These days, Annie Mollo of Charlotte sees herself primarily as a writer and storyteller. After she was hit by a car in 2017 while crossing the street in Winooski, her first instinct was to write about the incident. Less than a month later, she hobbled through a snowstorm on crutches so she could tell a story about it at the Light Club Lamp Shop at Radio Bean in Burlington. Mollo started keeping a journal when she was 10 years old and writing has been a constant in her professional life.
“No matter what job I’ve landed,” she said. “I end up being the person who produces content or tells stories.”
A native Vermonter, the 54-year-old Mollo attended Vermont Tech after graduating from Essex High School but dropped out to take a job for the State Public Health Lab in Burlington. She was named assistant to the assistant lab director thanks to her work revamping forms for several departments.
“I cat herded all the egos involved,” she recalled, “but eventually I needed a break from office life.”
That break involved working for the Green Mountain Club, spending the summer living in the Stone Hut at Stowe and educating hikers about the ecosystem and the need to protect it.
“It was still communications,” she said, “but it was verbal.”
For another change of pace, Mollo moved to New York City and got a degree in English from New York University. While in school she worked a number of part-time writing jobs with businesses and ended up on Wall Street as a financial writer. One summer, desperate to see a horizon, she returned to her post on Mount Mansfield.
When Mollo was 19, she trained in Vermont to be a massage therapist and in New York she often worked in that capacity on weekends.
“During the week I worked with broken people,” she said, “and on the weekends I fixed them. Massage therapy was a sanity check. Hoping to move from financial to technical writing, Mollo relocated to the San Francisco Bay area but had difficulty breaking into the field. Her husband Paul Lord suggested she concentrate on massage therapy so she started a private practice and worked part-time for the Berkeley YMCA while doing some writing on the side.
The couple relocated to Vermont in 2010, settling in Charlotte. Mollo spent the first few years project managing renovations and an addition to their new home. She continued to do some massage work but found that it was harder to do professionally in Vermont. When her children enrolled at the Schoolhouse Learning Center, she joined the board of directors, where she has been assisting with their website and communications.
Mollo was one of the original funders of the Vermont Comedy Club and she has taken classes and performed both stand-up and improv as well as taking part in community theater.
“I figured out that I’m much more interested in narrative.” she said. “I’m really a storyteller.”
In that guise, Mollo has performed at events across northern and central Vermont and was featured in a CBS program devoted to Vermont storytellers.
Mollo hasn’t ruled out a return to massage therapy but at this point her goal is to do more communications work with people who are looking for assistance in getting their message out. “All the world needs a writer,” she said. “I love working with people who need to get a story out about their institution or message. That’s my favorite kind of writing.”