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Aaron Ozee: Poet, story teller

Caroline Broderick, Features Editor

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Ever since student Aaron Ozee was five years old, he dedicated his time to small, seemingly unimportant picture books, then moved on to short stories and poems.

 

Having divorced parents, Ozee never quite found himself getting along with his step-siblings or comfort in being shuffled from house to house. He chose to fill his alone time with stories upon stories and escape the reality he faced.

 

Cynthia Oberman, his favorite teacher at Indian Trail Junior High, gave Ozee his first huge push towards developing his hobby into a craft. When Ozee spent weekends with his Dad, he’d come bring Oberman new stories each week to review.

 

“She was my best critic,” said Ozee. “She’d take a good look at it and say things like, ‘You could revise this sentence or change around these paragraphs.’ A lot of the advice she gave me I still use today. She was a really big influencer to me at the time.”

 

Yet it wasn’t until Ozee was placed into Streamwood Behavioral Health Center for 10 days his sophomore year of high school did he realize he wanted to dedicate his life to this love for writing that he always carried with him.

 

Between paranoia and general anxiety about friendships, struggling with his divorced parents and his strongly disliked step-father, Ozee had what he calls a “mental breakdown.”

 

“I wanted to get away from society in general,” explained Ozee. “I was having suicidal tendencies. When you’re put into that ‘social survival mode’ as I call it, you really don’t want to think. Nothing’s really logical to you. Those 10 days in that facility changed my life forever.”

 

As a sophomore, Ozee moved from his small audience of Poetry Nation Online readers and Facebook friends to find Lulu, a self-publishing company and published his first anthology, “Celestial Inferno: Poems of Another Realm.”

 

“In a way, writing saved me,” said Ozee. “That’s how I look at it. It’s not anything I would give up.”

 

Since his first publication in 2011, Ozee has self-published nine different poetry books and published his first book, a children’s story called, “My Darling Child Shiloh” with another COD student, Mallory Clark who illustrated the book.

 

Clark and Ozee met during an English course where they wrote together and found themselves combining their talents to create this publication. To keep children and parents engaged, each illustration is created from a different medium and with a different style.

 

For Ozee, it was a natural progression moving from strictly poetry to a short story format due to his long history of writing. The choice to change paths was influenced by his mother, who Ozee bases the story off of and who has been his greatest fan.

The story follows Shiloh and his mother, with no specific plot, the two adventure through the day together and in the end, realize how special their bond is.

 

“I wrote nine books and published them, and I felt like none of that work was attributed to [my Mom],” said Ozee. “I felt like she was a missing element to it. Her and many others have been very influential on my career in general. She’s been there for me the most. I owe her a lot. This book is a story of her and I.”

 

After finding success with “My Darling Child Shiloh,” Ozee continues to write yet now moves his energy towards his tour of current book signings in the month of October.
Book signing schedules can be found at aaronozee.com and his works are available to be purchased at lulu.com/spotlight/aaronozee.

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College of DuPage's student newspaper | Est. 1967
Aaron Ozee: Poet, story teller