A Good Hard Look: Get to Know Ann Napolitano

6 years ago

Ann Napolitano is the author of A Good Hard Look and Within Arm's Reach. She lives in New York City with her family.

Ann Napolitano

From a recent interview with Ann:

The idea of a well-lived life is a central theme of your novel. On your website (www.annnapolitano.com) you write, “I've spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to live one's life ‘well’ and the many different forms that this can take.” Tell us more.

This is a philosophical interest of mine, which I suppose I really engaged with for the first time when I had Epstein-Barr. I was only twenty, but that illness made me realize, in a visceral way, that life can change or end at any moment. I didn’t want to wake up when I was forty, or fifty, and find that I was disappointed in how I spent my days. I simply didn’t want to waste any time.

I think about my own life decisions through a very critical lens, and find myself challenging my own orthodoxies and assumptions all the time. I pay close attention because I’m afraid of taking a careless misstep; I want to make the best possible decision today, tomorrow and next year. This awareness extends beyond myself; I also worry over the decisions of my friends and family. If I think they’re making a choice they’ll regret later, it eats me up inside. (Is this healthy? Probably not.) It really strikes me though -— on a daily basis -— how often people make major life decisions without really thinking about it, without looking at the big picture.

The website is a great outlet for me, because I can channel these thoughts in a positive way by focusing on people who’ve -— in my estimation -— lived super-impressive lives. When you read about people like Thomas Paine, Gandhi, Harriet Tubman and Flannery O’Connor and see real-life examples of such moral courage and vision and sheer hard work, you can’t help but find it inspirational.

Get to know Ann!

Here's Ann talking about her work.

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