 10 years until 2018) is "Forward, Together, Forward!" I think that is apropos to this group. Thank you all!

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I was fortunate to retire early, and am never bored despite everyone else’s predictions. I read, I knit, I hang out with my Cavalier King Charles and my husband (yes, in that order); I keep up with current events until I feel my blood pressure rising, and I am so grateful to have insights on all the things from such smart women on Substack that I can almost forget that the white-male-centric media has more power than they should (until they make my blood pressure rise); and rinse and repeat. And escapist fiction is my favorite!

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Reading floats my boat, whether fiction or non-fiction, serious to light weight. Also, anything Italian, food or textile floats my barco ( although I can’t knit for my life depending on it!) I’m curious what your process is in writing this together? Do you take turns with installments, did you create a skeleton of the story(there’s probably a real writers term for that)?

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Life-long Left Coast native here ... graduate of the Evergreen State College (mascot, the mighty and weird geoduck). Retired from 30 plus years in mortgage banking and 10 years in law enforcement before that. A spinal cord infarct (fancy name for a stroke in the spinal column) during back surgery altered my retirement plans.

Now 73, I am one of a couple Baby Boomers in a senior living community (Old Folks Home) that has a continuum of care ... independent living, catered care (assisted living), memory care and skilled nursing. Everything from soup to nuts, the politically incorrect would say.

I’m mostly independent but need some help with some activities of daily living as they say. Could be a little better, could be a whole lot worse. My mind is pretty much OK so far and I follow Heather Cox Richardson and Joyce Vance on Substack and Rachel Maddow on every media everywhere.

My pass time is quilting and we have an active quilt group here at the old folks home. We make 100 or so quilts or lap robes for a foster care support agency every 2,months plus 100 pillowcases for the foster kids. On alternate months we switch off and make lap robes for our skilled nursing center so they can take that instead of dragging the quilt off their beds to go watch a movie in our theater. Kept me sane during the COVID lockdowns.

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My father was from Cosenza, I love Italy, reading, quilting and knitting....Your story makes me feel like I'm visiting Italy again.

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Italy has to be my favorite country! So many beautiful locations, so much history, and so many good stories that seem to take place here - can’t wait to keep reading

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Greetings from a log cabin, on a tiny island, on a small lake in southeastern Michigan. I’m 69 and was a competitive figure skater growing up and after more than 45 years find myself back on the ice. I am a quilter and a knitter, and had my own decorative painting business. My husband and I had a portrait photography studio and now we handcraft hexagonal knitting needles and our company is Indian Lake Artisans. I was so excited to meet Joyce Vance when she came to our booth at VogueKnittingLIVE in New York, I burst out loud with a big “I Love You!” My fan girl moment. Congratulations on your collaborative community. I’m looking forward to the novel and all of the interesting discoveries. Cheers!

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What floats my boat is the collaboration between three of my favorite women (whom I’ve followed forever, one way or the other) in a work of romantic fiction! I wrote historical romance for a bunch of years as Katherine Kingsley and I’ve missed the camaraderie and fun of the general community. What a wonderful surprise to find you three serving it up here. YAY HURRAH!! Now, after the necessary Substack reading about Reality and Serious Life Matters, I can scroll to the next installment of ‘The Italian Lesson’ and be immediately restored! Thank you, my women, for creating such a fabulous container and filling it with equally fabulous people and a delicious serial novel. So. Much. Fun. Love to all, Julia in SW Florida

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Took me awhile to get started, wanted more than the first teaser to get into the story. Listened to all the current installments this morning. Delightful.

76 years old, beginning my own hand at writing.

A dabbler at knitting also, love the oily smell of the sheep with freshly spun yarn.

Happily retired from nonprofits/bookkeeping/miscellaneous work, family -- children and grandchildren most important. Lived a good number of years in Japan,

Weathered the Covid years, enjoying the isolation quite happily in my (former) home, now with large new patio window doors and solar panels. Miss having a cat or two, maybe soon.

Penny

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Oh, and I am near Sacramento CA in a town called Citrus Heights. Turning 62 in a few weeks.

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Hi everyone. I'm a bit late to the party.

Like the main character, I am finding my way. As an introvert, who once feels comfortable in a space, feels more at ease. It's just the getting there...to the place where connections can be made is the hard part. So what better place than here.

I have been retired for three years. Formerly a teacher for 33 years. Secondary education. Language Arts.

Loved drama and dance growing up. Being an introvert, it sounds odd to be "on stage" as a teacher, actress, and dancer...but it allowed me to "act as if" I was the person I wanted to be inside. I loved it.

I am really enjoying the novel.

I anticipate this group will be a fun place to hang out.

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I’m very late to this party, but have read this far and loved the story, so I wanted to comment. I have to say first of all that I’m thrilled to have stumbled into this amazing aerie of likeminded women. I live in Fargo, North Dakota, I’m 65, still working, but only for 359 more days! My boat floats best when I am writing, or reading the writing of wise women! I love the fact that you’re sharing these installments. I was drawn in because, like the three of you, two girl friends and I started to write a book together... it’s just me writing now. Thank you for being the just and human role models you are!

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I’m a 75 year old semi retired nurse (still work 2 shifts a week in ICU), living in Vancouver BC. I’m the keeper of 2 horses who are fully retired and living their best lives at my friends’ farm, a fan of dressage, gardening, science fiction and mystery novels and long time Star Trek geek. I took up knitting during the pandemic but I am more of a cross stitcher. Currently share my space with my cat Hamish. I’m not really a romance novel reader, but I can’t resist one written by 3 of the women I most admire, and I am hooked by it. Always wanted to visit Italy - I lived in Greece for 2 years many years ago and loved the experience. Can’t get to Italy right now so I’m enjoying the trip here!

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I'm a liberal Democrat in Austin, TX - a blueberry in a bowl of tomato soup - I love cats, dogs, and especially the grey foxes in my backyard who return every spring to have babies and later take them up the hill - I'm crazy about Indictment Day and now Arraignment Day - I watched E.Jean and Mary Trump on MSNBC and became fans - I met the Sisters-in-Law at Tribfest in Austin last year and hope to see them again this September...I'm a crazy knitter and got to show my hand-knit sweater to Joyce Vance last year - I love this collaborative novel , although I confess I had a hard time figuring how to get Substack! Love it so far - keep writing!

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