Why did you say you wanted a house that faces East when you love sunsets more than the sunrise?
Well, if the entire back is glass, and the front faces east, I figure that the whole back of the house, facing west, would be bathed in sunset rays, and even if it were cold, I could watch the sunset from the sofa. See?
What was the most profound epiphany in your life and has it affected you since?
I would say there were two, and both affect me daily.
The first was coming to terms with depression as a medical issue rather than a character defect. I remember sitting there one day, and realizing that if it were a character defect, I'd had more than 20 years to correct it; and I had the willpower to change it, but it never changed...but as it's a medical issue, I would need to take medication for the rest of my life. That realization opened my eyes to the need to educate people about depression, because so many people believe it's a pattern of behavior which can be changed with therapy and behavior modification. But it's not - it's a chemical imbalance...and that doesn't get better by talk therapy, no more than a diabetic gets better by talk therapy.
The second one was the jump after my parachute malfunctioned. That was the hardest thing I had ever done - not physically; after all, it's not hard to fall out an open door of an airplane; but mentally and emotionally. The determination, the commitment to myself, and the overcoming the abject terror of getting out into the sky again taught me more about myself in that 4 hours than I'd ever learned...and a whole lot about what's real and what's made up. Fear doesn't have a place in my world any longer, unless there is something to be fearful of. My life has opened up immensely since that jump, because I learned that it doesn't really matter unless it's life or death, and what we commonly think/fear is really not about life or death, but about approval and acceptance.
For example, the files not being completed on time? Meh, so they'll be there tomorrow. No one will die if they don't get done today. Speaking in front of 1500 people? Meh, the worst that will happen is someone gets bored. So he gets a nap. That's not so bad...he's not going to die, and nor am I, should he fall asleep. If they never ask me back, I will not die...I'll just learn and move on. Stuff like that has become very clear for me, and because of that, I think that's lifechanging epiphany.
Tell me a little bit about your talent. When did you first know you were a good writer? and what is the process like for you-- do you rough draft by hand or keyboard? Do you make mind maps or use any mental tools to help you achieve organization in material?
Wow. Um, let me see.
I didn't realize (and still don't always trust) that I was a good writer until about 3 years ago, when I was published on my first submission. Few edits were made, and I was completely shocked when the publisher asked me for additional submissions. The next moment I realized it was when a production company called and asked me if I would be willing to be interviewed about an article I wrote; I didn't believe them until the crew showed up, and the lights went on. LOL! And then more recently, when people read my stuff and write me and let me know I've touched them somehow.
I suppose the real test of my writing will be when I submit "Sucking Mud" somewhere...that will be an interesting time in my head. LOLOL!
The process for me is odd. It's not like I've heard other people write. For me, I either get a title in my head, or a thought with a theme. Sometimes I *must* write it right then, but mostly, I jot the title/thought down, and leave it for "later." I never know when later comes, either.
I'll sit down at the keyboard, turn on some music, and let loose. It's like my brain turns off and the hands connect to a far deeper place, and out comes the piece. Often the essay is complete when my hands leave the keyboard, with slight/minor modifications...a word change here or there, a grammar correction. Rarely will the piece need massive editing. And I can't claim that for me at all...it's just the way it happens. It's really an "outre" thing.
If I am writing an article, I've usually researched the background a bit, and then I go interview. I organize slightly, but mostly, again, it's an intuitive writing from notes or recorded conversations. This person should be here...(write it out) and then this thing needs to go here (write it out) and then this part should be introduced...that kind of thing. It's scary and weird, but also very fun.
Do you prefer to write poetry or prose?
Prose. Although when I was younger, I wrote lots of poetry. Now, however, it's more prose and essay/slice of life stuff.
Have you ever experienced writer's block?
I guess so. I don't write unless something is coming out, like I described above. Sometimes there will be long stretches between titles/themes, so I suppose that's writer's block, the Michele version. However, again, I don't really write fictional stories, but rather memories, thoughts, experiences, and so forth, so those are far easier to access than the imaginative aspect of writing. That's not to say I haven't written stories; I have...but they usually aren't my favorite thing, or perhaps I should say they usually aren't the ones falling out of my head.
....and when did you realize that you could never be a superficial person?
I haven't realized that yet! LOLOL!!! Superficiality grabs me and runs my life sometimes, and holds on really, really tight once it gets it's grip. I am materialistic, selfish and vain betimes...but I also try to live from a position of abundance and love, rather than lack and fear. When I am successful at that, I am not often superficial...but I am not always successful. LOL!
Great questions, Elizabeth!