She shares inspiration online

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Carol Sorgen

If Suzanne Molino Singleton can bring a knowing smile, a sentimental tear or a nod of recognition to just one of her readers, she counts her day as a success. That’s the motivation that led her to begin SNIPPETS — an inspirational weekly column, written in a think-out-loud style, designed for women (though men are welcome readers, too).

Where is it published? In cyberspace. That is, it’s distributed via email or can be read on the web at www.snippetsinspiration.com.

Singleton, a 52-year-old freelance writer/ editor and community activist, published her first SNIPPETS e-newsletter in February 2006, and since then hasn’t missed a week.

“I’m proud of that,” said the Sparks resident, who is the mother of four, grandmother of one, and wife of former Baltimore Orioles player Ken Singleton (who’s now a broadcaster for the New York Yankees’ YESNetwork).

She met Ken when she interviewed him for the Maryland National Bank employee newsletter for which she worked at the time. She said she enjoys the perks that come from being married to a former Oriole, but insists she’s not just “Mrs. Singleton.” From the time they were married 20 years ago, Singleton felt it was important for her to keep her own identity.

Now that her column has brought her some celebrity in her own right, she admitted she enjoys being “in the spotlight.” Still, Singleton insists she has never had any desire to be uber-famous. “This is the right amount of celebrity for me,” she said.

Always a writer

Through the years, Singleton has written for magazines and newspapers throughout the United States, focusing on the human interest stories that capture her passions.

“I don’t like to cover events per se,” she said. “What I love is to sit down and talk to people and get to know them and their lives.”

SNIPPETS was born when Singleton heard a “whisper in her ear,” saying “write this.” “I wanted an outlet to write from the heart,” she said.

Through “snippets” of humor, inspiration and observation, Singleton offers reflections based on daily life. She includes regular features such as “reflection section,” “inspiration station,” “not about the ride,” and “Judgmental Judy” (a fictional character who vents about the things that irritate us all).

There are also notable quotes, aha! Moments, prayers and “standing ovations,” all with the goal of inspiring women to “touch their dreams, reach for change, and stay conscious of others.”

Close to 500 readers from as far away as Australia subscribe to the free newsletter, which is delivered to their email inboxes by 5 a.m. every Friday. On the rare occasions when it’s a few hours late, “I hear about it,” said Singleton.

Her faithful followers, whom she calls the Snippeteers, have likened her to a modern-day Erma Bombeck, and like Bombeck, Singleton finds her inspiration almost everywhere — from life at home, to a book she has been reading, to random thoughts on her regular bike rides. “Things will just jump out at me,” she said.

Singleton received her degree in mass communications from Towson University and started writing her first (and still unpublished) novel at the age of 16 in the car on the way to DisneyWorld. “I always wanted to be a writer,” she said.

When she’s not writing SNIPPETS, Singleton also pens a column, “Mrs. Singy: Married to Baseball,” on the New York Yankees YESNetwork.com, which she describes as a baseball column that’s “not really about baseball.”

She is also a volunteer editor for the Cool Kids Connection, a newspaper of the Cool Kids Campaign, based in Cockeysville. The nonprofit group provides activities, services, care packages and the like for children with cancer and their families.

The Italian connection

Just as important to Singleton as her writing is her Italian “famiglia.” A second-generation Italian-American, she is the granddaughter of four Italian immigrants.

Surprisingly, given her deep interest in the culture, her first trip to Italy took place just 10 years ago. But since then, she has visited five times, learning to speak Italian so she can talk to her many cousins who still live in Sardinia.

Singleton’s love for all things Italian led her to found the Promotion Center for Little Italy (www.LittleItalyMd.com), an as-yet virtual gathering place for fans of one of Baltimore’s most beloved ethnic neighborhoods.

A calendar of events, walking tour map and guide to services encourage online visitors to become real-time visitors to “piccolo Italia.”

“The neighborhood just calls to me,” said Singleton, whose aunt and uncle once lived there. Her brother has since bought and renovated their former home.

“I think it’s amazing that this area, which began in the 1800s with the great wave of immigration to the United States, still survives and thrives,” she said.

Now that her children are older, Singleton is thinking of trading in the freelance life for a more “real world” position that will make use of her editorial, promotional and marketing expertise. But she has no plans to abandon her Snippeteers.

Nor, however, does she have any grandiose plans for turning it into more than what it is — or what it may organically evolve to be.

The project is purely a labor of love and self-expression. She doesn’t charge anything — or sell anything — to subscribers, nor does she accept advertising on the site.

“It is what it is,” she said. “It doesn’t matter to me whether I have 20,000 readers or two. If I inspire or encourage just one woman, that’s good enough for me.”