BOULDER – When your father tells you to do something, you better do it.
For Giovanni Ruscitti, an attorney and partner at Boulder-based law firm Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti LLP, his father’s request was to commemorate family traditions.
The result: “Pavers, Conversations and Corks: A Son’s Discovery of His Italian Heritage”, Ruscitti’s first book, an ode to his father, his mother and their homeland.
Ruscitti will speak and sign copies of the book at a 6:30 p.m. event Tuesday at Boulder Books.
Emilio Ruscitti, before his death in 2019, repeatedly told his son Giovanni, “It would be great if you could tell the story of our family,” young Ruscitti told BizWest.
While Giovanni Ruscitti promised his father that he would honor this request, it was unclear in what form these stories would be told.
“Honestly, I never thought I could write a book or have the time to write a book,” he said.
But soon after Emilio Ruscitt died, his son put pencil to paper and started doodling.
“I had no idea what I was going to do with it, no plan, no plan,” Ruscitti said. “…But as I got into it, I found the writing process very spiritual, and a deep moment happened” when he thought back to his first trip to the ancestral home of the Ruscitti family: Cansano, in Italy.
The trip took place in 2013, when Ruscitti was 46 years old. “I had all these stories deep in my mind” of Emilio Ruscitti’s repeated tales over the decades, Ruscitti said, so Cansano felt familiar despite never having set foot in central Italy. Hamlet.
He knew that this trip to Cansano would form the backbone of his book.
The story evolved from memories passed down by Emilio Ruscitti, to a story of father and son, husbands and wives, immigrants and war, pasta and red wine, being Italian and being Italian. to be American.
With little more than “a shirt on his back and a fifth-grade education,” Emilio immigrated from a small town in Italy ravaged by World War II to Frederick, which had a long history of welcoming immigrants from the region to work in the coal mines.
“There were a lot of Italian immigrants in the Tri Towns area of Frederick, Firestone and Dacono,” Ruscitti said. “…I could walk down any street in Frederick and hear more Italian than English.”
The book allowed Ruscitti to rediscover that feeling of Italian voices ringing in his ears, of friends and family, of comfort and home.
For years, as part of his daily process of meditation, movement, and mindfulness, Ruscitti has dedicated a block of time in the morning to himself—a few moments when the pressures of practicing law fade into second plan.
“So I would use that time to work on the book,” he said. “… What I found is that writing is an activity that brought me a lot of balance and gave me a lot of perspective. It actually made my job as a lawyer and managing partner at Berg Hill easier. It really helped ground me.
In 2020, Ruscitti shared a draft of his writing with Vic Lombardi, an AltitudeTV sportscaster and fellow first-generation Italian, who praised his friend’s prose.
“There might be an audience for this,” Ruscitti realized.
Within a year of Ruscitti’s debut, the book was finished.
Armed with the certainty that there would be people interested in reading the stories of the Ruscitti family, he began to navigate the publishing world and eventually landed at Radius Publishing Group.
“They had read parts of the manuscript and really believed in the story,” Ruscitti said of the Radius team, which he praised for allowing the author to maintain some level of creative control.
Still, for a business owner and prominent lawyer used to getting what he wants, the editing process can be humiliating, he said.
But when the dust settled and the clichés common to new authors were dropped from the pages of “Cobblestones, Conversations, and Corks”, Ruscitti said that “the final product of the work is something I am very pleased with.”
While writing a book was an exhilarating experience, and Ruscitti knows his father would be proud of him for finishing it, Ruscitti isn’t quitting his day job anytime soon.
“I love being a lawyer and will continue to practice law for a long time in this community,” he said. “But I think it’s important for people to express their creative side. There is no reason for you as a professional to be limited to just one thing. You are a doctor, you are a lawyer, you are an engineer – these are just labels.