Author of "The Godfather's Daughter" inspires writers


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  • Rita Gigante




  • The cover of Rita's memoir, featuring her father Vincent "The Chin" Gigante




— Rita Gigante, author of The Godfather’s Daughter: An Unlikely Story of Love, Healing, and Redemption, spoke to thirteen budding memoirists at “Bearing Witness: How to Write Your Memoir,” a writing workshop hosted by The Tree of Health Center January 13-14, 2018.

Gigante, 50, was invited as guest speaker to share her transformative life journey, starting with the traumas and anxieties of growing up in a mafia family and leading up to today.

“It’s always good for new writers to experience—and even hear—the voices of memoirists other than me,” said Lorraine Ash, who runs memoir workshops throughout the tri-state area. “Rita is particularly inspirational and engaging.”

A healer, Gigante now runs Space of Grace Healing Center in Rockland County, New York, with her wife, Bobbie Sterchele.

Her late father, Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, was head of the Genovese crime family. In the 1990s, he was known as the dominant force inside the Commission, the mob’s ruling body encompassing all five families in the New York area.

“You’re all aware that before we come into this life, we make contracts with the people around us?” she asked the writers. “I can picture myself with a board of options before I came in.” She checked off options on an imaginary checklist in the air. “I’ll take a mafia father, a mother who gives away her power. Oh, I’ll take being a lesbian. I’ll take anxiety and depression.” She paused and regarded the group.

“What the f— was I thinking?”

Yet, she said, she has no regrets about growing up as she did, as painful as it was and as challenging as the fascinating road to her current spiritual life has been.

“My family were my greatest teachers,” she said.

At four points in her life, she said, her body reached a “zero point” at which all was taken from her and she had to clear and reset her body back to health. In a talk that was part heart-wrenching and always engaging, Gigante also had the memoirists laughing.

Julie Brown, one of the participants in “Bearing Witness,” called Gigante “a female Sebastian Maniscalco.”

“You’ve got to laugh in this life,” Gigante said. “It’s essential.”

TTOHC hosts the memoir writing workshops—as well as two ongoing memoir writing circles—because of its belief in the healing power of narrative writing. The next writer’s workshop intensive is scheduled for June 30 to July 1st. To learn more about this and other events at TTOHC, please visit www.ttohc.com or call (973) 500-8813.

TTOHC is a Natural and Spiritual Health Center. They provide services and classes to evolve the spirit, mind & body. Personal and professional growth is achieved through the spiritual foundation of MARCI®. MARCI® is an acronym for Mindfulness, Awareness, Responsibility, Compassion and Intuition.



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