Interview with Benjamin Samizdat

If you could get rid of one State in the U.S., which would it be and why?
I'd get rid of one of the Dakotas. Do we really need two Dakotas?
If someone were to write a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
The Ordinary Life of an Extraordinary Man.
What are you working on next?
Six of my twenty manuscripts have now been turned into a serialized project on Cosmogony, Cosmology, Mythology and Enlightenment. The first book "First Light" is now available. The second book "Your True Face" will soon be published and the remaining four will be published every two months after this. I have a seventh corollary book completed and an eighth about half finished.

Many of my dreams are now about to come true~!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
After living in Seattle, LA, Chicago, Honolulu, NY, Boston, both Portland's, Amsterdam and Anchorage, I now find myself in Boise and I can't seem to figure out why. I may be lost. When I can, I attend Concerts, Festivals, Farmers Markets, go Hiking, Camping, Fishing, WW-Rafting and Skiing. I'm single, so I can sometimes be found lurking in Libraries and Bookstores where I pick up on women with those big sexy brains. Mostly, I just create books. I'm doing everything myself so it's a labor of love.

I used to constantly go on epic adventures. Timothy Leary, who was my friend before he died, told Bob Guccione Jr. (Spin Magazine) that he felt I was the new Neal Cassady. Sometimes I even live up to that rep. Frex, I recently attended two amazing hippy-festivals, then hiked the Oregon coast from top to bottom, then hitchhiked through the California Redwoods to San Francisco, where I met and partied for a week with a professor who teaches at Berkeley, then took the train to Portland and partied with friends for a week then hitched back to Boise. I'm tired just thinking about it!
Sing a song that best describes you.
"(I'm) Wide Awake" by Katy Perry.

I write about Gnosticism. Not the kind that you read about. The REAL kind. A quote from "Joe Verses The Volcano" poignantly summarizes the issue: "My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."

Another quote from the same movie feels appropriate: "I'm my only hope for a hero."
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
In 3rd Grade I wrote about Wolfgang the Orangutan, who swung through the trees with the greatest of ease.
What is your writing process?
I combine fiction and non-fiction, so first I have to spend weeks, months or even many years researching my subjects. I then compile and bookmark the data with descriptions to make it more easily parsible. Then I write test-chapters and begin interjecting similarly evocative poetry, the wisdom of the sages and pagan philosophers and inane and often raunchy humor.

I outline a book, then flesh out the chapters in no particular order. I use Microsoft Word. I try to keep every chapter between 6 to 10 Word-pages long, because they will be twice that number of pages in a 4x7 or 6x9 printed book. I am mindful of how big paragraphs will look on some of the smaller e-readers, so I power-edit the text by separating the larger blocks of words into equal paragraph sizes (about 4 to 6 sentences) to make it aesthetically pleasing and to give readers many natural bookmark-breaks.

My personal method becomes a bit peculiar towards completion. A basic rule of thumb is once you reach 20 chapters of 10 Word-pages each, you are actually at around 400 pages of writing. If you go to your book-shelf right now and sample a number of your favorite books, you will see that a legitimate book is at least 200 pages long, with an ideal number being around 300 pages. 20 pages of MS-Word is equal to around 100,000 words. A good non-fiction E-book is at least 50,000 words; any less and it's considered pithy. So once I reach 100k words, I separate my book into TWO books of 10 chapters each. Then I build it up to 60,000 words, which is quite easy. With endnotes, biography, postscript, and other addendums, this will be a very respectable book.

And the kicker is that I already have the next book in my serialized project 75% written. I then edit the first book a few times, sketch out a beginning and end chapter, format it and then put it down. I move on to my next book, and follow the same template: build it up to 100k words of around 20 chapters or more, then divide it in two. I then create my second book in the series. I follow this process again and again until my goal for the series is complete. The reason is that I need to know exactly what I will be writing about in future releases, or the whole thing becomes a Stream-Of-Conscious endeavor which is very dangerous for non-fiction, even in a literary cross-over.

