Local author gets confessional with debut

L. Scott Stoltz has no shortage of things to write about in his debut novel, “Obsessions, Digressions, and Shocking Confessions! (Welcome to My Therapy).” In his life and times, he’s faced depression, anxiety, molestation, addiction, suicide attempts, being committed and accusations of attempted murder.

It’s probably good that Stoltz kept his sense of humor, and treats these issues very tongue-in-cheek in his memoir.

“Even through some of the tragic parts, the humor comes through,” Stoltz said. “I write the way I talk. There are a lot of thoughts. I found that I was HIV-positive last year. I’m 58 now. And that’s why I started writing this book. I had a lot to talk about. I had my lover of 10 years walk out. He went to work one day and never came back home. So there’s a lot of tragedy and a lot of fluff in it too.”

But Stoltz doesn’t have time to wallow: He’s just happy he finished the book.

“I’ve stopped and started projects throughout my life and the timing is just right for this,” he said. “I sat down at the computer did very little planning and started writing for six months straight. And I actually finished it.”

Stoltz, who owned About The Beat Records on Pine Street for about eight years, said that his book, while relatable to the heterosexual population, was written for the gay community.

“A lot of my straight friends and relatives are reading it and enjoying it, but it’s definitely geared toward a gay audience. The book is a series of stories broken down into six different parts. It’s quite twisted actually. It’s basically written in a conversational tone between me and the reader, i.e. my therapist.”

Which begs the question: Are anonymous readers a good replacement for an actual face-to-face flesh-and-blood experience with a trained professional therapist?

“I would love to be able to afford a real therapist,” Stoltz said. “In lieu of therapy, this is definitely working. I’ve developed a sense of closure. I’ve gotten a lot of issues off my chest. There’s been one issue after another in my life and getting this out and putting this on paper or in my computer has really released a lot of demons.”

A lot — not all — of his demons. Which leads us to believe that Stoltz isn’t done writing yet.

It turns out, we were right.

“When I was writing this, I really didn’t expect to finish it,” he said. “I shocked myself. I know that I have talent as a writer. I’ve opened up the floodgates of writing. I’m working on another project and I’m halfway through it. This is fiction. I’ve always wanted to write fiction and hopefully it’ll come out next year.”

Stoltz hosts a reading from his debut book, “Obsessions, Digressions and Shocking Confessions! (Welcome to My Therapy)” at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 16 at Giovanni’s Room, 345 S. 12th St. For more information, call (215) 923-2960.

Larry Nichols can be reached at [email protected].