Why Q&A Style Interviews are Not True Journalism

Published February 23, 2021 by Maryanne
Photo by Marcel Straub

One of the benefits of being a self-employed writer is you get to pick and choose who you want to write for.

As a professional writer, mainly trained in news journalism, I include the subject’s voice in the content of the story. For example, see my recent articles here: https://maryannechristiano.contently.com/

That’s the preferred way to write for news publications. Oftentimes magazines opt for the Q&A type of interview. I did it myself a few times via blogging, or by special request of an editor or publisher. In this feature blog I wrote a few years ago when I conducted an interview with Coyote Shivers, it was done via email due to time constraints, with him being on the west coast, and me being on the east: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/dont-believe-a-word-interview-with-coyote-shivers/

That somehow worked, because you can’t go wrong with Coyote Shivers. But often it doesn’t. And here’s why….

When I used to copy edit for The Aquarian Arts Weekly, I wasn’t a fan of reading the Q&A style articles. It cheapens the subject the journalist is writing about and comes across as cold and not as informative. It’s an easy way to get “holes” (missing information) that leaves the reader questioning. This is why I don’t like when subjects say “Email me the questions” unless you’re interviewing a professional who is using medical terms and formulas that only other medical professionals will understand — for example, a trade publication. To chop up an article to a Q&A format so readers can look at it on their phones is not true journalism. I won’t work for any publisher who promotes tainting the art of true journalism.

When “journalists” resort to Q&A “journalism” they think it is cute to insert “um” or “uh” into the article if that is what the subject said. It’s not cute. It’s no fair. Your job, as a journalist, is to bring forth the subject in the best light possible. It’s also your job, as a journalist to ask the subject “Is this ‘on the record’ if they get comfortable with you and share very personal information. Journalism is a responsibility to your subject and your readers. Do it right. Just say “no” to the Q&A format.

I recently wrote a few articles for a publisher. It wasn’t until AFTER I interviewed the subjects and submitted my work that he bitched that it wasn’t in Q&A format. Wow, thanks for telling me that I worked too hard after the fact and that I could have slacked off a bit and you’d be happier with my work. (Note my sarcasm). I told him to “call me.”

When I got him on the phone, I was told that his webmaster said that Q&A format is better for SEO search engines and that people can read articles on their PHONE better with Q&A format. That’s a new one on me. Now journalists have to write in that tacky Q&A format to cater to those who only read on their phones?!

Uh, no. Writing is my art. Tell Freddie Mercury to cut “Bohemian Rhapsody” down to cater to the dullards with weak ears and a short listening span. DUH.

After that conversation, I agree to cut ties with this particular publisher. Yes, I am self-employed, but that doesn’t mean I am desperate. Telling me to write in Q&A style to suit those who read on their phones would be like telling Joe Dispenza to write for the National Enquirer. It would be going backwards. Way backwards.

I worked so hard to make a career in writing. I write because it’s in my heart and soul. I write because it’s in my blood. If I’m going to write articles in Q&A style for a living, I might as well go all out and start getting paid to write product descriptions for Walmart. How heartbreaking would that be?

They say when you do something you love, you never work a day in your life. I stand by that wholeheartedly. But “never working a day in your life” doesn’t mean doing sloppy, easy work that you are not proud of. I could never be proud writing article after article Q&A style. It would be like cutting my arm off. Just thinking about it brings a tear to my eye. That’s why I’m a writer. I am sensitive and protective of my muse. And I always will be. When publishers hire me, they will get my best. If they want me to perform my worst in order to get their SEO searches up, I am out the door.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements (via ZOOM during covid). She is now coaching aspiring writers via ZOOM.

Maryanne is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Just Call Me Honey!

Published February 21, 2021 by Maryanne

Blink your eye and there’s yet another thing that offends people — particularly women.

I guess I missed the memo that “honey” is now offensive. I did not know that. However some young feminist pointed out to me that I am “part of the problem” because I don’t see how “honey” is offensive.

I’m sorry. I don’t.

Maybe it’s generational, as I am 57-years-old. But I’ve been called “honey” by both men and women since I was a little girl and I think it’s absolutely adorable. One time I was called “honey bunny” by an older gum-cracking waitress. It brought me right back to the 1960s. I felt special.

Anytime I hear “honey” I think of something positive — the land of milk and honey or an incredible woman, like in the song “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro. The young bride died young and he is longing for her. Honey is all things good.

