#8 A bit about me
The beauty of Palermo
It just occurred to me that perhaps you'd like to know more about me. I mean, I assume you've made it here to this newsletter under the pretext that you've read my blog or seen me on Instagram or other social media.
You may have even read some of my articles in Italy Magazine or other online publications I've written for during the years. Or perhaps you are a friend or acquaintence. However you made it here, I thought perhaps we need to get to know one another better.
Without simply cutting and pasting my biography below, I'll try to fill you in on the most important things. I'm originally from Perth, Western Australia, which has the honour of being one of the most isolated capital cities in the world, second only to New Zealand. Which means I had been planning my escape from childhood.
My parents were Italian immigrants from central and southern Italy, so I’ve always felt connected to Italy. Now because my mother and father both spoke different dialects, they decided to speak only English at home, so unlike many other Italo Australians, I never knew much Italian from a young age. Thanks to my maternal grandparents, who lived next door to us, I understood a lot of Sicilian dialect.
I always wanted to learn Italian properly, so I picked it up at University. I have a B.A. in English Literature and Communications. I studied Broadcasting at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. I love radio, but I haven't done much of it since leaving Australia. I want to start a podcast; it would be like having my own radio program without worrying about the constraints of commercial radio.
I've been living in small-town Sicily in the province of Messina since 2002. I moved here after I got married to my Sicilian husband. Needless to say, my Italian has improved a little bit after living here for two decades. Yet strangely enough, I am always identified as a foreigner as soon as any other Italian hears my accent. I guess there is always something to be criticised as an ex-pat in Italy.
I've read all the books and authors published about Sicily and written by Sicilian authors, or at least I've tried to. I have been obsessed with Sicily ever since moving here. I had an extraordinary relationship with my Sicilian grandparents, who I love and miss very much. I hope to write a Italo-Australian themed novel that honours them and Sicilian migrants worldwide.
Over the past decade, I have been blogging about my experiences on my blog, Sicily Inside and Out.
I love poetry, reading it and attempting to write it. I have been an avid photographer since high school. I love documenting life through photos.
During the pandemic, I got out my old sketchbook and tapped back into my love of drawing and making collages.
In 2022 I began a creative writing blog entitled A Babel of Words, where I shared my poetry, personal essays and book and music reviews.
Last year I published three zines (self-published mini-books) dedicated to my interests in photography, poetry, art, and music. Sicilian Mosaic is a collection of photography from Sicily, Trinacria poems is a small collection of poetry and art about my Sicilian heritage, and the Exceptional life of Michael Lee Aday is dedicated to the singer Meat Loaf, who passed away in 2022. All zines are available on Amazon or if you are interested, message me below.
In 2023 I'm launching a new author web page rochelledelborrello.blog, and working on some new zines and poetry collections.
I have written an unpublished travel memoir dedicated to Sicily, which I have decided to give to my paid subscribers as a gift in a serialised form if you care to subscribe.
That's all I can think of for now. If you have any other questions or if I’ve forgotten to mention something important, drop me a comment below.
Tell me something interesting about yourself, too, it can be something random, or perhaps you can let me know where you stumbled across my work and how you came to subscribe to this newsletter.
There are so many things to love and hate about Sicily.
No matter what difficulties this country throws at me whether that be culture shocks, mind numbing beuocracy, and even bigger mind bending rules and corruption there is something that will remind me as to why I love it here.
I know, it’s totally unhealthy it’s like I’m in a disfunctional relationship with Italy, it treats me so badly sometimes yet I keep coming back to it. I literally can’t help myself.
After a day of frustration after frustration, I’ll be reminded of the little kindnesses there are around me, how there are so many in my little community that are helping me through from good neighbours, or store owners that have become friends who know me as well as any friend knows me.
Then there are the bigger things which will always captivate me, the history, the endless stories, art, culture and light that I find here. Yes, there is a lot of decay and poverty. But Italy has taught me the very essence of life, is about living every moment to the full. To find the beauty in the decadance, see the colours, taste the flavours, hear the laughter, feel the energy and vibrance of the people. To sit in the Sicilian sunlight is to be gifted with a special kind of glow.
Like the above picture I took at Palermo last summer summer. Directly in front of the Duomo, in the historic centre of the town I as struck by the beauty of each building’s colours, I love the colour of this stone which covers so much of the city, it is so expressive of Palermo’s bohemian nature.
Eventhough many of the buildings are falling to pieces, streaked in water damage, rusty balconies and flaking paint work they have so much character. The building is evidently inhabited, balcony windows are opened, lights are on a room and there are some well kept green plants growing outside through the gaps.
Despite the decay and abandonment of certain parts of the city like the piled up trash on the side of the streets and the overgrowth taking over the seaside in certain stretches of the lungo mare. Where there could be clean streets, order and beautiful parklands near the sea there is evident wreck and ruin. Despite the neglect the city is a buzz of activity and energy.
Pushing back all of the dirt and decay the Palermitani keep keeping on with a determined kind of stocism. They can’t do much about the political neglect, crime or poverty but they can choose to live despite it. This is the most important lesson this island can give, it takes precious little to lead a happy life. Sicilian’s often can have a good life with precious little other than their own imagination, pig headed determination and creativity.
I hate to be long-winded, so I will stop here for now.
I'll keep trying to write something worthwhile, well thought out and new here every week, perhaps more often if I get in some karmic writing zone.
This is a sparkly new newsletter, so I'll be trying out some new things over the next couple of weeks to test some ideas. I might play around with the format to add more value and structure. So be patient with my experiments, and please let me know your thoughts.
Thanks for subscribing, and be sure to send this to a friend or someone you think might enjoy it.
Speak again soon.
With love and light from RDB
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