Posted by Literary Titan
Worth Holding On To is a memoir about how you found and lost the love of your life. Why did you decide to write about something so beautifully tragic?
It goes without saying that writing this particular book was no easy task. I remember dating the real life Cyrena (which is an alias, of course) just like it was yesterday. In fact, I remember all elements of that romance and its fallout just as vividly, but I wanted to write these things all down so that should there ever come a day when my memories start to fade, I will still have captured the reality of what was while it was still “fresh,” if that makes any sense. I will never forget her or what we shared; that, I’m sure is evident, but I also wrote this novella as a form of closure. What began as a writing project simply with the end-goal of a sort of ‘self-improvement’ exercise became a source of immense interior strength and spiritual journeying that I felt compelled to share with the world. I knew I wasn’t the only one who ever had experienced a love like this… I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last, but hopefully as readers take the journey with me through the book, they will reflect on their own loving relationships eventually coming to the realization that I did. Love is not an illusion; it is not some made-up philosophical construct. Love is alive; Love is transcendent; Love is a Person. God is Love and if we are all made “in His/Her image and likeness,” then Love is, as God is, all-good, unending, and cannot be overcome by darkness, evil, hatred, sin, sorrow, or shame.
There is a sense of love and innocence throughout the novel. How were you able to capture those feelings and put them into words?
When I knew the real Cyrena, she was indeed a very “innocent” young 18 or 19 year old woman. Of course, then, I was only 20 or 21, but in a number of ways was “not so innocent.” This may sound like the beginnings of a sort of “tale of corruption,” but as the book itself well demonstrates, I never thought of Cyrena as any sort of a “romantic conquest” or anything even remotely close to that. In fact, she was my turning point. What I mean by this is that prior to her entry into my life, I was rather cavalier with the women I had dated. She changed that… The whole experience changed that aspect of my life. I no longer date with the intention of “good feelings,” but rather with an eye, a mind, and a heart towards being for another person what they have yet to find. Rather than showing them another man who “only wants one thing,” the aim now is to show them not even myself, but the reflection of the One greater than I who lives through me.
There is so much to be said about love in this book. What do you hope your readers take away from your story?
Memories are a beautiful thing… of that, we can all be certain. For every single one of us, we also can be sure that there are painful memories. These are all things that are subject to change, however. Memories fade. Experiences do not. There is “something” – maybe it’s in the ether or maybe it’s ensouled within us – but there is definitely “something” that remains with us even when the memories have faded or the experiences are long over. And, we can always carry that with us; we can always go back to it; no one can take it from us; it even follows us into the next life. I believe it is all bound together through, with, and in Love itself. Take this as an example: When a person with Alzheimer’s has reached the advanced stage, they rarely recognize people they have known their entire lives. They truly appear to be a mere shell; almost completely devoid of who we’ve known them to be, but the fact remains that they ARE! They are who we’ve always known; who we’ve always loved. What, then, is it exactly about them that has NOT changed? That is what I want readers to take away from this novella: When we encounter good in this life – no matter how great or how small – there is an “essence;” that “something” about which I have just spoken that we carry with us… That goodness pushes us forward. It gives us hope for better and brighter days and “hope does not disappoint!”
I understand that you currently serve as life-coach and chaplain. Do you feel that these experiences influence your writing?
Certainly, I think they do. As much as others think I am helping them, I find that I am often helped just as much, to be entirely honest. When you interact on a regular basis with the teen struggling with a number of life changes, I see myself in that person and know that I was once where they are. When I encounter the ill child fighting cancer but still desiring to be happy, to experience life, and to “be normal,” I see in them that very hope that I know I need to press on and that we all need from time to time. The people I encounter in my work are not just people; they are reflections of God’s very self.
“You never forget your first love,” according to the old adage. Most of us would probably agree that this is true. However: contrary to what would seem reasonable, our first love need not necessarily be the first, second, or even third romantic relationship we’ve held. Neither must it be the longest one by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, our first love typically ‘touches’ us, indeed, ‘moves’ us in an inexplicable way that is unique and different to each person. What causes one person to love so dearly may repulse another and the other way around, but the real measure of the sincerity of this loving is when someone ‘imprints’ their very memory within your heart.
Posted in Interviews
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Posted by Literary Titan
Worth Holding On To is the memoir of Anthony Maranise. He guides his readers through one of the best moments in life; finding his love; Cyrena. They were introduced through a mutual friend and hit it off. Together the couple shared many memories and experiences, until sadly the harsh realities of life drew them apart. The book also delves into the months after a break-up, and the lasting impact that Cyrena had on the author’s life. The things that she had taught him are thought provoking and moving as well. While the book is short, there is a lot of content to ponder. The author doesn’t need a lot of words to get his point across, and make an impact on his readers.
There is a sense of innocence and love within the words of this memoir. Maranise’s words makes readers rethink their own definitions of love and what makes a relationship worth holding on to. His words are filled with love and positivity. Looking back, Maranise, has nothing negative to say about his time with and without this woman. Even as they sit side by side during a dinner after they parted ways, his feelings and emotions remain the same. One learns that sometimes feelings for someone never end even if the relationship happens to end. The reader gets the idea that Cyrena truly was a beautiful soul and had immense spiritual beauty as well as physical beauty. One can only imagine that the author left the same imprint on her life as she did his. In turn this book leaves a lasting impression on its readers, making them want to learn more about the author.
Maranise’s words resonate off the page, flying with emotion. He creates something that buries itself into the readers’ minds and sticks with them. Readers can see how much this woman meant to him, as the emotions saturate the pages. Maranise provides a colorful view in his life and opens up about something so intimate and private. He allows his readers to see a portion of how he became the person he is today. The story flows like a river of love and understanding. He cultivates true essence of love and what it means to accept someone, helping readers take a look at their own relationships and whether or not they are seeing their partner the same way he had seen Cyrena.
After reading this book a few times, I would give Anthony Maranise’s memoir a 5 out of 5 because I was honestly moved by what he had to say within it. There is so much to be said about love in this small book that anyone in a relationship or even in the beginning stages of dating should read this book. It truly is a beautifully written reflection on love and love lost. If there is one book you read this year on love and the impact that first love could have on your life, make sure that it is this book.
Pages: 124 | ISBN: 1530658675
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