Thursday, September 24, 2020

From the diary of a nobody: A compilation of a personal journey to find where your own true freedom comes from, and what is it to be truly free

 


Today's author interview comes from across the pond. Sanjeev Kumar's "From the diary of a Nobody" is one of a kind as it combines essays, commentary, poetry, etc. Take a look at the book and then meet the author. Enjoy!

From the diary of a nobody: A compilation of a personal journey to find where your own true freedom comes from, and what is it to be truly free Paperback

by Mr sanjeev kumar (Author)



A compilation of a personal journey to find where your own true freedom comes from and what it is to be truly free. In my own journey to becoming somebody, I found that being a nobody is truly more liberating. Hence the book- “ from The diary of a Nobody “. Conceived as a compilation of poems, essays, monologues, thoughts, and everything else that might go into someone’s diary.






 

Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

Based in London, United Kingdom. Sanjeev Kumar is a serial entrepreneur. He is currently Director & CEO at D+O group.world (D&O), and is also the founder of DTM Global Holdings- a tech & media holding company. Other initiatives founded by Sanjeev includes of Imagination@WORK and 9Visions.

He is a market-seasoned professional and the recipient of “South East Asia Young Achiever’s Award” He holds a dual masters degree in Finance and Commerce and also has an MBA. As the CEO of the group, he oversees the business activities of the group in many different countries for 20+ years now.

And he would describe himself as a human mind on a journey powered by curiosity—a permanent student of the university of life. And as an author, he is a regular contributor on platforms that are helping shape the future of the financial markets and the global business. Sanjeev is also a prolific blogger. As an author Sanjeev is also a member of the Authors Guild of New York, the Society of Authors- UK as well as the National Space Society.




What inspired you to author this book?

The pursuit of being someone or something can become quite taxing, and somehow by going through the process of living, we do end up becoming prisoners of our own minds. Be it, the idea of who we are or what we want to be. And a large part of who we think we are, along with the overall identity, all comes from external sources, in other words, inherited. The process of knowing who we truly are requires us to be willing to unlearn what we may hold dear. Finding our true freedom and happiness is really an inside job. And I realized that it is being learned to be a nobody that I can learn to be truly free. So I decided to compile my personal journey as thoughts, poetry, essays, and conversations that I have had with people in a book titled from the diary of a nobody. I hope others can relate to it. And since we don’t have a manual for how best to live a human life, we can only try to be a reference for each other. I sincerely hope this book will serve as some sort of reference for others.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

 

It is during lockdown that I saw a large number of people reading books in the park, and most of them would be sleeping on the grass while holding a book up in their hands. For me personally, it was happy sight, so that’s where I got the idea for the book cover.




Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

I would say, life and the process of living have always been the biggest influence, and I love learning from nature. Nature has been my best teacher, and it still is. Living isn’t easy. We all find ourselves existing, and none of us had any say in our own creation. Neither nature nor our parents asked us for our permission before creating us. So we are a product of external influence. I have learned from experiencing my own living. And I have realized, it is the people who make everything relevant, and the world is only special because we are all a part of it. The entire process of trial & error and carrying on regardless is what makes life and living quite interesting.

 

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

I believe if you want to do something, then, you do find time for it. But yes, writing a book can be quite a challenge, especially if you are running a busy business. Selecting a good cover that my mind could agree to did take a bit of time especially because most people didn’t like the cover design initially. I was also not sure if combining poems with essays and musings etc. will appeal to people, but I decided to take the risk. And the initial response has been quite good so far.




 Tell your readers about your book.

 

The book is a compilation of a personal journey to find where your own true freedom comes from and also what it is to be truly free—narrated as poems, essays, musings, and conversations, etc. It allows a reader to get inside the mind of a human being and share that journey. The book is written in a conversational style. And hopefully, some people will be able to relate to that journey expressed through poems, essays, and short stories. We can’t outsource our living, and it only by experiencing our own living that we truly understand the intricacies of human life. Hopefully, the book will serve as a reference for others. I am told no one has tried this before, but I decided to take that risks, and so far, the response has been very good.

 

Who is your target audience, and why?

