to the 

infringement made upon

the civil rights of BLACK

LIVES that MATTER as much as my own.

“We the People of the United States of America” … establish Justice … 

Oh, really? Justice for who? Oh, you mean those Americans whose skin tone matches the parchment paper those words were written … 

Did you know it’s been two centuries since a fountain pen inked the U.S. Constitution into existence? And in that time, the document has only been amended 27 times, in seventy-three thousand days.

That’s approximately once every seven years, the same for the human body to change. I guess you could say we’re overdue for an amendment to update the U.S. Constitution, one that reflects the modern day and its current population including the 42 million humans of color residing on this United States of America land. 

This is not a rant, it’s an awakening. My fellow Americans, it’s a call to action to rise from your stupor, I mean slumber, to stand up from your couches, to reach for something 

Other than the remote. You can no longer avert your eyes from the zombie apocalypse, that is YOU in the mirror 

Not some character dressed up in a costume waiting for direction. Look closer: 

Beyond the skin and bones to your soul 

It feels a bit uncomfortable: 

Once you start, 

to see,  

You can’t 




Subtext & Dialogue: Hidden Emotion

A work-in-progressthe following piece is a writing assignment produced for The Center of Fiction’s Active Storytelling course taught by Judy Sternlight.

An Innocent Banter

“I forgot.”
“It’s not that big of a deal, really …”
“Yeah, right.”
“So, what now?”
“Uhm, I’m not sure.”

Subtext Version 1

Clutching the calendar with today’s date circled in bright blue and highlighted in yellow marker, Mallory felt her stomach drop. 

“Oh God, I forgot,” she mumbled. He’s going to hate me, she thought as she dialed Jack on her phone. The phone rang three times before going to voicemail.  

“Hey Jack, it’s Mallory. I’m so sorry about this afternoon. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately with work, and …” She paused then, trying to collect her thoughts when prompted for a call waiting on the other line. Mallory clicked through. 

“Hello, this is Mallory.”

“Hey, Mallomar, it’s me,” said Jack. His voice sounded jovial despite the echo on the line. “Don’t stress, it’s not that big of a deal, and everything actually worked out for the best. My flight landed an hour early and I was able to make it to Dan’s graduation after all.” 

“Oh Jack, that’s such great news,” Mallory heaved a sigh of relief, she hadn’t missed him at all.

“Yeah, right, I know how that goes,” Jack said with a chuckle. He was notorious for being late but since his divorce it seemed he had turned over a new leaf.

“So, what will you do now?” Mallory asked. 

“Hmm, I’m not sure,” Jack replied, “Do you have time to grab a drink with your kid brother?”

Subtext Version 2

I forgot,” Mallory retorted. “What’s the big deal?”

“Mallory Michaels, we’ve gone over this before. You cannot walk out in the middle of group therapy without asking for permission,” Dr. Jack Lyons replied.

His words were met with a stone cold silence and a roll of the eyes. This was the second time Mallory had been reprimanded for breaking the rules, one more time and she good kiss her scholarship good-bye.  

Mallory surveilled Dr. Lyons from the corner of her eye and with a dramatic sigh replied. “Lyons, I’m sorry, really I am but I’ve got a lot on my mind lately, what with tests and applying for college and being here, without my family.” 

“Yes, yes, well of course, and about that,” the doctor’s voice trailed off.

Mallory’s parents had filed emancipation papers this morning. This was the first time he and his team of therapists had ever witnessed such a thing; everyone was scrambling for what to do next. 

“Oh man,” Mallory grumbled, pushing herself to stand up and face the sandy-haired administrator. “What now? Did something happen to my brother?”

“No, nothing like that, Marcus is okay. But Mallory I have something to tell you, and I’m not sure how you’re going to take it exactly. Your family, all of them, including your brother, have filed separation papers against you.”

Word Count: 472

The Backstory on Eloise Frump

A work-in-progressthe following piece is a writing assignment produced for The Center of Fiction’s Active Storytelling course taught by Judy Sternlight.

Summary Character Development

Eloise Frump, a 27-year-old socialite from Water Mill, NY. She lives with her fraternal twin, Marcus at a condo development in Bushwick, one of her father’s pet projects. Marcus manages the sales office in the building, interfacing with new owners.  Eloise works in the back office fielding concierge requests from residents and coordinating moves in and out of the building. 

One of Eloise’s guilty pleasures is watching The McMasters, an elderly wealthy Scottish couple’s movements from the closed-circuit webcam in their private elevator bank. Shy and quiet on the outside, her brother and parents are completely unaware of her hidden talent for hacking into security cameras. And more importantly, her side-hustle working with local gangsters to pull off jewelry heists at buildings in developments nearby. 

The twins take after their mom with their sallow complexion and sparkling green eyes. Eloise is the younger of the two by 10 minutes. One of her most discerning features is a tattoo of her name written in Hindu on the inside of her left bicep. In the crime world, she’s known as Lucky-mi a play on the name of Lakshmi the Hindu goddess of wealth, love, prosperity. 

