Priests in the Attic

The Official Blog for Elaine A. Small

Monthly Archives: March 2012

Turning a “sour” lemon into sweet lemonade!

DATE OF RELEASE: March, 2012

Life reset: Making lemonade from “a lemon”

TORONTO – When life takes a sour turn you can do one of two things—give up or meet the problem head on.

Elaine Small chose the latter and has met every challenge of life by reinventing herself and forging ahead with one of the most unique and successful career paths followed by a woman emerging into the workplace in the 60’s and continuing well into the 21st century.

Now the author of a best-selling book, Priests in the Attic—her seventh career change—she is again forging ahead with a “reset” on her early successful singing career to produce a new album.

Her particular challenge is to seniors who do not know how to put aside the issues and problems of the past and push themselves forward into new exciting lives by writing  their life—a form of healing past disappointments and fulfilling their life-long dreams and ambitions.

From her start in the health care field as an X-ray technician, she followed her dreams to become a professional singer and was soon a bona fide musical star singing with the likes of the Ramsey Lewis Trio, USA, the Maestro Lucio Agostini, Canada, the Johnny Gallant trio in Montreal, the Jimmy King trio in Winnipeg including the legendary Lennie Breau, and, along the way, sharing the stage with Gordon  Pinsent (Movie-The Rowdyman etc.) actress Mitzi Gaynor  and Harry Belafonte, among others.

As Elaine Steele, she was featured on many Canadian television and radio variety shows, also appearing at the Royal York and King Edward Hotel supper clubs in Toronto, the Ritz-Carlton Café in Montreal as well as the major supper clubs of the day in hotels across Canada and the Northern USA.

As her musical career and personal family demands clashed, she re-invented herself by entering the heady world of high-fashion, soon becoming a sought-after European fashion buyer for three of Toronto’s major fashion stores, including Holt Renfrew. As the travel demands of that career again created family problems she morphed into a Toronto real estate entrepreneur, building a portfolio of investment apartment properties in Toronto, before once again switching careers, this time,  to the hospitality business, including a motel, restaurant and historic B&B outside of Toronto. Each “life reset” was either precipitated by a major personal crisis or professional change/relocation. None defeated her.

Along the way she returned to college to finish her interrupted philosophy degree—but instead switched over to earn a Master’s degree in English from York University, picking up on a lifelong fascination and heartfelt interest in writing. The result was Priests in the Attic, her first book. More than a simple memoir, the book gives sparkling insights into the difficulties and challenges faced by career-minded women at a time when most women were expected to be the “June Cleaver-type” stay-at-home wives and mothers.

Priests in the Attic highlights Elaine Small’s life from her early childhood in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as the daughter of a founder and leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada, through her musical and broadcasting years and later into her many other interesting and challenging careers. But, as critics and readers alike note, it moves beyond a simple memoir into provocative and inspirational insights dealing with life issues experienced by all. One critic noted that the book is “unique in its ability to resonate with many segments of society,” adding that it “wears its forthright heart on its sleeve, whether describing joyful successes or dismal failures in careers, marriage, motherhood and self-discipline.”

But, really, who is Elaine? Well, let her book tell you:

“I’m everyone who has ever taken a breath and marveled at the wonder and miracle of life. I’m everyone who has discovered their own finitude and shuddered at the concept of one day, being no more. I’m everyone who has suffered the pain of loss, the torment of regret, the desolation of loneliness, a fear of the past and a fear of the future. I’m everyone, who, through an anguished cry for help, receives the possibility of a new beginning and a miracle of new life through God’s immeasurable grace and his greatest gift—infinite love, given and received. Who am I? I am one with you—and all of us have our own unique story to tell. This is mine.”

The stormy musical career and the challenges of marriage and career turned her thoughts to the deeper devout depths of her childhood and the renewed spiritual blossoming of her later years. These insights provide the spark that illuminates Priests in the Attic. One reader observed that the content was “So interesting and at the same time unexpectedly spiritual”.

Not one to just “say” but rather one who must “do”, Elaine Small is now resurrecting her music career with a planned studio session leading to the release of a new album in Spring/Summer, 2012.

Resetting your life after major life problems or challenges is never easy. But, as Priests in the Attic reveals for Elaine Small and for other “Elaine Smalls,” no matter what their age, such changes are not only doable, they can lead to infinitely richer and more meaningful lives. It is, as she says, “never too late to reset your life. Do it!”.—Elaine A Small

Contact:  Ph. 239 495-3030 (USA)–613 968-6720 (Canada)                                                  

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