Book Review

 

by: Rosalie H. 
Contino
Reviewed by: Marion Mitchell, IWWG Member

Memoir: Inspiration; Women; Theater; Costume Design

Born to Create is an inspiring story of one woman’s journey to change the course of her life by following her natural creative instincts. Thus, she fulfilled her lifelong dream of having a career she believed she was born to have.

As a young woman, author Rosalie Contino was admonished by her family to give up her creative dreams. “Good Italian women don’t write! What would the neighbors think?” Despite these sentiments, Rosalie held on to her visions of becoming a painter, designer, or writer. But when she was old enough to register for college, her mother had a different plan: “I don’t support starving artists. Get a real degree like your father and uncle.”

Rosalie graduated from college with a degree in elementary education and worked in the New York City School District for a large part of her career. But her creative instincts did not wither. She found herself drawn like a magnet to school and outside projects that made her “smile” and tapped into her passions for sewing, fashion design, theatrical sets, production, and writing. Rosalie writes: “I wanted to develop and expand that knowledge by learning more… I wanted to work with professionals.”

So began her adventure into the full-time world of learning about the creative arts. At New York University, Rosalie was surrounded by professors and classmates who shared her creative interests. She was part of “exhilarating and enlightening” conversations. She absorbed “facts about costume, social history, or social status to define a character in a play.” Her friends were thrilled that she was “perky and smiling again.”

Rosalie also had the opportunity to travel and study overseas. While in England, she discovered a deep love for nature, a feeling foreign for a girl raised on the concrete streets of New York City. She writes: “Nature was strange to say the least… Whether by itself or enhanced by man, [it] looked as if it had been artistically arranged, not carelessly strewn about… gnarled limbs and tree trunks, ravaged by years of storms until they seemed to resemble human fingers with painful, chronic arthritic conditions… I was grateful to have time to observe the English countryside and smell the roses.”

Born to Create is filled with the specifics of Rosalie’s experiences of sewing, original costume design, materials, screenplay and musical productions, and more.

Rosalie achieved her goal and became an accomplished creative artist. Her noteworthy successes are listed in Born to Create, a highly recommended book for the creative-hearted.