Other great songs with the word “honey” include: “Just Like Honey” by Jesus and Mary Chain; “Sugar Sugar” – oh, honey honey by Ron Dante; and “Honey Pie” by the Beatles.

Angel guitarist Punky Meadows calls his lady friends “honey” on Facebook. I’d be honored if Punky Meadows called me “honey.”

Honey is a term of endearment. It means you are awesome. When someone calls you “honey” it means they like you. But sadly, now you can’t even say nice things like “honey” or “sweetie” in a work environment. Instead we get the cold “ma’am.” And to me, THAT is disturbing. People have been so brainwashed about what is politically correct, that we’ve become so robotic. It’s a wonder young people even pair up anymore because there is nothing sexy about the way they talk. They are so homogenized.

And before you start thinking of me as some misogyny-tolerating Trump supporter — I’m not. However, I am a person who thinks for myself and doesn’t jump on the politically correct band wagon when I feel it’s not necessary. If being feminist means standing up for what you believe in, I will call my own party on their bullshit. And for the record, I had this conversation with a female Democratic feminist last night who agrees with me 100 percent.

With all the issues we COULD fight about, nitpicking over something harmless like “honey,” YOU — not me — are part of the problem. So, keep stressing yourself out over it. Me, I’ll just enjoy it. Just call me Honey!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements (via ZOOM during covid). She is now coaching aspiring writers via ZOOM.

Maryanne is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

The Holiday Channel Christmas Wonderthon

Published December 24, 2020 by Maryanne

I’m so honored and excited to be in this production!

I’ll be playing the role of Carol, a war reporter.

Be sure to save the date and tune in!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements (via ZOOM during covid). She is now coaching aspiring writers via ZOOM.

Maryanne is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

The Best(?) of 2020

Published December 11, 2020 by Maryanne
Photo by Kelly Sikkema

If we made it through 2020 without getting covid, and worse, without dying, we are fortunate. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to live life to the fullest every day because you really don’t know what is around the corner. It was a crazy up and down year. Surprisingly, there were many outstanding moments for me, but also the most painful news–a very good friend dying on of a heart attack at the age of 56.

Pausing for a moment thinking of my dear friend Vinnie who died last April…

Yeah, 2020 definitely sucked on so many levels, but the eternal optimist in me will keep saying, this is the year to truly count our blessings.

2020 Year In Review

January – The year started off really cool. I actually saw a copy of my book, “Be (Extra)Ordinary” in Barnes & Noble bookstore! (https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/) I was ecstatic! I remember commenting that if I died at that moment, I lived the life I wanted. Little did I know, in just a few weeks I’d hear about so many dying of Covid. Just goes to show how crazy life is.

February – I was going crazy trying to score a deal on Billie Eilish tickets–and trying to decide whether to see her in NYC on a Sunday night; or New Jersey on a Monday night. Oh, the innocence of decision making prior to what was ahead. The decision was made for me…all her 2020 concerts were canceled.

March – Covid was in full force in the USA. It was weird. It was scary. But honestly, my husband and I were loving the lockdown. We took it as a time to be creative. We appreciated staying home with the kitties. We were cooperating with the law; and had a good time doing so. I thought during this time I’d write a new book; instead I focused on my singing. My husband and I made a video of us performing together, he on guitar and we on vocals and sent it to all our friends. As our friends were also sending us videos. We all did our best.

In March my clients, Domenic Lombardi passed away. I helped him and his wife write their memories: “200 Letters, 62 Years, and a War” (https://www.amazon.com/200-Letters-62-Years-War/dp/1949798453). What a loss, he was a very cool guy. Domenic and his wife Antoinette were my favorite clients ever!

In April, my book “Love Cats” which became out of print early 2020 was picked up for a second printing by Pink Flamingo Media! For the first time I used a pen name, Krystianna Mercury. Check it out: https://www.pinkflamingo.com/Love-Cats-PF3089.htm

But then, I learned that my very good friend Vinnie Bordogna died earlier that month. My heart is torn into pieces. He was truly one of my best friends. Christmas will not be the same without Vin at our party this year.

In June, there was another loss, Bob Cat. A 15-year-old ginger cat who was the star of the book, “A Street Cat Named Bob” by James Bowen. I read the book back in 2018. The book was out way before that, but it was an upbeat book that helped me get over the loss of my own ginger cat, Bennie, who had to be put down early 2018. Now to hear Bob was gone too … it was just too much. Many tears. Too many tears.

