I call it cheap therapy. That gushing, near-religious, poured-from-the-body stress release that comes after writing my heart out for hours each day, delivers more balm to my soul than years of psychoanalysis.
There were eight of them. Eight family members and friends died in five short years. I was a neophyte in this death thing. This clamping-down-on-your-heart, ripping-a-hole-in-your-soul, death thing. It stunk. Badly. I was forty-three when my grandmother died. It floored me. The shock that it could really happen, that they could actually leave me, was overwhelming.
The guilt that had ridden hard on my back for the past twenty years came at me with a rush. I should have visited more. Called more. Written more. But the three baby daughters that we'd had in two years had consumed every ounce of our energy. We'd fallen into bed each night exhausted, and had awakened tired, but happy, each morning. The thought of a ten-hour trip home had seemed insurmountable with three little ones in car seats and diapers. So we put off the visits home for a long, long time.
The next death came in a single, whooshing blow. My colleague at work, with whom I'd shared an office for eight wonderful years, died suddenly of a heart attack. Then my father-in-law, my grandfather, and so on. I struggled to make sense of it. People were disappearing rapidly.
And then it happened. My father was diagnosed with cancer in the same month that his mother died of Alzheimer's Disease. We had a summer of hope. And then the disease hit again, and he was gone. Gone for good. Gone for real. In six short months, he was diagnosed, treated, and then he disappeared.
I was crushed. Completely shattered. This was bad. The worst.
I walked a lot. I trudged through the autumn woods, as the crispy leaves eddied around my feet. I heard his voice whispering in the breeze. The need to write was insistent. Urgent.
The pieces were gaudy and full of redolent poetry. The words painted my grief. Each time I walked and mourned, I'd return home and write. Again. And again. And again.
Getting the words on paper was a salve for my battered soul. Although I'd always known I would write a mystery series someday, I'd thought it would be when the kids were grown and I had retired.
Then it hit me. I would write a testimony to my father. I'd model my protagonist after Dad. I began to write Double Forté. My hero was a music professor, like Dad. He gardened with a passion, like Dad. He embraced the arts, like Dad. And he assiduously tended to his musical spirit, like Dad. He played Chopin etudes with wild abandon to clear his mind and feed his soul. And he cooked magnificent feasts for his family from his gardens that burgeoned with exotic vegetables.
As the book began to take shape, so did the characters. Gus LeGarde's secretary, Maddy, became the reincarnation of my Grandma Lena. Oscar and Millie Stone were near replicas of my maternal grandparents. I found comfort in the creation of the scenes that included them. And as the process of writing one book became easier, the next, and the next, and the next flowed effortlessly from my fingertips until I stopped to breathe. I created eight full novels in five short years.
As this healing process provides me with therapy, it also affords an escape to a parallel universe where I control my characters' destiny. I like it. A lot. I invent the bad guys, neatly dispatch them, rescue my hero from certain death, and cement the intricate relationships between my cast members.
This remarkable outlet allows the creative juices to flow and provides a safe haven for my imagination to flourish. I'm hooked, big time. There's no stemming the tide. I fight for time to write, feeling cheated if I don't get my daily "fix." And when the latest chapter is keyed in, or the monthly essay penned, a deep sigh of relief is expelled. I'm freed. I'm sated. I'm going to be okay.
Yep. I'm going to be just fine. And best of all, there's no co-payment.
Aaron Paul Lazar resides in Upstate New York with his wife, three daughters, two grandsons, mother-in- law, two dogs, and three cats. After writing in the early morning hours, he works as an electrophotographic engineer at NexPress Solutions Inc., part of Kodak's Graphic Communications Group, in Rochester, New York. Additional passions include vegetable, fruit, and flower gardening; preparing large family feasts; photographing his family, gardens, and the breathtakingly beautiful Genesee Valley; cross-country skiing across the rolling hills; playing a distinctly amateur level of piano, and spending "time" with the French Impressionists whenever possible.
