Memoir & Essays

Maria Massei-Rosato is author of the memoir, Lost in Control, a semi-finalist in the William Faulkner Literary Competition. She received her MFA in creative-non-fiction from The New School where her professors were accomplished poets and writers including: David Lehman, Honor Moore, Robert Polito, and Dani Shapiro. Maria’s essays have appeared in Poets & Writers MagazineBrain Child MagazineBoomer Lit MagTell Us A Story, and Mutha Magazine. Her essay, “The Joyful Mysteries,” was selected as a finalist for the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition. She publishes on Medium, on LinkedIn, and posts memoir excerpts on Instagram.

Memoir Excerpts

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“Look.” I point. Tony, still hunched over raises his head just enough to see it. “I’m not taking a lift.” “But you can’t fix it.” “If you want a lift, you ask for it.” And hidden in his simple response is the ego’s opening that says, if you ask for help, then maybe we’ll take the lift. I jump at the opening and lean into the roadway waving my arms. The pickup slows down, pulls over, and a young couple emerge. They quickly agree to give us a lift. Tony hoists his bike into the bed of the pickup, climbs in, and extends his hands reaching for mine and I am jolted to reality. I was so fixated on getting his bike to the repair shop that I hadn’t thought about what I would do. And in this moment, my first feeling is one of elation - no more climbing this insufferable mountain pass. But this feeling is quickly followed by shame - how will I cycle across the country if I can’t even make it up the first pass? And how will I say I traveled cross-country if I take a lift (I’ll get over this soon enough). So with Tony’s arms still reaching for my bike, I shake my head no. “You’re kidding right?” “I want to ride.” “We’ve got to stick together.” He reaches further trying to will my bike toward him. But I become even more determined, until the pickup pulls away, and as it does, my stomach drops to my knees as I grasp the gravity and stupidity of my decision. @lostincontrol_themovie #writerslife #crosscountrycycling #hearttalk @alzheimersla @alzassociation #northerncascades #brooklyngirl @nywift

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Or maybe a bear? Are there Grizzlies in Washington? Maybe I could defend myself against a black bear or at least ride fast enough to get away. Dangerous humans didn’t enter my consciousness since there were no people in sight and the few cars that passed seemed to be admiring the landscape and not the crazy woman riding solo. My ears perk to super-alert as I mount to ride. What does a mountain lion or bear sound like moments before an attack? Gotta keep moving - a moving target is more difficult to capture. The peak of the pass is 25 miles away and at this uphill pace I calculate it will take 3 more hours to get there. The climb is gradual, less demanding grade than the earlier morning ascents. I focus on the road stretched before me because looking into the conifers may just reveal that animal charging toward me. I have time to think, to stew in the misery of why my husband listened to me. What’s wrong with him? How could he have abandoned me? He’s probably at the motel with his feet up drinking from one of those old-fashioned bottles of Coke. He wasn’t the only one I blamed; there was some serious mind-flogging—what is wrong with you? Why are you so pig-headed? What makes you think you can do anything? #memoir @lostincontrol_themovie #writerslife #crosscountrycycling #hearttalk #cycling @alzheimersla @alzassociation #northerncascades #brooklyngirl @nywift

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I’m going to be late for work this morning…

Due to a series of unfortunate events, I will be arriving around 9:30am this morning. If you’d like a full explanation, continue reading.

Comet, my puppy, needed routine surgery this morning; drop-off at 7am.

On the way the kids tell me, it would have been better to drop my daughter off at school first. But too late for that.

Comet sometimes gets car sick. We forgot a bag. As we pulled into the Vet parking lot, she had her moment. I ran into the Vet’s office and instructed the kids to clean-up the mess.  They argued as to who would do it. I told them (I think I may have screamed), just get it done.

I told the receptionist I had to make a train. She seemed sympathetic but I still had paperwork to fill out and a hefty deposit to leave. And she wanted me to get Comet on the scale – isn’t that their job?! Anyway, I wrestled my 7-month old Golden Retriever onto the scale – 49 pounds already.

Receptionist called back for vet assistant to take Comet. A few minutes pass – maybe it was only one but felt like a few- no assistant.

Kids walk in – “We have nothing to clean up her vomit.”  This after at least 5 minutes of me filling out paperwork, paying, weighing, and keeping Comet from dragging me to play with an Aussie Shepard that walked in. I believe I lost it. Wouldn’t you?  I said things like, you kids are smart, how could you not figure this out.

Lady with the Aussie Shepard broke a smile. I couldn’t tell if she was laughing at me or understood exactly how I felt. But I really didn’t care.

Receptionist ran in the back room – I guess my distress was noticeable.  She came out with paper towels and cleaning spray. I must have said a few choice phrases when I handed my kids the cleaning stuff. You should know said “kids” are 20 and almost 13. 

Receptionist calls back again: “Comet is here and her owner needs to make a train”

Assistant finally appears. She’s walking/working too slow for the handoff – every minute counts to catch my train – but I hold back my need to bark at her – after all she wasn’t one of my kids.

I return to the car and the cleanup complete, the kids are arguing over who was going to throw out the messy towels. I just stared them down and they figured it out.

We proceeded to drive to my daughter’s school, but guess what- construction on the main road leading to her school.  What town allows construction to start before 8am?? 

I finally drop off my daughter. She must have felt bad for me, because she said “goodbye” – she usually grunts when I drop her off. Seriously.

Took 10 minutes to get out of the school parking lot, all those empty buses making a left when I have to make a right.

Finally on my way to the train station with my son (he has a meeting in the city).  He tried to say things like “Don’t worry mom. It’s Murphy’s law, we’ll make the next train.” And I really wanted to say “Don’t give me that laid back California crap” (he attends college in Berkeley) but I held back and said the next train is in 30 minutes.  And so then he understood.

We did have an outside shot at making the train, but of course I was stuck behind a driver that was going 30 miles in a 45 mile hour zone. I resisted the extremely strong urge to honk.  But I admit to revving up right behind him so he would hear me and perhaps get the idea. No luck.

And anyway, when we arrived at the entrance to the train parking lot, said construction was blocking our path.  Of course the construction worker let all the cars ahead of me go through and then she stopped me for 5 minutes while a truck spewed gravel- recently removed roadtop- into a dumpster truck right in front of me. 

And that’s how I started my day.  I’m thinking it can only get better, but I’ll let you know.. 

Other Published Essays

Bath Time Operating Instructions: 4 Months to 74 Years – Mutha Magazine
Seesaw – Boomer Lit Magazine
The Messenger – Tell Us A Story
The Joyful Mysteries – Brain, Child Magazine
I Dare You
To Show & Tell: Awakening Data with Storytelling

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