That summer, life picked up. Social distancing outdoor concerts were all the rage. Groups of friends sat on the grass in a white painted square. They were done so well and people had a great time! Drinks, food, sitting on the grass watching live music and the sun go down. Can’t beat that. It was a glimmer of hope in the midst of the madness. In addition to Covid, we had the George Floyd murder and so many terrible things going on in the news. Music kept us sane that summer, definitely.

In August, I hosted my very first ZOOM lecture for “Healthy Pasta Alternatives.” We had a blast! I had other ZOOM classes for anti-bullying, and “How to Meet Your Soul Mate.” Earlier in the year when all my live lectures were canceled, one by one, it was the biggest let down. But ZOOM saved the day with some of them, so it wasn’t a total loss.

September was a miracle! My husband and I took in a feral kitten who was abandoned by his mama and papa cats. We named him Happy Lightfoot Ferrell. Three months later, he’s adjusting beautifully! He’s my little shadow who follows me all over the house. And what a sweet cat he’s turning out to be. No more shy and hiding. Taking in a little life, giving him not only a home but a HAPPY home is the best accomplishment! I love our little new family member. He gets along so good with the other two cats, Nicholas Gray and Sammy Keane Clemmens. Happy Lightfoot Ferrell was the icing on the top of a year of madness.

I wish everyone a better 2021; we can do it!

BEST OF MUSIC 2020

Since there wasn’t nearly as much going out as usual, the list will be light this year. My husband saw about five or six outdoor social distancing concerts over the summer. Due to Covid, I think they all did an amazing job for us and unlike other years, this year I’m choosing not to pick a “best” for live music.

Favorite new songs/videos for 2020!

  1. Miley Cyrus “Midnight Sky” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS1no1myeTM
  2. Sierra Ferrell “Jingle Bell Rock” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mWKuQDBkls
  3. Billie Eilish “Therefore I Am” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUQl6YcMalg

Since there was plenty of dining, I’ve added restaurants this year!

Best restaurants of 2020

  1. Greentruth Organic: https://www.greentruthorganic.com/
  2. Cave Bistro: https://www.cavebistro.com/
  3. Clean Plate: https://www.cleanplateclinton.com/

And since retail shopping was non-existent, I’m linking to the last post I wrote, Clothes Shopping During Covid, mentioning the top three clothing subscription box companies: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2020/11/30/clothes-shopping-during-covid/

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements (via ZOOM during covid). She is now coaching aspiring writers via ZOOM.

Maryanne is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Clothes Shopping During Covid

Published November 30, 2020 by Maryanne
Maryanne Christiano Mistretta

Clothes — it’s a girl’s thing. Perhaps shopping for clothes is too, but it’s never been for me. I’m one of these people who zeros in on something I like, try it on, and if it fits I’ll take it. If not, I move on. I hate disrobing in a dressing room once I’m out and about. It’s just an annoying thing to do. But how else will you know if you like an outfit if you don’t try it on, right? Usually my shopping trips were little side trips when I’d go with my husband somewhere on the weekend. A little indie dress shop here and there. That’s how I built my wardrobe.

A few months into Covid, I realized I haven’t had new clothes in awhile. Shopping on the internet for clothes was annoying because you couldn’t try them on. I sent a few things back, frustrated and defeated.

Then I discovered something beautiful–clothing box subscriptions!

This type of clothes shopping has been around for years, but I wasn’t aware of it. Once a month you get a box of clothes delivered to your doorstep. Try the clothes on and only keep what you love. What you don’t like, send back in a pre-paid bag/box. Simple as that! Prior to receiving your first order, you answer a series of quizzes to let your stylist know your sizes and taste. It’s a win/win. And if you don’t like the stylist you end up with, you can always try a new one!

I figured I’d give it a shot. I started with one, loved it so much I added another, and another! Now I’m getting three boxes of clothes per month–selected by my own personal stylist. Why couldn’t I find out about this sort of service sooner? Well, better late than never, right?

And now that retail stores are open again, many still don’t let you try on clothes. It’s okay though, I’m ecstatic with my boxes and the high end reputable companies they work with. My wardrobe is my happy spot; and I love clothes more than ever now.

Of all the boxes I’ve tried, the stylists were both wins and loses. My suggestion is to keep trying until you get the right stylist. However, Stitch Fix is the winner above all other boxes!

