Suzanne Tyrpak — Guest Blog

I am pleased to have author Suzanne Tyrpak guest blogging today about her fascinating career as a writer and her unique and humorous perspectives on “dating, divorce, desperation–all that good stuff!” 

  

  

  Check out her books, Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction) and Vestal Virgin, at Amazon

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Writing as Therapy—Terry Brooks Says: Don’t!

I’ve been fortunate to study with the brilliant author, Terry Brooks, several times at The Maui Writers’ Retreat and Conference, and he always told his students not to write for therapy. 

But, I admit, I sometimes do.

After my divorce, all I did was write. I finished my novel Vestal Virgin–suspense in ancient Rome, and my (then) agent shopped it around, but it was too dark for New York. Of course, it didn’t help that I wrote the novel as my marriage fell apart. I poured all my angst into the story—even visualized my ex’s girlfriend as I wrote a torture scene. After spending that year working and writing (often ten hours a day), hardly seeing any people, except my writers’ group, I put Vestal Virgin away, and almost stopped writing. (I finally picked the book up again last summer and rewrote it—it’s not as dark, I promise.)

After I’d been divorced for about a year, I began to have a life again. I began to venture out into the world, and I met a man I really liked, a fellow writer. I was so excited about meeting a kindred soul, that I had no interest in writing. I wanted to play! Oh sure, I wrote lousy poetry—mostly love poems rife with sexual innuendo. I wrote so much lousy poetry, that it actually improved, and some of it was even published.

But the guy I fell in love with, didn’t fall in love with me—and, out of desperation (and determination to get past my divorce) I began to date other men: online, offline, in line, listening to lines. Most of the dates were horrendous. Dating after age fifty requires courage or brain damage—in fact, the experience will probably give you brain damage. In order to retain my sanity, I documented my dates in short story format. I figured, if nothing else, I made myself laugh and I was entertaining my writers’ group. Sometimes, I’d even reenact the dates at dinner parties. Finally, I started reading the stories out loud at the local library—and people thought they were funny.

That gave me hope. And I wrote a few more stories.

Then, last summer, my good friend, Blake Crouch, convinced me to put together a collection of nine short stories and publish them on Kindle. I needed a good title, something along the lines of “The Vagina Monologues.” I came up with Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction).

Aside from writing the stories, publishing the book has saved me hundreds of dollars in therapy. Being an indie author has been extremely freeing. And, best of all, I now have readers! Writing without having anyone read your work is kind of like foreplay with no hope of orgasm. If that goes on for long enough, you could end up in the psych ward.

I studied Gestalt psychology for five years, and for me as a writer, finally having readers is a Gestalt experience. According to Gestalt, energy flows in waves. All experience is part of a continuum that builds to a climax—a need that grows in intensity. Once that need is met, the energy releases and subsides. And then it builds again. If a need is never met, the energy gets stuck and causes anxiety, even depression. This plays out in relationships, and it played out for me with my writing. I became depressed, and I stopped writing, because I didn’t have readers. Essentially, I short-circuited. A writer needs readers to complete the writing experience.

The ebook revolution has been a major Gestalt for the publishing industry—an industry that was stuck and dying. For me, the experience of writing, publishing, having people read my work and respond—has been a form of therapy. Releasing a book is definitely a Gestalt experience.

(But don’t tell Terry.)

I’ve attached a photo of my classmate, and friend, Eldon Thompson and our teacher Terry Brooks. Terry and Eldon were kind enough to give me blurbs for Vestal Virgin. Another Gestalt experience!

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Here is Suzanne’s Bio:

Suzanne Tyrpak ran away from New York a long time ago to live in Colorado. Her debut novel is Vestal Virgin, suspense set in ancient Rome, available as a trade paperback and in all eformats. Her collection of nine short stories Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction) is available on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. J.A. Konrath calls it, “Pure comedic brilliance.”  Her short story Downhill was first published in Arts Perspective Magazine. Rock Bottom is published in the Mota 9: Addiction anthology, available on Kindle.  Her short story Ghost Plane was published by CrimeSpree Magazine. Venus Faded appears in the anthology Pronto! Writings from Rome (Triple Tree Publishing, 2002) along with notable authors including: Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Engstrom, Terry Brooks and John Saul. Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers awarded her first prize in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest, and Maui Writers awarded her third prize in the Rupert Hughes writing competition.

*New York Times bestselling author, Terry Brooks says about her writing: “…a writer of real talent…a promising new voice.”  

Eldon Thompson says about Vestal Virgin: 

A torrid tale of love, honor, and sacrifice pitted against horrific acts of murder, betrayal, and depravity.  Rife with intrigue and brimming with exquisite detail, Vestal Virgin is a deftly paced masterpiece of historical fiction.  I hope Tyrpak is planning another foray into this ancient world . . . and soon!

— Eldon Thompson, author of The Divine Talisman

 

Suzanne’s blog http://ghostplanestory.blogspot.com/

Suzanne’s Amazon Page http://www.amazon.com/Suzanne-Tyrpak/e/B003ZTP0J4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Suzanne’s Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Suzanne-Tyrpak/144232238928903?ref=ts

 

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About Katrina Parker Williams

Katrina Parker Williams teaches English composition and grammar at a community college. She is a Barton College graduate with a B.S. in Communications and a Masters of Education in English from East Carolina University. She is also the author of a fictional novel titled Liquor House Music. Her works have appeared in Charlotte Viewpoint, Muscadine Lines, Usadeepsouth, and on the Wilson Community College website. Her writings have recently been published at The Saints’ Placenta and All Things Girl and is forthcoming in Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and Muscadine Lines.
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3 Responses to Suzanne Tyrpak — Guest Blog

  1. Thanks for inviting me to post Katrina! I enjoyed writing the article–good therapy. 🙂

  2. dowhatyoulove says:

    Suzanne,

    Fun article! Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am starting my journey into the writing world, and I am not sure how anyone could write without at least a little bit of it being therapy. We can not help but reflect what we are experiencing in any given moment into our writing in some form.

    Keep enjoying your journey!

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