Saturday, March 6, 2021

Anthony Brinkley on Journaling His Rise to Manhood (You Can't Run Away from You)

In this interview, Anthony Brinkley talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about his book, You Can't Run Away from You: Journaling the Rise to Manhood: Volume 1.


“Vulnerability is not weakness, but is actually strength on display.” ~Anthony Brinkley

Anthony had a challenging childhood growing up, experiencing such things as being needed to be treated for tuberculosis at the age of five and having a gun pulled on him in first grade. His life was “kind of a mess” until he decided to turn it around, during freshman year in high school. Anthony acknowledges that school wasn’t a priority with his family, and he hung out in his freshman year with seniors who didn’t need to show up. Not surprisingly, he “racked up” F’s, and the time came when his report card came in and he became alarmed enough with all his failing marks that he made a deal with God - that he wouldn’t “screw up again,” if he wasn’t kicked out of school. He would have been so kicked out had he got four F’s; as it was, he got three, so he stayed in. Another motivator for him was seeing the pain his mother felt when Anthony’s own brother didn’t pass high school, and he didn’t want to hurt her any more than possible.

Anthony remarks that: “I didn’t know God, but God knew me,” adding that this truism showed up in his life with all the people who showed up at moments in his life when he needed them, such as his uncle Adolph who gave him jobs to keep an eye on him as he grew up - people who helped him become “a better version” of himself.

Anthony noted his family’s 18th birthday tradition of driving home the point that, from then on, one had to provide for themselves, and it was around then that he joined the Air Force. He served for 28 years, underwent 14 major moves and led around 100,000 people. Anthony notes that all Air Force installations are essentially small cities in themselves, which means that just about any job present in society can be found in the Air Force. He also notes that people don’t pick the people they work with, emphasizing this with a story that he once told the people he worked with that anyone out to kill them didn’t care if they were Christian, Jewish, Muslim, white, Asian or Hispanic - they were out to kill Americans, period. He thus emphasized his people treating each other with respect and as a team.

Anthony achieved the rank of E-9, the rank of Command Chief Master Sergeant, which is the highest rank possible for enlisted personnel. This meant that he had around as many responsibilities and commanded as many people as a commissioned officer. Anthony notes that non-commissioned officers - NCOs - are the ones to translate the directives set down by officers to the enlisted personnel, who are the ones who actually do the work that needs to be done. His work, as an E-9, was to lead his fellow sergeants under his command, and gave him an opportunity to serve others.

Anthony admits that he pushed people away, because of the events he experienced in his childhood, and his stay in the Air Force forced him to face up to such events, as he needed to engage with others as part of his work. “True growth and true connectivity, intimacy, is connected directly to vulnerability,” he remarks. He also notes that half of learning is learning, while the other half is unlearning what was taught wrong - the latter being something which people don’t work on. In his opinion, someone who operated by the principle, “Fake it ‘til you make it” is someone who won’t remember who he or she really is once they reach a level of success. “Face it until you make it,” he advises.

According to Anthony, 50% of Americans experience some sort of trauma before the age of 14, and 75% experience trauma by the age of 24, and he remarks that it’s impossible to move ahead in life without dealing with the effects of such trauma, in order to create “a more cohesive individual or group.” He also notes that the United States has around 5% of the world’s population but also consumes 85% of psychotropic drugs consumed worldwide, which is, as he notes, is a disjunction, as it is unlikely that 5% of the world’s population holds 85% of the world’s pain. In his opinion, Americans are taught to run away from pain, but as he notes that one cannot heal if one hides from pain. (This is something he knows from experience, as alcohol was his choice of pain numbing substance.)

“All a crisis is, is a bunch of data,” Anthony notes, and how it is determined to be good or bad depends on how one reacts to it. The true tests in life, he says, using a school analogy, are not the scheduled tests but the pop quizzes. He thus works with people to ready for any such possible pop quizzes in life by helping them learn about themselves, so they can overcome such crises. As a pop quiz isn’t a final exam, one can study where one went wrong and then learn from it and carry it forward, Anthony adds.

