Friday, May 18, 2012

Bob Duchin Shares the Love with His Writing

Most of you have become accusomed to marketing posts on this blog. Today I'm doing something different because I think this author's story about what inspired him to write is something that may inspire all of us to do more, to hang in there.  I'm sure the love that inspires Bob Duchin comes through in this first person essay.

My Publishing Trek  
Bob Duchin 
I’ve always enjoyed writing. Its easier for me to more fully express what’s rolling around in my mind when I write it down. What eventually became my book began as a journal in the months following my dear wife Susan’s sudden death when emotions and recollections of our 47 years together were heightened. Writing about us helped fill the aching hole in my heart that cloaked my day-to-day existence. I intended to share what I was writing only with my children as a written memorial of their parents’ lives. Eventually they could share it with their children, our five grandchildren. Most of whom won’t remember their loving grandmother because sadly, they were so young when she died. Close friends with whom I shared bits of my journal encouraged me to write a book. This was not even on my radar screen at the time. Writing was simply good daily medicine for my pain.
Here are excerpts from a letter I sent to friends and relatives shortly after Susan died.
You have been so wonderfully kind to me at this difficult time. I thank you with all my heart. You are dear people and this way I can ‘talk’ you all at the same time.
Tears keep coming each day. At first I worried that I would not or could not cry. This was an absurd thought. With the tears comes physical pain and fear draining my energy like a seizure of my soul.
Susan and I became one when we married 47 years ago. This was an emotional and spiritual connecting, one flesh in God’s eyes. The way God performs this miracle is beyond our comprehension but it does happen.
How can I be so sure of this? Because the proof comes to bear with excruciating reality when one partner is lost. The disunion is like a physical separation of two hearts, minds, and spirits. Consider an amputation without medical assistance for shock, pain, and infection.
As I cried today I believe God impressed upon me that my tears are like fluid that must drain from a physical wound in order for the wound to heal. This thought was very comforting, so let the tears come.
I believe that at some level all of us are looking for something outside of ourselves that will explain life’s difficult issues.
We all believe in something that drives our actions, don’t we? Even if we believe in nothing outside of ourself, that is the “something” we believe in. Then, our beliefs rule our behavior. Each of us must confront our own demons and angels, real or imagined, on our own terms and in our own timing.
Yet one thing is inarguably true: nothing tests beliefs more than a crisis in our lives. My belief system held fast. This has given me comfort and hope. My spirit led me to want to write about life before, during, and after this upheaval. So I said to my spirit: Lead the way.
As my journaling became extensive friends encouraged me to write a book. The written pieces were not in any chronological order; more like jigsaw pieces randomly scattered. I started to try to put the pieces together in some sensible order.
After a while I was drawn to the idea of a non-chronological story . . . movement back and forth from youthful memories to more current things, to family histories, youthful anecdotes, and back and forth, sort of like a movie peppered with flashbacks contrasted with present events. (I later learned from my editor that what I’d written was in a technique called a Menippean Satire. Who woulda thunk! Google it.)
My journal morphed more and more into a book. I began researching publishers quickly realizing that a manuscript from a first, unknown author, sent to major publishers would be a shot in the dark. Plus, I wanted full control of my manuscript. The answer: self-publishing. I contacted a few self-publishers and eventually purchased a package that included many valuable features with the exception of editing. A friend and published author greatly helped in refining my work.
My story is about real people, real events, real love, tested and refined in the furnaces of life. Even something as precious as true love creates wounds and scars along the way. Such is the complexity, frailty, and imperfection of our humanity. Yet I ask you this: Is there anything so satisfying and worthwhile as emerging victoriously after overcoming a trial?
Children’s stories with love themes have their share of trials, tribulations, and tragedies. . . Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and so on.
Real life love stories differ in one very important respect. We know that fairy tales all end well. In real life we do not and cannot know the final outcome. Sometimes real life outcomes are not pretty.
Offering love to another person is risky. It makes us vulnerable. We may ultimately be rejected. There’s risk in every action we take. Just stepping outside our homes brings risks of injury or death. We just can’t know the outcomes of our own life stories until they happen.
My book is a love story, and a story about love.
I believe there are more than hairs to be split here. Love stories are typically associated with romance, which is not at all a bad thing. Susan and I had plenty of romance together. However, romance is not the engine of real love. Romance’s feelings especially in today’s Western culture often pass as evidence of love: a sad and treacherous myth!
Real love, at its core has little to do with emotional feelings. It has everything to do with conscious decisions to behave in certain ways for the benefit of the other person, not oneself. Real love is intentionally and willingly sacrificial.
Romance is a welcome and delectable part of human interaction, but it’s the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. The cake must be baked first. Baking is a precisely measured effort, not just a tossing together of ingredients as you go along. Real love too, requires precision, and precision requires conscious, deliberate care and attention.
“Love is, above all else, the gift of oneself.”
Jean Anouilh
Yet, a story about love, to be truly complete and satisfying to heart and mind should include love and romance. My story certainly includes both, and for having personally found this rare and precious completeness I will be eternally grateful. I cannot imagine anything in human experience that could come close to making a person feel that life is bursting with completeness, than to be totally in love, and for that love to be returned just as totally.
“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief—But the pain of grief is only
a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.”
Hilary Stanton Zunin
I hope that you will find something worthwhile for your own relationships as you read my collection of memories about love’s transcendent and exquisite power in the lives of two ordinary people.
Author Bio
Born and raised in The Bronx, New York, R.S. “Bob” Duchin, married his teenage sweetheart, Susan, also a Bronxite, when they were 22 and 20, respectively. They had an extraordinary love for one another throughout a 47 year marriage, the first and only marriage for both of them, that took them through many life adventures not the least of which was raising three beautiful children who in turn blessed Bob and Susan with five beautiful grandchildren. Susan’s sudden illness and tragic death in 2011 became the impetus for this book.
Bob has always enjoyed the craft of writing, finding it easier to express himself most fully with the written word. “Not Enough of Her”, his first book, flows from his grief over his dear wife’s death which led to his sense of a need to record their memories. 

He has a B.S. Degree in Human Resources from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and lives in southern California.

Review - Back cover blurb
By Dr. Randall VanderMey, Chairperson Department of English, Westmont College, lead author of The College Writer: A Guide to Thinking, Writing, and Researching, 4th Ed., Cengage, 2012, and other published works:
"A personal keepsake, a treasure for family and friends, a private memoir - - "Not Enough of Her" is all of these, and yet something more. It's an emotionally unbuttoned celebration of a long-term love affair, a model of candor and seasoned humor, a direct address to the reader drawing us all into the family circle of the author and his dear late wife, Susan. Bob Duchin has written artfully out of the crucible of his grief but with refreshing buoyancy and circumspection. He teaches us how to live not in spite of, but through, our deepest pain.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second ediction of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:

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