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‘Table of Hearts’ product of years of agonizing, yet rewarding work for local author

‘Table of Hearts’ product of years of agonizing, yet rewarding work for local author

Turlock author Gerald "Jerry" Avila wrote "Table of Hearts," a fictional generational saga about the Goginski family and the span of their lives.


POSTED March 15, 2011 8:36 p.m.

For some people the writing process is a form of release and filled with immeasurable pleasures. Gerald “Jerry” Avila is more likely to describe it as a self-imposed prison term wrought with its own unique tortures.

“Writing just owns your brain. It takes over,” Avila said. “I’d go to bed with these thoughts and wake up with them. It was awful,” he said with a wry grin.

It’s an unusual sentiment on writing for a man who recently published his first novel — a 660 page behemoth that was 11 years in the making — and is well into writing his second.

“I’m retired. I shouldn’t be torturing myself this way,” Avila joked.

Avila’s book, “Table of Hearts,” is a generational saga about the Goginski family and the span of their lives, from their home in Poland, through the Vietnam War, to their journey to a stock brokerage firm nestled in the serene Sonoma landscape.

All though fictional, Avila drew on his own life experiences in creating the novel, including his own service with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam.

“It is based on true events, which made it kind of rough to write at times,” Avila said. “So many times I just threw it away, but it always kept coming back on me. In the end, I didn’t write it to be published. I wrote it to throw it in a drawer and get it out of my head.”

When Avila’s wife Arlene read it, she knew it was a story that could not be kept locked away in a drawer and started pushing her husband to publish his work.

Avila, who now resides in Turlock, grew up in Newman and attended Orestimba High School, where he experienced one of his pivotal moments in writing.

Avila’s English teacher, Amelia Hunt, assigned the class an essay project about a social event and Avila wrote about a first date.

“I knew as I was writing it that I shouldn’t have picked that subject,” Avila recalled. “I knew it would come back on me and sure enough it did when she asked me to read it in front of the class. I told her no way. I would be the laughing stock of the school. She did talk me into it, but even then I left out three paragraphs and boy, did she blow her stack.

“But she was the one who told me that someday I would have to write.”

And write he has, whether he likes it or not.

“Table of Hearts” is available through Amazon.com or for a signed copy, contact Avila Insurance Service at 1145 Geer Rd., St. B, Turlock, 95381 or call 634-1096.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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