Anthony admits that he would have been a “horrible employee” because he had an independent perspective on things, and this was what drove him to start his own business once he left the Air Force, and he found mentors along the way who taught him how to run a business, which enables him to help others become themselves.

You Can’t Run Away from You started out as a private journal for Anthony and Volume 1 covers the first 19 years of his life, and covers a lot of topics. He notes that there are likely two more books which will come out. In his opinion, his wrote it so that his book is about life, rather than himself, so a reader can remember and recall an incident in their own life which makes such a story real, so that they “stop seeing” Anthony and see themselves.

Anthony advises people to accept help from the people around them, as he, himself, is living proof of how far one can go by doing so. “Fight for the life you have, and you’re here to do something special,” he notes, “even if you haven’t realized it. Make the rest of your life the best of your life.”

Purchase from Amazon: You Can't Run Away from You: Journaling the Rise to Manhood: Volume 1 by Anthony Brinkley



Saturday, February 20, 2021

Maria Espinosa on Writing Her Suburban Souls Novel

In this interview, Maria Espinosa talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about her novel, Suburban Souls.



“Go with your instincts. Believe in yourself.” ~Maria Espinosa

Maria Espinosa was actually born Paula Cronbach, of Jewish parents, but she admits she never felt at home with her given name. She felt more attuned to the name “Maria,” so when she got the opportunity to change her name, she did so.

Writing was something that Maria had strongly felt that she had wanted to do, even though she didn’t particularly want to write. While she wrote throughout high school, she really got into writing when she wrote out a journal during a difficult time in her life, while she was in college. She began writing stories for her friends while still in high school, and she got started by self-publishing books of her poems. Her first novel, Dark Plums, came out when she was in her forties, published by a press that she had started with some female friends, and this was picked up later on by a Hispanic publisher, whose people thought she was Hispanic, due to her name being what it was.

Maria notes that she follows the advice of Woody Allen, who says that writers should sit down and actually write, and that she also reads and sets a schedule for herself - something which, she admits, is something she finds somewhat challenging, particularly now that she’s gotten older.

Where her books are concerned, Maria remarks that her first two novels are semi-autobiographical, in that the emotions that are written about in the book are essentially her own. She also noted that the character of a Jewish man who appeared in Dark Plums was a character who she didn’t originally intend to become a main character, and that that person was someone who, later on, she would meet and who would become her second husband.

Where writing is concerned, Maria notes that doing so has enabled her to become more aware of other people, as she needs to inhabit a character fully, to know that person’s feelings, emotions and motivations, when she writes. This, in turn, enables her to understand more about herself, and when she looked back over what she wrote over the years, she notes that those writings reflect the changes she has experienced throughout her life. Writing also enables her to explore her own emotions, as she notes that a writer’s own emotions become part of the story the writer works on.

Maria is also not slowing down, despite presently being 82 years old, as she is presently writing out three novels as well as a non-fiction book on homeless people whom she interviewed - a process she describes as being something similar to “a bird building its nest.”

Maria remarks that she knows Holocaust survivors and how living through such an experience affected them and continues to affect their lives, which is how she was able to accurately portray the character of a Holocaust survivor in Suburban Souls. She also knows people who lived in dysfunctional marriages, including those where at least one of the partners ignores the other, and this also served as the model for the protagonist’s marriage in the novel.

Maria notes the adage, “Youth would and age could,” remarking that, if she had the confidence she presently has now while she was back in her twenties, doing so could have saved her “a lot of heartache.” She also advises people to follow a quote she once heard: “Don’t let other people tell you who you are, tell other people who you are.”

Purchase from Amazon: Suburban Souls by Maria Espinosa


Saturday, February 13, 2021

Alexandra Bracken on the Writing of Lore

In this interview, Alexandra Bracken talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about her novel, Lore.


