Conversation With Aaron
Q: What is your inspiration for writing?
A: Life itself is my inspiration. To truly capture the highs, the lows, and all the necessary elements between. To look at something head on, and to move through the fear or the jubilation of the now, and then to later set aside yourself in the experience of remembrance. I have been blessed to have microscopic focus, as well as possess the limitless imagination of a child. There is so much joy and pain in the deep understanding of life. There is boundless Inspiration.
Earlier, I referred to the “highs, lows, and all necessary elements” of life that I like to explore in my writing. These various aspects are especially poignant in the creation of Origins, and they continue to compel me throughout the successive novels. In the beginning and long ago, when I first began to flirt with words on pieces of paper, I was struck with an ephemeral deep and abiding sorrow from the egregious state that mankind has levied upon itself in its relationship with higher powers, spouses, family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, other animals, and even earth, the one and only place in the entire universe that sustains us in a hospitable state.
Many have, and will continue to argue that through the struggle of evolution, we grew into the sublime symbiotic balance we selfishly take for granted with our planet. Others would vehemently subscribe to a divine source that moves all things, and that by that source, we were given this place in which to dwell and grow in harmony with our fellow inhabitants. In my opinion, the beginning is most important from the perspective that a great cost has been paid, either by the love and care of the divine, or by the countless unsuccessful genetic sacrifices paid to the pool of our evolution.
The examination of the now and its inexhaustible variations compelled me to scribe the tale of Origins, and the follow-on books. Most times, I rise each morning with the characters contending amongst themselves for my attention, they demand me to write of, love, peace, war, respect, fear, destruction, hatred, forgiveness, knowledge and above all understanding.
In compliance, I write until near mental, physical, and spiritual exhaustion, knowing that a full day of other work awaits. I find myself rejuvenated by the sublime release of the voices of each character or situation of the moment which held me captive during my slumber. Therefore, you will find in my anecdote, the perverted harmony of elemental extremes found in the Elder Immortals (EI), the desperation of the Intermediate Immortals (II), the fury of the Younger Immortals (YI), the manipulative nature of humanity, the sacrifice and faith of the MA kind, and the logical inevitability of the machines.
So, until the next we meet.
Q: What college did you go to?
A: I attended Kutztown University. I obtained a BS in Physics, but more importantly it was there that I began to believe that those individuals that asked me to let go and write, asked me to do so because my words needed to be written, and my thoughts decried to be heard. A gift is wasted if it is never opened.
Friends and other students. When I told stories, many would comment, “you really need to write.”
Q: Did you write while in college?
A: Yes, I did. Sadly I never kept any of my work. I began to “word weave,” that is to say, to tell stories again. And I also learned a painful lesson about structure and critics.
Yes, I did write in college, mostly informal scribblings during my free time. I did attempt to write in the formal setting of a university class. The class I selected was technical writing. My counselor thought technical writing would the best writing class selection for me, since my undergraduate focus was physics. I have to say that I didn’t do too well in the beginning, and not because of effort or desire.
We were required to look up a technical word each day in class; the professor timed us. Because of my diminished vision due to albinism, I clumsily paged through my traditional dictionary, as my classmates moved through theirs at a more rapid pace given the advantage of normal, or correctible to normal sight. One by one, and by direction of the professor, each student would vocally acknowledge when they had found the word of the day. With each successive “got it”, from each sequential student, my heart sank further into my gut, as I understood that I still had many pages left to leaf through by magnifying glass, until I would be close enough to be on the page where the word may lie.
After some time, usually arbitrary, the professor would ask one of the students that had quickly found the word to begin to read the definitions, which added to my stress, as the sound of my continued page flipping made it more difficult to hear the student that was reading the various definitions associated with the word of the day. Finally, out of a sense of shame, embarrassment, and courtesy to the reader, I would discontinue my search. Devastated, but not defeated, I would look up the word later that day and think back to the lesson, as I proudly read the definitions by myself.
I found the technical writing assignments a chore, as the professor, doggedly sought and rightfully so, to extinguish all but the necessary words from our works. This left my creative side in ire, as my colorful writing style was considered abhorrent to the direct nature of technical writing.
Finally, after weeks of never finding a word fast enough, and successive terrible grades on my writing, I finally distilled my writing down to a work that earned me a “B.” The professor with great hubris, announced to me and the class that I had finally got it. However, all I could see was a new form of ridicule, one that accompanied the bombastic announcements of the other near failing grades prior. I promptly told the professor that I was glad he was pleased, but that I had come to the conclusion that an incomplete on my report card would be better than a C or less. It was the last day I attended that class.
