A conversation with Ginnie Siena Bivona, author of Dirty Dining – A Cookbook and More for Lovers, Ida Mae Tutweiler and the Traveling Tea Party (made into Hallmark movie Bound by a Secret) and Notes from a Chameleon. www.ginniebivona.com
Ginnie's secret dream from her earliest years was to be a fashion designer. Writing never crossed her tiny mind, although her passion for reading began the day she was handed her own copy of the now extinct Dick and Jane first grade reader. Her earliest fashion sketch, two women all decked out from head to toe in completely different outfits was drawn at the age of five. Why these lovely ladies are walking what appears to be a very large chicken is something the artist herself is at a loss to explain. Nevertheless It’s clear that Ginnie has always been caught up in creativity. For many years that drive was expressed in painting, sculpture and various other artistic endeavors. And then right on schedule, as a shiny new bride, in cooking. And of course, having lots of kids and keeping a perfectly decorated, perfectly spotless house.
Kat: Where are you from?
GSB: Cleveland Ohio.
Kat: What in your youth provided a foundation for love and love expression?
GSB: My family was very loving, and because my Dad was Italian, my young life came with lots of hugs and kisses. I knew I was loved, and I think that was the foundation for how I am today.
Kat: What is your definition of Love?
GSB: Oh my, there are so many ways of loving, there's the love I have for my children, undying, deep, as much a part of me as the atoms of my body. Then there's the love of friends, a few from my childhood till today, and all ones who have come into my life at so many different stages. And then there are the men who love me...(and even tell me so) the three men in my poetry group (and I'm the only woman!) a couple of male friends that I do museums and theater and stuff like that...and the best part is, I'm not worried about how attractive I am, or will they want to marry me, or any of that stuff we fret about when we are young. Now it's all about just enjoying each other's company. I know while you are still sexy you believe that once the sexy part is gone it's OVER...but it turns out to be fun. And a lot less stressful.
KS: What do you love?
GSB: I love life! I love where I am in life! I could never have imagined how much fun it is. And I probably wouldn't have believed you if you told me. But it is. Stay tuned, there's more.
Kat: What do you think draws you to the things that you love?
GSB: I love, therefore I am loved. It's that simple. My kids tease me about it all the time...my youngest daughter says I'd think Jack the Ripper was a nice guy. And I probably would.
Kat: How do you apply what you love to your everyday life?
GSB: I exercise almost all day, every single day. My creativity, not necessarily my body, although I do exercise that too. (not as much as probably should, but I keep my phones in another room so I have to run to answer them. Does that count, do you think?) As long as I'm being creative, I'm happy.
Kat: What is one of the most important key to healthy and loving relationships?
GSB: The most important thing in any relationship is communication; being honest about yourself, and carefully listening to the other person too. Understanding that I have no power to change you, all I have the power to change is how I choose to react to the issue at hand.
Kat: What interests you?
GSB: I'm creative...that means I'm all over the place. It's called The Curse of the Creative Mind. And it never goes away...you can be as old as dirt and you'll still be thinking up new ideas, new interests and the newest idea of the moment. I love cooking, writing and collecting rocks. I love learning, so I read constantly, and now with my Kindle at hand, I'm never, ever without a book. .
Kat: What inspired you to do the work that you do?
GSB: One Sunday afternoon when I was 42 I started writing about how I felt just that day. How could I have known it would bring me to where I am today??? Wow. It's mind boggling.
Kat: How do you inspire others?
GSC: I feel strongly that my message is to tell others that life gets better and better the older you get, and that the adventure is amazing all of the way. So tighten your seat belt...it's one helluva a ride, and the best part is always in front of you.
Kat: What is the most romantic thing you’ve ever done or had done for you?
GSB: Read Dirty Dining, A Cookbook and More For Lovers. I may have done a few of those scenarios. Although I'll never tell what was made up, and what was...um...research.
Kat: What is one person, place or thing that inspires you?
GSB: That's Impossible to answer. So many influences...I suppose women of all ages, but especially women artists of the Renaissance period. And if I had to pick one, it would be Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1655).