 

I believe human beings are social animals, and we learn from each other. As a collective, we are quite a potent force of nature. None of us have answers to all the questions; we learn from trial & error. The book is a bold attempt designed to ask interestingly probing questions. I hope people can relate to the journey and the larger experience. At times, we can become our own worst enemy. If we don’t allow our ego, bias, or prejudice and the sense of being someone or something to get in the way, then we realize that being a nobody is truly liberating, and it helps us discover who we truly are or could be. So hopefully, this book will appeal to that audience. A publicist told me that in his view, women between 30 - 60 years old are probably going to be the biggest audience, but we shall see. I hope it reaches out to as many people as possible, and I would love hear their thoughts.




 

What do you consider your greatest success in life?


I would say my biggest achievements in life have been people; we can’t really succeed on our own. Also, without people, there will be no society, economy, or Gods, for that matter. I always encourage people to invest wisely in the right people, because you will always be your biggest investment.

 

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

I am not sure if I am unique in any way, but yes, I have been told by various publishers that no one has tried to write a book with poetry, essay, musings, conversation, etc. all compiled in a diary format. The idea is to share my journey with others, but it’s not a biography. It is an attempt to share my thought process with others very openly through poetry, essays, short stories, and musings, etc. discussing not just a human living but also the economy, science, and future.

 



America’s Jack The Ripper: The Definitive Account of the Zodiac Killer

 


Wow! This next author I am interviewing has to be one of the most fascinating that I have come across. In fact, intriguing. When I was young, I remember all of the stories about the Zodiac Killer and frankly, it scared me to death. Today's author interview with Søren Roest Korsgaard is captivating; and that is just the interview. Wait until you read his book, "America's Jack The Ripper: The Definitive Account of the Zodiac Killer. Take a look.




America’s Jack The Ripper: The Definitive Account of the Zodiac Killer 2nd ed. Edition

by Søren Roest Korsgaard  (Author)

www.crimeandpower.com 

www.korsgaardpublishing.com  

With nearly 700 references and over 200 pictures, Søren Roest Korsgaard has produced the first authoritative book on the Zodiac, a still unidentified serial killer who terrorized California in the 1960s and proudly commemorated his murderous accomplishments in letters to news media. Søren documents the case with scholarly objectivity, and he dismantles the Zodiac’s psyche and answers major questions by means of statement analysis, linguistics, handwriting analysis, and the established principles of psychology and criminology. Among others, he presents compelling arguments and evidence that Zodiac likely started his reign of terror as far back as 1962, and that he might have been a Canadian.



Reviews

“This is a must-read for all dedicated students of the case; no Zodiac library is complete without this brilliant work.” Dr. Mark Hewitt

I have read multiple books on this topic, and it is by far the best. I found it full of details of the case that I was unaware of and void of baseless theories. Many of the Zodiac books out there are nothing more than theories in which an author attempts to fit the evidence to their particular suspect, as opposed to the suspect fitting the evidence at hand. Great book and well written. The author is a good writer, and it flows well from beginning to end.” - Chris D. Gilleland

America's Jack The Ripper presents only the facts of the case and leaves all of the bias towards suspects out. ... [It is] the best, most thorough Zodiac book I have read. If you are interested in Zodiac, this is the book to read."






Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I am originally from a very small city located in the cold, snowy, and mostly rainy Denmark. A few years ago, I packed my bags and moved to a populated city in Germany where murder and violent crime rates are much higher, which is “fortunate” for a true crime author and researcher like me. I am a very busy person, and when I am not writing and editing books and articles about true crime, social issues, “consensus reality,” and a host of other subjects, I publish books through my publishing company. I frequently travel to various destinations in Africa as the ambassador of a humanitarian organization.

What inspired you to author this book?     

For as long as I can remember, I have had an interest in the darkest corners of humanity. To better understand the etiology of violence, I have corresponded with numerous inmates, several serial killers included, studied forensic psychology, and – perhaps controversially – studied “legalized serial killers,” and, thus, examined the differences and similarities between killers acting without legal sanction and those who have legal authority to kill. So I have had an interest in serial killers for a long time, and ten years ago, there were zero objective and factually accurate books about the Zodiac case, the most fascinating crime case since Jack the Ripper in 1888. The Zodiac is a still unidentified serial killer who menaced California with a campaign of murder, extortion, and terrorism. He sent about 20 letters and postcards to newspapers in which he described his bloody crimes, taunted the police, made numerous threats, and bragged that he was too clever to ever be caught. When I began my research, almost all of the books were about some “suspect” alleged to be the Zodiac killer. This inspired me to begin researching, such as contracting former witnesses and investigators, and eventually that became a book. The title of my book is, “America’s Jack The Ripper: The Definitive Account of the Zodiac Killer.” 




Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

I didn’t have a definitive plan when I designed the cover. I let my intuition guide me. While writing the book, I hired a company to create a “realistic rendering” of a composite drawing that was originally made of the Zodiac killer. The company frequently worked with law enforcement to create age-progressed pictures of missing victims. The original drawing of the Zodiac was made back in 1969 following the murder of a taxi driver in San Francisco. I forwarded the original drawing to the company. They worked on it for some time, and I was very happy with the result. The drawing served as the basis for the book cover.



Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

That I don’t have an answer to, but throughout my career, I have been influenced by the teachings of success coach Brian Tracy and by the intellectual elegance and integrity of my friend, John Remington Graham, a retired defense attorney, and public prosecutor.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

I had too many to mention, but one of them was dyslexia, although it is obviously a condition that affects me mildly. The interesting thing is that the Zodiac killer, who sent numerous letters to newspapers more than 40 years ago, made countless misspellings and other grammatical errors in his communiqués. In my book, there is a detailed linguistic analysis focusing on whether or not he might have been dyslexic or simply deliberately worsened his language.  

Tell your readers about your book.

My book is about the Zodiac, a serial killer who terrorized California in the 1960s and proudly commemorated his murderous accomplishments in letters and phone calls. He also sent codes or ciphers to newspapers. Only one of the ciphers was ever solved. He claimed that one of them contained his name. Interestingly, the Zodiac left behind a catalog of evidence, both advertently and inadvertently, for example, handwritten letters, witnesses, fingerprints, palm prints, DNA, and ballistics, but he has never been caught or identified, and there are no viable suspects. The Zodiac is still out there, either dead or alive.



In the book, I not only document the case details, but I also analyze the Zodiac’s psyche and personality from a variety of perspectives, including statement analysis, linguistics, handwriting analysis, and the established principles of psychology and criminology. My book is very detailed and has almost 700 references and over 200 pictures. It is based on more than 2500 pages of police reports, FBI files, autopsy reports, and interviews I conducted, and so forth. 

Although the Zodiac can be conclusively tied to five murders starting in 1968, I reveal in the book, via linguistic as well as criminological analyses, that the Zodiac with near certainty also shot and killed Ray Davis in 1962 in Oceanside. Davis’ killer, like the Zodiac, taunted the police in phone calls before and after the murder. The Zodiac was able to hide his identity, but he was unable to hide his psychological fingerprint and linguistic idiosyncrasies. I also document other murders he may have committed in 1963, 1964, and 1966. We know with absolute certainty that he killed five people between December 1968 and October 1969.  


In the book, I also reveal a new hypothesis that the Zodiac might have been a Canadian. A meticulous analysis of his language reveals unique linguistic characteristics associated with Canada, including linguistic devices. Furthermore, his choice of words, spelling, and phrases show a blend between American and British English, which is associated with Canada. Canadian speakers can usually not be distinguished from American ones. Those who spoke with the Zodiac couldn’t detect an accent.

What is statement analysis?

Statement analysis is a linguistic technique to detect deception and extract veiled information. The foundation of statement analysis is the concept that people mean exactly what they say or write. A statement analyst will scrutinize, deconstruct, and examine sentences word by word according to each respective definition, as well as pay heed to omissions and grammar, among other objective aspects. A statement reflects the subject’s beliefs and view of reality. In one of the last chapters, I use statement analysis to cast light on some grey and dark areas in the case. For example, the Zodiac claimed in a letter that two police officers stopped and talked to him a few minutes after a murder in October 1969. Some people believe him; others don’t. Statement analysis clearly indicates that the Zodiac told the truth. One of the two officers, Donald Fouke, later denied it by stating that they only drove by him. However, a careful analysis of his denials shows that he was being deceptive. The other officer, Eric Zelms, died in the line of duty not long after the incident with the Zodiac.



Wasn’t there a movie about the case some years back?