My informal story telling and prose, blossomed from that experience, my words like the glory of the flower, knew the hope of the sun, after the rain.
I have thought back on that experience many times, and it has filled me with many emotions, save one, regret. I am proud, that I stuck it out to earn myself a single mark of B, and I am proud, that I had enough understanding of myself that I knew when to walk away. Mostly, I am proud, that I did not let that one incomplete stop me from meeting my goal and graduating. That technical writing class gave me an appreciation of those who do it well and for a living. It also fueled my desire to get back to the type of writing and story telling that I love so much. It inculcated in me that rigid teaching, can be as destructive as teaching falsehoods.
I believe that each teacher must always see and teach from the view of diversity.
Q: What inspires you?
A: It would be easier to tell you what does not… shallowness does not.
In an earnest effort to never perpetuate in any shape, form, or fashion, even the slightest modicum of “shallowness,” in our rapport, let me expatiate.
Okay, my visceral dislike towards shallowness goes way back in my life. I can vividly remember at five years of age, speaking to my beloved grandmother, the only one of my four grandparents I had the opportunity to meet, about various happenings in my fledgling life; such as the behaviors of my siblings and, or, other children or adults I had encounters with. Those splendid conversations with my grandmother usually began with a question of great significance, such as; how are you? Or, what are you thinking about? In retrospect, the fascinating element of the initial question was that it was not posed by either of us until after we got settled on the couch. It is funny how comfortable seating and acceptable appurtenances like a cold Pepsi (my grandmother’s favorite drink), or a tasty sandwich, adds to a meaningful exchange between individuals.
Even back then, I understood that the answer to any preliminary question immediately set the tone for the entire tête-à-tête to follow. And so, early on I was given the opportunity to express my deepest opinions, beliefs, and feelings, with the matriarch of the family. More importantly, this woman to whom everyone in the family answered, weighed my feelings, opinions, and beliefs, with great seriousness. In return, it was implicitly understood that I was also expected to listen to the best of my ability to her retorts or questions. Our discussions were delightful, and without obvious boundaries. We both wanted to hear what the other had to say.
So at five, I learned three important aspects of all great conversations:
- From the onset there must be mutual respect of the art of dialog before the first word is uttered, one must decide that the other party’s words are worth your time and undivided attention.
- That listening is best done at all levels; not only are the words important, but so are those words left unsaid, and the body language of the conversational partner or partners are equally significant.
- The words you choose are very vital, as they speak to who you are, and the level of thought and consideration that you have given to ensure a respectful response to the subject matter and conversation partner(s). The gravity of any great conversation is understanding.
As an avid scholar of the art of conversation, I often find shallow discussions painful, like ill fitted shoes, however, I momentarily marvel at those that can communicate at the shallow level; and I have conceded that there is an art to superficial discussions as well; although I still refuse to participate in such. I have with age, somewhat grasped the art of a graceful “bow out” and retreat from a less than enlightening discussion.
My philosophy is; if we have decided to engage in discussion, the least we can do is to attempt to understand what each has said, and to ensure we both have something worth saying.
Q: What is your writing style.
A: LOL, I was temped to hop on the web and start to look up the main ones, But I figured I would let those who truly understand the various styles argue it out amongst themselves. I hope to hear that my style is “great.”
Narrative, narrative, narrative; did I say my writing style is narrative… Origins - Testament of the One, as with all my writings has a deep narrative style.
Origins, has a set of clear unrelenting plots, that like life, sometime line up to be additive, or subtractive, divisive, or multiplicative, and on occasion, dreadfully in a “zero-sum” scenario, regardless of the perceived situational gain or loss. Often my subplots like subbing gears; drive the large machine, of the book’s plot. The various character types; the Immortals, Humans, Machines, and MA kind, struggle amongst themselves and with each other to move forward in life from a compromise they can live with. Every action harvests a reaction, and the result is often not what was intended; sometimes it is.
The novel’s numerous settings speak to the characters nature more than their interaction at times. I’m always intrigued with novels that can paint a scene from multiple aspects, just like life, every experience holds a physical, mental, and spiritual element, and lessons that resonate far beyond our immediate personal impact.
