Melinda Cianos


Gracious Receiving 101



What to do if we receive a Christmas present we hate? University of Baltimore MFA student Melinda Cianos gives it to us straight.

Okay, let’s review. This holiday season you are likely to receive, if you’re lucky and people like you, a nifty gift or two. Please do not forget the appropriate reaction to said gifts in order to avoid the severed relationships and tarnished reputation surely to follow you into the New Year if you do. Below: a few reminders to help you stay in good, gracious standing.

What’s for Dinner? (One Mother Confesses)


overworked momWhen University of Baltimore MFA student Melinda Cianos suddenly realized she’d never shown her family how to serve themselves dinner, she felt called to instruct.

My father worked at Bethlehem Steel for 20-some years and my mother never finished high school. There weren’t conversations around the dinner table, or elsewhere in the house for that matter, about how and why I should attend college, so I didn’t. I started a family at 22 years old; I had more than enough to keep me busy so I don’t how not having a degree found its way in to start gnawing at me, but it did. I looked away from it until I was 34, at which time I thought, “I’m ready.” What I didn’t realize was that I might be the only one in my household who was.

Lit Cafe: Sugarcoated



UB MFA grad student Melinda Cianos meditates on food and love — and confesses a very salty secret.

1985. He is eye candy, there is no doubt about that: tanned and Greek and serious. He is Friends School educated, an all-metro athlete, a Scorpio. He is 28 years old and I am 18.

He picks me up for our first date in a ’73 red, convertible Corvette. He doesn’t walk up to the door to get me or meet my parents, but instead honks the horn. My father is sitting in front of the television and shoots a deprecating look my way as I grab my purse; I seem to receive that look often, even when I am just making a sandwich, which is probably the reason I am looking for somewhere else to be.