Stitch Fix was the very first subscription company I tried. What I like about them is they are simple with only five items to try each month. They also have shoes/boots. They are the one company that is most true to the date they say they will send the box. On their website, you have an account section where you can pin clothing inspiration for your stylist to see. You can pin photos of yourself or others who inspire you. Quizzes come up almost daily where you can answer the question: Is this your style? My favorite companies they use include: Lush, Marc New York, Democracy, and LUQ. If you want to give Stitch Fix a try, please use my link and I’ll get a $25 referral fee and you’ll get some kick ass karma!: https://www.stitchfix.com/invite/z2g4w7mfm7?sod=w&som=c

I also tried Wantables. I loved them. I got a great stylist right from the start. The cool thing about Wantables is that they choose several items from your “Wish List” making it a win each time!

Who I Don’t Recommend. If I were you, or me, or anyone else, I would not use Nordstrom Trunk. I scored three great items from them and sent the rest back, yet they got mixed up and said I sent something back which I kept and said I kept something which I sent back. When I corrected them, they took an extra $55 from my bank account and never paid me back. I researched and saw many others having a similar issue. Had this happened down the road, I’d forgive them but on my first box, I am hesitant to give them another chance. Plus, I am out $55 either way. Not cool!

I liked Daily Look for awhile, but their customer service is the pits. They also take a larger styling fee ($40) and are always late getting the boxes to you. I just canceled my subscription with Daily Look.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements (via ZOOM during covid). She is now coaching aspiring writers via ZOOM.

Maryanne is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

In Support of Younger Women

Published November 12, 2020 by Maryanne
Jennifer Bunda
Shanon Pantano

The other day I wrote about what a great time I had at the Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. Since I’m not into gambling, it’s not very often I visit AC. Nevertheless, I like to pop in from time to time over the years. It’s a cool city with a great history lesson behind it. It’s also the city that inspired the Monopoly board game. Over the years I went with family, friends, and even co-workers when I still did the 9 to 5 thing. It is a legendary place to be.

While thinking about my previous AC trips, I remembered the first time I went with my family. I was just 19 and was able to gamble. From the get-go I realized gambling wasn’t my thing, but it was fun visiting the different themed casinos and walking on the boardwalk. And that first time, I had a weird experience in the ladies room.

I was wearing a romper. Yes, the rompers young women wear today also had a brief day in the sun in the 1980s. I was looking in the mirror brushing my hair as most women do.

A much older woman was looking at me. She said, in a snippy mocking tone, “Adorable! Adorable! Very cute!” and then walked away.

I couldn’t believe it. She shamed me for looking good! And for a split second I felt guilty about it. Maybe I should have worn something more conservative? But weren’t we in a city, where anything goes? And, hey, rompers were in-style. And why shouldn’t I be brushing my hair.

I was obsessing over a comment from a stranger. Then I stopped myself from thinking about it. From that moment on, I promised myself that when I got old I would never make a young woman feel bad about her looks.

And I kept that promise.

I’m the first to tell a young girl how cute she looks, sincerely, not mockingly like the lady did to me. I’m happy to support my girlfriends’ daughters and/or nieces and write on Facebook they are beautiful. I tell young female tellers at the bank how stylish they are. And I’ll be the first to tell a young stranger I like her pink hair or cute shoes.

Young ladies are pretty, and many of them are insecure. If you compliment them, they may respond shyly or not say anything at all. But mark my word, I’m positive they appreciate the compliment. I always did.

No matter what age we are it’s important for women to have each other’s backs. Let’s not undermine each other. Let’s celebrate our unique beauty, our differences, our accomplishments, and our creativity.

Women supporting women is a beautiful thing, especially when it’s us older ones taking a younger one under our wings and encouraging her to fly!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements (via ZOOM during covid).

Maryanne is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Visit Maryanne’s You Tube Channel here: Be YOUnique

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Atlantic City, NJ

Published November 10, 2020 by Maryanne

NJ Musicians, promoting one of my favs, Debbie Harry

My husband and I recently stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City. It was so cool I had to give them a big shout out via a blog.

First of all, I’d like to point out that my husband and I are diehard music fans, not “Greatest Hits” types, nor music streaming types. We like to have the actual albums/CDs/tapes. (And I’ve been that way since I was a kid. I wonder how many people had Cher’s “The Way of Love” single who know the flip side “Don’t Put It On Me” was just as great? I was always about both the A-sides and the B-sides.

