We had the good fortune of connecting with Paula Parente and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paula, how do you think about risk?
I think risk can be both external and internal. External in that you take action, take a chance on something – like changing careers or moving to a new place. Internal risk can sometimes be sitting with yourself, taking the time to find out what you truly want to do, and making the decision to do it even in the face of obstacles, like knowing those close to you may not like or approve of what you want to do, or not do. So it’s following your intuition and heart’s desires, and doing what you need to do for yourself, which then, as I said, may not be what others want for you. I’d also like to add that risk can be an opportunity to grow forward, and that often means facing and feeling the fear and moving through it to the other side.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In my life I’ve been presented with risks and challenges that I’ve struggled with, decisions to make which haven’t been easy. And although the results weren’t always as I planned, ultimately I’m glad I stuck with it and followed my hopes and desires. After graduating college with a B.S. in Nutrition, I worked full time as a Food Service Supervisor in an assisted living facility. Then I made the decision to give up the steady income career and pursue my passions for art, theatre and writing. With money I had saved up, I took a few art courses at the community college and got a couple of temp jobs – the first at a toy company where I was in charge of putting together a model toy store for Toy Fair in New York, and the second at a greeting card company where I did layout design. Then, to explore more of my creative side, I decided to go to theatre school for two years and move to New York to act. To pay my bills, I found a flexible job working concessions at the Broadway Theatres while I went out on auditions. In a town where it seemed “everyone’s an actor”, and with my shy personality, I found the actor’s life difficult. Although I did get a part playing Pier Angeli in an off-off Broadway play. I spent time working on my own projects too – writing and getting two children’s nursery rhyme books published: Annie’s Amethyst and Rosalind’s Rose Quartz. Also writing, acting and co-editing a short film, which was shown in a Rhode Island film festival and on a cable TV station in Pennsylvania. I found enjoyment in making collages and silk flower arrangements, a few being sold to friends and a couple of restaurants. After several years in New York, Tim and I moved to Arizona where we both continue our creative endeavors while working at the local supermarket. I played tambourine on Tim’s cd, The Lucky Ones, and recently made a booklet of flash fiction stories and another chapbook of poetry. I’m happy that I was able to try out a variety of different creative avenues.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Everyone’s tastes are different in what they enjoy doing, eating, or where they might like to visit. I would recommend to a friend that they search the internet to see what inspires, intrigues and interests them. And then I would take them there!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Tim Young, who continues to be supportive and encouraging, even when I don’t have the confidence in myself.