Wednesday, July 9, 2014

5 Questions with Marc Meyer

1. How did you get involved in T'ai Chi?
Once I reached my forties, I looked around for an exercise I could feel interested enough to adopt as a daily routine and continue with into my later years while avoiding the pitfalls of procrastination and injuries associated with activities like jogging and weight training. At that same time in the late 1990's, David Carradine, star of the long running and popular 1970's television series "Kung Fu" began advertising his T'ai Chi videos for beginners. His television commercials seemed fun, intriguing and coincided with a perk offered as part of a club membership I owned which began featuring a T'ai Chi Class on the beach. The idea seemed just different enough to be irresistible and I felt that if I had no time to exercise on a given day, at the very least I would attempt some T'ai Chi. Over time, practice of T'ai Chi became much more than that to me. I was hooked from the first class onward and the practice of T'ai Chi has proven itself to be of lasting benefit. I became a teacher in 1999 and have been teaching the art of T'ai Chi Chuan to students and friends up until the present day.

2. What is the difference between T'ai Chi and other martial arts?
T'ai Chi is classified is an "internal" martial art, meaning that martial skill and power are developed from the inside out through a process involving many years as opposed to the reverse theory practiced by "external" systems such as Karate or Tai Kwon Do, which can be developed in a shorter period of time but are by no means more effective.

3. Tell us about the Master and his nephews.
In the book, a T'ai Chi master named Kuo Yun San leaves mainland China in the 1960's for what he thinks is the last time. His goals are simple, he envisions opening a successful T'ai Chi school and strengthening the bonds between himself and his Asian American family in Chinatown with whom he has had little to no communication in years. The results are surprising as Master Kuo finds himself trading one Cultural Revolution for another and his newfound friends and family members, thinking they were going to educate him into adopting an American lifestyle, find he has more to teach them.  

4. What are some of the life lessons that can be realized from this book?
Using himself as an example Master Kuo teaches that patience, diligence and skill aquired through effort are some of the most valued lessons one can achieve in the course of a lifetime.

5. What's next for Marc Meyer?  Do you have other books in the pipeline?
I have at least three more novels in me that I have begun working on simultaneously. One is a memoir, one is about an elderly batchelor who finds his way toward the end of his life and one is a young adult novel about five very unusual preteens in the possesion of individual healing powers. Of course getting ideas is easy, setting them down in a readable form that will capture an audience's interest is very hard.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Q&A with Jennifer Storm, author of Blackout Girl: Growing Up and Drying Out in America

Q&A with Jennifer Storm, author of Blackout Girl: Growing Up and Drying Out in America
What was the inspiration behind writing this book?
I knew I had a story that was unique but not unique if that makes sense, I had been through so much in my life and as I began recovery, I couldn’t find any books that spoke to my story.  I started writing as a path towards healing and after a few years realized I had a decent book on my hands. I wanted other people struggling the way I was to be able to find a book that spoke to them and helped them on their journey. 

What's the most rewarding part of this process writing the book?
I love hearing from people who have read the book and it has helped them in someway.  I still get emails from readers who thank me for sharing my story with them.  I also love speaking and traveling with the book whenever I can.  I think story telling is the most powerful means by which we can create real awareness about issues. 

What did you learn about yourself through writing the book?
I learned that I am stronger that I thought and I can overcome anything and stay in a healing place. I was very scared upon the publication of the book fearing for what people would think of me laying all my skeletons out for public inspection.  It gave me a new freedom that I wasn’t prepared for but welcomed in a new way. 

Was it therapetuic writing a book?
Incredibly. I started writing as a way to heal from my past traumas, I knew that I had to go back and unearth all that ailed me, I had to find the root cause of my initial need to escape and deal with it to the best of my ability.  I didn’t want to ever live the way I was living again so I became willing to truly deal with it all in a healthy way. Every time I stand before a crowd and share my story, my soul heals a bit more.

What's next for you?
I have been working on screenwriting as of late and am really enjoying diving into this creative area of writing.  I’ve written a screenplay for the book and a TV show based on it. I am now moving into a more fictional area.  I love to write and cannot imagine it not being a part of my life.