Interview with Shane Eric Mathias

Describe your desk
My desk is my lap. Having suffered a neck injury some 15 years ago, I find it difficult to sit at a desk for very long, due to the angle and the way my arms hang from my neck. I have found that sitting in an easy chair provides the correct posture for me. I place my laptop on my.... well, lap of course and my entire body is relaxed. Additionally, I am able to gaze out at my garden from this chair. My garden is at once a source of pleasure, inspiration and peace.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Los Angeles, California, but I really didn't grow up until I moved out on my own at around 19 to the San Francisco Bay Area. The resulting independence introduced me to many challenges of adulthood: Self reliance, love, loss, friends, work and money. It wasn't until well into middle age that I began finding solutions to those challenges. Desperate to preserve these lessons for later digestion, I began writing them down. And this helped me to better understand their critical importance to my development, indeed to the development of all people.
When did you first start writing?
Rising into adolescence in the 70's and 80's, I was fortunate to be developing during a time when great music was being made. My parents had both been in the opera and so singing was something I took for granted. The words and music of that era was infused into my consciousness effortlessly and no doubt formed the basis of my world view.

But it wasn't enough for me to just listen to music, I wanted to play my own. At 12, I received my own nylon string guitar as a gift. I immediately took 6 months of lessons and soon, was writing my own songs. This was my first experience with writing. From there, I went on to experiment with poetry, which in is simplest form is like lyrics without music. I kept a journal all during my 21st year and then worked writing and publishing newsletter for environmental organizations.

During a long convalescence, later in life, I began my first blog, but it wasn't until well into "middle age" that I followed a daily discipline of writing. Therefore, this period of my life has now been the most personally revealing, prolific and creatively gratifying.
What is the recurring theme behind all of your books?
As I have up to now, written mainly non-fiction, I have focused on documenting and disseminating what I have learned about this human life and how to get the most out of it.

To that end, several themes have emerged as critical to living a functional, happy life:
Self-awareness; self knowledge; self discipline; self compassion; integrity; physical and emotional health; solitude; connection to Nature and creativity in all things.

These are the principles that I live and continue to refine. It is never an easy task, as relationships and societal expectations constantly tug at each of us to conform or become something that we are not. That is where I have found the most powerful tool for keeping one's life on track: Choice.

The choices that we make determine our destiny. Therefore, we must consider them carefully and then be prepared to take responsibility for the resulting consequences.
What motivated you to become an author?
As revealed in a previous question, I have been a writer of one thing or another for most of my life. As with any creative endeavor, there is the perpetual desire to improve and progress. For if we do not progress, we stagnate.

When I was a musician, I had the desire to play professionally. I was fortunate to find other several other people who enjoyed writing and playing the same type of music I did. Together, we were able to create our own sound, style and following. We performed together for several years in front of audiences large and small. When the band began to disintegrate, for a variety of reasons, I felt I had achieved my dreams and there was no more I could do musically. So I moved on to other forms of creative expression.

Since, I have dabbled painting, woodworking and gardening, but unlike those hobbies, writing defines me. It is the avenue through which I discover and simultaneously share myself. Publishing a book seemed like the ultimate destination for a writer, just as performance was the ultimate destination for a musician. But now, having done so, I must learn to promote myself and my work, if I want others to read and benefit from my message. This forces me to learn and develop skills that do not come naturally. Nor do I find them particularly enjoyable. So, as a diversion from that, I continue to write. But I may be on the precipice of yet another shift.
What are you working on next?
I am currently experimenting with fiction. Developing a story about a doctor who becomes way too involved with his patients.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Creativity and a sense of Purpose.
Published 2016-04-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Happiness Tree
Price: Free! Words: 70,060. Language: English. Published: March 6, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / General
Today, loss of joy is at epidemic levels across the globe. This creates huge negative economic and public health factors that reduce everyone's Happiness quotient. Individuals and cultures can grow happiness by cultivating healthy, creative and purposeful lives, but it requires commitment and focus. The Happiness Tree reveals a method for making happiness the norm, rather than the exception.