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Interview with Visionary and Author, Tal Gur (part 2)

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?  (continued)

TG. It was my mom who first told me I should write seriously 🙂 That was almost 20 years ago when I still wrote in Hebrew. I just arrived to Australia and I was lonely, so for a few months I wrote a series of emails about life in a new country. Writing was my refuge, my way to rip all the loneliness out of me. The topic was Australia, but underneath all that it was just a way to make sense of the world inside of me. My second “serious” attempt with writing was in English. Same as my first attempt, I used writing as a way to share and reflect upon life’s journeys. Whether it be a trip overseas, my Ironman journey, or simply a random weekend escape, I played with the words like a new toy.

Q. How long after that were you published?

TG: I published my first book 20 years later. In between I blogged at http://fullylived.com/blog

Estonia

Q. What makes a writer great?

TG: Skills + Passion + Dedication. I think it’s a winning formula.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

TG.  mmm… I wish I had a linear step-by-step process… In my case, the process looked more like me sitting at my desk and letting inspiration take over. Whatever felt right at the moment.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

TG. I’d say A LOT. My life experiences as well as my challenges provided me with valuable lessons that I couldn’t learn otherwise.

Somehow, in our society, we’ve decided that struggling is the enemy.But if you’ve ever or embarked on a big and meaningful journey, you know that discomfort and pain are simply part of our growth.Struggling is not the enemy. Hopelessness is;When we feel hopeful about our journey ahead, when we move in a meaningful direction, then struggling is not the problem.On the contrary, it can be part of our joy. Because the struggle is for our dream. And we know that we are giving it our all.

Trek in the Himalayan mountains

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

TG. Consistent action in the direction of your dreams. It may take a month, it might take a year, it might take a decade. but you will eventually make it if you take consistent action.

To purchase: The Art of Fully Living

Did you miss part I yesterday? Click here 

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  
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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #36

You don’t feel like working on your novel today. Don’t force it!  If you have an unfinished novel, play, or story…you don’t have to necessarily work on it every day.  Too much pressure!  A successful writer DOES try to write every day but you can write anything. Maybe you’re not in a creative mood today to work on your novel.  So write on your blog or write a piece of poetry.  Or a short story. Whatever it is, you don’t have to finish it TODAY.  Just write! Write every day! Write something!

“Remember these stories, Tlaga. My people live inside them. When a tale is told, everyone who ever heard that story is alive again….”  Bartle Bull

“An alphabet makes the words that keep a people together….”  Bartle Bull

“If you stumble, make it part of the dance.” ~  Abi Eberman

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

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New Poetry

Haiku   (haiku)

to write haiku is
to distill to perfection
with only three lines

 

after life (haiku)

believe in after
if there is none beyond this
does not signify

 

The School   (Renku)

halls run with blood, red
brains and flesh smear locker doors 
hearts beat the last drop

children creep and hide
a dark shadow haunts the school
bursts of bullets kill

soft crying stifled
will the nightmare never end? no, play dead,
be still

finally, silence
except the whispered pleas heard
 to god, to anyone, please please

haiku, poetry, pen and ink art, poems, Japanese haiku,

 

 

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.                                                                                   
                                        
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Storytelling…a Cultural Imperative!

What is a cultural imperative?  ‘Peoples living within the encompasses of cultures associated with very different ethnicities often imbue radically different moral imperatives, through identification processes carrying across generations. Such cultural imperatives prevalent within one culture may not have any direct equivalent within another culture…’ * 

Glaring examples of this are the ethnic groups who, putting themselves at risk for censor or abuse, have insisted on keeping their native language, rituals, and religions alive. ‘one culture may not have any direct equivalent within another culture…’  But the one imperative that has crossed all ethnic and cultural groups is storytelling. 

What is this imperative that most people feel….to tell stories?  It seems, to me, to be hardwired into our DNA.

We begin at an early age: making up stories (to ourselves) as we play with our dolls or cars. A child has no inhibitions when it comes to weaving a fantastical tale, frequently out loud, as they play. 
A mother or father sits at their child’s bedside and makes up stories until they fall asleep.
A comic book writer tells his stories with a few words, facial expressions, and action illustrations.
A poet tells their stories through rhyme, lyric or free verse.
A playwright creates their story so that others can tell it.
Another storyteller sees their stories happening in the far future. 
Another goes to the dark side of human nature and writes stories about things that go bump in the night.
A teacher tells a story to enhance the lesson. (I miss you, Miss. O’Connor.)
The novelist weaves a longer tale; taking their characters on adventures, discovering love, suffering defeats, and usually conquering all in the end. 
……even gossip could be considered storytelling.