Intense character dialogue, Origins has a huge pantheon of characters, and just as in life, some folks come and go, leaving the reader with a longing desire to want to know more about them, or wish that they had never met the individual. Others stay with us and we helplessly suffer, from their unrequited love, hatred, or indifference.
Origins has much conflict, and sometime resolution, but sometimes resolution is the beginning of a new conflict and vise versa.
And there is a timeline or sequence of events in Origins, which further build or impact conflict and resolution, and it pushes us toward a cliff; and we realize sometimes the world is flat.
Q: Do you write every day?
A: I try to, I can definitely say that I am involved with some aspect of writing every day. I do enjoy those delta’s in time when I can exclusively write from the imagination, completely untethered from structure or right and wrong.
It is certainly my pleasure to expatiate upon my short answer. Currently, I have a full time job outside of my true pleasure of writing. As you can imagine, that job consumes a majority of my time, resources, and energy. Add to the full time job, my visual disability constraint, due to my albinism, and you can imagine that by the end of the day I am pretty well spent, having dedicated collectively more than 15 hours per day in front of a computer during each weekday. Not to worry though, I try to spend some time during the weekend engaged in activities independent of the world of computers. I guess my visceral weekend comportment harkens back to my childhood, when computers were but a scientific notion, and imagination was king, for both children and adults alike.
So, the way that I ensure I get in my writing is for me to start at it very early in the morning, usually around 0400 hrs. I am an early bird anyway, so I get a chance to get down my thoughts before I begin my day, and through my early morning yawns, I allow my imaginations to run, untethered by the world. The toughest thing for me to do sometimes is to stop writing, as it is truly cathartic for me.
Recently, I’ve come up with a plan to cover all of the categories of writing (website correspondence, tweets, etc.) that is required to satisfy not only my desire the continue my work on the Origins Saga (working on book two); but also to take time to spend with you through this much desired correspondence. I have already put my new plan and efforts into motion, with the hope that it will yield me my desired result of having fun in all aspects of writing in today’s busy world. Wish me luck, and talk to you soon.
Q: Do you have writers block?
A: I wouldn’t call it writers block, there are times when I just need to be outside of writing. I need to put it down for a while, and that what I do. I then do something different; whether it is just walking outside, and letting my senses run wild, or participate in a nonjudgmental heated discussion with someone over something we are both passionate about, or just listen to others and not adding my opinion at all.
This is all about balance for me, and not from the perspective of a static equilibrium, but rather from one that resembles a teeter-totter between writing, and everything else. Up and down, both sides go, with me gently pushing one or the other side up to maintain balance. It is a never-ending effort on my part. My secret is to try to keep the weight of responsibility on both sides as equal as I can, as well as equal distant from the center point, that way a gentle push on either side is enough to keep somewhat of an overall balance to my very busy world.
There are times when through my own fault, I place too much weight on one side or the other, or I move one side or the other too close or too far to or from the center, and that is when things can truly get tricky.
So, as long as the weight of everything else balances that of writing, and I keep both at a compatible distance from the center of importance, I have been lucky enough to avoid writers block, knock on wood. I must say that it isn’t easy, but it is worth it.
Imagination fueled by my deep opinions on various topics, is also a very important aspect of avoiding running out of things to write. I’ll speak more about this in the next question.
Q: How do you cure writers block if you have it?
A: I have never encountered writers block, I do this by never letting my stores of imagination get to a critical supply, and I accomplish that by always having an open heart.
Beneath the syntax and semantics of that which is written, imagination and to be unprejudiced, are the two most important ingredient’s a writer must possess. Conversely, authors should avoid pusillanimity and narrowmindedness in the creation of their works, at all cost.
Q: I noticed your manuscript has Science Fiction leanings, have you always been into Science Fiction?
A: Yes, I have always loved Sci Fi, but you’ll also find healthy helpings of Fantasy, Horror, and Romance as well in Origins; as I mentioned earlier, it is the critical buttressing elements that makes the book so compelling.
I like to think of my writing as a sumptuous dish, composed of many types of elements, the main ingredients are reliant upon those that provide flavor, texture, aroma, temperature, and display, culminating of course into the perfect culinary experience. So, I would say that my writing, depending on where you are in the story, has equally important spices such as horror, romance, fantasy, and spirituality. Each enhancing the main ingredients of love, hatred, lust, ignorance, sacrifice, avarice, sloth, want, etc.
