About

Rebecca Faye Smith Galli (Becky), author of Rethinking Possible: A Memoir of Resilience, is a weekly columnist who lives in Baltimore, Maryland and writes about love, loss, and healing. A Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Becky was employed by IBM, where she was the recipient of the Golden Circle award for marketing excellence. Surviving significant losses―her seventeen-year-old brother’s death; her son’s degenerative disease and subsequent death; her daughter’s autism; her divorce; and nine days later, her paralysis from transverse myelitis, a rare spinal cord inflammation that began as the flu―that have fostered an unexpected but prolific writing career. In 2000, The Baltimore Sun published her first column about playing soccer with her son―from the wheelchair. With 400 published columns and a completed memoir, she launched “Thoughtful Thursdays―Lessons from a Resilient Heart” – a weekly column for her subscriber family that shares what’s inspired her to stay positive. She also periodically contributes to The Baltimore Sun’s Op-Ed page, Midlife Boulevard, Nanahood, and The Mighty. Join her Thoughtful Thursdays family at beckygalli.com/signup.

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 From Rebecca Faye Smith Galli

Well hello again! And you are here, ready to learn about me. But wait. If you want the official bio, a nice shiny one with all the sparklingly accurate details , click here. Or a short bio, click here

BUT, if you want the inside scoop, read on. Yes, back to me. The WRITER. Something I’d never in a million years imagined I’d call myself—until I became one in a million.

Literally.

No joke.

On February 12, 1997, nine days after my divorce was final (yes NINE DAYS), I joined the ranks of the rare one-in-1.34 million people who go to bed with a flu-like illness and wake up with Transverse Myelitis (TM), an inflammation of the spinal cord that caused my paralysis.

I was a thirty-eight year old newly-divorced-the-ink-was-barely-dry mother of four.

I didn’t know it then, but I would never walk again.

Galli Fammily

What I did know was that my life was already crazy complex. As the mother of four—two with special needs that included autism and epilepsy—I’d coped with more than a few of life’s curve balls, including the accidental death of my seventeen-year old brother when I was twenty. But, I’d muddled through that horrific grief and had managed my kids’ issues well enough that I’d decided to end a marriage that wasn’t working. I was ready to begin again and find someone who wanted to share my nutty life with me.

But writing? Nope. Never part of this gal’s game plan.

Writing, well that was something my pastor father did. Finding meaning in life and all its unanswerable questions was his expertise. Sharing insights and a message of hope was his passion, his calling.

Not mine.

I was a survivor, not a writer.

Until I had to write to survive.

Before paralysis, I was a high-strung sales gal who ran on deadlines and quotas and way too much coffee. I loved to build customer relationships, close the deal, and win! I’d exceled early in a ten-year career with IBM and after the kids were born, I was back in the trenches, doing marketing for an outplacement firm. I put my head down and l plowed through the hectic pace of working and raising a family.

Until I couldn’t.

But paralysis cut through more than my mobility.

It. Stole. My. Life.

Desperately, I wanted to connect with the world that had been taken from me. Soon, I found a way.

Email.

My timing was practically cosmic.

Remember Netscape Navigator? Erols? Those 1997 internet dudes became my new best friends after an old high school buddy read about me in one of my father’s columns and sent me an email. His subject line was what I’d been wondering every day when I looked in the mirror, “Is That You?”

Our exchanges about my adjustments to life with paralysis soon blossomed into an email audience that spanned the globe. From Hickory, North Carolina, to Guangzhou, China, from my elementary school days through my last job with IBM, hundreds of family and friends asked me to email them about my life and wheelchair escapades.

And I did. One at a time. I treated those email addresses like they were 14K gold. I treasured the idea that community and connection were available to me in spite of the physical constraints that were now my new reality.

Becky Pete wheelchair kiss editMy cyber-buddies told me my e-mails made them laugh—and cry—and inspired them in their own lives. One persistent fellow suggested I submit my story about playing soccer with my son to the Baltimore Sun. To my surprise, it was published.

Then a local weekly asked me to write for them and my first regular column, “From Where I Sit” was born. Two years later, my father asked me to continue his Sunday Op-Ed columns, “Looking Homeward,” and a few years after that, I began, “Tuesdays with Madison,” a column about my visits with my daughter with autism as she transitioned from her school to the adult community.

So (gulp) I guess I am a writer.

I do love it. And, the thing is, I can’t NOT do it. It’s how I cope. How I cut through all the craziness that is still in my world and get real about what matters. It’s how I stay connected, despite all the loss.

For fifteen years (am I really that old!) I’ve written these columns, my snippets about my ridiculous life. And now, coming soon, will be the rest of the story—My memoir, Rethinking Possible: A Memoir of Resilience.

I hope you’ll join me here for more stories and sign up for my book when it’s available.

And on we go. . .I hope, together. Thanks for stopping by.


What readers are saying about Rebecca’s columns…

Becky writes with a chip on her shoulder and laughter in her heart. This lady knows where to find gold in the day’s routine experiences. When you read a Becky Galli column, you walk away with something that will get you past the bumps in life.

Jack Williams, Associate Editor, ONE Magazine

Becky has a knack for striking a chord.

Richard Gross, former Op-Ed editor, The Baltimore Sun

I just wanted to express my sincere appreciation for the column by Becky Galli titled, “What do we keep and what do we let go?

Not only was the article poignant and sensitive, it was also gracefully written.

Loss can originate from many different sources, and it brings varying levels of sorrow to each person. I am sure that the story will provide readers with an insight for dealing with the inevitable transition from “what was” to “what will be.”

A Towson Times Reader

“I always read your column in the Herald-Dispatch with great interest. Being a middle school principal… I found yesterday’s article most applicable to a problem we deal with on a daily basis at the middle level. “Words can do more damage than sticks, stones“. With all the emphasis on bullying in the schools I found this article to be of great interest. In fact, I clipped it out and put it in my files and plan to refer to it when the name calling and gossiping issues arise between students.

A Herald Dispatch Reader

I am writing to thank you. I am writing to say how I admire your writing, and your willingness to tackle hard topics.

But I am writing, more specifically, to say how greatly your column, “What do we keep and what do we let go?” has affected me.

After reading that piece, I went to New York City for the unveiling of my Father’s grave stone. Your column wrote about the death of your parents, your pain, your losses, and that of your sister. I admired your restraint in describing the ‘awful-ness of loss.’  So I wanted to thank you, Ms. Galli. Thank you for your emotion-filled reporting. Keep on with your fierce examination of the tough stuff.

It is one way to affirm Life, and the fact that ” IT GOES ON”…….

A Towson Times Reader

I am writing to let you know how much I appreciate your articles in The Herald Dispatch. Consider me a fan. Without fail, your all too infrequent articles add the rare literary touch to my morning newspaper.

God has blessed you with an exceptional gift.

D. Spence 


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