I have worried out loud (and written about it here) that storytelling will die, be a thing of the past.  But now I believe that many of us do have that cultural imperative to tell and write down our stories. After all the synonyms for imperative are: involuntary, necessary, nonelective, obligatory, peremptory, required. 
 I don’t think storytellers can help themselves. We have to tell stories!

 

 

* IdentityExploration.com/Culture_Imperatives
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    January: Sue Grafton ~ In Memory
March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: in60Learning ~ A unique, non-fiction mini-book read in 60 minutes.
                                                                                   
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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #35

A good writer knows what repetitive words he or she uses unconsciously.  A few years ago I published a novel. This week I had an opportunity to send it to a traditional publisher of some repute. I thought: ‘I want the manuscript to be as close to perfect as I can make it, so I’ll take another look at it’. Knowing my go-to words are ‘that’ and ‘just‘, the first thing I did was find out how many times I’d used the word ‘that’.  807!!  With editing, I happily reduced that number to 197.

How does that happen??  Well, we all have idiosyncrasies with our language.  Yes, I had an editor and she missed it too.  Then I checked the other devil word, ‘just‘.  234 times when only 5-6 were used appropriately. Yikes! 

Be self-aware as a writer. Know your strengths, yes, but also your weaknesses. Know your eccentricities with language. 

 

“The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.”~~ Walt Whitman

“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality.
But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.
“~~ T. S. Eliot

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    December: British writer, J.G. Dow. January: Sue Grafton ~ In Memory
                                                                                   
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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #34

The first thing that makes a buyer reach for your book is the COVER!  Is it professional? Does it convey a visual story? 
The second thing that keeps the book in their hand is the BACK COVER and what it says about your story!
The third thing that keeps them from putting it back on the rack (or swiping their tablet for more choices) is that all important, FIRST SENTENCE!

 For example:

Swamp sludge dripped off the massive head while the cold, murderous, purple eye watched them.’

‘As I stepped into the street I didn’t notice the bus bearing down on me.’

‘I sat in the prison waiting room about to interview a convicted killer.’

‘Slow down, Al,” Vi screamed and laughed from the back seat of the car that was plummeting down the mountain side. “You’re gonna kill us.’

 ‘My first audition since I had arrived in Hollywood and what if I fail?’

‘The teacher grabbed my math work book and marched to the front of the room. He began to read my poetry aloud.’

‘As the saloon doors creaked back and forth, the trail weary cowboys backed away when they saw him saunter in.’

“Mother must be spinning in her grave. Not in her wildest dreams, or mine for that matter, would she imagine her daughter in a prison.” Kitty muttered, as her chauffeur drove up the long driveway to the main entrance of the State Prison.

Since the buyer hasn’t put your book down yet, you have to ‘hook’ them with your first sentence. Make them ask, ‘what happens next’?
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“No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky.” ~~Bob Dylan

“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” ~~ Charles Dickens

“None but ourselves can free our minds.” ~~Bob Marley
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author was Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. In December we will be saying hello to English mystery writer, J.G. Dow. 
                                                                                   
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Celebrating Our Veterans on Their Day, 2017!!

In Memory….

            You might say I’m a ‘military brat’.  My life certainly was changed by members of my family serving in the armed forces.  So what better time than on this Veteran’s Day to honor them….those who keep us SAFE and FREE!  And to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us and their country.

                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gerald Guyer (cousin)   US Marines**WWI – gave his life -France ** Son of Gladys; nephew of Violet, about whom I have written many stories.

William Jay Woods (biological father)  US Navy ** WWII –   South Pacific campaign – PTSD.  He met my mother in San Francisco, where she owned a bar and grill.  He returned from war  an alcoholic, experienced rages and had a parrot named Butch.

military verterans, US Coast Guard, US Navy, US Air Force, WWII, Viet Nam, Korean WarJohnny Cable (step-father)  US Army ** WWII South Pacific campaign – lost an eye, suffered from jungle rot and PTSD.  He later served on a ship in the Korean War as a meat cutter.  He was instrumental in serving the troops a HOT Thanksgiving dinner on the beach.

