For three and a half years, I was part of a group blog called Swagger Writers. We ended our run in March of 2015.
The blog began at a Highlights Foundation workshop in October, 2011, but that was not the first time I met the group that started Swagger.
Nine of us attended Rich Wallace’s Writing the YA Novel workshop in 2009. Ann, Gina, Grace, Jon, Juliet, Kim, Melissa, Tracy, and me. Ann and Tracy were unable to attend the reunion workshop in 2011 where Swagger began. The remaining seven plus Rich were the original bloggers for the site.
The one I want to tell you about today is Grace. Her real name was Graziella, and she was a lovely Italian woman, who had come to the U.S. at the age of 17. When we first met, she was writing a memoir about immigrating and meeting the love of her life. By the time we met in 2009, she was a widow.
Before our reunion in 2011, I met Graziella again at another workshop to learn how to promote a book. Graziella was promoting her picture book, DANCING ON GRAPES, a story of the wine-making she helped with as a child in Italy.
I got to know Graziella a little better at this second workshop. A former second-grade teacher and lover of opera, she could regale us with her stories of life in Italy.
Swagger held another reunion in 2012, but Graziella had to cancel at the last minute due to health issues. I never had a chance to see her again, and recently learned of her passing.
She liked to be called by her given name of Graziella, but the name most of us knew her by was an appropriate one. Delicate, soft-spoken, and lovely, she was the epitome of Grace.
Rest in Peace, Graziella.