Interview with Arthur Rosch

Published 2014-10-24.
If you could reduce your audience description to one sentence, what would it be?
I write for people who are interested in psychotherapy. I'll define therapy broadly: it's the honest inquiry into your deepest self. A character in one of my books says, "The more you see the invisible parts of yourself, the less you crash into the invisible parts of other people." If a person is not engaged in a lifelong quest to understand themselves, they're likely doomed to confusion and futility. That's why I seek an audience that's engaged in understanding their own deeper motives and feelings.
What are you working on next?
I have a trilogy called "THE SHADOW STORM". It's fantasy, strictly speaking. Its world is one that resembles earth just before World War One. The airplane hasn't been refined. Electric power, automobiles, communications are just ramping up momentum that will soon transform the world. At this moment, a war is about to begin. THE SHADOW STORM world is a quirky Balkan-tinged landscape in which my characters are trying to save a newly established Republic from destruction by stronger nations.
It's a big project; I have the first draft of Book One finished. It's pure adventure: political, military and romantic!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Coffee. Morning is the worst part of my day. I manage my depression in the morning. That means coffee first, then oatmeal. When I've eaten I get on a bike and pedal furiously for about half an hour. By this time I have detoxified most of my negative emotions and can get on with the day's work, which consists of caring for my family. Since I live in a 38 foot RV this family consists of my partner, the famous Fox and two tea-cup poodles and three elderly cats. The fish, General Stonewall Jackson, passed from this earthly plane last year. His last words were, "yer some kind of writer, hahaha! bubble..gurrrg." He was a Cichlid. They come from the Congo. Is this inspiring? Hardly. It's quotidian. But the little things, the daily things, the lure of that coffee...oh my, it does get me out of bed.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I wrote was pretty much plagiarism. I was in the third grade. I was reading historical fiction and thrillers. I cribbed the basic plot from Mika Waltari's THE EGYPTIAN and changed it around so it seemed more original. My teacher gave me an A+. I felt no guilt whatsoever. It was good practice. The first line was "Yitzhak the brewer; Yitzhak the stinking brewer!" He was trying to escape the siege of his city by tunneling. He digs the long arduous tunnel, only to emerge in the middle of the besieging army.
He had dug his way into the Commander's tent!
What is your writing process?
I keep it all in my head. No notes, no outlines. I know the ending, the goal of the story. One of my big novels dictated its own ending as if a voice recited in my mind as I drove home. That was how I began, with the ending. I take in all of my influences: Jack Vance, Phili Dick, Kurosawa, jazz, Jungian psychology. If I know the next scene, I'm happy. I can keep writing and making progress. I allow the characters to appear in my dreams and the action proceeds THROUGH character. If I mis-write a scene, it's because the character wouldn't do that particular thing. Remember Lord Acton's old saw: Character Is Destiny. Foremost in my mind is the concept of transformation. A character (a protagonist, anyway) is in a process of transformation, of working through personal flaws and defects so that life can be lived more fully. Heroism is the ability to admit the truth and make changes. My writing is mildly structured; there's plenty of room for improvisation. Mostly it's the act of writing itself. Things emerge that I did not expect and when they feel right and truthful I recognize those qualities. I use persistence, revision, constant imagining, keeping a mental storehouse of scenes and situations--I guess that's how I write.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I learned to read with DICK AND JANE. The ability to read hit me in the first grade like a thunderclap! In one great moment I "got it".
I figured out the connections between letters and the sounds they represented. I guess my first mature story was the aforesaid novel, THE EGYPTIAN. It was in the school library. I read Waltari's other books, THE ETRUSCAN, THE ROMAN, every one that was available. I've been reading ever since. I loved it! I became omnivorous. I read the entire set of encyclopedia from A to Z. I was just a teensy bit ahead of kids my age in reading comprehension. I was a dismal student. I didn't pay attention. I was always lost in a fantasy. Third graders were reading FARMER BILL AND THE BIG STORM. I was reading Dickens. My sanity and my very life have flowed from reading that first book.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read everything. I read history, biography, science fiction and fantasy, novels, mysteries. I've read every book by James Lee Burke. He's got soul! Thrillers get tiresome because it's always the hero's mentor or best friend who turns out to be behind all the attempts to expunge him from the earth. The Good GuyTurns Bad Guy syndrome. I watch a lot of TV, and I consider a TV series or a film to be writing, too. It wouldn't exist without its writers and the quality of the writing determines the quality of the film or series. So I watch TV and analyze the writing for pleasure. I like science books on astronomy, cosmology etc so long as they're not too technical. A writer like Timothy Ferris is excellent for that kind of enlightenment.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don't have one yet. I have my computer. Does that make me a dinosaur? Probably. I almost messed my pants one day when a Chinese man overtook me on the sidewalk as he was speaking into an earpiece concealed by his hair. A torrent of Chinese invective dopplered towards me and I thought he was 1.talking angrily to me or 2.stark raving mad. It turns out he was merely tech and I had to do a double-take to figure things out. Nowadays everyone is apparently talking to themselves.