At seven years of age I dare not run in and jump on the bed in the mornings to wake up Daddy.  He would wake up ready to fight the ‘Japs’.   He was a wonderful father but the horrors of the South Pacific campaign were never far from the surface.

family histories, family secrets, story telling, writers

my mother, Violet

Violet Guyer (mother) US Armed Forces ** Wife, sister, and mother of members in the military.
My mother, who I write about, was auntie to Gerald.  She married Jay (active Navy) and Johnny (active Army) and was a military wife for two decades. She was mother to Jack (US Air Force) and Doris, (US Marines).

Jack Borden (brother)  US Air Force ** Loaded B52 bombers – hot spots around the world – 20+ years of service.  My brother would come home from far away places like Germany, Iceland, Africa, Panama and because he  didn’t have a hometown girl, he would take me, his teenage sister, ballroom dancing.

Jack Henderson.  (first husband) US Air Force * While in the military, he was on a ship in the Pacific and witnessed one of the first A-Bomb test explosions off Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands.  We are still friends.

Robert Berry (second husband)   US Navy Seals, US Coast Guard ** 20+ years of service. Robert.Berry
Robert was a Navy Seal, underwater demolition during the Viet Nam years.  He later served as a warrant officer aboard an icebreaker and was certified to scuba dive under the Arctic ice.

 

john.Viet.Nam

John Sugarek, Viet Nam

John Sugarek (husband)  US Marines ** Viet Nam –   John was my husband for 30 years. He was kind-hearted and funny and everyone loved him.  I witnessed two of his  flashbacks from battle in Viet Nam (twenty years later)  and he suffered, untreated, from PTSD. Partially due to the PTSD (I believe) he died at his own hand in 2006.  His fellow wounded warriors celebrate at the Whiskey Battery Reunion, once a year.marines

 

We are all grateful to our military for their unswerving bravery, service, and loyalty and we honor those who have come home, battered but alive.
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author is Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. 
                                                                                   
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Argentina Students Gift Me with an Original Poem

    

Argentina Adult English Class

Periodically I have talked about my friends in Argentina.  In 2009 I traveled there and was hosted by the most beautiful people whom I’d only met via email. So warm and generous with their time and attention. Highlights were: getting stuck (for a short time) in a nation-wide airline strike and being on the only plane to leave Bueno Aries for Villa Maria. A sister of one of my hosts, who had never met me in her life, vacating her apartment and handing it over to me for my stay. A beautiful university campus where I was honored to be a guest speaker for 10 days. A music department whose ‘final’ exam was to compose and perform their own music. (Amazing!) A high school putting on a play which I was able to attend and teach an impromptu, master-class in acting. And visiting a dairy farm where ‘frozen’ sperm was the subject of the day (lol) and how it was purchased, stored and implemented.  

Since that time I have been in close contact with one of the professors, Mariana Falco, and I consider her the dearest of friends. 

Mariana in center. Fulbrigh teaching assistant at St. Mary´s College

She also teaches English as a second language to adult students. She is a lovely, giving person and a wonderful teacher.

  Mariana and her class Skype with me and we have a hilarious time!  There is no language barrier when there is love! 

So, yesterday, the class surprised me by sending me a poem that they had written….(I blush)…about me! 

 

  TRISHA SUGAREK     (by O.Lopez  and Classmates)

Cierro mis ojos, en letargo                                     Close my eyes, lethargy overtakes me

Creo ver en mi sueño                                               I think I see in my dream

Su diminuta pero firme mano                               her tiny, but, firm hand

Un mágico movimiento                                         a magical movement

Esta se deslizaba sobre el papel                           this slides on the paper

Sosteniendo el lápiz entre sus dedos                    holding the pencil between her fingers

Las palabras que habitan en su mente                the words that inhabit in her mind,

Sabias ellas……….van cayendo                              wise them, begin to drop

Toda la sabiduría en la hoja                                  all the wisdom on the paper

Testigo fiel de lo que ella quiere decir                 the faithful witness of what she wants

                                                                                    to say

                 _____________                                                 __________________

De repente se detiene                                             Suddenly, she stops

Lee atentamente …… y vueve a leer                    reads attentively and reads again

Entrecierra sus ojos                                                squints her eyes

Y una bonachona sonrisa                                      and a good-nature smile

Ilumina su rostro                                                    lights up her face

Sus pupilas se agrandan e iluminan                   her pupils get enlarged and illuminate

Detrás de los lentes se ilumina y…piensa        Behind her glasses, she lights up and

                                                                             Thinks,

Y se dice a si misma                                              and she says to herself

Si es un buen trabajo,sencillo y correcto          it is a good work, simple, and precise  

Su nombre es Trisha, una gran escritora          her name is Trisha, a great writer

Y es…………¡nuestra amiga!!                              And she’s ………our friend!!!