Q: Was there a particular event or events in your life that gave birth to this novel?
A: There have been many events in my life that have contributed to the birth and writing of this novel, and many and more will lend their unsilenced voices to the follow-on series of books. To date, my life’s events can be summarily described as the trial of well placed faith. I have found that faith placed in the wrong cause or person is worse than that of no faith at all. And like life, my characters struggle to grow in the divine balance; some are broken, and others are not. We are the product of ourselves.
Life is the event that creates my books. Vivid depictions of individuals that are at the beginning, in the middle somewhere, or near the end. As well as entities that know no beginning and have no end.
Yet all of them, with their unique differences, like us have a common thread that cannot be broken, that thin tether called evolution. Add to that the sobering remittance of “the sins of our fathers and mothers visited upon us.”
Observe if you will, our struggle to evolve through COVID 19. I find it fascinating that humanity is struggling to evolve past this pandemic. Our desire to socialize in an unsafe manner continues to cost thousands of lives. Origins speaks to this.
Q: We all have people in our lives that give us inspiration. Who or whom gave you inspiration to tell this story?
A: True, there have been those that have provided buttressed inspiration. All those that have sought to heal rather than to hurt, to create rather than destroy. I have also been intrigued by those that would seek evil over good, misery over happiness, fear over joy. For those people that continuously demonstrate the latter examples I hold very little equanimity.
Q: Journaling has been part of my life through the years. Do you regularly journal? Or have you journaled earlier in your life?
A: There was a limited time in my life when I did journal. Regretfully, I did not continue the cathartic habit. I do admire those that do.
Q: When did you know you could write? Did your teachers/professors notice your special writing abilities?
A: Great writing always came to me when I was at peace, which meant in my early life that was seldom. Many teachers told me I had a gift of writing, and that I should hearken to, tend, and allow it to grow; but I was too busy contending with the challenges of my life with albinism. I did carry their words in my heart. It was through my verbal storytelling, or word weaving that I began to find joy. Later I found enough peace to allow the fragile gift of writing to grow. Now, I find that word weaving sustains me.
Q: After reading about the character Ai Kahn, I felt a lot of evil surrounding her; does this character ever in later chapters show some redeeming qualities.
A: Maybe, maybe not, this gift of life offers to us all an opportunity of free will. Ai’s joy and gift, is the deliverance of death. Is there something or someone worth laying it down for? Is there a greater love for her? You’ll have to see.
Q: I love history; knowing that we must understand our past to truly be ready for our future, what points in your family’s history stand out to you? Did this prompt you to write?
A: I am an avid student of history as well. The points in my family history that stand out to me are the years of slavery we endured. It is however the “present” that firmly holds my attention, and the future my greatest hope. Every African American has earned the right to freedom. But I wonder if we as a people understand what freedom is and what is necessary to keep it. Yes, freedom can, and has been lost to many of us today in various forms, from incarceration to housing zones created to segregate. To me freedom is the relentless pursuit of betterment. It is the unmitigated obligation to render to life positive growth in all things your hand is involved in. Freedom also means that we must at no time tolerate those words or actions that speak to aspersion or less than. Origins speaks to this concept on so many levels.
Q: Were or are you a comic book reader? And if so, what were some of your favorites?
A: Yes, I am. Some of my favorites are Superman, Thor, Black Panther, Captain America, Vision. I also carry admiration for complex villains such as Thanos, Darkside, Brainiac, Dr. Doom, Joker, Nefaria Supreme. I also am a very big fan of Elric of Melnibone
Q: How did your analytical scientific brain help you in your novel? Was it difficult to write a readable novel for the masses?
A: My scientific experience allowed me to comfortably reach beyond the limits of pragmatism. It isn't difficult for me to imagine many things. It was somewhat a challenge to find the words to explain those things imagined.
Q: What is the main theme of your book?
A: The arc of Origins is the earth itself, and the individual care that we owe to the only home we have. A parallel arc is the choices we make and the consequences of those choices, not only to ourselves but to everyone we interface with.
Q: As a millennial coming from "the land of milk and honey", I try very hard to preserve our planet; does your novel give us practical things we can do for our world to help?
A: I would like to think that the most practical subject matter Origins provides to its readers on the subject of earth’s conservation, is the sober acknowledgement that Earth is a living thing and that we are the chief caretakers of it, and all those things contained therein.