Cap’n Joe: Can you tell my readers a little about your background, and your nationality?
Camille: My full name is Camille Adelina Sanzone…that should tell you something right off the bat, Joe. I come from a very strict Sicilian family, but there was always lots of music, lots of food, lots of laughter, lots of food… Did I say that already? (Laughs.) I was raised with food to the left of me and food to the right of me. My luck – it settled in front of me and behind me.
Cap’n Joe: (Laughs.) I’ve seen your photo, Camille. I’m not seeing that.
Camille: Well, I am what you might politely call voluptuous, or as Garfield the Cat might describe as undertall. But it works for me; my full face helps push out wrinkles before they can take hold, and when I take off my bra, my double dees pull out the rest of them. (Laughs again.)
Cap’n Joe: Now that’s an image! Well, that tells me a piece about you; now tell me about your background.
Camille: I won’t recite my entire résumé…as my background has been diverse. I’ve been a caseworker in children’s protective services and I’ve been a bank training officer; I’ve worked with people challenged with AIDS, seniors struggling with Alzheimer’s disease; I’ve been an instructor with Women In Distress, teaching a program in middle and high schools called “It’s not OK,” about abusive relationships; I’ve been executive producer at an all news/talk radio station, and an activities coordinator at a senior citizen day center…among other things.
Cap’n Joe: Whew! I’m tired just hearing the list! Sounds like you’ve lived a life of service, Camille. Tell me, what prompted you to write your book, At the End of your Rope? Tie a Knot & Hang On! Help has Arrived!
Camille: I started writing it in 1986, after writing an 8-page suicide letter.
Cap’n Joe: A suicide letter?
Camille: Yes, and the operative word in that sentence, Joe, is letter; had I written the traditional suicide note, I might have gone through with it, but 8 long, hand-written pages later, I had managed to talk myself out of it. For once in my life, being prolific saved it!
Cap’t Joe: That was 1986. You’re not saying it took you twenty-eight years to write your book, are you?
Camille: Perhaps, in a way, because it took me 28 years to be ready to write it. After I wrote that letter, I wrote a few chapters of what was going to be a Suicide-Prevention Manual because I wanted to share what I’d learned.
Cap’n Joe: And what was that?
Camille: That most people who attempt suicide don’t really want to die; they just don’t want to go on living the way they’ve been living. I know all I wanted was for the emotional pain to stop. But somehow I didn’t think people would buy a Suicide-Prevention Manual – too much stigma attached to the title; so, I put the chapters away and didn’t go back to them until a few years ago. When I did, I came at it from a whole new perspective. At the End of your Rope is decidedly not a Suicide-prevention manual; it is a Life-embracing Manual.
Cap’t Joe: How so?
Camille: Well, I realized I had to make an about-face, make better choices and take responsibility for my own happiness. You’ve probably heard of NDE’s, Joe; an NDE being a Near Death Experience. Well, if I had committed suicide, I would have had an NLE, a Near Life Experience. You see, Joe, I was so close to living a full life, but because of the monumental, albeit temporal pain, I almost summarily ended it.
Cap’t Joe: I never thought of suicide that way.
Camille: As an aside, Joe, once when I was in counseling, my therapist asked me if I had considered suicide. My immediate response was, “No, but thanks for the suggestion.” My sense of humor is, apparently, always intact. Anyway, actually contemplating suicide gave me the jolt I needed to choose to live life consciously, intentionally, and with joy. And my book is intended to show others how to do that, to encourage them to take a deep breath of life and assure them that things are going to get better, that they’re going to be OK. But my book is not just for people on the verge…it is truly for anyone who wants to find better and more life-enhancing ways of being in the world.
Cap’n Joe: It must have felt especially sweet, then, to finally finish your book.
Camille: It was such a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, Joe, but I must confess the moment that gave me the biggest thrill was actually holding my book in my hands for the very first time. It made me giddy.
Cap’n Joe: I understand you published your book with Amazon’s CreateSpace program. Why?
Camille: I had already waited so long to write the book, I really didn’t want to wait any longer to find an agent and then a publisher. I wanted to see my book in print as soon as possible. At least I can say I’ve never received a rejection letter!
Cap’n Joe: Are you working on any other books?
Camille: I’m reformatting my one-woman play into a book: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic: I still make the sign of the cross when I pass a PIZZA HUT! While it makes some serious observations, it is, essentially, filled with material from my stand up routines.
Cap’n Joe: Wait a minute, you also do stand up comedy? How long have you been doing that?
Camille: I’ve done it on and off since the eighties. Through my work in radio, I met the great, late Phyllis Diller when I was 35. She heard me do my act and was very encouraging, telling me she was 35 when she began her career, but I wasn’t cut out for the life of a stand-up comic – traveling across the country, doing one-night stands. So, instead, I’ve incorporated my comedy into the workshops I do in personal and spiritual growth, under the auspices of For A Better Way.
Cap’n Joe: And what is For a Better Way?
Camille: Right now it’s the name of my website, and the name of what I hope to be a nonprofit organization. I’m seeking mentors and benefactors to help me establish it as a 501c3. If any of your readers are in the know about such things…HOLLER!
Cap’n Joe: And what would be the mission of For a Better Way?
Camille: Primarily, to present programs in schools, as well as to the general population, on compassionate living. I believe so strongly that if we teach children the importance of being kind, of being compassionate, of seeking to understand rather than to be right, we would go a long way in preventing bullying in all areas of life. I want to train trainers to present “A Better Way” programs in their local communities across the United States, especially in schools, from elementary to high school.
Cap’n Joe: You seem very passionate about it.
Camille: Oh, I am; that’s why I am writing a trilogy: Compassionate Parenting, Compassionate Leadership and Compassionate Living.
Cap’n Joe: Dare I ask what you do when you aren’t writing?
Camille: I play at the piano, and I have sing-alongs with friends and family. I also host a weekly Internet radio show, “Tie a Knot & Hang On! Help has Arrived!” It airs LIVE Wednesdays at 1 pm Eastern Time on: http://w4wn.com/
Cap’n Joe: Where can readers go to find your book?
Camille: They can go to Amazon.com, enter my name: Camille Sanzone and they’ll find the perfect-bound 8 X 10 paperback of At the End of your Rope? Tie a Knot & Hang On! Help has arrived!, along with a couple of kindle-edition books I’ve written: A Conversation with Some Angels, which is the backstory of how I came to write, or veritably channel from the angels themselves, the 82-line poem of the same title, and Drop the WAIT: Someday Is Now!
Cap’n Joe: Thank you, Camille, for taking time out from your busy day to answer my questions. You’re an interesting and funny lady and I’ve enjoyed getting to know a lot more about you. It’s a pleasure having you join my blog. I wish you the very best with your book, anything else you publish in the future, and with your radio show.
Camille: Thank you, Joe. I appreciate the opportunity to introduce myself to your readers. Whatever path they take, I hope they keep choosing ever better ways of being in the world.