“Writing is one of those things where, to improve, you have to put the mileage into it.” ~Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra was always interested in storytelling as a child, and this was something she knew she wanted to do even then. While double-majoring in college, she decided to join a month-long writing competition intended to enable participants to create a novel within a month’s time, and while she did succeed, that novel wasn’t published. Her first novel went out of print because the publisher closed shop, and as the rights then reverted to her, Alex recently (as of this interview) reprinted the story as a graphic novel.

Alex noted that, in the United States, there has been a “steep learning curve” on social issues, and this has made her more aware of such issues when she writes her books, with her taking such steps as having readers check to see how authentic her characters are. She notes, as well, that this was parallel to her growth as a person, adding that there is always something more to learn when writing, saying that: “There is always something to learn and try out.” Alex remarks that “different stories present different challenges,” which, for her, means that a writer needs to start from scratch when writing out a story with a genre or style different from that which one has written before. To improve her craft, Alex reads craft books to see what more she can learn, particularly since, when she started out, she was an intuitive writer.

Alex remarks that feedback is important for a writer, but that this is varied, as each reader brings his or her own opinions and tastes into the review. She thus focuses more on professional reviews as well as those from other authors, so she can better her craft, and gave some examples of these. That said, she also accepts non-professional reviews which help her improve her craft.

Where trying to please everybody is concerned, Alex notes that: “You can drive yourself batty,” while also adding that she cares about how people read her books. That said, where writing a novel is concerned, it takes one to two years from the start of writing to getting published, so a writer needs to be passionate about the characters and the story to maintain such an engagement for such a long time.

Alex notes that, for young adult readers, character-driven stories are important, as this audience loves emotional stories where they can connect with the characters, which helps the story resonate with them. She likes writing for young adults because the latter live at a time in their lives where a lot of things are “high stakes,” and where young adults experience such “firsts” such as first love and first taste of freedom, particularly since they are finding out who they are and what they want to be.

Where creating ideas for stories is concerned, Alex figuratively cooks these in a “stew pot” and then picks up a story from there, giving the example of Lore springing from her reading Greek mythology as a child. She keeps what she calls a “wish list” of the kinds of stories she wants to write, with one of these being competition. Lore thus sprang from a combination of her exposure to Greek myths and her desire to write a story about competition.

Although Lore is based on Greek mythology, Alex has also included themes of the importance of confronting one’s personal past, and the past in general, to move on to a better future. Another theme of the book is the pursuit of power, and the possible tradeoffs from doing so.

To other writers, Alex remarks that practicing is a good way to grow one’s craft, and for them to find stories that they could write in “their own, unique way.”

Purchase from Amazon: Lore by Alexandra Bracken


Thursday, February 11, 2021

John Hart on His Novel, The Unwilling

In this interview, John Hart talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about his novel, The Unwilling.



“The finest writers out there are still honing their craft.” ~John Hart

John Hart was 40 when his first novel came out, which makes him a late bloomer. That said, his first published novel was the result of decades of honing his writing craft (during which time he wrote out two “unpublishable” novels). Much as he wanted to become an author and a writer, he didn’t want to “leave things to chance,” which was why he went to graduate school twice (accounting and law; he wrote his unpublished novels during these times). As a criminal defense attorney, he “rubbed up” against “a lot of bad guys,” which meant that he got a good idea of how criminals acted and behaved, and it was when he was slated to defend a child rapist that he decided to focus on writing.

It took John four years to get his first novel, The King of Lies, was published, which was “a quiet and lonesome affair,” as there was nobody around to tell him how to the process worked. Rejections, he note, are part of the process and part of the path for all published writers, and one of the things he needed to accept were the number of naysayers who were against his writing - naysayers who seemed to take his ambition personally and negatively. This reaction, John believes, is due to people giving up dreams of their own and who, when they meet up someone who is working on his dream, feel insecure about giving up their own dreams.