Yes. David Fincher directed a movie about the case, which, unfortunately, was based on two poorly researched books by Robert Graysmith. His books are mostly fiction. Graysmith thought he had identified the Zodiac killer, but his suspect was later cleared by DNA, handwriting, fingerprints, and other evidence. Unfortunately, the movie gives a false impression that the case has been solved, which is not true. There’s absolutely no evidence that the Zodiac has been identified. Numerous authors have claimed to have solved the case, but not a single speck of credible evidence has been presented implicating any of the accused. Since it is obviously inconceivable that all of the accusers can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong.



Who is your target audience, and why?

Given the contents of my book, it appeals to all true crime readers, mystery lovers, those who are interested in criminal psychology and serial killers, and it is relevant to those who are criminal profiling aficionados. This is not a sensationalized book about alleged “suspects.” This is an objective, detailed, and analytical book, which is informative while being entertaining.

Is the Zodiac Killer still alive?

The last confirmed letter from the Zodiac arrived at the San Francisco Chronicle in 1974, but he most likely also sent a postcard to that newspaper in 1990, and since then, we have not heard from him. So to answer your question, maybe yes, maybe no, maybe rain, maybe snow. 

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

I am not biased.

Will we ever be able to catch or identify him?

Probably not. Like Jack the Ripper, I believe that the Zodiac case will always be shrouded in mysteries. While my book addresses many questions related to the case, there are several remaining mysteries, in particular the Z408, which is a lengthy cipher that he mailed to the Chronicle in November 1969. It remains unsolved despite numbers attempts by supercomputers and other experts to solve it.     




 

THE FARM: ON PRACTICAL WISDOM (JACK SLACK SHOEBOX DIALOGUE BOOK 4

 


Your in for a real treat with today's author, George Benda, who wrote "THE FARM: ON PRACTICAL WISDOM (JACK SLACK SHOEBOX DIALOGUE BOOK 4." Take a look.




The Farm: On Practical Wisdom (Jack Slack Shoebox Dialogue Book 4) Kindle Edition

by George Benda  (Author) 

 

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The Farm, set in the second global energy crisis, juxtaposes Jack’s high-flying energy career with his pursuit of an idyllic life with his new bride, Anna.  Russian spies, US counterterrorism teams, moles, and turncoats put Jack and everyone he knows at risk in an international game of deception and assassination. Together with Jack’s old philosophical friend, Ben, and Ben’s wife, Rebecca, Jack and Anna explore a path to practical wisdom in the nuclear age. Jack and Ben, learning from their jobs and marriages, distill out from the noise and tumult seven essential criteria in achieving happiness and a good life, the measure of practical wisdom in all ages and cultures.

 


George Benda  (Author) 

Where are you from? 

I was born and raised in the Chicago area.  For those who like historical trivia, Richard J. Daley, the future “boss” mayor of Chicago, was County Clerk and signed my birth certificate.  I was destined to write about him, I guess.  He’s an important character in my first book, The City.  I live in Hawaii now.  On Molokai, the friendly isle.  I think of it as the musical isle, which suits me fine.  It’s been a long and winding road, but this feels like home.

Tell us your latest news?

The number one bit of news is the full release of The Farm: On Practical Wisdom.  It’s getting five-star reviews, so I’m excited about that.

The other latest bit of news is that I’ve recently reconnected with one of the folks who provided the basis of a character in The River, my second Jack Slack book.  He’s a biologist working on wetland preservation and restoration.  He’s incorporating The River into his syllabus!

Looking forward, I’m also excited to be moving my next book, Dialogues of the Loon: On Love, on to the copyediting process. I am targeting April 2021 for that launch.  I don’t know, should I try to have it out on Valentine’s Day?


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When and why did you begin writing?  When did you first consider yourself a writer?

The current series of philosophical dialogues started in graduate school in 1977.  From then on, I always thought of myself as a writer.  In fact, when my wife and I decided to learn sign language (ASL), I chose a “g” formed and moved as a pen – G-the-writer.  As I approached retirement, I found my voice – I often joke that I had a dream in which Plato and Elmore Leonard walked into a bar and the Jack Slack Dialogues were born.  My first book in the series, The City, which had gone through four or five complete, and I mean complete, rewrites from the time I started writing it in 1977, finally went to print in 2016.

What inspired you to write The Farm: On Practical Wisdom?

