My Name is Leonard Slutsky and Sunshine is a book based on my life experience. I never viewed myself as a writer. I would guess some still don’t. That’s alright because I know that I told my story the right way. I documented an extraordinary journey through an extraordinary time. And, I did it without expressing political biases, something very difficult to do in today’s polarized environment.
I have been asked how and why I took on this challenge. Looking back to my decision to write this journal, I know the answer. About five years ago, I was lounging in the sun, my eyes closed, wondering how I survived all the dead ends life has placed in my path. After thinking about it, I came to the realization that I was the cause of most of them. I started to envision my life as a movie.
Later, I wrote my thoughts down. As I went through a timeline of all that had happened, I kept coming back to some of the same situations over and over. To organize myself, I made an outline in chronological order. I then started to write each situation as I remembered it. It was then that I realized there were parts of my life story that I needed to ask friends or relatives about. There was information that I did not remember, or did not know.
Finally, after two years, I had written a memoir of well over one thousand pages. It was bigger than War and Peace. I realized that if it took me a lifetime to do all this, it would take someone else a lifetime to read about it. If I wanted someone to want to read it, I needed to reduce the size to less than 400 pages or, even better, to about 300 pages.
The first thing I did was to eliminate the sensitive subject matter that I knew I was not allowed to write about. I also got rid of the stories that would be of no interest to anyone but myself. I then sent the manuscript to two cousins and two friends – one an attorney, the other a college professor.
The responses I received were:
1. Eliminate the stuff about math, physics and the origin of time. It’s too confusing to understand.
2. Avoid controversial topics because everyone has a different viewpoint.
3. Change the names of living persons that might have a problem with the use of their real name.
4. Get government approval for any possible classified material before publication.
5. Learn English. Your writing sucks.
6. And, the one I thought most sincere was… Are you nuts?
I took care of the first four, and agreed with the last two. I finally had the manuscript to between 300 and 350 pages. Every time I picked it up to reread it, I made changes. I realized that this would never end so I hired an editor to review the manuscript. I chose someone who did not know me or my story.
I later made many changes to the story – how it is told and written – based on this edit. Then, I had a story that I liked. Others liked it as well.
The only thing I was not certain about was government’s reaction. It was then that I decided to change the story to include some fictional parts to some of the stories. Now, it was no longer a non-fiction book. Of course, I am the only one who knows what is fictional and what is not. My reasoning is that government, and the attitude of the people who oversee stuff, can and do change. What someone says is alright today may not be tomorrow. My book is now Biographical Fiction.
Read it and then you can decide what may or may not be real…
There is only one way to describe this book and the remarkable life story. Wonderful Reading…. a must for everyone.
– Dr. Stanly Garfunkel, PhD., New York
What a fantastic story….This should be a movie!
– Renee Feldman, Georgia
I guess life is a wonderful adventure. Loved the book. Can’t wait for the next one.
– Jackie Liput, New Jersey
Leonard Slutsky is also the author of What Were They Thinking?: Recent Opinions & Facts From and About New York State Residents. He is married, and has three children and eight grandchildren.
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