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?     In August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.   September: Dylan Callens and October’s author is Donna Kauffman.
                                                                                   
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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #33

Lillian Hellman

 Lillian Hellman said, ‘If you hope to be any good, nothing you write will ever come out as you first hoped.’     It is true and if you are truly lucky it will happen to you.

For example: In the play script version of Women Outside the Walls, the story ends with Joe dying on a cold prison floor.  And later,  this was where I had planned for the  novel to end too. IF I had not been working closely with a woman who had ‘stood by her man’ for 15 years while he was in prison. Shortly after he was paroled, 

Women Outside the Wallsher son received 13 years for manslaughter.  She had been there, done that… times two!  After SK (the woman outside the real prison walls) read the last pages, she looked up and asked: “What happened to Charlie?  To Alma?”

‘Huh?’ I replied. Did someone actually care about these two antagonists? As it turns out, yes they did. Charlie and Alma, in spite of their wrong doings, their narrow beliefs, and their ignorance were endearing and readers really cared. 

I’ve said it before, be open as a writer. 

 


“Fiction is about everything human and we are made out of dust and if you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn’t try to write fiction.

It’s not a grand enough job for you.” ~~ Flannery O’Connor 

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” ~~ Pablo Picasso

“Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.” ~~ Holley Gerth
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    In August we said ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.   September: Dylan Callens and October’s author will be Donna Kauffman. 
                                                                                   
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Available at: www.amazon.com

 

Interview with author, Dylan Callens

TS.  A quirky, relatively new author who takes us into a sci-fi, dystopian world, with his new book, Interpretation

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (please provide a photo/s of your shed, room, closet, barn….)
Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

DC. I have a spot in basement. There is this lumpy old couch where I need to sit. It wrecks my back but I can’t help it – the words just flow there. It’s the center of calm for me, even if there is chaos all around. I’ve used the same space for so long that I’ve ruined the cushion but I just can’t give it up.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

DC  I typically need half an hour to look at dumb things on the internet. I might play a Twitter hashtag game or stare at Goodreads for a while. It doesn’t really matter what but I have to have that time to settle into the words.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

DC. I am really good with a yo-yo. There was a time when I considered focusing on that instead of writing. I thought about entering the world of competitive yo-yoing. I know that sounds like a joke, but there is such a thing. Ultimately, I think I made the right choice to continue writing.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

DC. Most of my new ideas are generated in the morning. When I’m working on a new project, I tend to get up between 4 and 4:30 AM to write. However, I can’t edit in the morning so that usually happens either sporadically throughout the day or in the evening, after about 7:30.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

DC. When I first started writing I procrastinated a lot. When I reflect on why, I don’t think it was because I was lazy but because I was afraid that in the end, what I wrote wouldn’t be good enough. So, I put it off. When I finally finished my first project, Operation Cosmic Teapot, I discovered a few things. First, I spent about six years on a project that should have been done in less than one because I procrastinated. Second, I had a lot to learn about writing and marketing a book. Third, that despite the mistakes in the book, I’m pretty good at it. And fourth – most importantly – the only way I could have failed was not to finish it. I think that’s what important to overcome procrastination. To realize that the only way to fail on a project is to not do it. Even if the book only sells a copy of copies, you can learn from that experience and apply it to the next project.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

DC. I wish I could say that they came to me in a dream, or something profound like that, but they don’t. Sources of inspiration for characters come from all over the place. In earlier writing, I was inspired by philosophers and gods. In my new novel, Interpretation, the main character was sort of assembled together after I completed a Myers-Briggs personality test. That was a really fun exercise. I answered profile questions in a way that I wanted the character to respond to those situations. Once I understood his personality, I could understand his motivation throughout the novel. My next novel might be based on me – but that’s kind of a frightening thought.

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

DC. I’m greatly inspired by philosophy and psychology. While in university, I wrote a novel that underlined the principles of phenomenology. It was as good as it sounds. I completely trashed the manuscript. It is rotting away in a dump somewhere. (You’re welcome, humanity.)

The first novel that I completed arose from the same place, though. I was teaching Nietzsche’s madman parable in a philosophy course. That is the story where Nietzsche says, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.” In the middle of that lesson, I kind of chuckled at an idea – what if Nietzsche was God’s boss and tried to fire him? I began outlining the story from there. It was an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me.

 

Don’t miss the conclusion to this Interview. Click here
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?       June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.   September: Dylan Callens
                                                                                   
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