Jack Sheedy. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Jack Sheedy. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
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For decades, local writer Jack Sheedy has written about life in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut.
Sheedy estimates that he’s written around 1,200 essays throughout his career.
As a journalist, he has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists-CT Chapter and New England Newspaper and Press Association.
As a playwright, he has had his works performed by the Warner Theater and has been recognized by the Pittsburgh New Works Festival.
He has had his poetry published by many journals and anthologies over the years.
But when you ask him why he likes writing, Sheedy will give you an answer to indicate that, many years on, he still is on the fence about a writing career.
“Why do I like writing? I never said I liked writing!” Sheedy told The Winsted Phoenix, but after a pause or two, he admits that he does like writing.
“It’s one thing I can do well and people seem to enjoy what I write, for the most part,” Sheedy said. “They can connect with it. It’s a way to connect with other people.”
Sheedy’s new book “Magical Acts in Two Suitcases” is a collection of some of his many essays.
Sheedy is a native of Torrington but has connections all over the Northwest Corner.
He was a member of the first class at Northwestern Connecticut Community College back in 1965.
Sheedy said that his inspiration for writing is to “try to figure out stuff.”
“Why are certain things interesting to other people?” Sheedy said. “Sometimes it’s interesting to me too. I just want to write about things to figure them out.”
As an example, Sheedy cites an essay in the book where he tries out fishing.
“I’ve always wondered why fishing was such an attraction to a lot of men,” Sheedy said. “You have this stick with a line and a hook at the end of it that you pay $500 for. You take it to the river and you stand there all day. Why? You go home sometimes with nothing and I was just trying to figure out why people do this? I tried to get interested in fishing. And I did and instead of catching a fish, I fell in the river.”
Sheedy said that the title of the book is based on an essay where he met a magician at the Goshen Fair one year.
“I was watching him do his bit and let his silk hat fill with coins as people were tipping him,” Sheedy said. “Then he took his wife, girlfriend, or whoever she was and they left. She is the one who helped him pack his suitcase and get everything ready, and he was the star of the show.”
Sheedy said that he used the magician and his partner as a metaphor for his mother and father.
“My father was a salesman and when he was doing a presentation he would be on like an actor,” Sheedy said. “He would be the star of the show. But my mother was the one who ironed his shirt, took his suit to the cleaners, and did all of those magic tricks behind his back. But he got all of the credit for it. The whole idea of the magic, there’s two kinds of magic: the magic that people see, and the magic that you don’t see. They are in two different suitcases. The suitcase that the juggler used was full of tricks. The suitcase that my father used to go on a business trip was filled with ironed shirts and argyle socks and folded trousers that my mother prepared for him. That was her kind of magic for my dad, to make him the more star-studded magician. The man in the spotlight. We all have that magic in our lives. We all have that magical act that we perform for each other. Sometimes, nobody notices. It’s like the wind beneath your wings kind of idea.”
Sheedy’s new book is available now online on Amazon and other various book outlets.
The House of Books in Kent will sponsor a live Crowdcast event with Sheedy, in conversation with author David K. Leff, Tuesday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. For information go to houseofbooksct.com

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