Where the craft of writing is concerned, John remarks that there is a learning curve involved and that nothing beats actually being at the keyboard and writing things out. He notes that writers have to be critical about their work, and that finding a “beta test reader” who has the sensibility and the critical eye necessary to enable the story to succeed is extremely important to a writer’s success. John also notes that a writer’s “mental space” is also important, as there needs to be a balance between honest feedback and feedback from insecure people. Writer egos also come into play here, with John giving an example of a would-be writer friend who asked him to critique a short passage. John spent hours going over it and critiquing it, and his friend’s angry response resulted in their not speaking for nearly a decade. By contrast, when John spoke with author Patricia Cornwell, who has been publishing popular novels since 1990, he found her to be humble enough to recognize that she still has a lot to learn.

John admits that he has to be “aware of the marketplace,” and that he is wary about following trends, such as the trend which followed Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. That said, he notes that a writer needs to be passionate about the people and the world that he is creating, as a writer could be involved with that particular story for one to two years, thinking and working on it even in what appears to be their leisure time. Writing purely to please another person, he notes, makes an author “ten steps behind, right out of the gate,” but an author also needs to know enough of his audience with his presentation, with John giving the example of toning down the profanity in his books to cater to this.

A writer needs to love, in some way, “even the most despicable character ever written” in his story, particularly since he focuses on making his stories character driven. That said, John’s style of writing and development is “organic,” rather than using notes and outlines, going for “what feels real” and what would motivate the characters. He notes that people are already set in who they are by the time they are adults, even if they aren’t aware of it, and he goes into making the reader understand what the character is all about, even if the character, himself, doesn’t understand what he is all about. One of the things John has also learned is to allow readers to fill in the blanks, rather than write out every last detail of who and what a character is.

The Unwilling might take place in the past, but John notes that all of his books have some element of family relationships and drama, as just about everyone has had experience with family relationships. He notes that a lot of people said that his books start out slowly and build up to the end, and John remarks that this is because he wants the reader to spend time with the characters, so they know who they are dealing with. That said, John makes sure to give the reader a tradeoff for their patience, by planting some compelling questions that make the reader wonder about the situation and the characters involved, and then gives some examples of this.

“Part of the job is putting false modesty aside,” John remarks, noting that he doesn’t mind telling people what he does. He notes that a lot of writers are actually introverts, and he credits his publisher, at the early part of his career, with helping build his reputation as a “literary thriller” writer. For John, “literary” refers to details related to other than plot - characterization, for one thing. He attributes his use of language to enabling a reader to emotionally respond to a situation beyond that which a scene or a character would warrant, particularly with the kind of scenes which would make a reader want to put the book down and wonder. He credits this style of his to his wife, as she prefers a literary style, and John needed to get her buy-in to start his career as a writer to begin with, as he was quitting being an attorney to do so.

Where the writing industry is concerned, John notes that the writing business is a “hard” and a “cold” one, but it is also a vibrant one which needs new voices, as it is a constantly evolving business. He believes that new, young talent need to bring their voices in, and likewise believes that these should be encouraged.

Purchase from Amazon: The Unwilling by John Hart

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Robert M. Hardaway: Saving the Electoral College: Why the National Popular Vote Would Undermine Democracy

In this interview, Robert Hardaway talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about his book, Saving the Electoral College: Why the National Popular Vote Would Undermine Democracy.

“We've been through this so many times in our history, it's kind of become old hat.” ~Robert Hardaway

Robert was in government class in high school, where a member of Congress would talk on a particular current topic, after which the class would be split into two parties, with Robert being the head of one party and Al Gore (who would later become the 45th Vice President of the United States) to debate the issue. The electoral college was one on such topic covered, and since then Robert has spent time as an attorney in the US Navy’s Judge Advocate General corps and as an assistant district attorney in Colorado. He has also spent the last 40 years researching on the electoral college, culminating in several books and articles on the topic.