I have followed this template three times, for a total of 18 manuscripts. Once I finished the larger series, I went back to the first book of the first series and completely rewrote it and did the same for the remaining five books of this series. I then edited every book to a state of relative completion. I then edited the first book around 25 times, rubricating it in situ. I rewrote the all-essential first chapter at least 30 times, then rewrote the final three chapters at least 40 times.

I then did the final formatting, and tested out every link numerous times. I then began working on my cover. That is my basic writing process. Writing non-fiction is far harder than writing fiction. Writing a literary cross-over between the two is even harder. Quite frankly this has been the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I was a very advanced reader as a child. I remember the Dr. Seuss books, but the first books I ever read to myself was Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and Where the Red Fern Grows. I was 5 years old. The protagonists were free, and roamed their worlds at will. I packed my red wagon with all of my stuffed animals and set out down the street looking for adventure! I think I made it about 10 blocks too.

My father led a double life. He was a professor and a drug smuggler, so we could never have company over. The stories I read were an escape from my solitary childhood. When we moved to the Oregon coast, I would pack some books, some food and take my dog on hikes of 40 to 100 miles into the interior of the Coastal mountains. The sights I saw and people I met in the middle of nowhere were amazing. Those first books are still impacting my life right now....
How do you approach cover design?
I painted two paintings, one which will serve as both my E-book cover (there is no back cover) as well as the front cover of my printed book. I painted a second painting which will serve as the back cover of the printed book, and also in a twist you've never seen before, as the front cover of my 2nd book. I will paint a third painting for the 2nd book's back cover, which will serve as the front cover of my 3rd book. The six book series will form a 360 degree panorama. You like? I then employed a number of free software programs, mostly, to add text, pictures and borders to the front cover.

I will be doing a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of a number of collectible modern "Illuminated" books. I have fluorescent and UV paint, scented ink, even glitter ink and will create a limited number of these books. Some of you may get the chance to meet me.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I obviously like series, so I'm going to cheat.

Douglas Adams series "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" in one book is a must read, because (a) Einstein, Jesus and Siddhartha said the future has already happened and the past is dynamically unfolding, (b) Space is teeming with sentient life, (c) and yet Space is impossibly vast, so we need to cherish each other and keep our sense of humor about it all.

The Chronicles of Narnia are essential reading for children as they teach self-determination, how to harness the imagination and the benefits of being accepting of other races and species.

The Other Bible by Willis Barnstone compiles Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Kabbalah, Gnostic scriptures, Egyptian libelli, early Christian scriptures and a number of other texts into one massive book. If you want to know what early Christians believed, be prepared for investigations into alien life from other worlds and discussions of other Universes. Amazing stuff!

The Nag Hammadi Library edited by James Robinson investigates a group of Gnostic scriptures. If you ever wanted to know what Jesus actually talked about, be prepared for discussions of alien life from other planets, even other Universes. Jesus spoke about a celestial war involving a number of immortal races which had embroiled the Earth and would somehow be resolved by a future enlightened humanity. Incredible stuff!

Herodotus wrote The Histories at a point when the gods had barely left the Earth (just before 500 BC) and humanity was just struggling with the transition from Monarchies to Republics to Democracies to Empires in a cycle which has only recently began to come to a close. Herodotus led the most fascinating life of any human EVER in the history of humanity. The Histories are really about him you see, which is a story still waiting to be properly told. Anyway, it's dry reading but I can't live without it.
Why on Earth are you here today?
I am a cat that likes to gallop about doing good. I'm interested in two things only. The enlightenment of humanity and having a good time. If I said I like good pesto, or the love of a good woman or camping under the stars, it all falls under the "good time" category.
Describe your desk
To my right: a file cabinet filled with articles and printouts from arcane websites. On top is a quadcore computer I built myself. The side is open because I love looking inside to see all of the guts of a computer. On my desk in front of me is a 50" HD TV I used as my computer monitor, all the better for opening 30 documents, websites and programs at once. I use an ergonomic split Microsoft Keyboard because I like the action of the keys. Half of the letters on the keys are almost worn off, but so far none of them are sticking so it has plenty of life left. I have a Turtle Beach set of gaming headphones because they are cheap and the fidelity is amazing. To my left is another file cabinet upon which is the laptop I obtained for $50 then rebuilt and reset to factory settings since it was absolutely full of porn of buxom black women. On the floor are stacks of about 40 books I'm using as reference material, and next to this is a table upon which I have over 20 printouts: mockups of my cover, precious articles and posts I've saved and etc. Next to that is another table full of maps of the world. I guess you could call me a "Cartomaniac".

