Sunday, December 26, 2010

Shoveling with Lyn

While shoveling parts of the blizzard today, and viewing the snow-capped trees of my area, feeling the very blustery wind, and warming myself afterward because of the biting cold, I wondered why I liked those sensations while shoveling, and why they make me feel like writing so often when I'm done.  I think now that it's because these are not common sensations to me.  Though I am used to the cold, the snow, and its beautiful aftereffects, I don't see them all the time, or even consistently.  Snow, though common around here, isn't an everyday thing, even in the winter.

And then I thought of Lyn Fuchs, a writer friend of mine who has recently released his first book: Sacred Ground & Holy Water: Travel Tales of Enlightenment.  This tome contains seventeen separate pieces that catalog his travels.  From Africa to Central America to India, and currently in Mexico, I believe, Lyn has seen it all--and he's been there, too.  He has seen brilliant sunsets in places that are as hot as the sun; he has seen the rainforest; he has seen natives of tons of far-away lands.  He has, literally, been there and done that.  And he's written about it, now, too.  It's a good read, and, because it's broken down into 17 smaller pieces, it's comfortable reading for those of us who are too busy for our own good.  Read a section, let it take you to lands you've never been to, and people and things you've never seen, and then put it down and do whatever you've got to do.  Go back to it later, and repeat.  Let his writing take you where you couldn't imagine yourself to be.  Sit back and enjoy.  The sections are quick and easy to read; they are amusing in spots, abundantly detailed in others.  I offer below an interview with Lyn so you can get a feel for the writer. 


1. When did you decide to start writing?

My writing habit began when heavy snow sealed me for weeks into a log cabin, amidst the thick timber of Canada's craggy mountains. Life was forever changed. With nothing to do but observe minute details and reflect upon them, I spent silent solitary hours grasping for exact words to convey my experience to others, for when that connection would be restored. Meditations transformed into magazine articles. From eye to mind to pen, the journeys of my life were distilled into the stories that now make up my first book, to the very last one written on an isolated Mexican ranch under a fiery sunset and the influence of tequila. My spirit is within the pages too. If you aren't currently holed up at a snowy cabin or a sunny ranch but wish you were, I hope you'll let Sacred Ground & Holy Water take you there.

2. What is your genre and why did you decide to write a book in it?

One reviewer called Sacred Ground & Holy Water “the guy-friendly Eat, Pray, Love.” I have been kind of stubborn in my insistence that more writing should respect both yin and yang. I try to include both meaningful spiritual insight and raucous primal humor, a sensitivity to the beauty in the world and the guts to face its harsh realities. Sometimes this just offends everyone, but since I really believe that both male and female natures bring balance and value to life, I'm just going to keep doing it till somebody tells me to stop...and maybe even after that.

3. Were you worried about the word count of your work?

No, I tend to be very minimalist in my prose, so you won't find a lot of excess baggage.

4. Do you have any writing quirks and what are they?

The combination of the sacred and the irreverent, the romantic and the animalistic. I think God is secure enough to be funny and sexy. Not everyone agrees.

5. If you can describe your book in one word, what would it be and why?

Brash. You'll see.

6. How did you decide on the title and what does it mean?

Sacred Ground & Holy Water combines new and old world spirituality with reverence for nature, which are basic themes in this book.

7. What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your book?

Loyal readers of my magazine articles can rest assured that this work continues my quest for captivating wordcraft, inappropriate humor and profound observation. This book won't let you down. To those investing in my writing for the first time, I'm honored to have you aboard and confident these stories will make you laugh, ponder and probably get misty-eyed. Thanks for reading my stuff!

8. Tell us a little about your road to publication.

My name is Lyn, but I should be called Lyndiana Jones. I've survived enraged grizzlies, erupting volcanoes, Japanese sword fights and giant squid tentacles. I've been entrapped by FBI agents and held at gunpoint by renegade soldiers. I've sung with Bulgaria’s bluesmaster Vasko the Patch and met with Mexico’s Zapatista Army commander Marcos. I've been thrown out of forbidden temples in southern India and passed out in sweat lodges off the Alaskan coast. My navel has been inhabited by beetles and my genitals have been cursed by eunuchs. I've shared coffee with presidents, beer with pirates and goat guts with polygamists. I've contracted malaria, typhoid, salmonella and lovesickness around the world. It's hard to live that kind of life without gleaning a little wisdom, a wicked sense of humor, and some good stories to tell. Finding editors, publishers and readers willing to reap the benefits of my lunacy without the pain has not been that hard.

9. What advice can you give other aspiring authors out there?

If you are a travel writer (as I am) tell people the truth (as you perceive it) about what's “out there.” People get enough politically-corrected views of the world within their own society, they certainly don't need more of the same claiming to be dispatches from afar. We all need the wisdom that comes from other cultural perspectives, even though those perspectives are not sugar-coated for easy swallowing. If travel writing doesn't challenge the ideas of the reader's culture, did anybody really travel?

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