The Jack Slack Shoebox Dialogues was conceived as a series of philosophical explorations similar to the series written by Plato, and on the topics typical of classical philosophers from then on.  Practical wisdom is a core topic of most major philosophers.  The farm seemed the logical place to center that topic, a classical setting, if you will.  The juxtaposition of the idyllic life of the farm with truly modern topics – spies, terrorism, an energy crisis, a failed presidency – gave me the path I needed to explore modern complexities of practical wisdom in all manner of modern daily life.


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Do you have a specific writing style?

Imagine I was sitting in a bar, and Plato, one of my favorite philosophers, and Elmore Leonard, one of my favorite novelists, came in arguing about their respective styles.  I walked out with a style for the modern philosophical dialogue.  My style is driven by my goal of rebuilding the role of dialogue in human life to improve our relationship with the natural world.  The fictional aspects aim at building general reader interest and carrying a meaningful and relevant storyline.  The philosophical aspects appear as conversation among a well-educated group in the style of a French salon.  The real philosophical dialogue occurs in the interplay of the fictional elements with the philosophical arguments.

How did you come up with the title?

The Farm: On Practical Wisdom is the fourth book in the Jack Slack Shoebox Dialogues, so it fits in the story arc of Jack’s life.  Here, Jack is trying to move away from his urban roots to try country life, life on a small organic truck farm.  His wife Anna experienced farm life every summer growing up, visiting her grandmother’s place not far from the Springfield location of the farm Jack and Anna buy in this story.  That’s not an accident.  In this case there’s a second story line running parallel to Jack’s personal life that plays into the title.  Another important character in the series, Evie, goes for training on “the farm” – the CIA training facility in the hills of Virginia.  It’s a stark contrast and an important conceptual play for the overall dialectic of the book.


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Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, there are messages layered into the book.  I’m excited to say that in several reviews, readers have picked up on more than one of them.  First and foremost, take away the message of the seven aphorisms of practical wisdom in Chapter Nine: Reflection (page 277) –

Practical wisdom is, above all else, the ability to see the consequences of decisions and actions into the future, and to make those decisions and take actions to achieve a just world: help your friends and harm no one.

The book tries to show that this is a real challenge and none of the terms should be taken simply at face value.  Most important, be a friend of the earth – always help that friend.  I’ll leave it to each reader to find the message that is most important to them.

How much of the book is realistic?

The Farm is based on facts of the time period – 1977-1980.  Most of the politicians, at least the major ones, are real.  That said, their characterizations are fiction.  While sweeping events, like the opening assassination of Shariati, the revolution in Iran, the SALT II talks, are all real, details, such as the movements of the spies and the counterterrorism teams are completely fabricated.


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Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

All of my books are rooted in the life I have lived.  It is my mechanism for verisimilitude.  I support my memories with research when facts are involved.  One important example is the role of the briefings and book on brittle power by Avery and Hunter Lovins.  When I ran the Energy Bond Fund program and later as the director of energy programs for the State of Illinois, their lessons were never far from my mind.  My wife, Pat, and I lived on the old Nelson farm, exactly as described.  She makes the best wild grape jelly in the world, too.

What books have most influenced your life most?

I’ve read widely my whole life.  Philosophy has always been a primary source of inspiration for me, Plato and Aristotle, Lucretius (meaning Epicurus, too), Bhagavad Gita, more recently Einstein and a host of other physicists, then the excellent collections on chaos theory and fractals, and Stephen Hawking – though that is more for his bravery, since mostly I argue alternate perspectives on his theories.  Lately, I’ve been enjoying The Socrates Express by Eric Wiener.  It is a clever mix of autobiography, travel log, and philosophical adventure that accomplishes the same thing I’m shooting for – getting you, the reader to think and talk about ideas.


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What are your current projects?

I’m just wrapping up the fifth book in the series – it’s out for copyedit – called Dialogues of the Loon: On Love.  I’m thinking it might make it out for Valentines Day, though it was originally planned for an April 2021 release.  I’m a little less than a third the way through drafting the sixth book, The Wedding: On Practical Reason.  I’m excited about that book for two reasons.  First, it is written from the point of view of Anna, Jack’s wife, rather than Jack, though Jack remains the narrator – if you’re a writer you will want to see the gymnastics on that one.  Second, it address what I believe will be the critical question of the 21st Century that only a few people are thinking about yet: how do you embed practical wisdom in an artificial intelligence.  I’m hoping that will be out for the fall of 2021.  Additionally, I’m working on a series of short stories that I hope become the pilots for my next adventure: Kailana’s World.  This series presents a utopian future at the end of the Century – there is a trial balloon story as part of Dialogues of the Loon, so you can see it next spring.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

I’ll give a shout out to ScreenCraft.org.  It may seem strange to some, but I’ve found more receptivity and friendlier faces in the screenwriting community than in the literary community.  I guess it makes sense – my books fit more in a cinematic novel model than most other forms.  Also, through ScreenCraft, I found the Jacob Krueger Studio, through which I found my actual mentor, Christian Lybrook.  Who knows where it all leads, but I enjoy these folks.