Describe your desk
Sometimes it's a little messy. I sit in front of a 22" screen and my keyboard rests atop my closed laptop. Bills and receipts are beneath the monitor. USB cords zip off in every direction. Stacks of DVDs and CDs load two spindles. Cloths for wiping my glasses are near at hand. I can look right out the window but I have to keep the curtain closed or I can't see the monitor. I also have two cats who walk all over my keyboard and mouse. They are both senile and I can't be mean to them, can I?
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I was 18 I had an experience. Call it a visionary experience. One of the components of this experience was a voice speaking into my ear, as if someone stood right next to me. It said, "You have many precious gifts. These gifts come from god. They are not your own; they are as if borrowed, and you only get to keep them if you use them in the right way. You must prepare yourself, make yourself worthy of these gifts. It's your nature to be creative. Make yourself worthy of what you've been given. Make yourself worthy." So..I changed my life. I began to practice Yoga. I adopted a healthy diet. I exercised and I studied. I did everything RIGHT. Within ten years I had become a street person, a degenerate addict, homeless and devastated with a sense of self-betrayal. How did this happen to me? I wondered and wondered how it was possible to have such a pure intention and then go off the rails and end up in Hell. Along the way to this place someone had once said to me, "when you get into trouble you have to ask for help. You can't get out of it alone." So I did that, asked for help. And I spent the next fifteen years in therapy. I couldn't afford therapy but I worked at jobs like gas station attendant, construction laborer, house painter and I put together enough income to pay for my therapy. The question was "What is the greatest joy of writing for you?" I understand that writing comes from experience of the human condition and at eighteen I was a child, I knew nothing of the human condition.
I felt like some kind of god, I felt special. I damaged my body so that my mobility is limited. I had to give up a lot of dreams; I had to give up being a jazz drummer. But I can write. The fact that I can write fills me with limitless gratitude. I did the best I could to be worthy of my gifts and writing is a gift that still lives within me. It doesn't matter whether or not I succeed. Well, yes it does, but I don't see success as sales of books, I see it as the production of beauty, the telling of timeless stories and the ability to inspire and inform other people of what the world looks like to me.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

Feral Tenderness: Poetry And Photography
Price: Free! Words: 8,150. Language: English. Published: February 7, 2021 . Categories: Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Nonfiction » Art, Architecture, Photography » Photography - Photo books
These poems and photographs by Arthur Rosch are influenced by his vast curiosity. A lover of literature and music, Arthur enjoys the works of Sufi poets and mystics of all stripes. He is also a musician, playing piano and drums. His tastes range from Coltrane to Beethoven.This background brings rhythm and color to his works. The poems are often earthy, funny, and very modern. Read & enjoy.
The Gods Of The Gift: An Ancient Universe Novel
Price: Free! Words: 160,100. Language: English. Published: March 24, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
The Gods Of The Gift is a fantasy about the quest of the poet Garuvel Zimrin to stop the most destructive Being in the universe. Garuvel's nemesis is Boraz Bufaisdek, aka The Planet Calakadon. Though Calakadon is apparently a single being, he contains the summation of all the people of his vanished world. Calakadon is one of more than a hundred Planet-People. He is lethal and completely insane.
The Vice Of Courage
Price: Free! Words: 137,520. Language: English. Published: February 22, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Coming of age
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
This novel has won Writer's Digest Honorable Mention. In spite of its dark subject matter "This is a novel about family dysfunction.psychotherapy, jazz, addiction, and The Afghan War. This gripping tale of the secret life of a suburban family is an original literary achievement.
The Road Has Eyes - An RV, A Relationship and A Wild Ride
Price: Free! Words: 82,900. Language: English. Published: September 20, 2014 . Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Camping & RVing, Nonfiction » New Age » Supernatural
(4.56 from 9 reviews)
Were they crazy? Could Art and Fox leave the house and move into an RV full time? Art was a photographer/astronomer and wanted to escape city lights. Fox needed to explore her Native American roots. They started learning RVs. They were victorious but not before they courted utter disaster. The humor of this book seems to lie in the disasters. THE ROAD HAS EYES is a surprising and fun read.