Friday, December 2, 2011

Coshocton Tribune Interview

Coshocton Natives Find Common Ground with Writing ...
7:21 AM, Dec. 1, 2011

Coshocton Tribune
Coshocton, Ohio 43812

Written by
Leonard Hayhurst
Staff Writer

COSHOCTON -- Two childhood friends from Coshocton now are sharing their lives and their literary talents with the world.

Coshocton natives Catherine Parrish, who writes as C.J. Heck, and Robert Cosmar got reacquainted two years ago during a multi-class reunion for graduates of Coshocton High School that Cosmar organized. Although they were two years apart in school, they said they can't really remember talking or seeing each other since they were young kids, almost 50 years before.

"We were often thrown together as a group of kids," Parrish said. "(Cosmar) said he didn't remember me at all in high school, although I'm sure we passed in the halls, but he said 'my last memory of you as a child is you sitting beside me in the back seat of my parents' car. I was about 9 years old, and you were about 11. I remember looking over and seeing those blues eyes and thinking 'oh my God, it's a girl.'" He said he never forgot those blues eyes.

Parrish received an email from Cosmar sent by another classmate about the reunion and from there, they began writing back and forth. A rekindled friendship flamed into love, and Cosmar eventually moved from Coshocton to be with Parrish in DuBois, Pa.

"We're motivating and stimulating each other to grow and more fully express who we are," Cosmar said. "We do what we love to do, which is basically write and share stories."

Cosmar knew Parrish was a children's author, and the two often would talk about writing and literature. Shortly after getting together, Cosmar mentioned he had written three short unpublished stories about 20 years ago. Parrish said she asked to read them and was impressed immediately by their quality.
"I demanded, 'Why haven't you published these? They're wonderful!' He answered, 'Who'd want to read those? They're so old,'" Parrish recalled.

Parrish offered encouragement and editing, which resulted in Cosmar publishing his first book, "Trilogy of Awareness" in September, 2011.

Cosmar describes the book as one meant to inspire imaginations. One story deals with a banished alien prince; another tells of a middle-aged man, lost in life, who is whisked to a parallel dimension, and the final tale is about the ghost of Jimi Hendrix aiding young guitarists at a music camp near Woodstock.

"My stories are allegories. On one level, they're like your 'Twilight Zone,' Rod Serling-type stories. They present a platform that's very obvious and understandable that applies to life in general, maybe your situation or someone else's situation, but somewhere in it, it takes you to a place of awareness and that's why it's called 'Trilogy of Awareness,'" he said.

Parrish has published four books since 2000, the most recent being a collection of short stories and flash fiction entitled "Bits and Pieces from a Writer's Soul" and "Me Too! Preschool Poetry," both in September. Her newest book "Barking Spiders 2," a sequel to her "Barking Spiders and Other Such Stuff (2000)," has been nominated for the 2011 Cybils Children's Book Award in the poetry category.

Parrish said much of what she writes about comes from her children or from her childhood in Coshocton. Although she can't remember her teacher's name, Parrish never will forget how a fourth-grade teacher at Washington Elementary School encouraged her to write poetry as part of the class. She said she and Cosmar still have friends and family in the Coshocton area and visit often.

"We had such a wonderful childhood living (in Coshocton)," Parrish said. "We could go anywhere. It's not like today where (parents) are afraid to let their kids go out alone. I remember walking down Main Street up to Elm Street by the hospital and (Cosmar) remembers the same thing. We'd play outside until dark, and nobody worried about us. We loved Coshocton growing up. It's such a wonderful, wonderful town."; (740) 295-3417

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