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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shakespeare of Sleaze-The Reason I Write

I always knew my grandfather was a writer, but I never quite knew what he wrote when I was younger. I was told that he wrote about EVERYTHING and ANYTHING.  He had a lot of pen names he went under.  My grandfather passed away when I was very young. I remembered him through my dad's eyes and trips to Port Jervis, NY where my dad's family is from. My dad would talk about his father and his eyes would light up and he smiled...a lot. He would drive by the houses they lived in and talk about his life as a child. He told me stories about a car they had that was a unique car (I cannot for the life of me remember if it also flew or went in the water). For a few minutes, my dad was a kid again while talking about his childhood. My grandfather wrote because he loved it. He did something with his life that he loved, and he made money. Listening to my dad and my aunts talk about their dad I find that he wrote from the kitchen - all of his kids with him, surrounded by what mattered most. As with most writers, it was feast or famine...but they were happy and together.

When my sister met with our aunt earlier this year, my sister found out that my grandfather is an icon from his generation. He is the "Shakespeare of Vintage Sleazecore." His writings though weren't just T&A, they were filled with social and political issues of his time. He has a fan page on the internet, for cry eye. My grandfather was a writer of paperback sleaze, and he is a 50s icon. My first thought, HOW COOL.  My second thought, THAT'S why no one ever told me what grandpa wrote.  His books would make a great "Lifetime" movie now… but back it the day, it was trashy. I love it.

My grandfather passed away when I was four, and my father passed away almost 11 years ago, so I have many things I want to know about my grandpa, that I didn't know when I was younger. My sisters and I researched and found out more about my grandpa.  His father committed suicide which left my grandpa to help out his mom. He started working at a very young age. I found out that his mother had passed away during a bad winter storm.  He wrote a new novel every two weeks.  AND one of his best sellers was written under a woman's name and she wrote about her lesbian love life. IN THE 60s! But most importantly he wrote about "guts." Real people, with real issues, and a bit of T&A thrown in to make money.

Then, my sister, Sarah, set us up for a challenge. She encouraged us to write. Sarah, Becky and I have always had a love for writing. Sarah now challenged us to all start writing a story. Our story. "Everyone has a story", I remember her saying to me... So, I blog.

My story may not be as torrid as my grandfather's writing... but it is something I love to do. I write because he inspired me to think outside of myself. Writing about my life is therapy and while going through “therapy” I may find a way to encourage others along the way. I write because it is a healthy outlet. I write to encourage my children to do the same. I write to carry the legacy.

So, the granddaughter of the "Shakespeare of Sleaze" I am. To my grandfather, Orrie Hitt... Thank you for writing. Thank you for having a story... for sharing it... and for inspiring me to rekindle a flame that always existed in me. Thank you for helping me find my voice.

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