Interview with Firinn Taisdeal

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is the deep insights and realizations it brings. For me, nothing beats engaging with a profound subject, struggling to fully understand it in all its aspects, and through this process being rewarded with new insights. In many cases great frustration precedes these insights, making the insights even more satisfying when they finally occur, sometimes after a long period of preparation.
What are you working on next?
I am working on seven additional books, on diverse subjects:

Pantheism (I am a devout Pantheist)
A Small Encyclopedia of Big Ideas
Conceptions of Genius (genius and its relation to emotional and spiritual qualities)
Grow Up and Stop Eating Crap (a humorous diatribe about senseless, unhealthy dietary habits)
The Art of Conversation: Methods, Madness & Miracles
The Art of Fingering for the Piano (a guide to fingering for musical intent and musical artistry)
The Awarians (a novel about social disruption based on a shift in awareness)
Who are your favorite authors?
I am concerned purely with content which produces insight, whatever the source of that content. Frequently I find far more inspiration in nature, and the unbridled life of the mind and spirit than I do in human beings. Therefore, I have no favorite authors, unless you count the universe as an author.

In olden days I loved Joyce for his language (read Finnegans Wake three times), Dostoyevsky for depth of character, Becket for highly structured absurdity, Flaubert for pure style (only in the original French), Djuna Barnes for darkness, Flannery O'Connor for strange depth of spirit and moral themes, Herman Melville and Stephen Crane for being Melville and Crane.

I read in five languages, not including English: German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian. Reading in translation just doesn't work for me at all anymore.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The thought of how much I can learn, enjoy and appreciate new aspects of the universe, as well as design and build a new and improved self.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Playing piano (preparing for either concerts or recording); reading widely; dreaming up new ways to challenge myself; communing with my little grey cat Zanny; discovering new minuscule critters and new scents of plants in the garden; cooking with any of my four solar ovens; inventing new, fun ways to exercise; long, exploratory conversations with anyone willing to embark on an unpredictable journey of discovery.
What is your writing process?
Think, think, question, think, question, think, research, think, question, abandon all previous ideas, think, become painfully frustrated, think, give up, think, go back to it, become even more painfully frustrated, give up again, think, think even more, think even more than that...then suddenly sit down and write a detailed, perfect outline.

Almost everything is easy after that.
What do you read for pleasure?
1. Anything that completely freaks me out with how important it is, combined with how little I know about it.

2. Anything that will probably change my mind in an important way.

3. Anything that will add to my mind in an important way.

4. Anything that seems to make other people very nervous.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I stick with the forest products whenever I read books. This is partly because I have free access to the U.C. Berkeley and extended University of California library system, so I make periodic field trips to the UCB campus and return with a backpack full of amazing books, all for free.

Also, I love paper. All kinds of paper. The feel of it. The smell of it. The heft of it. The sound of it as the pages turn.

I absolutely love holding a beautifully designed book in my hand containing delicious, deep content.
Describe your desk
My work desk is a large, beautifully minimal dinner table of light wood, of Scandinavian design, with very little on it.

Two JBL studio monitors are placed in front of me, forming an equilateral triangle with my ears, for maximum clarity of stereo imaging.

On my left is a small piece of slate, with the image of a hummingbird carved into it.

Also on my left is a small fossil of Orthoceras, a genus of extinct nautiloid cephalopod. It is a stark black, grey and white. Hundreds of millions of years ago that little bastard was alive, and prowling around in the ancient ocean.

Other than that, just a big Mac (so to speak) monitor, which beckons me toward deep realizations in the writing process.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My first eighteen years were spent in Westport, Connecticut, a small and painfully pretentious town on the shore of Long Island Sound, forty-seven miles from New York City. The town was a deeply strange combination of natural beauty, and ugly human beings, with a few exquisitely beautiful human beings.

Mostly nature was my friend. I tried the humans for a while, but found nature both more interesting, and far more trustworthy.

The physical beauty of parts of the town affected me profoundly as a child. The horror of grotesque wealth which gradually overtook the town and has now ruined it affected me as well. Both aspects have become fundamental themes in my writing.
What's wrong with the world?
People. People, people and nothing but people, and perhaps the worst problem with people is that they think they are not the problem.
Published 2015-03-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Litter Patrol Workout
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,430. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Exercise
The Litter Patrol Workout provides detailed guidance on how to get a great workout while making the world a little bit better, and inspiring others. The author also shares his many years of experience with the Litter Patrol Workout, and of performing litter patrol all over the world, while traveling.
Living Much More through Buying Much Less
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 51,110. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » General self-help
Why do you buy the things you buy? Why do you keep the things you keep? How much better could your life be if you freed yourself from a lot of that stuff you're keeping? A new book, "Living Much More through Buying Much Less," addresses these questions in a particularly deep way, offering sensible methods for reducing your burden of possessions, and having a more profound experience of life.