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Meet the NYC Cast: Kathy Curto

by Varda on March 29, 2012

I asked today’s Meet the Cast spotlight, Kathy Curto, how her family has inspired her work as a writer, and this is what she shared:

Kathy Curto grew up in a home that was loving, chaotic and either terrifyingly loud or terrifyingly quiet, depending on her father’s mood.  It was the sort of place that made people hungry, especially if their car windows were down when swerving up into her driveway.  The smells from the kitchen of her childhood were that good, they swirled out into the streets and enticed.

And it was in that kitchen where Kathy’s mother, usually dressed in a floral apron, the kind with shiny white snaps instead of buttons, made her particular form of magic happen.  To do this she used her wooden spoons, olive oil hands, warm smile and no-nonsense orders about life and how it should be lived.  In addition to feeding her family’s appetites with hearty, flavorful concoctions, it was in this same vein that Kathy’s mother fed their souls.

Now, officially grown-up (that’s one of the things that happens to kids when mothers die) and the mother of four, Kathy tries to replicate that magic in a kitchen all her own.  She wears floral aprons when she cooks hearty meals, she has a mean collection of wooden spoons and she hears herself tossing out orders such as, “Behave!” or “Watch yourself!” or “Use your head!” as her children walk out the door and into their own lives, their own worlds.

Her mother’s no-nonsense words spill out from inside of her, still feeding souls.

Speaking of life and the world and things terrifying and tender, that’s what brings Kathy to the page.  She writes because she has to and because she believes words can save, heal, arouse and astound.  Life can be way too complicated, way too beautiful, way too scary, and way too surprising to just let it pass her by without getting some of that down on paper.  And lately, there’s been an awful lot of paper.

Kathy’s work has been published in Italian Americana, VIA-Voices in Italian Americana, Lumina, The Mom Egg, Splash of Red and several newspapers covering the Hudson Valley. Kathy’s essays have been featured on NPR, as well as in live performances of The Art Garden, Letters to Our Ancestors, and Mamapalooza.  In 2006 she was awarded the Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellowship of Sarah Lawrence College, which helped to jump-start the engine that drives her desire to write.

Kathy has taught writing at Empire State College and is an Adjunct Professor of Sociology at St. Thomas Aquinas College.  She is currently working on a collection of stories about coming of age in the 70s and 80s with her family’s New Jersey gas station as a backdrop.

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Amy March 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Welcome Kathy! We’re so excited to have you.

judith carluccio March 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm

…I knew Catherine (hope the correct spelling). I knew her cooking by way of an eggplant parmesan that came our way from time to time. My husband said it was the best he’d ever eaten. My daughter Michel, Kathy’s best friend, spent nights and days and backyard picnics sampling the rest. Catherine was generous and funny and had the skin of a 25 year old at 60.
I think I know, along with raising four children, teaching, heading-up coat drives etc, writing, is Kathy’s life’s work. I am so happy for her and can’t wait to hear more from “the family.” I am also…if she would allow…so proud of her. Judith Carluccio

Julie Evans March 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I had lunch with Kathy last Tuesday. We spoke of all manner of things. Our writing, our not writing, our wishing we were writing more, our writing group, our futures in teaching writing and, the food we were eating. There are few people in this world that can turn a simple luncheon into a safari into the deepest realms of life. Kathy can do that. May all the words you choose to share elevate the atmosphere within and around you. My best to Ms. Curto. Love, Julie

Holly March 30, 2012 at 3:02 am

Kathy, I knew you were special the moment you walked into auditions and you are going to light up the stage on May 6th. We are so lucky to have you.

Kirsten March 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm

so glad to be reading alongside you. Your words, your story were inspirational and moving. See you soon!!!

kathykate March 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm

This woman hands-down blew the doors off at rehearsals. I couldn’t help but want to follow her home.

Kathy March 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Thank you for all of the support and encouragement. I’m honored to have this opportunity and to be sharing the stage with such a fine group of artists!

Looking forward to May 6th….

Lucy Cardone March 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I am Kathy’s oldest sister and have had the good fortune of growing up in the same magical kitchen. Memories of pots cooking on the stove and wonderful family dinners are imprinted on my heart.
Kathy, we are so proud of you and are so grateful that you are able to bring Mommy back to us, if only for a few short moments at a time.

I love you,

Lucy

Ann April 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I love this, Kathy. Welcome to LTYM!

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