Not too far away is my bed. For the past 8 years, I've slept in my office so I can get up in the middle of the night and follow my muse. I spent 5 years working around 17 hours a day on this project. I work a bare minimum so I can devote myself to the completion of my art. I am truly the epitome of the Starving Artist, but I always have time for a cup of coffee. In fact my body PH was 5.75, which I'm told means my blood is almost entirely coffee by now.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on the Oregon coast in a city called Newport where the main industries are fishing and logging. The narrative of my books always is set in Newport or along the Oregon coast.
What would you choose as your last meal?
(1) Get fresh-butchered, grass-fed New York strip steak.
(2) Tenderize it. Then tenderize it some more. Then some more.
(3) Plate it, then put it in a RADAR range, which cooks from the inside out (as opposed to microwave ranges).
(4) Save the Au Jus (Myoglobin) that bubbles out.
(5) Pour the Au Jus into a bowl, add melted butter and fresh fine-minced garlic and whisk well.
(6) Tenderize the steak. Pour some of the mixture onto it as you do so it infuses the cut.
(7) Sprinkle with fresh-cracked black pepper on both sides.
(8) Put a layer of the Au Jus mixture on the hotter part of your grill, then lay your cut on top and baste the top.
(9) Put a hot plate over the cut so the smoke and moister infuses the cut. It will cook fast.
(10) Once you have grill marks on the bottom and the meat is now carmelized, flip the cut over, basting both sides again. Replace the hot plate. Once the other side is now marked and carmelized it is ready.

Serve with side such as a fresh Chicken Caesar Salad where the chicken has been breaded and deep fried crispy then cut into small strips (I like different textures, and lots of crunch). Perhaps some rice pilaf, a small twice-baked potato with Tillamook cheddar-cheese, fresh butter and fresh bacon-bits, some fresh baked dinner rolls, a piece of corn-on-the-cob slathered with fresh butter. A nice Australian Shiraz (not too sweet) and a side of Martinelli's Sparkling Cider mixed with organic grape juice will wash it all down.

For desert, some homemade Toffee Kahlua ice cream served with a hot slice of Huckleberry pie - not the blue berry, but the smaller red ones from the Pacific coast which only the Native Americans eat. DELICIOUS! Now I feel sad. Why is it my last meal I wonder?
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Traditional Legacy-Publishers are experiencing a die-off like the Dinosaurs. Harper-Collins and Penguin had to merge or both of them would have declared bankruptcy. This is an evolutionary "Event". Self-publishing software, POD businesses and crowd-sourcing means that it is now economical and relatively easy for an aspiring author to write, edit, illustrate, rubricate, format, publish and market their own books. Recently of the top 100 books on the NY Times Best-Seller list, 75 of them were self-published. Writers that once made a maximum of $100,000 after publishing 20 books are finding that they are potentially becoming millionaires by publishing one book, and that was after getting rejected from 100 to 200 Agents and Publishers. You keep more of the profits and E-books can't be resold in used bookstores. Nor can they ever go out of print. If people want a printed book, POD means that it is printed per request. No more inefficient distribution systems with hundreds of books sitting in your garage or some warehouse.

So in answer to the question, NECESSITY motivated me to become an indie author. It's just better this way!
What do you think of when you are alone in your car?
I don't actually own a car anymore. I sold it to pay the rent for 8 months of unobstructed writing and it was well worth it. When I'm driving somebody else's car, the primary thing I'm thinking is how easy it is for a child or family pet to run out into the road from between parked cars and ruin my entire life. Sorry, I delivered Pizza's for two years and I also drove a bus for a local College so I learned to be in a state of hyper-vigilance.

