Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a writer, photographer, and psychotherapist living North of Boston. I’ve been taking photographs since I was six and writing since about that time (though not professionally until I was in my early 20s). I came to psychotherapy after a transformative near-death experience shifted me toward art and healing. In addition to ‘Paths to Wholeness,’ the book I am promoting here, I am the author of two coloring books for adults that are based on a series of images I call Flower Mandalas, as well as a book about American folk music and three books about computer software.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is ‘Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas.’ In it, I distilled the best of what I’ve learned on the two-decade quest since then, from my career as a psychotherapist, and in the many years I have been on the planet.
As a therapist, I accompany my clients on the sometimes smooth, sometimes rocky journeys of their own paths to wholeness. We form a bond, and I serve as both companion and guide. They trust me because they know, as the late Leonard Cohen put it, “I’ve been where you’re hanging, I think I can see where you’re pinned.” In this book, I hope to engender a similar sense of accompaniment. Many of the people who have most influenced me I encountered in the pages of their books or in exhibitions of their work, but as I took in their thoughts, ideas, experiences, and imaginings, my interactions with them felt like a personal relationship. Here you will find the outline of my own path to wholeness, the teachings that have guided me, and insights I’ve gained along the way. I offer them to you in the same spirit that authors and artists from the past have shared their teachings and experiences with me.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Nothing unusual that I know of, no.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I’ve been influenced by many, many people, but some that come immediately to mind are William Blake (‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’), James Agee and Walker Evans (‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’), Joseph Conrad (everything), Georgia O’Keeffe (‘One Hundred Flowers’), Harold Feinstein (‘One Hundred Flowers’), and Thich Nhat Hanh (‘Being Peace’), Peter Elbow (‘Freewriting’).
What are you working on now?
Learning how to be a self-publisher! And developing a community for whom I will create my next book, which may be about aging.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m experimenting with Amazon Marketing Services ads and am partial to the methods Tim Grahl developed and recommended.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Just the obvious: Keep going, follow your instincts, and pay attention to advice that feels right and file the rest for later consideration.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
If you don’t blow your own horn, nobody else will.
If you don’t ask, (she) (he) (they) can’t say yes.
If something’s working, do more of it. If it’s not, do something else.
What are you reading now?
‘Stories of Your Live and Others’ by Ted Chiang (retitled ‘Arrival’ after the movie came out) and ‘The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching’ by Thich Nhat Hanh.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m planning to reduce my therapy practice soon and start one new project (probably an image/essay book on aging) and combine two books I started but never completed into one.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
My Kindle! Okay, that’s cheating. I suppose one of them really would be the complete works of Shakespeare. Another would be the best survival book I could find. A compilation of the Buddha’s teachings would be in the mix, and so would the most complete encyclopedia of medical issues and how to treat them available at the time.