Local judge, author delivers uplifting message in latest work

THE YEAR HAS come full circle since Savannah’s Chief Administrative Law Judge Antony Saragas began writing his second novel “Once Upon a Rhyme.”

The novel aims to deliver a message for those who need lifted spirits amid troubling times, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It was the holiday season of 2019 when Saragas, an author by passion and law professional by trade, released the paperback and hardcover versions of his novel for purchase on Amazon, Kindle, Nook and Barne’s & Noble online. 

Saragas started writing in high school and college where he was a sports writer and columnist focusing on human interest topics. Though he enjoyed writing, Saragas followed a law career that included eight years in private practice, eight years as a prosecutor in adult and juvenile court, and led to his current position as a Social Security judge for the federal government.

Though Saragas has followed a sophisticated career path, his evenings are often spent much more light-heartedly.

When Saragas would leave his day job, he spent the remainder of his days coaching baseball, football and basketball at the high school level 20 years. He said he thoroughly enjoyed working with the youth and making a difference in their lives. The passion that he had for their development eventually led to him chartering a Boys and Girls Club in Harlan, KY. Half of the proceedings from Saragas book sales are being donated to the club.

Saragas wants his book to serve as a tool that highlights the meaning of life and the reason why we carry on despite our troubles. The realistic fiction novel is packed with life lessons, based upon the author’s own life experiences. He hopes it will not only guide his many mentees, but also anyone who comes across a copy.

“I’m hoping the book hits everyone,” he said. “I think most anyone can find some sort of significance in the book. I consider myself to be the average man, meaning that I think like most Americans on most topics. I’m not the most talented or smartest, but I try to work hard, and do my best, and be good to people. I feel like the things I’ve experienced should reflect on everyone in some way.

“If you have depression and you can’t see the vision of where you’re going or what you’re doing or if you lost a love one and you are trying to make sense of that, or you don’t know if you want to take a chance on romance – all of those things that we contemplate are in the book and that includes anxiety over the world around you and no matter how hard you work does something like COVID or politics or anything else take over and control what goes on and do you really make a difference.”

Saragas tells that he was prompted to write the book by what some would identify as a midlife crisis. There comes a point when a person just wants to articulate the reason why they lived their life here on this planet. “What would you leave behind? What has been the significance of your life, so to speak,” Saragas questions. “If there is a character in it based on me, it would be somebody at the very beginning of the book who just passed away, and I’m kind of picturing the world as what it would be like if I was deceased. What did the people get from my life? Did they learn?” 

Saragas who said he has a 26-year-old son who is a professional poker player. He’s son, growing up with a heavily engaged father experienced much of his father’s coaching firsthand. Together they pondered over whether all the pep talks and encouragement that was provided before sports games matter when individuals are face with real life experiences. To explore this, Saragas son suggested that he insert limericks in his novel, connecting anecdotes to the story to provide the takeaway that is intended for the audience. 

Saragas’ chartered Boys and Girls club is still thriving as it has been since it was started in 2001. According to Saragas, it is on his Mount Rushmore of accomplishments. At the club, they offer tutoring, drug counseling, community activity, and they give kids a safe environment to go to after school.

Saragas was the director of the club for six years before it began to grow too large and they expanded by hiring another director. Saragas wants the audience to know that, regardless of life’s ups and downs, there is always the ability to push forward and keep going and in the midst of COVID-19 the words of his latest novel may be just what you need to deliver some hope and peace to your home.

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