Interview with Warren McMillan

What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Price of Inequality by Joseph Stiglitz. or just about any book by Stiglitz if you want to understand economics and monetary policy and the effects these things have on our lives.
Think on these Things by Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti doesn't really write. He just talks and his discussions with followers are recorded and transcribed so it is a very conversational style. Here is a quote to give you the idea: "The moment I am aware that I am aware, I am not aware. Awareness means the observer is not.
The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation by Willliam Hart. I practice Vipassana meditation and this is a very good introduction to the technique. Vipassana is called 'insight' meditation and ten-day courses are offered all over the world for free. Don't try to learn by a book alone.
The Man who Quit Money by Mark Sundeen. This is the story of Daniel Suelo who gave away his life savings in 2000 and has lived without money since. He proved it can be done. Not for everyone, not even me, but very inspirational nonetheless.
The Ascent of Humanity: Civilization and the Human Sense of Self by Charles Eisenstein. I write about money and how fundamental money is to some of the most intransigent problems we face today. Eisenstein goes a big step further to find the root of our social, cultural, economic and spiritual dysfunction in our human sense of a discrete and separate self. Whatever else you do, please read this book.
What do you read for pleasure?
I have a pretty eclectic range of interests in pleasure reading. I like John Irving novels; just finished A Prayer for Owen Meany. I love reading Robert B. Parker novels just because he writes dialogue like no other. I spend some time in Florida and love to read Florida authors like Tim Dorsey, Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard and, of course Hemingway and Jack Kerouac. I find Cormac McCarthy dark and sometimes downright depressing but, man, can he write.
Describe your desk
My desk is a laptop computer. I like to be able to write wherever I am so my desk has to be portable. As I write this, for instance, I am sitting in my Roadtrek which is a kind of small RV. It serves as my office when I travel. Every available storage compartment is stuffed with books.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My family moved a lot when I was a child. I attended five elementary schools and four different high schools so I was always the new kid. My memory of the events of my childhood were usually from the perspective of an observer rather than a participant. Being on the outside looking in was my natural state and I expect it had the effect of giving me a more objective view of things so my tendency when I write is to look beyond the obvious for some deeper understanding.
When did you first start writing?
I feel like I have always been writing in one form or another. As a teacher I wrote lesson plans and curriculum documents.When I assigned my students a writing assignment, I would complete the same assignment and let them critique my work as well as theirs. As a computer consultant I wrote grant applications and implementation plans. As a business owner I wrote business plans, proposals, and marketing copy. It is only recently, since retired, that I have written for publication.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is The Monetization of Life. It was after the financial meltdown of 2008 that I began, out of a sense of outrage at the irresponsibility and downright fraud on the part of the financial sector, to research economics. This led to a study of monetary policy and I was astounded at how stupid I was about money. I had been using it all my life and realized my concept of what money was and how it works was completely wroing. My inquiry led me deep into the world of macroeconomics, cyber currencies, alternative currencies, complementary currencies, barter systems, banking, inequality and finally, to the effects of our monetary paradigm on ourselves and our communities. What I found was a seriously flawed monetary system that inspired me to write about it and to develop an alternative currency designed to support a sustainable local economy.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
For me writing is the best way to think. Writing forces me to clarify my thoughts on any subject. It forces me to organize those thoughts and express them in an articulate way understandable by others. I don't know about you but my mind is like a box of monkeys. I need the discipline of writing to focus my concentration long enough to make sense of a topic. If I just think about something it inevitably drifts off into something else. Writing keeps my thoughts on track to go further and further into a topic. Thinking is like swimming on the surface of the lake, kicking and splashing. Writing is like diving deep into the lake, deeper and deeper, to find the bottom of the thing.
What are you working on next?
I have several ideas rolling around in my head right now but one that stands out is about awareness. I practice a kind of meditation called Vipassana, which is a Buddhist technique, and awareness is a big part of that. Awareness and mindfulness are terms used by writers on spirituality without much in the way of how to actually practise awareness in everyday life. The awareness we attempt when prompted to become more so usually results in a very superficial kind of awareness that is of little use. It might be interesting to offer a deeper understanding of awareness and how to practise it more effectively.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I sit for an hour of meditation each morning. I look forward to it as it grounds me and keeps me in balance for the day. Beyond that my inspiration comes from a continued attempt to lead an authentic life. My cottage is in constant state of renovation since I love to work with large timbers and hone my woodworking skills building timberframe additions. This kind of work cannot be rushed, it cannot be multi-tasked and it cannot be automated so it is the antithesis of modern construction techniques and should still stand a hundred years after I am gone. Wabi Sabi is the art of the simple and authentic. I try to adhere to this philosophy in all that I do.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I live on fifty acres of nothing but trees, rocks and water. The trees provide all the firewood I can cut and split. It is quite time-consuming as I split it all by hand and there are two woodstoves and a wood cookstove in the cottage. Trees also provide slab siding for the cottage and timbers for timberframe additions that I love to build. I installed my solar power service myself, which requires continued expansion and maintenance. My book about wiring a solar service is offered here on Smashwords. An acre clearence to the south of the cottage has room for a permaculture/hugelkultur garden that provides an unlimited time sink. My project this summer is a pondless waterfall to attract the birds. Wish me luck
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote had a four-letter word in it. It was only the summer before, my tenth, that my friend Bernard and I, alone in the lake far from the cottage, used the occasion to try out saying bad words to each other to see how it felt. I can still remember how foreign they sounded coming from my voice. The word in my story was added with the same sense of experimentation but with how it felt to write such a word. Upon my arrival home from school shortly after completing the story, I was aghast to find my mother reading it in the kitchen. I expected punishment would be swift and severe. To my amazement, however, she said she liked it and suggested I write more stories. Had she somehow missed that word? Had she been temporarily blinded in her belief that such a word could never have existed in the mind of her son? I kept writing but to this day I have qualms about foul language in my stories.
Published 2016-03-19.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Monetization of Life
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 17,710. Language: English. Published: March 18, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Money & monetary policy, Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
The way money is created is a scam. It is a fraud upon the people. It is a deliberately obtuse system hiding the fact that it is a ponzi scheme designed to transfer wealth to the 1%. We have a collective blind spot when it comes to money so we do not recognize that it has a fatal flaw which is responsible for the level of inequality in the world today. Herein lies a solution: change the money.
Self-Sufficient Solar
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 6,020. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Green living
The purpose of this ebook is to show you how I installed and wired my solar power system. I started with no background in electrical or solar systems. This ebook contains all the information I wish I had before I started my own solar installation. The purpose of the ebook is to help you avoid scams and save you time and money.