According to Robert, the electoral method is enshrined in Article 2 of the United States constitution, where the legislature of each state will select a certain number of electors who will cast their vote in the electoral college. This system, Robert notes, is very similar to that of parliamentary democracies, such as the United Kingdom, except that, in the United Kingdom, the electors are Members of Parliament (MPs). The electoral college is kept separate from Congress (which is designed only to pass legislation), to maintain the independence of the executive, legislative and judiciary arms of the United States government. Up until 1876, state legislators selected the electors themselves, but after that time, the states delegated that responsibility to the people, which is why people vote - for their electors.

An elector cannot be a member of the state government, and can be anyone. Each party puts up a slate of people which acts as electors, and when people go to vote, each party thus effectively tells each voter to vote for the slate of their party, each member of the slate being a member of their particular party who has been nominated by that party to be an elector. Each elector has to be of at least 21 years of age and a citizen of the United States, and their only responsibility is to vote for a candidate in the electoral college. Some states put the names of the electors down, which means that a voter can pick and choose amongst individual electors from both parties, while other states do not so name their electors, which means that each voter then votes for a particular party’s slate.

Each state is guaranteed at least three electors: at least one based on how many representatives that state has in the House of Representatives, as well as at least two electors based on their representation in the Senate. The number of electors posted might vary, but this is based on the principle that each state, no matter how small in terms of population, should have equal representation in Congress. This split, which was proposed by Benjamin Franklin and which was subsequently adopted, between the upper and lower houses of the United States government, with the upper house (the Senate) having one member from each state, and the lower house (Congress) having a number of representatives based on that state’s population. Benjamin Franklin’s proposal was vital as, at the time of the Constitutional Convention, the various states then in existence were in danger of fragmenting and becoming entirely different nations, all of whose economies were nearing collapse and all of whom were squabbling with each other - a situation which was greatly to the advantage of the then-ruling British king, George IV.

Robert notes that, in the present system, when people vote, they do not vote for a party’s president. Instead, they vote for a slate of electors, and it is these electors who actually vote for the candidates concerned. He also remarks that the popular issue is when the so-called “popular vote” does not seem to jibe with the electoral vote.

According to Robert, some states are presently forming a cabal (the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, or NPVIC) whose members are essentially choosing to ignore the will of the people in their own state by declaring a winner based on a hypothetical popular vote projected from other states - something which, Robert points out, doesn’t exist under the present electoral system. (A popular vote would result in national elections where people write in the name of their candidate, and the winner being declared based on the most number of votes for that candidate.) Robert remarks that such a drive has existed for some time, but it runs into the non-amendable requirement that each state should have equal representation in the Senate. As Article 5 of the Constitution states that the electoral college cannot be abrogated unless all members of the Senate agree to do so, and as the small-population states would want to ensure their continued representation in the government, it is highly unlikely that the move to convert the electoral system from that of the present electoral college to a national popular vote will come into being. Robert noted that this equal representation is the basis of the existence of the United States, particularly since it was because of this that the smaller states joined the Union.

Robert quotes John F. Kennedy as saying: “A popular vote election will increase the likelihood of a president being elected by a minority of the voters. It will break down the federal system in which the states entered the Union, which provides a system of checks and balances to ensure that no area or group shall obtain too much power.” Robert points out that, with a popular vote, a president could be elected from more populous areas, such as coastal cities, with the result that those states or groups which supported the resultant president would get more favors compared to those states or groups which were smaller in population. The electoral college is thus designed to support the Founding Fathers’ ideal of having a president with popular support throughout the nation, rather than from one particular region.

Robert points out that nations which use the popular vote can wind up with presidents that the majority of the population actually reject. He cites the case of France, where, in the 2017 elections, the two better-perceived candidates were nudged out by a margin of 2%, leaving the French voters with an extreme-right candidate and a moderate but most likely ineffectual candidate to choose from, both of whom were supported only by a minority of the population. The French voters were so disgusted by the unwanted choices that over three million of them submitted blank ballots in the run-off elections.

