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Recycled Paper


Author, Speaker, Educator, and

Lifelong Advocate of Children

Pink Gradient_edited.jpg
Pink Gradient

The Backstory

Life is written in pencil. It is a belief that author Melissa Panara has held for quite some time. It is her way of expressing a sentiment that, she believes, can be applied to many scenarios, big and small: we always have options. Panara has learned that, on this sometimes bumpy road of life, we are not powerless when changing things up. She thinks it might even be our superpower.

In June of 2022, Melissa Panara did something she had never done; returned greeting cards. In this case, graduation cards with sayings like “Go out there and do something BIG” and “Your moment is NOW”. The more she thought about it, the more she felt these sentiments were not what she wanted to convey to the newly diplomaed in her life. Were they really supposed to now know, with a fair degree of certainty, what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives? Since a diploma is not a crystal ball, she returned the cards and wrote her own.


From this homemade graduation card comes a series of stories that offer a different perspective on life – one in which plans B through Z can lead to far more contentment than plan A.


Panara uses relatable anecdotes and light-hearted humor to validate the course-corrections we all make.  She argues that we just need to take another look at what we can choose and what we can change, including our perspective from behind the wheel, the people with whom we travel, and the routes and detours we want to take.

There are

no straight paths.

No templates, no stencils,

But.. good news!

YOU are the one

who's holding

the pencil.


So write your

life story,

including rewrites

and edits,

Your happy life's

out there,

but it may take

a few tries to get it. "

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