The Book I Was Destined to Write (In Spite of Myself)

Lisa Anselmo Author My (Part-time) Paris Life

In 2014, my life would change forever. I had decided to leave my beloved job, then a day later, received an email from a woman named Kat Brzozowski from St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books wanting to discuss turning my blog into a book.

I met the woman, who would become my editor, for lunch not far from my then office in Rockefeller Center. We talked at length about what the book could be; I had a zillion questions about the publishing process. When she told me the book would come out in 2016—a full two years later—I balked. I worked at a weekly magazine; I was used to things moving at a chop-chop! pace.

“Jeezuz, I hope I’m alive by then.” I giggled as I spoke, tossing it off like a joke. But I actually meant every word of it.

I was still recovering from my mother’s death—from a surprise recurrence of breast cancer after 15 years in remission.  I was still reeling from two years of seemingly endless change and layoffs at my job. Nothing was certain. How could they ask me to trust a plan that extended out so far?

“I hope I’m alive by then” is something my mother often said of any far-off event—even when she was in perfect health. And it’s the kind of thing her catastrophist daughter would evoke at a time like this. Yet somehow in spite of myself, 2016 would arrive. And happily, I’m still here. And so, it would seem, is my book.

Twitter was a-flutter with tweets about my cover reveal.

Twitter was a-flutter with tweets about my cover reveal.

Well, almost. I was at a client’s office when the reveal of the cover of my book, and the launch of my  web series, were announced on Within minutes, Twitter was a-flutter with tweets and re-tweets. “I gotta go,” I told my client. “The shit is hitting the fan.”

It’s an interesting expression for such a moment, isn’t it? Usually, when shit meets fan it’s a bad thing. But this was a good thing, wasn’t it? This was the moment I waited two years—noa lifetime for.

Was I ready for this?

It’s not lost on me that I was occupied by the occupation of my past—design and marketing—when my future exploded all over me, as if my feet were still dragging behind me, anchoring me in something familiar even as the strong winds of fate were blowing me forward into the vast unknown.

The moment the dream becomes real, life becomes really effing scary: The moment you get everything you want is the moment you realize your true power. There are no hurdles, no more excuses, no obligations between you and your destiny. It’s all up to you. To fully embrace that in a real way takes enlightenment. Oh, and a heap of courage.

When I was ten years old, my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Wilcox, asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer was ready: “I want to be a writer and a teacher.” The years leading up to that, and the years after, were about a career on the stage, and I spent all my energy—and most of my life—pursuing musical theatre and opera. But for a brief and very clear sliver of time, I saw my true destiny—pure and free of ego.

Years later, here I am, squarely in the middle of where I had placed myself at ten years old.

We each have a specific mission. Your job is learning what that is for you. Once you know why you’re here on Earth, ego falls away and everything becomes easier. What do I mean by this? You know already. It’s that thing you do without thinking, that thing everyone comes to you for. The one thing that while you are doing it, cares fall away, along with expectations and fears—and you feel totally at peace with the world.

Copy editing the typeset copy of my book, called "first pass."

Copy editing the typeset copy of my book, called “first pass.”

Writing has always been like that for me, even when I didn’t know it was what I wanted to do as a vocation. And it’s the one thing that seems to come somewhat easily, (at least without too much hair-pulling)—not just in the process of writing, but in the achieving of the dream to be a published author. So many other dreams, including opera singing, seemed eternally out of my reach no matter how hard I worked. But everything to do with writing has fallen into my path.

Why? Because I believe it’s what I’m here to do. And when I’m writing, the whirring in my brain ceases; worries and longing evaporate. I hum inside. I am one with my purest form, a true channel for spirit to speak through me.

You know what I mean. Right? Yeah, you do. Even as you read these words, you’re relating them to that thing in your life that makes you hum inside. Listen to that humming; that is your purpose. Go there. Do that. Be that thing that makes you hum.

I did. And it’s manifested itself as a book. What ten-year-old Lisa saw with all clarity, has finally come to pass. And I achieved it by letting go of expectation, and by sharing myself—raw, flawed and real. And my hope is that my story will inspire you to live your fullest life.

This book is for you.


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10 responses to “The Book I Was Destined to Write (In Spite of Myself)

  1. Wow! Bravo!
    Nothing else to say…I’m so proud and I don’t even know you other than your blogs.

  2. Oh Lisa….big congrats…I love the cover…it’s just the kind of book I’d buy even if I didn’t “know” the author….can’t wait to read it.

  3. Glad to see your book is now available for pre-order from iBooks. I placed my order yesterday and look forward to a good read in October.

  4. I am reading this post a week later — this is a fellow Time-Incer. That is exactly something I would have said, “I don’t know if I’ll be alive in two years!” I read in the NY Daily News once — they used to have quotations from Confucious — “The two worst things in life are getting what you want and not getting what you want.” I used to say, God, if I get what I want, I promise I won’t be afraid !!! Congrats Lisa, congrats. I am sure your mom is beside you, encouraging you on.

    • Hello again, fellow Time Inc-er! Well if you’re Italian, being fatalist is a part of our culture! Confucius was no dummy. It’s scary when it all comes down, but now I’m learning to enjoy the ride!

  5. Pingback: (Re)Renovation Part II: The Healing Begins | My (Parttime) Paris Life·

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