Jeff Rasley and I have networked for over a decade now. He was a guest on my former radio show (Conscious Discussions Talk Radio) that I ran for 15 years. He's been a guest on this blog several times in the past as well - and we are always thrilled to feature his interesting adventures and discussions. Today is no different - except that we will be celebrating Jeff's new book: 72 Wisdoms - which is a collection of 72 short personal essays discussing each of the wise quotes shared in the book.
Jeff is the author of fourteen books and the president of the Basa Village Foundation, secretary of the Scientech Foundation, board member of the Indianapolis Peace and Justice Center, a trustee of Earlham College, and co-founder of the Jeff and Alicia Rasley Internship Program for the ACLU of Indiana.
Thankfully he found the time to drop in to share his experiences with his new book today.
* Jeff invites our readers to visit him at:
Q: You've written quite a few books in your career... What is your favorite memory in your career as a writer?
A: My favorite memory is receiving a literary contract for the first book I wrote from the only publisher I sent an unsolicited query letter to. My friend and fellow writer Glen Craney, who I'd talked to about the book I was working on, suggested that I query Red Wheel. He said it publishes books like mine. So I sent a query letter. The senior acquisitions editor contacted me and then worked with me to create a final-publishable manuscript.
Q: That is quite unusual to find a publisher upon the first query letter! Congratulations on that, for sure. I'm certain that having an inside contact like that helped in the process. So you've written more than a dozen books in your career so far and I'm curious if you still use a publisher or are you confident with self-publishing?
A: After a few unfortunate experiences with an agent and two publishers, my wife (who has had 16 books published) and I decided to create our own publishing company, Midsummer Books. It frees us from many hassles, but leaves us with all the responsibilities. Marketing is a chore for both of us, which we don't enjoy. But the traditional publishers expect their authors to do their own marketing anyway.
Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: I began writing poetry in my early teens. It wasn't very good, but I enjoyed the experience of trying to creatively express myself. A few of the poems I wrote in college were published, which gave me the confidence to think I could write some things other people would find worth reading.
Q: Have you had, and how did you handle, writer's block?
A: I have the opposite problem of writer's block. I am addicted to 2 things: exercise and writing. At the end of a day, if I haven't engaged in both those activities, I feel sort of yucky. It's a physical, emotional, and intellectual need I have - to write. If I don't do it, I don't feel right. I don't feel productive.
Q: How do you go about recharging your batteries?
A: The answer to that question is my second addiction. Physical exercise cleanses me. While it is physically tiring, after a bit or rest, my creative energy is rejuvenated. I also meditate at night in bed, which cleanses me of stress and anxieties (usually).
Q: Where did you find all the sources for your research?
A: I am old enough that the way I did research, when I was first writing, required a trip to the public or university library. Now, I can find almost everything I need through Google or Wikipedia.
Q: I know you just released a book where you share and contemplate meaninful quotes, do you have a favourite from that book or from another source?
A: 72 Wisdoms, has a lead quote to open the discussion on each of the 72 "wisdoms"; and then, there are many more favorite quotes within each of the 72 chapters. So, you are really putting me on the spot to pick a favorite out of all those quotes I just wrote about!
I will sort of cheat by lifting up one of my own:
"You have to get lost before you can be found."
It's the title of one of my books, and a theme I've written, taught, and preached about. The point is that you probably won't know your authentic self until you have felt lost, alone, and need the help of family, friends, and a community to find your better self.