Do you see writing as a career?

Writing has always been my passion, and the books that are coming out now have been in the making since my late teen years – is that a career?   In the meantime, I’ve had two other careers – about ten years in government service and more than thirty years in the private sector.  All of that work has been hands-on effort to reduce the human environmental footprint and improve climate sustainability.  The really good news is that those two careers gave me an enormous basis of plot and character material from which to develop my books.  Now, in my sixties, yes, writing is absolutely my career.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I try not to look back too much, especially to make changes in what I’ve written.  Mostly I look back to make sure that there is a series continuity.  I’m hopeful that one day time and money will coincide, and I’ll be able to take the ten books of the completed Jack Slack Shoebox Dialogues and work with a great editor to smooth and streamline them into a beautifully crafted set – both in writing and in print publication.  I’d like to gift some leatherbound, acid-free paper sets to libraries in key locations and institutions – Library of Congress, University of Chicago, Rockford University, Elmhurst College, Archives of the State of Illinois, Hawaii State Library and its Molokai branch, Kankakee Public Library.  All of that, just in case my utopian vision turns instead to a dystopian, anti-intellectual replay of the Dark Ages.


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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

One of the most profound philosophers of the 20th Century, Martin Heidegger, wrote a book called The End of Philosophy.  I was a student in a class taught by Heidegger’s friend, Paul Ricoeur, on the day of Heidegger’s death.  I love the search for wisdom – not just thinking, as Heidegger concluded it would become – and from that day forward, dedicated myself to rekindling the love of wisdom through a series of philosophical dialogues.  And voila, nearly fifty years later, here we are with the fourth of ten planned dialogues out as The Farm: On Practical Wisdom.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I love to write and enjoy almost every minute of it.  I don’t even mind rewriting if it needs to be.  On the other hand, I tire rapidly of editing and proofing.  I hire it out.  I engage friends.  But at some level, the author must endure the tedious process of making sure that what is going to the printer is what was intended.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Travel seems to be something that is mostly in my past now.  The combination of aging and the current pandemic put a stop to my bucket-list pursuits and to my plans for being a wandering bard as a form of a book launch.  I can’t complain.  I traveled, if anything, too much from the time I started working until I retired.  I met a woman on a plane once.  We were sitting in first class based on our frequent flier miles – meaning we had the callouses on our butts to have earned those seats.  It was a flight from the East Coast, Florida, I think, to California.  That’s a daylight trip.  She said something profound to me once she learned I was a regular commuter to Hawaii: there are only so many red-eye flights in you.  Then what?  Then you die.  I think by the time I retired, I was very near that last one.

Who designed the covers?

In all of my books, I do the concepts.  Sometimes, like in The City, I do the artwork.  Then I turn it all over to the professionals, graphic artists who get it right.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part of writing The Farm: On Practical Wisdom was that the first version – a complete manuscript – turned out poorly.  I very nearly started over, reducing complexity, and making the story and characters more compelling.  The rewriting wasn’t hard – it was fun.  It was the letting go of parts I really loved, even characters I really loved, to make it a better book.


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Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

The setting of the book came from my own life, but I was often surprised when I researched original source materials at how much my memories had shifted the landscape.  Historical details and even major trends I thought I knew well often turned out to have other sides to them.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Research is great, important, critical – but the most energized writing is what comes from the heart, what you know, what you feel in your bones.  Make sure you’ve looked at every object, event, or character through more than one lens before you choose the one to highlight and do not be afraid to write about what scares you the most… touches the part of your soul that you least want to expose.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Every chance I get, I encourage my readers to argue with the characters and discuss ideas with their friends.  This is a series of books meant to get its readers thinking and talking – in dialogue.  The Farm: On Practical Wisdom is not a guide to practical wisdom; it is a search for it.  The reader must be involved in that search to find the truth that they, and they alone, can follow.