Where in the timeline would I start the story?

Eighteen months earlier, with the first encounter with Trevor, a new resident at her dad’s building, an admitted con artist and jewel thief.

The following excerpt was written during class on 9/19/19.

A chill hung in the air. 

Goosebumps appeared on her skin even before the phone rang. 

The driver watched Eloise intensely, motioning her to pick up the phone.

Eloise hesitated.

One ring, two rings. 

“Now,” he growled. 

Startled, she reached for the clunky receiver, her body shaking. The receiver slipped from her clammy hands and clattered to the floor, she gasped. 

The driver eyed her from the rearview mirror, with a raised brow. 

Eloise pulled the blue receiver to her lips and whispered, “Daddy?”

Word Count: 315

Plover of the Gods, A Sense of Place

A work-in-progress, the following piece is a writing assignment produced for The Center of Fiction’s Active Storytelling course taught by Judy Sternlight.

A Sense of Place: Plover of the Gods
prepared by Andrea Preziotti

Note I’ve purposely used Roman and Greek names for each god, interchangeably.  (Triton, Ceres/Demeter, Neptune/Poseidon, etc.) 

“Triton, come sit by me,” Ceres said as she lay down on the wet sand.

“Now? We’ve only just arrived. The others will be here soon,” the demigod responded. “We must prepare for their arrival.”

He was restless, thrashing his tail on the shoreline, crushing everything in his wake. The seashells turned to dust, and the seabirds knew better than to fly overhead. Deep in thought, Triton waded further out into the ocean, a storm cloud hovering. 7y67Lightning flashed in the sky unmasking the emotion on his face.

Ceres watched him sail from wave to wave. 

“Triton, please calm down, and come sit by me,” Ceres repeated louder. The kelp awakened with her words and unfurled its long, leathery laminae. 

The message from Poseidon had been clear: release the merfolk into all waterways of Earth. Triton nearly balked at the request. All of his 6000 children dispatched beyond the sea into unchartered waters oversaw by humans.  

Ceres understood the bleakness of his task. Her daughter Persephone had been forced to live with Pluto in the underworld. 

“Ceres, what am I to do? I cannot go against Father, and yet, I cannot watch all my children perish,” bemoaned Triton. The world saw him as a tyrant of the sea, Poseidon’s herald but Ceres knew her nephew was none of those things. He was more compassionate than any demigod worth their weight in salt as long as he was not pushed.

She had meant to ease his pain with news from the natural world but still, his quiet rage simmered. The nearby plovers, blended into the scenery preoccupied with worm hunting.  

Ceres dug her hands into the sand and listened to the surf before answering. 

“Triton what if you could join your children on their journey, guide them through the waterways? It has been done before, the act of taking human form, I could help you.” 

He raised his eyes and the kelp sensed his intention, releasing its vines from his torso.

As Triton’s scales turned into human skin, Ceres reached out her hand.

“We will always be immortal,” she murmured.

Word Count: 384

A New Point-of-View of The Giving Tree

A work-in-progress, the following piece is a writing assignment produced for The Center of Fiction’s Active Storytelling course taught by Judy Sternlight.

A New Point-of-View of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
prepared by Andrea Preziotti

Boy, please tread softly, as your feet dance wildly across our bodies. You may be young but we are aging faster than you can breathe. Your story will continue for years while ours are individually short and finite.

Where shall we begin? In your innocence, you embraced Tree with all your heart. And how could you not, she loved you freely without expectation and enveloped you in her branches. My favorite days were those when you played hide-and-seek, your body hiding between the rocks, her leaves grazing the forest floor, rustling our blades. 

To feel her love unconditionally, if only once in a lifetime, is the thing of legends. We’ve pondered days away wondering if it was the same for her, with you. There was never the right time to ask, not that she would have noticed us at all, of course, especially once you carved letters on her bark. 

Tree may have lived alone in the forest but green grass is everywhere, and we have a network. We knew what was coming, all the warnings about humans were passed down from one genus to another. And even as the eight hundred and twenty-one generations of our family witnessed the hundred years of love notes shared between you and Tree, we hoped for the best all the while knowing the inevitability of Man. 


Nineteen years later

It’s 12:03
and as I sit here drinking a steaming cup of chamomile tea,
it dawns on me
how far I have come from that snowy winter’s eve
when the path I was on veered so off-course,
far beyond what I could see.

As tumultuous as the mighty seas,
I circumnavigated an Odyssey
filled with perilous highs and lows
befitting of only the greatest journey:
where one learns their heart, its strength, and bravery.

Every year on this day of Anniversary
I consider all that I could have been
had my mother lived beyond my twenty-somethings–
The moments of bittersweet sorrow,
of missed opportunities and unlived tomorrows,
and pockets of time on furlough.

The comfort comes from deep within
the gratitude and the blessing
for loved ones who stepped right in
to help me become the woman I am:
the daughter my mother would want to see again.

This poem is dedicated to
Lucia “Lucy” Preziotti

my mother and best friend
b. 9.19.28
d. 1.23.00

Shades of Pink


Why what?

