The Roseland Free Public Library is excited to have two back-to-back author visits next week. Both authors live locally and will speak about what inspired them to share their stories. 

Tuesday, June 12: Lou Redmond

How did Lou Redmond go from weekday corporate golf management and weekend party animal to yogi and truth seeker? Find out next Tuesday (6/12) when the Nutley-based author and motivational speaker visits the Roseland Free Public Library to discuss his book, Find Your Truth, starting at 7 pm.

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After graduating Nutley High School in 2008 and later obtaining a commercial recreation degree from Penn State University, Redmond landed a successful job at Cobra Puma Golf in San Diego, where he rose through the ranks with distinctions including a promotion and an employee of the year award. Although he appeared successful on the surface, Redmond said that deep within, he knew something was amiss.

‘I was working for the weekend,” said Redmond, reflecting on how he got swept quickly into the “rave” culture. “I was drinking and using ecstasy and other party drugs, always searching for an original high.”

Find Your Truth describes Redmond’s downward spiral, as well as the series of events that led him to abruptly quit his job of five years and chart a new course toward self-transformation. He recalled that his involvement with a new entrepreneur group, as well as exposure to yoga and meditation, served as the main catalysts for his metamorphosis. 

Today, Redmond has come full circle, returning to where his story began – Nutley, NJ – where he currently teaches yoga, meditation, and mindfulness through school visits, retreats, and other classes. In addition to learning about his story, Redmond hopes his library presentation on Tuesday, June 12 will inspire the guests who attend.

“I hope to leave them with the understanding that they have the power to transform themselves. A lot of it is based on environment, learning about themselves, and how they can move to where they want to be. It’s about owning and creating your story, which is different for everybody, but still just as meaningful. You just have to be open to the possibility of where you want to be.”

Wednesday, June 13: Mark Bergman

Mark Bergman’s novel, Cat’s Ball, the story of a special relationship between a former high school sports star and a girl with Down syndrome and her soccer team, draws from the author’s personal experiences while growing up in Livingston.

Bergman’s older brother, Russell, now deceased, had Down’s syndrome. 

“I grew up understanding the challenges faced by special needs children and their parents.  I spent several summers as a counselor at Camp Hope, a camp for special needs children in East Hanover.  These experiences taught me that many of the special needs children were not very much different than what we would consider to be ‘normal’ children. They had emotions, desire, aspirations, and potential talents in which all they needed was the opportunity to achieve their full potential,” Bergman said.

Set in his native Livingston, Cat’s Ball incorporates the intertwined themes of teamwork, ingenuity, overcoming adversity, youth soccer, dance, and special needs, all of which have played major parts in the 50-plus years Bergman has called Livingston home.

“I grew up playing soccer in Livingston and then at Rutgers University,” said Bergman, who also coached his two daughters’ soccer teams in Livingston for 10 years and served on the Livingston Soccer Club Board of Directors. “Both of my daughters were also involved in dance and gymnastics, so I always felt that these skills and training, especially the combination of strength and elegance, were also applicable to soccer.  Many of life’s important lessons can be learned in youth sports and I felt it was a good way to bring a variety of different people together as a team.”

Bergman said that readers from the area will immediately notice references to different locations and landmarks in the novel, and that most of the characters are loosely based on people he has crossed paths with. However, his brother appears as himself in the book, along with his mother, Lee Bergman, who tirelessly fought for the rights of the developmentally disabled and pioneered many of the local special needs programs that are still thriving, such as The Candle Lighters, Down Syndrome Parent-to-Parent, Stepping Stones Early Intervention, Stepping Stones School, and held leadership roles in Arc of Essex County.

One could say that Bergman wrote Cat’s Ball as a tribute to these two very special people in his life: “I did not just want to write out her resume, so I decided to work a story around it. The story grew and grew until it eventually became a novel,” said Bergman, who works in the construction insurance industry but writes as a hobby.

Bergman describes Cat’s Ball as a “fictional romantic comedy suitable for all ages” with a message of “hope, perseverance, and overcoming adversity irrespective of the setback.”

After initially losing hope over a recent tragedy, Tim, one of the story’s main characters, is able to rekindle his can-do attitude by working with Cat and her teammates, and Bergman hopes his book and presentation will inspire others to follow suit.

”‘Play On,’ no matter how many times you get knocked down.  Everyone can add value and contribute to a team, regardless of any perceived disabilities, as long as they are willing to try their best,” he said.