About George Benda

George Benda grew up in the Chicago area. Born with a passion for the natural world and improving the environment, Benda studied first science, then politics, and ultimately philosophy to answer his burning question: how do we resolve the expanding conflict between human activity and the well-being of the planet on which we live?

Book clubs? Libraries? Academics? These are forums in which that burning question can be explored, and answers formulated. Benda actively supports all of those pathways to a broader understanding. He offers free readers guides, Zoom sessions, and more. Check out some resources: https://georgebenda.com/book-club-support/

Benda started writing philosophical dialogues in 1977 while still a graduate student at the University of Chicago. He was inspired by Plato to experiment with dialectic styles. After multiple abandoned manuscripts, he found in Elmore Leonard a modern-style of dialogue he could adapt to serious thinking -- propelling readers with strong storylines and action, as well. From this synthesis came the Jack Slack Shoebox Dialogue series.

The first in the series, The City, took nearly 40 years to mature.

Those 40 years were filled with an active life and events which have inspired most of the dramatic plots of the Shoebox Dialogues -- fictionalized, of course, but a granular look at history. The action in the dialogues provides an intimate glimpse at the realities that lie behind the headlines and belie the history as told by the winners.

Benda started his career in government at age 18, working in natural areas preservation. He was Director of Energy Programs for the State of Illinois at age 27. Those years -- the late 1970s through the early 1980s -- proved to be the emergent years for today’s global issues of both climate change and political turmoil fueled by an unending energy crisis.

Since leaving public service in 1983, Benda has been in the private sector, leading companies in sustainability, indoor environmental quality, and energy efficiency improvement. He has been the CEO of Chelsea Group, Ltd since 1990. Benda’s company has won numerous awards for innovation in energy efficiency. Often a controversial figure in his industry, Benda has never escaped the universe of turmoil that enmeshed him in his early years.

Now residing on Molokai, a small island south and east of Honolulu, Benda still works diligently on environmental issues through his role as President of the Molokai Land Trust. Always engaged in both a life of action and a life of the mind, he continues to collect stories and plot lines, characters, and emotions that enliven his novels. Serious thinking has rarely been so much fun.


 

 



P is for Politics: Patriots, Politicians, Pundits, and the President

 




With the USA election just around the corner, today's BOOK OF THE DAY, "P is for Politics: Patriots, Politicians, Pundits, and the President," by Kristina Moses Sparks, is spot-on reading. Take a look!

P is for Politics: Patriots, Politicians, Pundits, and the President Paperback – Illustrated, September 17, 2020

by Kristina Moses Sparks (Author)



A patriotic book in which children cordially communicate on tough issues, such as God, guns, abortion, climate change, law enforcement, free speech, and more, bringing back true political debate of ideas and flipping groupthink on its head. A mother’s or grandmother’s dream tool to introduce sensitive political issues one at a time, at an appropriate time, in the privacy of your own home. Fun and unique to its time, Paul and Polly seem to always find something on which they agree. Common ground can be found!

 



Product Details

 



·         Item Weight: 7.1 ounces

·         Paperback: 60 pages

·         ISBN-10: 1644680939

·         ISBN-13: 978-1644680933

·         Product Dimensions : 8.27 x 0.16 x 10.75 inches

 



An awesome resource for any family during such An upheaval and divide in our country. Presents the facts on a level children can understand and teaches of tolerance. The only way to truly implement change is to teach our children that conflict is fine as long as it leads to resolution. That starts by trying to understand on a human level as opposed to a political one. A must-read for any family.

This book makes it easy for parents to discuss morally challenging issues with our kids before society and schools start the indoctrination process. We LOVED IT!

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Kristina Moses Sparks is a well-rounded American from middle America. She has an associate degree from Tarrant County College in Fort Worth; which she earned with a 3.95 GPA in 2009. She is a veteran of the Army Reserves program. Kristina would like her audience to know that she, like many other Americans, felt forgotten or left behind by the quickly changing political environment in America. Kristina is a loving person that has decided to shake off naivety and do something to help families bring back God and discipline…bring on an awakening to hard truths and moral repair within the family; as well as in both our local and federal governments. #WakeUpAmerica