Tinley Park artist turns from paint to word palate
BY HANNAH KOHUT Correspondent
Tinley Park resident Marty Rose, 53, with his new book "End of Innocence." He is pictured with one of the two benches he designed for the village's Benches on the Avenue. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
When Tinley Park resident Marty Rose began writing his novel, “End of Innocence,” he knew it would raise some eyebrows. But he didn’t care.
Not only has he been happily married for 23 years, he has three daughters, is active in his church and is actively involved with the Tinley Park Benches on the Avenue project — he helped organize the program. So why write about some unspeakable actions?
It’s a story about what Rose describes as “heinous” sexual abuse, and how victims cope and learn to heal and forgive.
“It’s a relevant topic, and has been for a while now,” he said.
Rose, a respiratory therapist at a Naperville hospital, said he often is assigned to the emergency room. Though he does not treat sexual violence victims, he can’t help but notice them when they come in.
“When these women, who are victims of a heinous crime, come in, they don’t want to talk to people,” Rose said. “They wall themselves off, and whatever happened to them has a major impact on their lives and how they handle relationships.”
So Rose, two years ago, put ideas to paper and began piecing together his novel.
At first, Rose said, his wife wasn’t a fan of the topic, but nonetheless, she had his back.
The story is about sexual abuse victims, and Rose said while that aspect of the story is important, he also wanted to incorporate his Christian faith and values into the characters.
Rose said he grew up Catholic, but as he grew older, he strayed from the church. He said it wasn’t until his father died in 1996 that he went searching for comfort and answers. At the suggestion of his then-5-year-old daughter, he began reading passages during Mass. After becoming involved in the church, he began to search himself for Christian values. One of the greatest attributes, he said, is forgiveness.
He incorporated that into his characters.
“You’re taught in the Christian faith to forgive,” Rose said. “There is an individual in the story who is not afraid to stand up for that aspect of the Christian faith, and to forgive. It’s like she’s a salmon that swims upstream against the grains of society.”
Despite the nature of his novel, he allowed his two oldest daughters, 17 and 20, to read it.
“I think my two oldest daughters can handle the subject matter, but I have no intention of letting my 13-year-old read it yet,” Rose said.
He said his 17-year-old daughter was a great help editing his story. She should be; Rose said she has won a young author’s award.
“I hope someone who reads this book can gain something from it,” Rose said. “This book has some dark places in it that the main character develops, and learns to deal with in life.
“I don’t think everyone will have that exact issue, but it’s just one perspective on how one might cope with a situation. But the message sent out is that forgiveness is important, Christians are taught to forgive.”
As for the Benches on the Avenue project, Rose said he has painted for years, and that it wasn’t until he was in college that he was inspired by an English teacher to turn his art into words.
“In the past, my canvas was full of colors. Now my mind is the canvas and the palate is full of words; unlike filling a canvas with images, you can go beyond time and into motion with words,” Rose said.
He said he has completed as many as 18 benches.
“Some years I’d do multiple benches,” Rose said. “My neighbor is a retired engineer and he has helped me incorporate some electrical components, such as solar lights.”
He said one of his favorite benches is a game-themed one that lit up. It was shaped like the board game “Operation.”
“It was so cool,” Rose said. “We hooked it up to a pair of pliers and it could be used to grab the body parts, and the nose would light up if the pliers hit the edge, like in the game.”
He said he enjoys the project because it gives people great freedom of expression, and his daughters also get involved.
“My daughters all inherited my artistic ability,” Rose said. “They have done benches as well. My youngest, for a couple years now, has done benches herself. I just do some woodcutting for her.”
Rose’s book is available online through a website for self-publishing, www.XLibris.com, and at www.barnesandnoble.com.