Where electors are concerned, Robert notes that human beings aren’t really needed to be electors, as the individual names of the electors don’t need to be known. This is a housekeeping recommendation he puts forth, with each individual vote going to that of the number of electors in a particular state, creating an automatic allocation of votes. Another recommendation was that governors certify the votes within ten days, and that Congress not need to count the votes themselves. He also notes that, in Great Britain, people vote for a member of parliament who is affiliated with a party because they are assured that the person they voted for will thus vote for a leader that is a member of that particular party.

Robert bemoans that most Americans don’t know what the electoral college is all about, particularly since electors are so elected only once every four years. He also notes that the perception that the electoral college vote doesn’t jibe with the hypothetical popular vote took place in 1888, 2000 and 2016, and notes that this also happens in parliamentary democracies, citing the case of the 1974 election in Great Britain, when the Labor Party won, despite the Conservative Party having the greater number of hypothetical popular votes.

Robert noted that the electoral college is responsible for the two-party system, and mentioned the case of the Socialists in 1932, which had 15% of the American population’s support. The Socialists realized that, despite such support, they couldn’t get an electoral vote unless they had a plurality in a single state, so they went to the Democratic Party and compromised with them to do so. Such alliances ensure broad support for a candidate within a given party.

Robert remarked that he had been called to testify about the electoral college twice. He appeared in front of the Colorado legislature in 2007, which swung the vote against the NPVIC, and again in 2020, as one of over 300 people who wanted to witness at the hearing. He was told he only had a minute, which would have been impossible for him to make a dent in the current for the NPVIC.

Purchase from Amazon: 

Saving the Electoral College: Why the National Popular Vote Would Undermine Democracy by Robert Hardaway

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Faith McDonald On the Loving End of Crazy: Finding Hope and Help to Face Your Loved One's Crippling Anxiety and Depression

In this interview, Faith McDonald talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about her book, On the Loving End of Crazy: Finding Hope and Help to Face Your Loved One's Crippling Anxiety and Depression.




“We can do this together. You are not alone.” ~Faith McDonald

Faith is “an avid reader,” and as a writer, she feels the power of words when people tell her how her words affect them. She had always wanted to be a writer as a child, and along the way she encountered challenges which seemed to hinder her from doing so. It was in the 1980s when Faith began writing a column for a newspaper, when the latter invited her to do so, and the experience was “fun” for her, and since then she’s moved on to writing blogs.

Faith would describe depression that she writes about is a feeling of sadness, an inability to function in daily lives, rather than just “feeling sad” for three minutes. She remarks that, back in the mid-2015s, her university did a study that showed that thirty percent of college students suffered from depression so severely that they had difficulty attending classes. Faith also remarks that it’s likely that, during the present Covid-19 pandemic, even more people are likely to struggle with this, given the situation.

At the time Faith’s son, Matt, began suffering from severe depression in 2006, she wasn’t aware of depression as a disease, and she admits that it took her a long time to figure out what was going on, and then get him the help he needed. It was also Matt’s family which needed to realize and come to terms with what was going on, as well as seeking the help that they and Matt needed.

In Faith’s case, the depression of her son, Matt, was so bad that, compounded by Matt’s natural sense of anxiety, led him to getting arrested as well as becoming suicidal, which resulted in a 35-day stay in a hospital. In retrospect, Faith has realized that, while Matt seemed like a perfectly normal, happy child, he was naturally anxious, and it was when he was in his teens that such emotions became overwhelming. Looking back, Faith remarks that Matt reacted to new situations with a great deal of anxiety, resulting in him throwing up on occasion, as well as his not wanting to try new things. He also had some difficulty academically, and she had viewed his distancing during his teenage years as a normal part of teenage life. Where Matt was concerned, according to Faith, the experience was “really difficult,” feeling like he is “encased in cement” when he wakes up and thus finds it difficult to get up, and wishes that he could think of a reason to get out of bed.