That said, I went expecting nothing more than a fab time with my husband. We’re a great couple who make our own fun. As we were making our way to our room (we got lost–this place is huge!) I heard Blondie music. The song “X-Offender” which was not a big hit. I was shocked, and immediately got silly and started singing. Followed by that I heard Interpol and Generation X. Bands you don’t hear too often.

I’ve been to the Hard Rock in NYC and Atlanta, and have seen so much rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, but what got me the most excited was a letter Buddy Holly wrote to his family while he was on the road, before he hit it big.

Here, you can also see Elvis’ Rolls Royce, Joan Jett’s hand-written lyrics to “Bad Reputation,” costumes worn on stage from rock and pop stars including Ann and Nancy Wilson, Prince, The Beatles, and Cher, to name a few. There’s also guitars, footwear, and other artifacts. Not to mention lots of shopping. (A side note, the Hard Rock clothing and jewelry line is incredible. Shirts/sweaters/hoodies are form-fitting, cozy, and durable. Jewelry is also well-made).

In the Cafe itself, the food was good. The only issue I had was they were playing more sports videos than music videos. It is the Hard Rock Cafe, right? But that didn’t stop my husband and I from having fun.

There’s also a pool and spa. The room we had offered a super view of the city and water. But most impressive about the room is that they use soaps, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion from a company that doesn’t test on animals! I always bring my own stuff because I’m a cruelty-free supporter, so imagine how thrilled I was to see that!

The Hard Rock Hotel took great precautions due to Covid19. As you entered, your temperature was shown on a screen. There are social distancing Beatles “records” painted on the floor situated 6 feet apart. People stood on them while they waited on lines for restaurants and cafes.

Stores were careful too. You weren’t able to try stuff on, which made clothes shopping impossible. That was the only drawback.

I’m sure people want to know about gambling. I’m not a fan. Not for any moral reason, it just doesn’t amuse me. But, yes, gambling was in full swing.

The hotel staff was the best ever. They truly give the high hospitality. Everyone was so friendly and efficient. Service dogs are allowed inside the hotel and casino.

I highly recommend Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City.

For more information, visit: https://www.hardrockhotelatlanticcity.com/

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. In addition to Love Cats, she is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Visit Maryanne’s You Tube Channel here: Be YOUnique

Over 50 Modeling

Published October 21, 2020 by Maryanne

DSC-6670

October 2020, Weehawken, NJ

I was honored to work with photographer Joseph Shade of Crimrise Photography, last week. He’s an incredible photographer and we had a great time working together.

Autumn in New Jersey is absolutely amazing. It was so windy, especially by the waterfront, but as you can see in this shoot — it worked in our favor!

With this shoot, I want to encourage all women over 50 that we are still beautiful, relevant, and modern! I turned 57 on August 19 — and am proud of it!

Jeans by Democracy; shoes by Katy Perry Collections; Eye glasses by Guess.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. In addition to Love Cats, she is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Visit Maryanne’s You Tube Channel here: Be YOUnique

Dance the Night Away

Published October 11, 2020 by Maryanne

Fun times with my late friend Vinnie, 1982

A few days ago I heard Eddie Van Halen died.

I was not a big Van Halen fan. But when a musician is that huge a hit or two is bound to be backdrop music for whatever is going on in your life at the time of their massive success. So, of course it hits you. Even though I never saw them in concert and never owned a Van Halen record, I have a memorable story to share.

Earlier this year a very dear friend of mine died suddenly of a heart attack, at age 56. My friend Vinnie, who I have known since I was a teenager and absolutely adored.

The stories of Vinnie can go on and on and on. He had a kind heart and a wicked sense of humor. He was the type of person who could say anything and the way he presented it, it would just make you almost die laughing. He had that power about him. And was oh so humble about it. He was the kind of friend everyone wanted to be around. Anyone who knew him was a better person because of him.

As soon as I heard Eddie Van Halen died, once again Vinnie was on my mind. During the early 1980s, Vinnie and I were both into the dance club music of the time — The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, Culture Club, Haysi Fantayzee … you get the picture.

So what does this have to do with Eddie Van Halen?

When the song “Jump” came out, Vinnie was raving about it. He was always the first to get on the bandwagon of new music. He played the song for me and it was a “wow” for me too. We were not die-hard Van Halen fans, but that was a song we could get into.

