Interviewer vs. Interviewer

Interviewer vs. Interviewer
( Click on picture to view) Elizabeth Lund--Host of Poetic Lines interviews Host of Poet to Poet-- Doug Holder

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

March 3, 2009: Novelist Paul Stone

My Guest will be Paul Stone author of "Or So It Seems"

On The Road To Writing My Novel

For twelve years I was engaged in a solitary process that resulted in the publication of my first novel, “Or So It Seems”. Now, less than a year after its publication, I’m out in the world introducing this book to legions of total strangers.

Funny how the universe spins its web.

When I began writing the novel, I was lost and confused and not at all interested in writing a spiritually framed novel. My marriage had broken up, I was bitter and angry, and struggling to construct a life as a single parent of three wonderful but highly vulnerable children. And so, not surprisingly, the novel that took shape was bitter, angry and focused mainly on blame and payback.

But a funny thing happened on the road to payback.

As many of you know, we are each of us walking two paths on our life’s journey. On the first path we encounter our day-to-day struggles, our deeply held desires, our careers, our family lives, our likes, dislikes, quirks and ambitions. The second path, which you could call our spiritual journey, takes us on a much longer and far more obscure expedition. I’ll leave it to someone more knowledgeable than me to explain where that journey originates or where it is taking us, but its main characteristic is that it calls to and enlivens our deepest and truest selves.

Well, without over-stretching the comparison, this novel of mine, “Or So It Seems”, also traveled two roads in its journey to fullness, publication and, yes, self-discovery.

The point of divergence, where one road ended and another began, occurred after seven years. Truth is, I thought I had finished the novel, thought it was done. But after reviewing it, an agent suggested it needed more narrative tension. If I’m honest, it was a well-written, essentially dull tale of a man putting his life together again after divorce. I understood what the agent meant and sat down to create some suspense and tension by reordering a few elements in the plot.

A funny thing happened when I sat down at my computer, however.

The moment I started my rewrite, it was as if a voice sounded inside my head, telling me “Now you are going to write the novel you were supposed to write.” And then began another spiritual journey. Suddenly this kaleidoscope of new ideas, themes and characters started populating my simple storyline; as if by magic, my tale of one man’s divorce became a complex and humorous metaphor for everyman’s spiritual odyssey. Suddenly, my straightforward, linearly-told story became a rich, multilayered plot. And if you think I was excited or pleased, you’re not even close. I was scared to death. Had all that work, I worried—over seven years worth—been for nothing? It was frightening to think of revisiting my novel at that late date, but then again, some of those new ideas, characters and themes were so interesting, so playful, and so much more relevant to my life’s journey than anything I had written before…

Well, as it turned out, the new elements blended beautifully with the old and eventually, five years later, I found myself the author of a multi-leveled, humorous, surprisingly charming and intensely compelling novel. What one reviewer called, “A Rollicking Spiritual Page-Turner.” What I describe as ‘part odyssey, part oddball adventure and totally fantastic.’

If there’s a theme to “Or So It Seems” it clearly relates to perceptions of reality. How we’re so often distracted by what we see as the drama of our lives, that we rarely notice how that drama fits into our larger spiritual journey. Much the way I, in starting a novel about my divorce, failed to see that I had really begun a voyage of discovery, a journey that would lead towards something much larger and far more interesting than the tale of angst, bitterness and blame that had originally inspired me.

Or so it seems.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Guest: Feb 17 Poet Rebecca Schumejda 5PM

My Guest: Feb 17 Poet Rebecca Schumejda

"Currently, I live in New York's scenic Hudson Valley with my husband and our daughter. I write and teach English and US History at an alternative high school. I was born and raised on Long Island. I moved around, but ended up back in New York, this time landlocked, my view mountains instead of waves. I received my BA in English from SUNY New Paltz and my MA in Poetics and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.

My poetry has appeared here and there over the years. My new collection Falling Forward is upcoming from sunnyoutside press. In addition, sunnyoustide published my chapbook Dream Big, Work Harder in November of 2006 and my poem "Logic" on a postcard. In 2001, Green Bean Press published my chapbook The Tear Duct of The Storm. What seems to be a lifetime ago, I co-edited a small press zine, reuben's kincaid. "

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Feb 10, 2009--- Poet Elizabeth Kirschner

Poet, lyricist, I have published three volumes of poetry, Twenty Colors, Postal Routes and Slow Risen Among the Smoke Trees, all with Carnegie-Mellon University Press. My chapbook, The Red Dragon, was published by Permafrost, and My Life as a Doll was published by Autumn House Press.

As a lyricist, I have collaborated with many composers both here and abroad. Most notably, I set my own poetry, not a translation, to Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe. Now titled The Dichterliebe in Four Seasons it had its world premiere in Vienna in fall ’05 followed by an American debut here in Boston. A CD of this music featuring soprano Jean Danton and pianist Thomas Stumpf was released from Albany Records in Spring ’07. The Dichterliebe in Four Seasons has been published by Musik Fabrik. A score can be ordered at

I have taught at prominent universities including Carnegie Mellon University, Boston Universities and most recently at Boston College, where I taught in varying degree from 1990-2007

In the mid through late 80's, I worked at schools, K-12, all over New Hampshire through the Arts-in-Education program. I also presented residencies through Very Special Arts.

All my books and the CD are available at