Faith remarks that it is “heartbreaking” to be around someone who’s struggling, and of wanting to fix the situation but being unable to do so, as well as figuring out what part is hers to fix, what part is something Matt could figure out and what part is where others need to step in and help. Initially, Faith and her family figured that what was going on was by Matt’s choice, and it didn’t help that Matt masked his condition by attempting to cope by abusing alcohol and drugs. She then felt angry about the situation, and it didn’t help that her husband also had his own ideas, different from hers, about how to approach the situation. The situation was “disastrous,” and while Faith felt lonely and bewildered, she also learned that wishing for help is actually different from finding help - knowing who to call, finding the energy to actually reach out, and so on. She felt embarrassed when she started looking for help, and notes that crisis hotlines and a list of counselors are good places to look.

Faith admits that each of her family member’s reactions varied to Matt’s situation, with her younger daughter wanting the family to get help and with the older family members seeing Matt’s condition as a phase that he would eventually grow out of. Faith remarks that Matt’s condition is likely a lifetime condition and that he will need to manage it all his life, and that her family has grown into an understanding of Matt’s situation is about and has learned what is needed to help handle the situation. The community, for the most part, was supportive, and Faith remarks that: “If you ask for help … you can find someone to support you in getting that help,” adding that it was when she overcame her own embarrassment about seeking help that people started showing up in her life who could help, as well as who showed compassion. She also remarks that helping out someone to do such things as telephone calls - such as sitting right next to the person when the depressed person is making the call, or dialing the number the depressed person needs to dial - also works.

Some of the things Faith did which helped her out was praying and reflecting on that, thousands of years ago, someone went to a great deal of effort to record the words that she was reading in the Bible, as writing was a labor-intensive occupation back then, and that those words carried on for thousands of years which now reach and touch her, as well as others. “I have a great appreciation for writers throughout history who have written words of hope,” she notes. Faith also mentioned that exercising regularly helped her out, and that keeping a familiar routine also helped. She has also learned to communicate better with both her husband and her son, which was one of the main things that she learned from the counselor that she and her family consulted with.

Faith notes that she and her family are doing “better” compared to previously, because they now have better tools to deal with the situation. At the moment (wintertime 2020 - 2021), because of all the restrictions due to the pandemic, and due to the season, Matt is “struggling,” although not to the depths that he had been in before.

Purchase from Amazon: 


Friday, December 25, 2020

Deryck Richardson on Why We Should All Go Play and Get The Ultimate Road Map to Winning the Game of Life

In this interview, Deryck Richardson talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about his book, Go Play: The Ultimate Road Map to Winning the Game of Life.



“As kids, we don’t overthink things.” ~Deryck Richardson

Borders had never much existed for Deryck, even when he was younger, and this was how he got into all the many things he did. As an African-American who grew up in a white suburb, he got acquainted with grunge music, which seemed strange to his relatives in urban neighborhoods, who were not used to “white music.” HIs first job was when he was fourteen years old, working for a “boiler room” organization which called up people to donate money to another organization. He was taught the fundamentals of sales and got “addicted” to commissions, and as he and some others were underage kids, the Attorney General of Ohio shut that down twice while Deryck was there.

Deryck went to school because he was a teenage father and, after dropping once out of college, went back in because he wanted to coach and needed a degree for that. It was then that he realized that, while he wanted to teach, he wasn’t motivated by the idea of working for a paycheck, so he got out of teaching and got into the mortgage business. He made some “big boy” money until the mortgage industry crashed in the early 2000s, then went into insurance, after which he then became a “serial entrepreneur,” owning an insurance agency and a marketing firm which is one of the fastest-growing companies in Columbus, Ohio in 2020, as well as a coffee store and being a community volunteer, author and speaker.

