Monday, May 30, 2011

Guest Post - Therese Gilardi - Inspiration from the Heart

Please welcome Therese Gilardi to my blog today!

Thank you, Elaina, for having me as a guest, and for creating such an enchanting cover for “Matching Wits With Venus”. I am still amazed that you were able to capture exactly my image of Amelia and her world. Since today is Memorial Day, I would also like to thank all of the men and women who have served in the armed forces. The dedication of our men and women in uniform, and their families, got me thinking about what inspires me in my work.

My primary source of writing inspiration has been my family, especially my daughter. I began writing for publication when she was in the third grade. One of the first pieces I wrote during that time was an essay in which I confessed to having been quite a stage mother. I recalled how I’d been determined that my oldest child was going to be a success “no matter what I – I mean he – had to do”, acknowledged the sense of smugness I felt in comparison with other mothers whenever I assessed my own parenting skills, and admitted that I had often used my own unfulfilled longings as a reference point for my children’s lives, sometimes with little regard for their desires. It was a raw, honest portrait that I feared would not endear me to a lot of the other moms waiting at the school gate in our small community, a written recitation of some ugly truths I was willing to whisper about myself, provided no one I knew was within earshot. I submitted the piece to a parenting magazine in another part of the country, confident no one who knew me would ever see my words.

Alas, my daughter had other plans. Barely reading herself, she was ecstatic when my contributor copies arrived in the mail, and insisted on having one for her room. I assumed she was merely going to add it to her vast collection of magazines. Little did I know she’d secured it so she could pack it up in her small notebook, carry it to school and pass it around the classroom while proudly declaring, “Look at this, my mom’s a writer”. When I found out her teacher had read the article, I was mortified. I worried about how this woman would view me, as both a parent and as a person, and chided myself mercilessly. After all, what kind of mother makes such admissions, especially in polite company? Expecting her to disapprove, I was shocked when she told me that very few people have the courage to be so bravely honest. The day my daughter’s teacher told me I had the courage to travel deep within myself and acknowledge what I’d found, was the day that changed me as a writer. I knew from that point on that as long as I had the nerve to listen to my voice, I would find something to say, something that would allow me to make connection with another human being.

I would love to know: what are the inspirations behind your work?

-- Therese

What a great post, Therese, thank you for sharing! And I'm still just thrilled you love your cover so much. :-) Tomorrow Therese is also sharing an excerpt of her novel, Matching Wits with Venus, so be sure to come back and check it out!



  1. Great post - it takes great courage to hold up our shortcomings for the world to see and judge. My inspirations come from life around me. As I observe life and living, or listen to music, snippets of stories swirl together in my mind to form characters first, and then the stories they need to tell. Everything's fair game to inspire me. My kids try to hide much of their lives lest they end up recognizing themselves in my writing...but the other kids will take the heat off themselves by telling on them.

  2. thanks kay, i love the idea of using music as a source of inspiration.

  3. Music is by far my greatest inspiration. Each of my stories has a soundtrack. :-)

    Thanks for stopping by, Kay! And thanks so much for being a guest, Therese!