by Sheldon Ocker
Bath resident Dennis Kleidon has had a diverse career as an architect, teacher, publisher, graphic designer, artist, advertising entrepreneur and now author. All of these occupations have two things in common: structure and creative thinking.
Out of Kleidon’s experience and a strong belief that productive life doesn’t end when retirement begins came “Unleash Your Imagination: Transform Your Life,’’ his first book, a paperback available online through several distributors, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Kleidon, himself, is retired from some of his jobs, including a 31-year run teaching art at the University of Akron and the University of Illinois. He also is no longer chief operating officer of Kleidon and Associates, an advertising agency on Embassy Parkway now run by his son, Curtis.
So, Kleidon thought that a book that explains how to keep the creative and imaginative juices flowing was an ideal way to follow his own advice.
“It really started with a discussion about retirement with many of my friends,’’ he said. “Many of them said, ‘Oh boy, now I can sit back and relax because I probably only have a few years left.’ They were 65, and I said, ‘Hey, wait a minute. Times are different now. You may have 30-35 more years of life. That was your entire working career. What are you going to do with it?’
“That’s what inspired me to write this book. There are too many people wasting their time thinking that there’s nothing left after they retire. Yet there’s an entire life left after that.’’
Kleidon said he didn’t know if he had “a book in him’’ when he was younger. He grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago. After graduation from college, he worked for two architecture firms in the Chicago area and taught drafting and mechanical drawing at the University of Illinois.
Kleidon also took college level courses in fine art at Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State University, earning undergraduate and master’s degrees. In the past two years alone, he has had art shows at two galleries in the Phoenix area, New York, New Jersey and Italy. Two one-man shows of his work are scheduled this year.
He opened Kleidon & Associates in 1975. He has worked for clients in the U.S. and Europe, performing a variety of services such as creating catalogues and packaging design, doing social media planning and web design.
Work began on the book about three years ago, and Kleidon completed it one year ago.
“The book I’ve written is all about a designer’s approach to planning your life and opening up your mind to free your imagination, to get as much excitement and achievement in your life as possible,’’ he said.
Kleidon said achieving the goals outlined in the book takes work, merely reading his words are not enough.
“It’s not a simple process,’’ Kleidon said. “The book is 260-some pages of discussion about how to think differently, how to open your mind, how to be creative. In each of the chapters, I have a step-by-step process to open up your mind to your dreams and desires and what you want to do to give back to society.’’ ∞