Although he adored raising his three delightful daughters, Mr. Lazar finds grandfathering his "two little buddies" to be one of the finest experiences of his life. Double Forte', the first in the series, was published in January 2005. Upstaged, number two, is in production. With eight books under his belt, Mr. Lazar is currently working on the ninth, which features Gus LeGarde and his family. http://www.legardemysteries.com
The Writers Identity: Exploring the Writer Within
Les Edgerton writes in his book, Finding Your Voice, that the best way to find your voice is to write autobiographically. "Writers will never find a powerful, evocative voice until they learn to be bone-deep honest with themselves, open and vulnerable." I believe that Mr. Edgerton is on to something. In my experience, the best writers are the ones who dig deep within themselves and pull out the rawest pieces of who they are, filling their pages with words that leave their audiences wanting more. If I could interview an author whom I admire, I would most want to know what helped him or her get to that magical place.
Break in with Fillers: The Best Market for New Writers
Interested in breaking into writing or breaking into a new area? You can't go past writing fillers. Fillers are one of the most overlooked opportunities in the freelance writing world and offer one of the best opportunities for new writers.
How to Write Headlines for How-to Articles
Want to write a how-to article but can't come up with a topic?
Ten Tips To Get Started Writing Your Book
You are far more likely to successfully write and publish your book if you follow these tips before you write a single chapter.
Idea-Mining for Writers, 102
As many authors are fond of stating, "Ideas are all around!" when asked to be more specific. Well, in a way, that's true. Ideas ARE all around. You just have to know how and where to look for them. If anything, you will have to read like a writer.
Hunting for Markets Over the Holidays
Chances are, you'll be busy over the next several weeks. Between preparing for, celebrating, and unwinding from the holidays it may be difficult to maintain your regular writing routine. And if researching potential homes for your work is part of that routine-as it is for many of us who regularly submit stories, essays, poems, articles, and reviews for publication-you may be worried about falling behind.
The self-indulgent writer listens only to the mumblings of sycophants, toadies, and flatterers, thus failing to heed the valid criticisms of editors, critiquers, and reviewers.
Knock-Out Writers Block: Listening To Your Inner Voice
When I was young, I used to talk to myself. Long, drawn out, one-sided conversations. I didn't have an imaginary friend, I just talked to myself. My mother says that's why I became a writer: because of my overactive imagination. I admit she may be right. Those conversations currently get me through my worst cases of writer's block.
Writing Made Them Rich #5: Peter Mayle
Peter Mayle was born in England in 1939.
For Beginners: Ten Ways To Prepare To Get Published
(Skip directly to ten for the fastest shortcut!)
Multiplying Sales As A Writer
Often, time is an enemy of writers. Sales seem slow and checks too small. How does one make the most of their effort? Here are some tips that will multiply your sales.
When Getting Stuck Goes Amuck
Many of us have always wanted to write. We have all gotten writer's block. What happens when we are stuck? Can we go to a doctor for having writer's block? Are there any "writing doctors" that prescribe medication to overcome what to write about or how to stress our premise?
A Book Note Vs a Book Report
Writing For The Web: Where To Get Article Ideas
A friend and I were talking the other day about writing. He liked to write, but even so his biggest problem was finding things to write about. My friend was astounded at the volume of writing that I do - at least one article and something as many as six, per day. Where do I get all of the ideas from?
Crime Writing Beckons
If your cash is running out fast and you have an incessant need to write, why not turn to crime?
Imagine The Imagination
Imagine a three hundred page book was in the author's mind before it was poured out onto the pages of the book.
10 Ways to Shatter Writers Block
1. Use Logic: Check for External Pressures
Untrue Father (A short Story)
Kallu was a tenant of Santosh Kumar Nayak. Santosh Kumar was a businessman in a small town of Utter Pradesh. So far the rent is concerned he was charging the rent very much according to the prevalent rates. Santosh Kumar was not contended with the rent alone Kallu was paying. He apparently had a self-interpretation that Kallu was really paying him a meager amount and that had to be compensated altogether by using him for a regular cleaning and washing of the house. He once authentically instructed Kallu to clean and wash the large floor as well staircases, which became a wont later on.
Writing Good Dialogue.
There's nothing that kills a scene like hackneyed dialogue. Just stop and think about the average B-Grade Hollywood Movie. Sure, at times the plot is bad and the characterisation woeful but most of the time, what stops it from being a good movie is the dialogue. Cringe-worthy dialogue.
Should I Keep Writing?
Writers are an insecure lot.
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