“Straight From The Heart” is a column that I wrote, that appeared regularly in “Life and Leisure” newspaper for about two years. “Life and Leisure” is circulated to well over 50,000 homes throughout northeast New Jersey.
The Story Of A Novel
Chapter 2: Straight From The Heart
By Richard Mabey Jr.
In so many of my published writings, I was very guilty of looking at my old hometown of Lincoln Park through rose-colored glasses. I presented a very romantic and idealistic of this small town in northeast New Jersey. I was guilty of creating this Mayberry-like picture of Lincoln Park.
My dad often told me that I needed to dig deep into my heart and write a more realistic point of view of Lincoln Park.
“Richie, you’ve got to write about Lincoln Park as it really is, not how you want it to be,” Dad would tell me.
In one of my “Straight From The Heart” columns, I did dig deep into my heart to word paint a more realistic perspective of my old hometown. I touched upon the fact that the teachers were not always kind. The truth of the matter is that I often was deeply hurt when the teachers would mock and ridicule my last name.
For it was a name that was on the roll calls of the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War. A lot of Mabey men knew the anguish of being placed in harm’s way. Mabey blood was shed in the Civil War. Earl Mabey was killed in action in World War I. And, Mabey men were in harm’s way in World II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. So, who the heck were these teachers to mock such an honorable name?
In this particular “Straight From The Heart” column, I touched upon the hurt and anguish that I endured from these insensitive teachers. It wasn’t easy to relive it when I wrote that column. But, for myself to grow as a writer, I needed to present a more honest and truthful perspective of what it was really like to grow up in Lincoln Park.
I got a lot of harsh criticism on that specific column, from many of my faithful readers. Comments ranged from “get over it” to “we really prefer the warm and fuzzy stories that you write.” Deep in my heart, I knew that if I were to look in the mirror each morning, I needed to present a more honest representation of Lincoln Park, even if it meant losing some fans.
In writing my book, it wasn’t easy for me to dig deep and present an honest and truthful presentation of the old hometown. But as I wrote my book, I could hear the echo of my dear father’s voice, calling me from Heaven’s Gate to dig deep into my heart and be honest and true to myself.
I am working very hard to get the money together to self publish my book. You just cannot imagine how hard I am working to earn that extra money. And, I know when my book is published there are going to be a lot of people who will be upset. With all the love that I can muster in my heart, I know that I must be true to myself.
The truth of the matter is that Lincoln Park wasn’t a warm and fuzzy place like Mayberry. There were bullies. There were cruel and insensitive teachers. There were social injustices. There was the heaviness of having so very many residents being deaf to the cries of the social causes of the 1960’s. There were rich people and there were poor people. And, sometimes the rich people weren’t always so kind to the poor.
I know that I’ll probably lose a lot of friends and fans when my book becomes published. But, I have a call to be honest as to the truth of what it really was like to have grown up in Lincoln Park. The path a writer takes is not always an easy one.
Peace and harmony,