Deryck remarks that he had always been “the leader of the pack,” when growing up, particularly as he was the first in their group to do such things as drive a car and get a job. He had been a sales manager at the age of twenty, which reflected this “knack for leadership,” particularly since he was managing older people.

Deryck’s life experiences are a living testament to the philosophy he espouses in Go Play, noting that, as kids, whenever Mom told kids to “go play,” she didn’t specify what the kids should play with, so the kids were pretty much free to do anything they wanted. This is an attitude that Deryck remarks is something that adults don’t do “often enough,” as adults consider their life experiences and expectations of what they’re supposed to do whenever they select the things they decide to do - which is typical of the “vast majority” of people, in Deryck’s experience. “The go-getters don’t really care what people think,” he says.

Failure and stress, as well as mental health considerations as depression and anxiety stemming from failure, are, in Deryck’s opinion, some of the blocks that keep people from just going out and playing. “If you get knocked down and you’re really determined to succeed at it, you’re just gonna get back up,” he remarks. He also remarks that the people around one are likely to have failed themselves, which leads to their not having faith in one, which means, essentially, that one’s own circle of friends, acquaintances and family are likely not going to enable one to ascend. Deryck admits he feels “different” from those in his immediate circle, and while he has attempted to bring some of these along with him in business, they have decided to not go with him. “If you’re not gonna keep up with me, I’m gonna leave you,” Deryck notes after mentioning that, as he ascends, he no longer expends the energy to “reach down” to help those in his circle. Not allowing others to influence one’s decisions or actions, is, the key to doing what one wants to do, Deryck emphasizes. “They’re not you,” he remarks; “you are the only person who is you in this world.”

Deryck admits that he’s been broke before, has had failed relationships and has failed “a million times.” “I’m lucky because I get hurt all the time,” he remarks, “I get bruised all the time. And if luck means that I get back up again, then I guess I am lucky.” He also notes that luck occurs when hard work meets opportunity, and which is why he continues to put the hard work in and continues to be willing to take on the opportunities that come his way.

Deryck admits that a lot of the concepts in his book are “brand new” concepts, as this is all about setting one’s mindset. The twist here is bringing the reader back to the reader’s childhood, when the reader was seven and immersed in the mindset of just playing, of just doing while not listening to people, rather than failing when others say you fail. In addition, Deryck includes stories from his own life. “If you’re going from level to level continuously, like in a video game, then you’re winning,” he remarks, “you’re continuously improving.” He also made the book a short one, at one hundred pages, as he didn’t want readers to finish it, rather than for a racer to get to “Chapter 7” and then just put it on the shelf, never to be read again. (He’s working on two follow-up books which are, essentially, the other parts of the original, three-hundred page book which he conceptualized.)

Where the book is concerned, Deryck notes that one of the reasons it is relatable is that it can bring the reader back to the state of childhood where everything is possible, as well as that it shows how relevant the concepts are to one’s daily life, thanks to several stories that highlight these concepts. (Deryck then gave the story of the lumberjack who came out of retirement, and commented on how this would apply to everyday life, as well as how two of his present businesses came to reside in the same office, due to his willingness to change directions.)

Where today’s environment is concerned, Deryck remarks that the year 2020 is “an example of why people need to ‘go play,’” remarking that the situation, for him, was one he hadn’t encountered before. He gave the example of starting a vacation with his wife on March 15 of that year, then needing to return on the 16th to coordinate the continuation of his business, as the state of Ohio ordered businesses to close down that day. He had his tech team set things up so that his people could work for home, and he remarks that those were some of “the best decisions I made in a 24-hour period.”

Deryck advises those who have an idea to “act on it.” “What’s the worst that can happen?” Deryck asks, adding that it just might not be as good as it was, and one would still gain some wisdom and knowledge and experience if it doesn’t pan out.

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