Tag Archives: interview

Reblog: writing advice interview on w. wang’s world commentary

Reblog: Interviewed by W. Wang on his World Commentary site.

Recently, I and eleven other writers collaborated on a book offering tips for writers–aspiring or otherwise. In connection with that, all of the contributors are being featured on Wang’s site.

My interview is on the long side–great for me! But maybe a bit much for you. As much as I appreciate the time and space Mr. Wang put into it, I’m going to offer a slightly condensed version here. But please do read the rest here.

W.: What made you start your writing career, especially writing stories of your own?

Maberry: I dreamed of writing since second grade. I began with stories in elementary school. High school offered both classwork composition and creative writing clubs. A dream unfulfilled is just a fantasy. It took retirement to act on it.

W.: On the “about” page on one of your blogs, you seem to have led a fascinating life: Hard childhood, failed marriages, and spending one year in Vietnam. Tell us more about these, and how they influenced your memoirs.

Maberry: Ah, the heart of the matter! The childhood goal was to write sci-fi. In 9th grade, I asked Clifford Simak (a sci-fi writer of many books) about that career. He explained that I needed a day job; the genre didn’t assure a livable income. His was being City Editor of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune newspaper. My older brother suggested writing tech manuals or perhaps ad copy. College courses could get me there, or so my plans were then.

Fast forward to Vietnam. I was drafted six weeks before entering college—no deferment unless in classes. By the time I got out of the military, my college objectives had changed. As the back cover blurb of my memoir, Waiting for Westmoreland (WFW for short) says,

“Spending a year in Vietnam, with its readily available sex and drugs, thoroughly corrupts his youth. Then the political realities of the war and Watergate shatter his idealistic illusions about America. So, to reclaim his virtue and ideals, he thinks he must reform the people or institutions that failed him.”

. . . .

I studied philosophy and a panoply of social science courses in college. History, psychology, sociology and more explanations about why society is like it is and how humans can make it better or worse. Humanism introduced me to Voltaire. I saw myself as a 20th century Candide. I read a multitude of books exploring the mind, the self and society. Neither college nor the outside readings offered the answers I sought—recovering myself and changing the world.

Finally, again from the cover blurb, “Finally, he encounters a person who reveals that the credit or blame for all of life’s events lies within. Looking for happiness outside oneself is fruitless. Reforming oneself, not changing others, is the means for attaining happiness and making the world a better place.”

W.: Also, you are a 40+ year Bodhisattva. How has that changed your life and your writings?

Maberry: When I published the 10th Anniversary Edition of WFW, I added a subtitle, The path from Vietnam to enlightenment. That means what? Life is a chain of causality. The memoir reveals the antecedents to my acceptance of Buddhism. I survived the deaths of first a father and later a mother before 18. Poverty. Vietnam. Bored, I listened half-heartedly in a shopping mall to a person explaining the practice of Buddhism. The soil of my life wasn’t ready for the seed. Two years later, the last semester at Georgetown Law Center, my second wife had left me. Now what? I was ready for the tree to sprout. I encountered a person with a life force I didn’t have. What was it, I asked. She told me she practiced Buddhism–and chanted. Immediately, I responded, “What do you chant, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo?” The very same phrase I’d heard two years before at the mall. Yes, she had the answer to the mysteries of my life—and those around me.

. . . .

My writings are about seeing life and the world as it really is. Without the illusions or delusions. It’s not because of the boss, the President, your spouse or anyone else that you’re unhappy or unsuccessful. My writings are about creating value. Dispelling the mistaken notions. When you’re writing fiction, few readers want to be preached at. I won’t be doing that. Well, OK, there are some blog posts that might hit hard. Political analyses or satire aside, I’m trying to write from and about life—even if it’s about worlds, times and places that exist only in my mind.

. . . .

W.: Any final comments/thoughts for our readers?

Maberry: The pandemic that struck the world has and will continue to cause much pain and suffering. Grief at the loss of friends and loved ones. Economic losses will be as great as any in the last 100 years and more. The current and future lives of many will be upended as much and more so as many who lived through the planet’s many wars and events such as the 9/11 attack in the US. Political polemic won’t help. Only honest and caring efforts to aid the many who need assistance not simply surviving but thriving in a very different world. I hope that I can make some meaningful contributions to that endeavor in my senior years.

We thank John Maberry for answering these questions and for accepting this interview with us. You can learn more about him through his “Eagle Peak Press” website: eaglepeakpress.com

The October Edition of the Eagle Peak Quarterly is Online

It’s here–in living color! The October Eagle Peak Quarterly. Read it all at once or a little at a time.

