Interview – Pause to Reflect: Local author pens story close to home (The San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Newspaper Interview

Local author pens story close to home

By Richard Irwin – Staff Writer
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune

 

Menopause? What does Lawrence Elliott know about menopause?

Obviously enough to be included in the new book “Menopause: Living and Laughing Through Hot Flashes and Hormones”.

The Hacienda Heights Realtor has really gotten in touch with his feminine side – his 44-year-old wife, Lisa.

Elliott’s story “God, I’m Shvitzing!” appears in the latest themed edition of “Chicken Soup for the Soul”.

According to the Urban Dictionary, shvitzing is “when an older Jewish person is involved in anything that would cause slight or heavy sweating.”

The 45-year-old writer is referring, of course, to those infamous hot flashes women go through during the change of life.

As Elliott observes in the book:

“No matter how many times you hear about them or see comedy made of them in movies and sitcoms, you have to go through it with someone you love to really know it’s not a laughing matter. It seemed like pure torture.

“Once, at two in the morning, she rolled over and exclaimed in frustration, `God, I’m shvitzing!’ Now, I’m not Jewish, but I’ve picked up a few Yiddish words being married to her. In this situation, `shvitzing’ would be translated to mean, `I wish these darn hot flashes would give me a break! They’re making my life miserable!’ That’s a loose translation, of course.”

The real estate agent seems to find lots of story material from the women in his life.

This is his fourth tribute to his matriarchs.

“One of my first published stories was about my grandmother, Florence Lane,” Elliott said.

In it, the local writer talks about his grandmother’s friend, Arthur. In his story, he writes:

“After many years in the garment business, a friend would occasionally pop into her life. Her friend was named Arthur.

“Arthur was a bothersome friend who would cause her great pain in her life. Before Arthur, she could sew undisturbed for hours and hours.

“But as Arthur became more and more demanding, her hours spent sewing diminished. In time, she was only able to sneak in a few other activities in an attempt to fill her time with something creative.

“`I’m having a visit from Arthur,’ she would say with a sly smile. I grew to dislike Arthur for causing her so much pain and for being such a burden on her life.

“You see, Arthur was really arthritis.

“Grandma never let arthritis affect the one thing she used to keep from robbing her of her dignity: humor.”

Elliott’s stories deliver uplifting messages, just like his favorite authors such Les Brown. Through the strong women in his life, the Realtor has learned never to give up on his dreams. In his tales, Elliott thanks these proud women.

“I still remember how I told my mother about her story. I kept it very secret until it was published. My wife and I took the family out to breakfast in San Diego. There, I read it to her. It was a very emotional moment for all of us,” Elliott said.

In a collection of stories celebrating mothers, Elliott pays a touching tribute to his own mom, Etter Jean Elliott.

In “Letters to My Mother”, he writes:

“Over the years, I’ve had a front-row seat in watching you live your life. Your examples of responsibility, hard work, and values have been a model I’ve tried to emulate all my life.

“When we found ourselves without a warm bed, a roof over our heads, or even the knowledge of where our next meal would come from, you didn’t give up. You rolled up your sleeves and went out to find a way. Fortunately, God guided a kind soul to us who temporarily opened her home to us.”

Calling from her office in the San Diego Unified School District, Etter Jean Elliott talked about “how proud” she was of her budding novelist.

“Even when he was young, Lawrence loved to write. His grandmother Ve Esther even bought him a typewriter at a garage sale,” Elliott’s mother said.

But how does his wife, Lisa, feel about being the subject of his latest work on menopause?

“I try to be very supportive. He’s very creative and works hard at his writing. Larry deserves his success,” Lisa said.

Reprinted with permission from The San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Copyright © 2007 Los Angeles Newspaper Group

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