Author Draws More Notoriety With New Song
Faces and Places
Roger Varley, Staff Writer
After the death of his mother, Rose, Les
Kotzer wrote a book of poems dedicated
to her memory.
the poems was one called Photos in a Drawer,
which tells of discovering some of her
old photographs and the family memories
Kotzer, a wills lawyer with Fish and Associates
of Thornhill and author of The Family
Fight: Planning to Avoid It, a treatise
on preventing inheritance squabbles, has
since collaborated with composer/singer
Lewis Manne to turn the poem into a song
as a way of helping families avoid fighting
over wills. But, he said, it is taking
on a life of its own.
song was first aired in June by an ABC-affiliated
radio station in San Francisco on which
Mr. Kotzer, in his role as a wills lawyer,
was appearing as a talk show guest.
played it twice during the show. Afterwards,
the phones went crazy" said Mr. Kotzer.
"I had over 600 calls and e-mails
about the song. One person even likened
it to Art Garfunkel's songs."
then, it has been heard on other American
said the response made him realize he
could touch people with his lyrics. Now,
as a new member of the Society of Composers,
Authors and Music Publishers of Canada
(SOCAN), he has teamed with Mr. Manne,
whose credits include the theme to the
TV show Degrassi Junior High, to turn
more of his poems into songs.
in a Drawer and its companion piece, an
up-tempo song called The Family Fight,
are in the process of being produced as
a two-song CD titled A Family United,
A Family Divided, which Mr. Kotzer will
sell for $10 each or throw in as a freebie
to anyone buying his book.
are meant to go together," he said.
Rothmann, the San Francisco radio host
who gave Photos in a Drawer its first
exposure, was so impressed with the song,
he insisted on writing an endorsement
for the CD cover.
Kotzer's) advice, coupled with his CD,
brings healing to the soul," he wrote.
in a Drawer began receiving airtime last
week on Toronto-based FM station FOXY
88.5, the first Canadian station to play
a dream for me to have this played on
the radio," he said.
second song on the CD tells of two brothers
fighting over their mother's "rugs
intended to show people how a lawyer sees
the fight," he said. "It's not
usually over millions of dollars, it's
about things like rugs and rings."
was after the response to the San Francisco
show, however, that Mr. Kotzer realized
he could use the songs to combat the family
fighting he has become accustomed to seeing
in his practice.
I can get the message out in these two
songs, I've done my job," he said.
"These songs might give people a
moment of sober thought before setting
a lawyer on other family members."
in a Drawer might lead siblings to pull
out their photo albums and ask 'What am
I fighting about?'" Mr. Kotzer added.
"My mother's greatest assets were
in her photo album, not in her safety
said baby boomer siblings are the ones
now fighting over family wills.
have to do something to stop it,"
he said. "Photos is a softer way
of saying you have to stay connected.
I have to bring them back to being a family."
said one person told him he was practising
"emotional law, touching the heartstrings".
I'm still a wills lawyer," Mr. Kotzer
emphasized. "I still give free reviews
on the CD and the book is available at
www.familyfight.com or by calling 905-881-1500,