Carol Milano’s adult life has been one of trying to balance two demanding and sometimes conflicting needs. One is her life-long desire to write and the other her need to help other people. Carol also has many interests, among them a love of the outdoors. She and her husband, Len, bought a cabin in the woods in Bucks County, Pennsylvania where they bike and hike.
Writing can be a solitary activity, requiring the writer lo be away from people whose presence might distract from the creative process.
Carol has always loved writing. “I remember as a little kid, when I was maybe just five years old, wanting to be a writer”, she says. “ I think it probably began with the stories my mother read to me.” (However, she has never written fiction or poetry.)
She started writing articles in elementary school. Her first published work was in fifth grade. And later she became editor of her high school newspaper. She was pleased to find that to find that people really liked what she wrote.
But despite her successes as a writer, helping other people ultimately proved to be a stronger draw and she became a career counsellor. For a decade.
Since then, she has tried very hard to integrate those two primary needs. “Sometimes I get lucky and can respond to both at the same time: I’ve written books on career topics, organized workshops on professional issues for journalists, arranged field trips for reporters, and started local writers groups.”
Now, semi -retired, she freelances for the National Association of Funeral Directors, writing articles for their monthly magazine on a range of topics, from grave robbing to funeral foods around the world. And she has written about cemeteries all over the country, including the Quaker cemetery in Prospect Park that was established in 1846, before the park was created. Montgomery Clift, the heart throb of movie goers in the 1950s and 60s, is buried there.
About eight years ago, Carol says, she started taking drawing classes. “Then, during the pandemic, I joined a hike and sketch group that met in the park. It was a very rewarding, creative experience.”. Participating in such a group, she said, she learned a lot and after it ended, she felt she was ready to organize an outdoor sketching group for Good Neighbors members.
(Also, she was able to use her experience as a career counselor in a workshop to help GNPS members find ways to look for the right kind of volunteer job.)
“The outdoor sketching group has been very successful,” Carol says. “Artists, like writers, often spend their creative time alone. We keep the group small so we’re able to talk to one another while we’re sketching and some of us have even become friends,” Carol notes.
Not surprisingly, there is a waiting list. Outdoor sketching seems to appeal to a lot of members. Carol hopes that someone will organize a second group that can meet on a different day or in a different location.
The group meets once a week in good weather, mostly in the area around 9th street where the majority of sketchers live. That minimizes the need to carry art equipment too far. Most members are experienced artists of some kind. Some even exhibit. “Most of us try to come each week because we really like one
another’s company while we’re working. ”
Carol also organizes a GNPS weekly walking group in Prospect Park. Everyone enjoys the exercise but, again, it’s the company that’s a major motivator.
Carol and Good Neighbors are a good fit. She has many interests and talents that she is happy to share and GNPS members are the lucky beneficiaries.