There was a bar in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, called Aldo’s Hideaway. Vin and I were regulars there. The owner’s uncle, Pete, was a bartender there and he loved us. He told us many times we were his favorite customers. If I went to Aldo’s alone and Pete looked out the window and saw my Monte Carlo pulling into the driveway, he’d have my drink ready for me at the bar — a White Russian.

One Christmas, Vinnie and I gave Pete a Christmas card and we drank for free all night. The memories we made at Aldo’s were grand ones. Especially the “Jump” night.

On our way to Aldo’s one Saturday evening, Vinnie was playing a cassette tape he made. It was songs we grooved on, by artists we were fans of — Johnny Thunders, Aerosmith … and now that new Van Halen song, “Jump.” It was a great mix.

Saturday night at Aldo’s there was a DJ named Brian. He was very much into David Bowie and Japan; two of my favorites. That’s why Saturday nights at Aldo’s were a win.

This particular evening, we arrived at Aldo’s and ordered drinks. Pete was concerned because a crowd was on the dance floor, more people were coming in the door, and Brian had not yet showed up to DJ. The place was filling up and there wasn’t any music.

“What about that great tape you have in the car?” I asked Vinnie.

“Oh, do you want me to get that?” he asked both Pete and me, as if my say had any clout. It wasn’t hard to twist Pete’s arm; he thought we were great and trusted our judgement. He said, “Sure.”

Now, for those who aren’t familiar with music of the late 1970s or early 1980s, I have to tell you, the hard rock sounds of Aerosmith and Van Halen were nothing like David Bowie, Japan, Psychedelic Furs, and other ambient dance music Brian played. So, obviously, that mix was NOT the type of music Brian played. In fact, you would NEVER hear Aerosmith or Van Halen at Aldo’s. Never, ever, ever!

Nevertheless, people were enjoying the music, and dancing! “They’re digging it,” Vinnie said, and then smiled.

By the time “Jump” came on, Brian showed up. He looked flustered, obviously concerned about what was playing on the DJ mixing board at Aldo’s. His Saturday night reputation of playing austere art rock was now tarnished.

A drop of sweat ran down Brian’s forehead as he jolted towards the dance floor. He got to the DJ booth. He looked out of breath and slightly agitated. “Jump” was still playing. It would be unprofessional to cut the song off mid-way. Plus, people were dancing and enjoying it.

Vin and I sat observing. We felt like little children who got away with something bad. We looked at each other and smirked. A Van Halen song at Aldo’s — and on a Saturday night no less. It was hilarious.

When “Jump” ended, our party was over.

I do not remember the next song Brian played after “Jump.” Most likely something by Depeche Mode or Medium Medium; who knows.

But Vin and I were easy to please music fans. We didn’t care. It was fun while it lasted. Vin went up to the DJ booth to retrieve his tape. Then we hit the dance floor, and danced the night away. Well, until our young appetites kicked in and we decided to leave and hit a diner.

Rest in peace, Vinnie. You are so very missed.

And rest in peace, Eddie Van Halen.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. In addition to Love Cats, she is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Visit Maryanne’s You Tube Channel here: Be YOUnique

Looking Back on Teenage Years

Published September 24, 2020 by Maryanne
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Yesterday while I was having lunch with a dear friend, she shared with me letters I wrote to her as a teenager in high school.

The letters were mostly about me making fun of the bullies who harassed me. I handled it in a clever, witty way. I made up names for the bullies and created scenarios that could have been used in a John Hughes movie in the 1980s.

Sometimes it seems like we’re going through such a hard time, but we look back and it turns out we were happier and more intelligent than we gave ourselves credit. I look at this picture and see myself as a mom reading something her teenage daughter wrote. I laughed so hard at my younger self. Some of the words that came out of my mouth were, “I was so bad!” and “Wow, I was witty!”

I wish I could share, but the stories were mainly inside jokes that no one would get. I couldn’t even remember half the people I was making fun of.

The really cool thing that Joan pointed out was, “My children don’t have this. They text each other, but they don’t write letters. Look how you used up most of the page to write and draw.”

That is so true. In my words on paper, I’ve captured a portion of time that we’ll never get back. And because the letters were written somewhat in anger towards the bullies, I wrote to my friend, “Destroy this” (how dramatic!)

But she didn’t. She cherished the letters. And I’m glad she did!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. In addition to Love Cats, she is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Visit Maryanne’s You Tube Channel here: Be YOUnique