The Painter Becomes An Author

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Marcia GlosterTo write her novels, Virginia Woolf needed a room of her own. Marcia Gloster needs Verona’s trees.

“The city gives you more electricity and energy,” says Gloster, who became a resident of Verona 20 years ago after decades of living in New York City. “But it is much calmer to write here because of the trees. You can bring the city energy here and disseminate it over time.”

Beneath her backyard trees, with her dog at her side, Gloster has published two books since 2014, as well as two chapter-length prequels to her novel that have been released online. She’s well into the writing of her third book. Not bad for someone who doesn’t even consider herself a writer.

“I never took a writing class in my life,” says Gloster, a painter with a degree from the Rhode Island School of Design who became an art director at publishing and advertising firms in New York City. “I wasn’t even sure where the quotation marks went in the dialogue. I had to learn structure and dialogue.”

What Gloster didn’t have to learn was the world her books depicted. In 31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction, she told the story of an affair she had had as a 20-year-old art student with a married painter. Her new book, I Love You Today, is also set in the 1960s, but it is a novel about the rise of a young woman through Madison Avenue’s male-dominated businesses–a story about the world of Mad Men if you will, but written from the perspective of a Peggy Olson character and not Don Draper. “I used to watch Mad Men,” Gloster says, “and think, come on, you can be more real about this.”

The heroine of I Love You Today, Maddie Samuels, must navigate a world in which sexual restrictions are falling and hemlines are rising. “The 50s were over, the rules had been thrown out and women were on their own,” says Gloster. “Everybody was having these disastrous relationships because of all the sexual freedom.” Relationships, as the book’s title implies, were fleeting and filled with as many setbacks as possibilities. Maddie must make her own way to claim a job that befits her talents and not just her gender.

Gloster is quick to dispel any notion that I Love You Today is a period piece about a bygone era. She notes that former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes resigned under pressure last July after being sued for harassment by Gretchen Carlson, a Fox anchor. In early April, long-time Fox anchor Bill O’Reilly was forced out over sexual harassment problems and, on Monday, CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota spoke out about harassment she faced from Ailes while she was at Fox. It’s not just a problem in the news business: In a post to her LinkedIn profile last October, Gloster wrote about the sexual harassment and gender bias that can still be found in the New York advertising world.

Soon, Gloster’s work on her third book will be finished. She had a card reading at Verona’s Goddess In Eden for the lead character–and herself. Gloster longs to get back to painting, but she acknowledges the gift that writing has given her. “Writing helps keep me young,” she says. “My mind is always going. My energy is always flowing.”

Marcia Gloster’s books are not yet in the collection at the Verona Public Library. You can find 31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction and I Love You Today on Amazon. You can read the first and second prequels to I Love You Today online.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].

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