Why is it,
so damn cold in here?

We may have forgot to pay the heat.

Why on earth would we do that? It’s winter, it gets cold,
like every single day until the first day of spring and then, well it gets colder until global warming changes and—

This has nothing to do with global warming and everything to do with the fact that we just don’t have the means to spend money on frivolous things, like those colored pencils and paper.

Oh no, don’t you start in on that again. How else am I supposed to do my work? This project, that by the way pays to put food on the table. Why would you force me to see everything in black and white when absolutely nothing is what it seems amid these shades of pink?

(quiet silence)

Shades of pink. You’re probably thinking you stumbled into a syfy futuristic fantasy novella, right? I’m here to tell you that it’s real, I’ve seen every shade of pink. The shades of roses in winter and spring, the pink of a rolled tongue inside out, the willowy undertones of a newborn’s cheeks, and more. We are all surrounded by shades of pink–not just Millennial pink, but the color of orchids at daybreak, Miss Piggy pink, hot summer nights pink and the pink that you can’t see until you bleed.

I know what they’re thinking when I start talking about the color pink but you have to understand that I know what I’m talking about. I may not have been around when it was born but pink is a legend. And I’ve seen the color’s evolution from a billion-year old rock to a mold of paraffin in a brightly colored box. Pink is more than a brand (especially by today’s standards) and its vibrancy is ten times what the dilution of red and white will lead you to believe. It strives for new heights all on its own without having to lend its name to the latest euphoric synthetic opiate lurking on the street. Pink is everything. Not a who or a when but a whatsit intersecting the space between living and breathing, where your heart beat slows down and you can almost imagine…

Photo Credit: @pixabay

grief: the price of freedom

May I ask you a question?

Absolutely, what’s up?

Okay, this is going to sound like crazy talk, but do you believe in the afterlife?

The afterlife? Do you mean reincarnation? Or life after death, like they taught us in CCD?

Honestly, I’m not sure.

Well, it depends on … wait a minute, where is this all coming from?

(quiet pause)

Luv, what’s going on?

On the way here, as I was sitting in the plane at 30,000 feet way above the clouds, I stared out the window looking for Heaven. I couldn’t SEE it. I couldn’t FEEL it, and now, well, you’re going to think I’ve lost it, my mind that is, from all this loss, from their death. But it’s my faith that I’ve lost. How can I believe in something that I can’t see or feel?

Oh, luv, that’s what faith is, it’s believing even when something is intangible, unproven. It lives in the space between where your heart learns to feel and the rational ends of your conscious mind accepts the unknown. Losing someone unexpectedly, as you have, when you are already in a place of uncertainty flips the switch on your belief system. I suspect this will not be the only thing you second guess over the coming days and weeks.  

(She shakes her head)

What you’re talking about is a lifelong journey, not just days and weeks. I don’t want to be a part of that, I want it to be over sooner than later, like right now.

Luv, that’s not how grief works; it doesn’t operate on a timeline. It shifts along with the individual until they have–until you have–the courage to walk through its fire, to break through to the other side. That’s the only way you will ever be free.


Excerpt from a free writing exercise, The Woolfer Writing Group, 9/20/2018

Tip Your Cup to the Devine

DAY 11: The Writer’s Happiness Challenge: Tip Your Cup

One of my favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson is “This is my wish for you” where he shares his deepest desires for those he loves. It’s his sentiments that come to mind as I read and contemplate today’s writing exercise.

Write down the names of one to four people you love, respect, or adore. Then focusing on each person at a time, close your eyes, and visualize their complete and total success—the success THEY want, not the one you want for them. Imagine them achieving this success. Imagine the look on their face. Imagine the way they stand, the way they tell you or someone they love about how it happened, the way they move through the world. Now mentally with intention send them your very deepest wish for that success.

The exercise makes me think of my practice with sound healer Abigail Devine. Earlier in 2017, I was drawn to her energetic healing process. Through a series of sound healing vibrations and meditation exercises, Abby led me to not only forgive myself for past transgressions toward others but to also reconcile those of others toward me. It was a very profound experience.

The Writing Happiness Challenge is offered by @splendidmola, for more information click here.

take bold risks with determination

DAY 10: The Writer’s Happiness Challenge: Audacity

I don’t know that I necessarily understand this next writing exercise. It reads more like a meditation than a contemplative path toward writing happiness. So rather than read it again, I’m going rogue and interpreting it from a selfish point of view.

Choose one quality of someone you admire that you’d like to emulate or bring more of into your life. 

I choose audacity, followed by tenacity. The willingness to take bold risks, with determinedness. I’ve been practicing the part about being bold in this part of my adult life but sometimes I let things and situations get the best of me. So, that’s where the persistence part comes in handy.

As for folks who I admire that have both qualities, there are some known (Lady Gaga, Katharine Hepburn, Taraji Henson) and not so known (Lulu, Suzie, Gabriele, Sharon, Anne).

The Writing Happiness Challenge is offered by @splendidmola, for more information click here.