Other than that, I'm quite the multi-tasker. I owned some of the early Radio Shack fast response computer chess games designed by Gary Kasparov with the help of IBM's Big Blue. He claimed it took him three years to beat one particular game at the highest level. I beat it three times by the time I was 13. So I can think 40 to 100 moves "down the board", which means that I can multi-task much better than most people. My brain is like a spinning roulette wheel where I'm considering each of the 37 slots at the same time, and concentrating on the one the ball lands on for a brief few seconds before spinning it again.

Either that or I'm singing really bad Karaoke along with the radio.
Describe Quantum Electrodynamics in 2 minutes.
QED is the relativistic quantum field theory of electrodynamics which describes how light and matter interact. Supposedly QED represents the first synthesis of quantum mechanics and special relativity. The problem is that light and matter and misunderstood. What we call "light" is actually photons, but not the kind of photons you might imagine. For instance, Visible light isn't the photon itself, but the smaller Infrared photons which are constantly being shed from the Visible photon. This means that the Visible photon is always DECAYING. Which means that it is made of matter. "Pair-Production" doesn't indicate the energy can create matter. It only shows us that when a sufficiently high-energy photon hits a Proton-rich metal, that the photon annihilates into an electron (which was inside of the photon) and a positron, which was the virtual particle which formed at the end of the electron monopole. Confused yet? Try this on then:

Superluminal photons decay into Gamma-Ray photons decay into X-ray photons decay into Ultraviolet photon decay into Visible photons decay into Infrared photons decay into Terahertz photons decay into Microwave photons decay into Radio photons decay into Long-Wave photons which decay into MATTER, which means that Atoms are actually photons which decay into smaller photons (Electrons and Protons are made of SHELLS of smaller particles). There are three orders of matter, so matter can decay into ever smaller photons until we are left with the little neutrino, which ironically may be what Superluminal photons are built of.

When a photon decays, the smaller photons stream away in waves built of many particles. When these particles hit the Higgs-Boson Field which is made of neutrinos slowed to a standstill, it the particles create sympathetic waves, which is how we can describe the entire system in terms of magneto-hydrodynamics, because plasma flows much like water and other fluids.

Not the Standard Model, but I'm not on the Earth to parrot broken theories. I'm here to speak only the truth. Even if it confuses some people more than necessary. Basically a Visible photon from the Sun will stream away and decay over time until it turns into an electron orbiting a positron, and these particles interact with protons to create larger particles or they decay into a neutrino. Each photon is actually in a ballistic orbit around its point of origin. They will slow down at a predictable rate (see the Doppler Effect) until they stop, hover at Apoapsis, then they will slowly reverse their course. When enough photons created by the Universal Big Bang do this, the Universe will experience the Big Crunch. But we might have 30 billion years to go, so relax.
What is the biggest risk you've ever taken?
I asked the love of my life (Yvette) to marry me. She said no even though we had dated for three years. She then ran away with another man to Arizona leaving me heartbroken. I don't regret it although it took a long time to get over her.
What is your biggest regret in life?
Not asking my girlfriend Sabina to marry me. She was a Jewish princess, as sweet as apple pie and a talented artist. I didn't know what love was at that time. The fact that she had a picture of her last lover above her bed made me seethe with jealousy, and asking me to dress like him (he wore dresses) was also disconcerting. I wish I had just found a way to man up and work it out.

My second biggest regret came a few years later in the form of a beautiful woman named Jennifer. We never dated. She worked at a government agency that I had to deliver to and she loved me with a passion so hot that it burned me every time I came near. I don't know what my problem was. She was talented, pretty and smart and she desired me with an intensity that blew my mind. If I had an ounce of common sense we'd be married now with a couple healthy children.

Maybe the third time is the charm...
What is your favorite joke?
I am ashamed to say I like slightly racist and very silly jokes. It's how Americans learned to get along with each other in this huge melting pot. So here goes:

Q: What do you call two Mexicans playing basketball?
A: Juan on Juan!

Q: Have you heard about the new Chinese cookbook?
A: 50 Ways to Wok your Dog!

Q: What do you call it when an elephant sits on your fence?
A: Time to get a new fence!

Don't say I didn't warn you.
Published 2013-10-13.
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