The Big Empty by Ritch Gaiti
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: June 3, 2013
The sign said: “Welcome to New York.” It lied.
Every instinct I had told me to get out but I couldn’t, not now. This simple case would trigger repercussions that would unnerve the city, maybe the country. I was about to open doors that had been nailed shut for a lifetime. And the only path to the truth was through a labyrinth of deceit. I trusted no one, not even myself. My stomach tightened.
The ten years had slipped by like a century. I never thought I’d see New York again and now I find myself buried in its bowels, unsure of what I was after—but I knew I had to find it. I snaked through the city bureaucracy, historical landmarks and some of the most prominent properties in the city, all intricately linked. Nothing fit, yet everything connected and answers only bred more questions. Somehow it had all been mysteriously tied back to me.
I ventured into the darkest tunnel of all, my own. I realized then why I was chosen—why I had been the only one that could find this elusive document. Deep within a maze of deceptions and betrayals, I uncovered a massive conspiracy among the most esteemed organizations in the world—and the truth that had sent my life into a tailspin ten years ago was far from true. Suddenly, this seemingly routine assignment had enormous stakes and consequences. Now it was up to me to mend an ancient injustice and the fate of an entire culture.
I spent most of my adult years on Wall Street. No, not manufacturing the money, rather developing the technology that supports it. I found it an extremely creative process. Contrary to today, technology was still new; most people did not understand it and had no idea what to do with it. Yet, they understood that it was important, whatever it was. To me, technology was a paintbrush and the business world, the canvas. In a left brained environment, I used my right brain to succeed.
I was them – part of the machine. I had my successes, paid my dues and navigated the turbulent waters of the corporation. I was very successful: a rising star, a comer, the next-in-line to be next-in-line. Then I quit. Yep, I had a few bucks in my jeans (ok, my 401k), and the time was right. I decided to pursue my right brain and ventured into writing and painting.
At first, I enjoyed the freedom of making my own day but somehow I missed the structure and the camaraderie of the corporate world. That soon passed as a new structure evolved – write in the morning, paint in the afternoon. Left brained mornings, right brained afternoons. Of course, flexibility was the key – if the mood struck, write from dawn until dusk. Sometimes, I would paint for weeks and never lift the quill. Often, the reverse held. My only criterion, my mark of a successful day, is one where I accomplished something, anything.
One great distinction from my former life was the impact of planning. As Yogi Berra said: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll wind up somewhere else.” Undeniably true when you are dealing with complex technology projects. However, in my new life, I found that planning in the creative process was just a jumping off point – not the process.
The creative course has to evolve, and, well, create. When I plan I project (book or painting), I know that it will change. I am counting on it. In fact, if I execute as planned, I probably have failed because my objective is to enable the creative process to take over and change things. I find a greater satisfaction in discovering new ideas, thoughts, approaches, characters, plots, twists, etc. along the journey than having them fully thought out beforehand.
So the journey is the process. Any small successes along the way encourage me to continue. Of course, success breeds success. But, interestingly, I found negatives that stimulate me as well. In fact, they are essential components of the creative process. I am referring to failing and boredom.
Yep, failing is one of my greatest muses. Yep, if something isn’t working as I hoped which happens quite often, it forces me to think fresh, try a new approach, deviate from the plan and explore another part of my creativity. It forces me to take risks I might not have attempted if everything was working as planned. After all, why mess with something that is working? Failing is a necessary and healthy form of learning.
Boredom is one of my greatest motivators. It also forces me to try something new and break some rules. That’s why I have several outlets (writing and painting, my top two). That’s why my books are all different- from humor to dramas to mysteries. That is why I would find it very difficult to write a series. I need the character to change, grow and experience some catharsis – very difficult to do repeatedly.
I always remember what Yogi said and try to know where I’m going. How I get there is the adventure. And, if where I’m going is not where I want to be, that’s open to change as well.
Ritch Gaiti is an author, an artist and a former Wall Street Executive. He focuses on a wide range of subjects and genres: from drama to suspense to humor; from fiction to non-fiction. His first book, Points, Women Have Them, Men Need Them, was a humorous relationship book. Afterwards, sticking with humor, he wrote Tweet, a fictional satire on consumerism and the advertising industry. Recently, Tweet has been optioned for a feature film. His last book, Dutching the Book, a fictional drama based on real people and events, delivers an absorbing story about horse racing and gambling in 1960’s Brooklyn.
Ritch has also written articles for magazines, including Private Wealth, Tango and Balance magazines and has been featured on national TV and radio, including a guest appearance on the Today Show, opposite Joan Rivers. In addition to writing, Ritch is a recognized artist who exhibits regularly in galleries and museums across the country.