Monday, November 7, 2011

Interview with Author, Jim Lindsey

Hey, Jim, I see that you’re quite passionate about Rowga. What is that?
I’ve been a Buddhist since 1986 and have practiced, studied and taught sitting meditation in the
Buddhist way, at the same time observing how Westerners react to it as a whole. In those twenty-five years, I’ve seen our society speed up and become even more materialistic and aggressive. The result for a great many people is that they have little time and money, and incessant demands for both, and so are run ragged. They may realize a need for the deep sanity meditation can bring, but they also want to exercise and stay fit and have fun, so sitting on a cushion motionlessly feeling their legs go numb has problems winning  them over. 

At the same time, people are getting into enormous debt trying to entertain themselves, buying big TVs and boats and four-wheelers and other things they can’t afford. I’m passionate about rowga, or the yoga of rowing, because it’s an all-in-one solution. One, It’s great exercise, not only for your arms but for your whole body as your muscles continually adjust to the constant variation of movements caused by ocean waves. Two, It’s great entertainment – there’s nothing like being out on the big water under the big sky with that fresh-as-creation sea breeze, seals popping up to check you out, dolphins crossing your wake, seabirds swooping for a catch. Three, it’s great meditation – instead of sitting in a room trying to keep from falling asleep, you are guiding and propelling a boat through the waves as you watch your mind. As you let go of thoughts, you come back again and again to the here and now of the stroke of the oars, sharpening your awareness, being vividly alive. And you can get the exercise, entertainment and meditation all at once in the same place in the same way, so four, it’s a great time-saver. And a good rowboat is inexpensive and requires almost no maintenance and no fuel , so five, it’s a great value. And you are one with the ocean, not polluting it, not crashing through it, not lazing along on it letting the wind do the work, so it’s very nitty gritty and six, a great way of connecting the vastness of the ocean with the vastness of natural mind. Those are the six points of rowga, and that is why I’m so passionate about it.
You have a new book out, A Flaw in the Fabric, book 1 of A Traveller’s Guide for Lost Souls. Tell us a little bit about this book.
The Flaw in the Fabric explores possibilities of time and space and love that normally are never considered, because we shun death and ignore the possibilities of what might happen afterwards. The hero of the Flaw, Raymond Kidd, sees things he’s never dreamed of: ghosts reincarnating, living people appearing as skeletons, himself being whirled back to an earlier life so that he is torn between his love for two different wives. In the course of his travels, he is tasked with taking care of the lost souls stranded between lives, and he is pitted against a demon who devours them.
What inspired you to write this?
I’ve lived by the sea, for the last sixteen years, in a 200-year-old house that has ghosts in the basement. It may not be so, but I often fancy I hear them talking in the basement when I lie awake at night. And there is a tale in the village of two brothers who lived and died here back in the mid-eighteen-hundreds. The real trigger was a dream I had. I’d been working as an historical tour guide at the Alexander Keith Brewery in Halifax. We dressed up in nineteenth century costumes to lead the tours, and so ‘went back in time’ every day. One night I dreamed that I was talking to one of the other guides. I told him I wanted to write A Travellers Guide for Lost Souls. He said I had to do it.  He said it as if it were an order, and I’ve never forgotten that. Beyond that, being a Buddhist, I have studied closely the process by which we die and by which we move onward to other lives, and how some people are unable to make the move because they are too attached to their former lives. Inspired? When I was writing the book, I woke up every morning champing at the bit to get started. I never worried about what to say. It all came to me as if being delivered Fed-Ex.
I’ve read an excerpt and from your prose, I gather you’ve learned a lot. What wisdoms are you hoping to share through your work?
The main one is that people have an invulnerable sanity they can tap, that is the result of the natural mind they were born with, and which is always available.
What in life drives you to write?
I was driven once. I’m not anymore. It happens to be my metier, so doing it is like living life to the fullest, like playing a guitar with the concentration of a Segovia, like returning to the wonderment of a child.
How did you come up with your time travel theory?
In our time, things are wearing out. The glaciers are melting, the weather is strange and unpredictable, there is a sense of things wearing out. I thought, how would it be if the very way things are wore out, or was sabotaged. The seemingly solid border between past and present, how would it be, I asked myself, if it became porous? Especially in an unpredictable way. So I just let the possibilities arise and followed them where they went.
Can you tell us a little bit about Book 2?
In Book 1, Raymond is presented with his task of rescuing lost souls but is prevented by circumstances from doing much about it. In fact, he finds himself stranded in the in-between realm between death and birth. In Book 2, another flaw in the fabric allows him to proceed with his quest. He reincarnates in the 21st century and leaves Nova Scotia to follow his estranged wife Cat  to California. There, in the land of wine, women and song, he finds lost souls on a scale he never imagined possible, among them his recently deceased parents. Here his task is truly daunting, as the attachment to the good life in the land of eternal summer is stronger than super glue.
Where can readers purchase your book?
Where can readers connect with you on the web?

A big thanks to Jim for this week's interview. If you'd like a copy of his book, please leave a comment below with your email address. Also be sure to tune into our Blog Talk radio show to learn more about Mr. Lindsey. You can schedule a reminder for it here

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting post. One of my characters told me he was Buddhist, so I ended up doing tons of research into the belief and practices and was really inspired by what I learned. Even though I don't personally subscribe to Buddhism, a lot of the practices made sense to me in a "I want to be a better person/live a simpler life" kind of way.

    Thanks for sharing!