Collier and Lee Counties Edition
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A Reluctant Author Comes Forth

Fran Fidler

Fran Fidler

Every individual’s story matters and adds their piece to the collective jigsaw puzzle of life. However, some are seriously reluctant to tell them, sometimes doing everything possible to avoid the telling. Fran Fidler, whose book Tiny’s Wall is being released this month, is overqualified to speak about being reluctant and what’s it’s like to run away from the still, small voice that directed him more than 30 years ago to tell his story in a book.

Twelve years of childhood sexual abuse wasn’t something that Fidler wanted to remember, let alone talk about to anyone—a friend, family member, his David Lawrence Center therapist or even his non-judgmental fellow Alcoholics Anonymous buddies. Just as the biblical Moses, who refused his life’s mission, and Jonah, who ran away from his, Fidler declared to his higher power umpteen times that he wasn’t the man for the job. No matter how many circumstances—arrest, heart attack, an arm paralyzed by pain and a resulting hospital stay—as well as emotionally bare-naked AA meeting moments—presented the recurring message, “Write that book”.

The Naples resident railed back, “You’ve got the wrong guy. I’m not a writer. I don’t have the talent.”

Fidler’s railing turned into bargaining. “I struggled to write some of my story, but when it would begin flowing it was hard to stop the memories and feelings and go to bed or go to work. It was difficult. I dallied, thinking it looked as if I was doing something. I bargained, because I was terrified for people to know my backstory. I kept saying, ‘I’ll do it after Sam, my son, is out of elementary school. Then it was after he was out of middle school, high school and finally college. Sam has his MBA and will soon be applying to law school. I got the time and the help to finish the book when I blew out my knee,” says the Naples resident and personal fitness trainer.

Fidler hopes that his male readers will resonate with the book’s message. “You can have a life after healing from the memories and abuse. You don’t have to pour your feelings and memories into a bottle, live with anger and rage or through failed relationships. You can be healthy, athletic, have friendships and relationships, be married and raise healthy children. I think that as a man we think if suck it up, work harder, be a nicer guy or a more accomplished athlete, our self-esteem will improve and we’ll be just fine. These are only temporary fixes.”

At age 62, Fidler reflects, “Get help early in life. Don’t wait like I did.”

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