Why do I write? And when did I begin? I think I remember writing on my own when I began to compile my high school diary, cataloguing the heartbreak I endured when I was stood up or deserted at a party. Why did I bother to write down these events when they are indelible in my minds sixty years later? Did I write all that stuff because I thought I would want to read it years later, when in fact, I have never read it again because I don’t need to. I lived it. It’s part of my persona. And I certainly didn’t want my mother to read it. Or have my kids find it in the basement after I died. Did it give me distance? Did distilling my events into words help me feel better? I have no recollection of feeling better after I kept track of my life like that. Yet putting feelings into words have an effect.
Certainly the words are a factor. I suppose they are the reason I write. I have a love affair with words and I enjoy searching for the right one, playing with it, looking up its meaning to find another word that might be better, add more punch, help the story soar. Yes, of course, it’s the words and the rhythm of the words and how they play off against each other. Then there is the jealousy when someone else has thought of a word I know I could never find, as I wonder how I could ever be as good as writer when he has all the right words, the perfect sentence and I do not.
There were essays I had to write and even an occasional story when I was growing up, but it wasn’t until much later that I decided to make up stories and leave behind the diaries of my woes. Then I could to add dialogue and pretend I was creating a scene with actors we wish we could be, or are, or may have once been. By myself, with a notebook or a computer I became an author. Such a powerful word. Isn’t that the word I was searching for among all those other unimportant, nondescriptive words? Omniscient, the producer, the director, the set designer and the stage manager. Like Zeus? Nothing happens without him and the story stops when he says so.
And what about those endings? How do I stop when I had no idea when I began what the end will be? Sometimes it feels as if the story will just go on and on and on and on, but then no one would buy the book and I am, after all, truth be told, looking for an audience. So I have to find an end or I am finished. Could it be that I have always been looking for an audience, even when I wrote those secret diaries? Could I have been that intuitive beneath those girlish confessions?
Some writers claim they write for themselves or to make sense of their reality; to remember; to coagulate their thoughts. But I know that this is not altogether true or we wouldn’t kill ourselves to get published. We are seeking the validation that comes when someone else reads what we write. And likes it. No one wants a bad review. Some keep their stories to themselves, so that no one will judge them or invalidate them. The fear of rejection prevents a lot of us from putting our work out there, but the desire for acceptance lets us plow on against unspeakable odds.
So I’m a whore, looking for attention. That’s the fun of it. Searching for the words that will bring fame. Creating an ending that will knock readers off their feet. Discovering a conclusion that no one will forget: “Tomorrow will be a better day.” Remember that one? Even an essay has a final sentence. But words are endless, like stars in a vast universe. There are so many choices; which one will trigger the story or propel the characters and which word, finally, in the end, will be the end; that is the challenge. And meeting that challenge is why I write.
The diary is put away when that day is over but stories don’t have a required finish line. Maybe a series of deadlines. For writers, it’s never really over. There’s another story, another poem, another sunset, another full moon. There will never be the last word. It will only be the last word of that sentence. Or the last word we selected for that story. Or for that thought. Or for that song. Melody lingers because we can hum the tune, but words are not like that. After the last dance, when the music stops, and band leaves because no one is paying the performer, there is still a goodbye.
And if the goodbye cannot be a kiss, the finish has to be a word.
Holly Rozner traded S&P options for five years and was a member of Chicago Mercantile Exchange for twenty-two years, serving on the Leasing, Member Services, and Finance Committee.
A native Chicagoan, Rozner was educated at a private girls’ school in an elite neighborhood where President Barack Obama now resides. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Speech from Northwestern University and was later granted a CPA certificate by the University of Illinois; she was a tax specialist before beginning to trade. Today, Rozner holds an insurance license, a real estate broker’s license and has retained her teaching certificate.
Her unique experiences in a male-dominated world inspired her debut novel Trade Secrets (October 2, 2012), a romance about two women whose lives intersect on a trading floor during the crash of 1987 and the subsequent FBI investigation into trading infractions at the Chicago exchanges.
Rozner spent many years leading Financial Education seminars for women. She and her husband of 47 years live in the northern Chicago suburbs, and have two daughters and four grand children.
When Remy Masterman becomes a member of the Exchange to unearth the details about her father’s car crash, she comes head to head with Zach Silverman, once her father’s partner and now Chairman of the Exchange. During the crash of 1987 when Zach’s bagman, Jason, faces bankruptcy, his high-heeled wife, Sarna, learns to trade in order to save their mansion from foreclosure. As the lives of these two women intersect, Remy falls in love with Ken Baldwin, never imagining how their careers will collide. Sarna begins a steamy affair with another trader who turns out to be an undercover agent for the FBI during its probe into trading infractions at the Chicago exchanges. When Jason’s clerk is pummeled, along with those investors who misplaced their money with their faith, he and Sarna create a bold, sexy scheme to save Remy and rid the Exchange of those who try to get away with murder.