We’ll try something new in this promo. Today, the list of articles with short excerpts. Then, for the next two weeks, we’ll post more of each article every other day. If we don’t get to your comment, it’s because we’ll be offline for a few days.

 

Vietnam and Waiting for Westmoreland–two anniversaries

Most people, I suspect, celebrate anniversaries as special occasions. These are different. They’re reference points in the tapestry of life. Signposts of events that have significantly affected the trajectory of my existence or describe it. Arriving in Vietnam 50 years ago. Writing a book about what transpired and how it changed me for the better.

 

The Global Solidarity of Youth: Ushering in a New Era of Hope

Franco-American writer and professor Michele de Gastyne offers her views and agreement on SGI leader Ikeda’s proposal to put youth in the forefront of dealing with the problems of nuclear proliferation, refugees, xenophobia and more. It’s a long and densely worded article, reflecting both the thoughts of Daisaku Ikeda and de Gastyne’s consideration of them.

 

An Interview with Tony Goodlette

Tony Goodlette spent eight years in Vietnam from 1967-1975. He still suffers health effects from that time. But the Buddhism he began practicing a few years later has enabled him to make even more valuable contributions to America and the world, with humanism and compassion. Read the interview for details of this man’s interesting life.

 

Let’s Go to Walt Disney World

It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it. Be advised: this is not a “wing it” vacation. Planning is essential if you’re to make the most of your family’s time and money. Juanita explains it all–well much of it anyway.  But she tells you where you can find out more.

 

Worth Noting (8) Things We Think You Should Check Out on the Web

Did you watch the PBS series on the Vietnam War? This 10-part, 18-hour film is among the best and most comprehensive feature on that war–with interviews from both sides and more. Stream it from the web and much more on the PBS site. Or take a peek at some beautiful travel photos from Nat Geo.

 

Previews of Articles Coming in January

More on financial planning (boring or droll–it’s important). Weight-loss techniques that actually WORK–the publisher can prove it! You won’t believe how much he’s lost. Building that dream home–realizing a boomer fantasy; another true-life experience. We’ll explain some alternatives and offer tips on buying a house. Plus the usual: Like an interview and items worth noting.

 

Smorgasbord, Variety is the Spice of Life–the fifth of our links to writer sites

Sally Cronin’s fabulous site is indeed a smorgasbord, with a potpourri of posts across a broad topical spectrum. There’s health, nutrition medical news. She freely promotes fellow authors. Most importantly, Sally tells readers about her own books–providing reviews and telling us where to get them. She’s been a storyteller most of her life, she says.

 

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Reblog: Interviewed by fellow writer D.G. Kaye

I had the good fortune to be interviewed by fellow writer D.G. Kaye on her blog today.  Here’s some snippets from her post.

Today I’m thrilled to have over a dear friend and prolific writer, blogger, and author John Maberry, to talk about his writing and his newest book – The Fountain – Karma Can be Painful. Seven short stories in fantasy and Sci-Fi genres to captivate your imagination.

John is also the author of Waiting for Westmoreland, his memoir about growing up in poverty and surviving the Viet Nam war. I loved that book and you can read my review of it HERE. John refers to himself as a ‘lapsed lawyer’ and also formerly worked for the government.

I’ve read your captivating memoir, Waiting for Westmoreland. Could you please share with us what it was that spurred you to want to give up law after everything you survived in life and finally became a lawyer?

 

Lots of reasons. If you ever saw the movie the Paper Chase, you’d understand. Many lawyers, not all, are arrogant a**holes. I need not have been one, but that’s who I would have been associating with. The law firm I had clerked at did incredibly boring administrative law AND they didn’t offer me a job. I didn’t get even get an interview at some Federal agencies I would have happily worked for. While I easily passed the bar on the first try, the challenge of “hanging out a shingle” didn’t seem a financially sensible option. Besides the fiscal uncertainty, it seemed unlikely to offer the time to be a writer. There are few part-time lawyers.

I’ve read your new book, The Fountain. It was a wonderful read keeping me intrigued till the end of each story with your signature twisted endings. The stories, although fiction/fantasy, all had some element of human error such as greed, self-doubt or mystery of the unknown. What prompted the ideas of these stories? Was anything in these stories taken from your own life’s experience?

 

Some came from unknown resources of the mind. Others were influenced by places and events. I’ve always like twists and humor, so they play a part in several. I love George Carlin, Ray Bradbury and O’Henry among others.

Continue reading D.G. Kaye’s post.