Previous occupations:Produce assistant then vitamin/supplement buyer in a Natural Foods Store, Frontlist bookbuyer for an independent bookstore, Event Promoter, President & Publisher of a book publishing and music label company
Favorite job:Probably when I was the lowest level second assistant (not even the number one assistant!) in the produce department of a natural foods store. All I did all day every day is clean and prep vegetables for sale. I especially remember always having my hands dunked in cold water as I cleaned dozens of lettuce heads in the sink. I was young, life was simple, and while my hands worked, in my mind, I spent hours reciting mantras and practicing mental and spiritual disciplines. It felt very pure and exhilarating.
Favorite movie:Again, I can't possibly have a single favorite anything but I can say that I saw Ikiru, Bicycle Thieves, The Rules of the Game, and Citizen Kane all within ten days of one another as a teenager. Together, they changed my understanding of film and humanity.
- Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
- A. Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie.
- Q. What is your motto or maxim?
- A. If 10,000 people have a dumb idea, it's still a dumb idea.
- Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
- A. Perfect happiness is pure, unadulterated bliss.
Bliss is an innate state of inner joy. It is constant, undisturbed by outward gain or loss. We all have the capacity for it, no matter our age, background, physical or mental disabilities, ethnicity, gender, or religion. External circumstances, whether positive or negative, happy or sad, do not affect it.
It is a state of unity, transcendence, completeness, knowingness, wholeness, and uplifted consciousness; it is a feeling of oneness and connection with all of creation.
Bliss is never boring; it feels ever new, expansive, and infinite. When bliss appears, one instantly recognizes it as the most central of all truths. Bliss is the eternal, forever unchanging reality which permeates the universe.
- Q. What’s your greatest fear?
- A. I have no great fears only small neuroses.
- Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
- A. Right here.
- Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
- A. Socrates, for his unrelenting quest for truth.
- Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
- A. Almost anything. Get me on a roll or really into something and I tend to keep repeating myself again and again until someone tells me to shut up!
- Q. What do you regret most?
- A. Wasted time.
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. Play the guitar.
- Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
- A. Impatience.
- Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
- A. My Highest Self.
- Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
- A. Paramhansa Yogananda, my spiritual teacher who died in 1952. It's not so much what I would want to say to him, I'd just want to be silently in his presence. That conveys infinitely more than words possibly can.
- Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
- A. Traffic.
- Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
- A. Pizza (hopefully they would figure out how to make it out of broccoli powder or something but still have it taste like the perfect New York slice).
- Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
- A. I don't really keep lists of "favorites." But today some of the songs I listened to and enjoyed included: Jessica by the Allman Brothers Band, Into the Dark by Ben Lee, Over the Hills and Far Away by Led Zeppelin, Keep Me in Your Heart by Warren Zevon, Brighter Than Sunshine by Aqualung, and All of My Days by Alexi Murdoch, Hey Girl by O.A.R., Feeling Good by Nina Simone, Piece of My Heart by Janis Joplin, among many others. Tomorrow it will be different.
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. I don't keep lists of favorites, let alone "of all time" but these are some books that I like:
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda
The Bhagavad Gita
A River Runs Through It by Norman MacLean
A Trip to the Stars by Nicholas Christopher
The Magus by John Fowles
The Odyssey by Homer
Nonzero by Robert Wright
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared M. Diamond
The Logic of Failure by Dietrich Dorner
The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts
The Guide of the Perplexed by Maimonides
The Transcendent Unity of Religions by Fritjof Schuon
Forgotten Truth by Huston Smith
The Cloud of Unknowing by anonymous
- Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
- A. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda
- Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
- A. It's hard for everyone to stare at a blank page but we all have to start somewhere so just get moving however you can.