Donna Masselli, 42, IT Technician, Hell’s Kitchen
By Robin Madel
I’m in school at NYU, in my 4th year studying Creative Writing and I’m a poet. I grew up in a small town called Wallingford, CT. My brother lives on Martha’s Vineyard. I moved there after saving up a bunch of cash. I was dancing at the time – hip hop infused with modern dance and African-fusion. I had lived there for a year and met a girl who had an apartment in New York. She asked me if I was interested in it. I was completely oblivious to what any type of living meant here. I decided to take it.
I moved here in October of ‘99. Said apartment was a basement studio apartment on 4th between A&B. There was no kitchen-you’d be amazed what you can cook on a hot plate. The building owner built a shower out of some plastic he got at Home Depot, probably. There were water bugs everywhere. For a while I was just focused on finding steady work so I could get the hell out of that apartment. It was dark and depressing. Had I known that a basement apartment in Alphabet City was not going to be paradise, I might have stayed in Martha’s Vineyard. Yet I don’t regret it. When I moved here…for the first time, it was the first time it felt like home-with the exception of that fucking apartment.
There are a lot of things I would change in the past but I’m not really big on looking back. To me that’s counterproductive. Where’s my violin?
We had an assignment where we paired off and interviewed our classmates, then we had to write an interview in first person style, as if the person we interviewed had written the piece (I love this interview style). this meant that we had to write down everything they said, exactly as they said it. I interviewed Deanna about what she regrets in her life.
I wrote this right after class and revised it at the beginning of this week. Apparently I can't edit my own work. Gah!
The woman's name is actually Deanna, and I knew that, but for some reason I typed Donna. I read my piece in class and brought copies for the classmates to read as well. I was horrified when I realized I had mistyped her name. Then she read her piece about me and I realized that she had spelled and pronounced my last name as "Mandel," a common mistake. I felt somewhat redeemed.