LINDA MARIGLIANO has just published her compelling, relatable and powerfully moving memoir of people-pleasing, family and what it means to love and be loved. Good Reading caught up with the radio presenter, podcaster and now author.
You’ve been a radio and TV presenter, a podcaster and now an author, so what are your favourite things about each profession?
Across the board it’s the community and the connection you build! I always had the biggest laughs with callers on the radio who felt like hilarious friends. I also love the creative, collaborative nature of radio and TV, and doing live broadcasts is wild because anything can happen! Podcasting and book writing is a slower, thoughtful process which allows for really intimate and imaginative storytelling. I’m lucky to get to do it all.
It was really important to think about it like a fictional story with compelling scenes that all push the plotline along! Like, why is this scene important? Why should this particular moment be included? That made it harder because it wasn’t going to be satisfying enough to write ‘This happened then that happened.’ I needed to sit with things, especially uncomfortable things, and then write about them. I loved going for big walks on my writing days – tapping into my phone or scribbling ideas into my little notepad. Then I’d go home, turn off my phone notifications (crucial!) and just write. And when I wasn’t writing, I was reading. I was gobbling up as many other writing styles as possible to feel inspired to squeeze out my best work.
This book is very personal, so how did you approach vocalising your feelings and emotions? Did you have to switch off your ‘on-air’ persona at any time?
Totally! If I stayed in ‘performance’ mode then there was no chance of writing something meaningful. Digging through my own experiences was quite emotional but I found real serenity in writing, which surprised me! I was alone in my apartment writing my story for months on end, and now I have to add this surreal layer that it’s out in public and everyone I’ve ever known can pick it up and go “Whoa Linda, this is intense!” It’s funny that the process of writing this book actually mirrors the life lesson I was writing about in terms of owning my own vulnerability and knowing when not to perform.
What is your best piece of inspirational advice to anyone who’s struggling with too much people-pleasing?
Don’t be afraid to say no. The world will not collapse and you’ll be happier with how you’re choosing to spend your time. If you’re unsure, take a moment to be honest with how you really feel, instead of focusing on the consequences to other people. If it’s taking you a long time to decide, it’s probably because you want to say no!
What do you hope readers take away from this book?
I hope it makes you laugh and cry a little bit, cos I did that while writing it! I hope it makes you hungry for the feasts, and understand the beautiful, weird ways our families show love sometimes. I hope it reminds you to be a little softer on yourself because you don’t have to act “perfect”. You’re a tender little morsel.
What was the best part about creating Love Language?
I absolutely fell in love with the writing process, and became obsessed with how other writers structure stories and create characters. I could really nerd out, haha! And on an emotional level, I gained alot of internal clarity through writing the book.
Now that you’ve had the author experience, do you think you’ll try writing fiction next?
I think it’ll be rude not to give it a red hot crack. I imagine it’ll give me an intimidating sense of freedom.
What is your favourite pasta dish?
My gosh what an impossible question! I adore simple classics – pasta e ceci, pasta e piselli, my dad’s fragrant pesto with extra handfuls of basil from the garden, and I will never refuse an extra serving of mafaldine pasta with rich tomato sauce and fresh ricotta stirred through it. Heaven!
What is a home-cooked meal that brings you happiness and you think everyone should try?
My mum’s congee in the winter months is an absolute heart warmer. Steamy congee topped with crispy green onions and loaded with mushrooms, carrots and cabbage, then finished off with a healthy splash of soy sauce. It’s a happy hug.