Thursday, January 26, 2012
Part 1 of a 3 Part Interview: Mark Miller Interviews The Co-Authors of "One-Volume 5- For the Love of All"
Authors of One Interviews: Melissa Studdard and Scott Lutz
Hopefully by now you have had a chance to read the latest story from the One series. For the Love of All is written by a best-selling, award-winning author along with a counselor who happens to be a talented author, as well as an outdoor enthusiast.
“For the Love of All- Mark Miller's One, Story #5”
I want to thank Melissa and Scott for sharing such a beautiful story and taking the time to do this interview. Let’s jump into the first question:
MM: What inspired you to write this story?
Scott: A chance meeting that turned out not to be chance at all. In the summer of 2011, during a silent mediation, walking, and writing retreat in Taos, New Mexico, I met a traveler who seemed to be on a journey similar to mine. Brought together by forces beyond both of us, we discovered a connection of remarkable depth and intimacy. What followed was an intense recognition of each other that was so stark and clear, even though we had never met before – at least not in this lifetime. Almost immediately, we began to realize a series of synchronicities so profound and frequent that they were undeniable, pointing us toward relationship, collaboration in writing, and united purpose in matters close to our hearts.
Melissa: Scott said it so perfectly. Everything he said applies for me, as well.
MM: So the river scene actually becomes a metaphor for your philosophy. I can see how you were brought together by currents beyond your control. Writing such a personal story could not be easy. I’m sure you’ve had plenty of practice. How long have you been writing?
Scott: I’ve been writing since I was a kid. My mother used to have this massive Sperry Rand electric typewriter. I remember at the age of eight or nine sitting down in the middle of summer behind that awesome humming cream-colored machine. It would spit out print as fast as I could poke it in. I loved it! It was like a hot-rod I could rev up, and it would take me places while I wrote. During summer vacations, (my middle school sabbaticals) when every other kid was outside playing in the sunshine and fresh air, I’d be in my room hunkered down behind my wondrous word machine, clacking away, trying to get the keyboard to keep up with my ideas. I’d write research papers and essays about anything and everything. My brother and sister thought I was nuts. But I remember the exhilaration of being behind that amazing machine for hours, turning out page after page, completely energized by the experience of inking my thoughts on paper. That was the real beginning.
Melissa: It really has happened in stages. I think I've always been writing in my head. I can remember making up dialogue while standing in front of the mirror blow drying my hair as a kid. I didn't really know what I was doing or why, but it was part of what fed into my writing later, and it was the earliest stage. Thankfully, I didn’t tell anyone about the “voices,” so they didn’t lock me up! I started actually writing in my early twenties, and that was the second stage. I enjoyed it, but wasn't serious about it, and I stopped for a long time as I focused on other things. It never felt right to not be writing, but I wasn't very self-aware yet, and I wasn't sure what was missing. I began again when I was in my thirties, and that's when I got serious about it. In the past I’d always grappled with whether or not I was spending my time wisely by sitting around making things up. I just felt like there were better contributions I could make. I felt that writing was frivolous and a type of self-indulgence. In my thirties, however, I began to view writing differently and to really understand the kinds of contributions literature has made and can continue to make to our world. It was then that I finally allowed myself to become immersed in what I should have been doing all along. Now I absolutely cannot imagine my life without writing. It has become an integral part of who I am.
MM: Both of you are deeply immersed in writing. Speaking from experience, an author can develop interestinghabits, some might say, eccentricities. What is one of yours that you would like to reveal?
Scott: I like writing early in the morning or late at night. It’s a habit or at least a pattern that my best writing emerges late at night, between midnight and two in the morning. Although I write at various points throughout the day, when midnight rolls around, I usually know something fun’s about to happen.
Melissa: Only one eccentricity? I’m feeling a little hemmed in by this. Ha ha. Okay, when I’m really rolling, I somehow end up crouched in my chair like a frog that’s about to leap, or some sort of deranged, keyboard-happy yogi—feet flat on the chair, rear-end resting on my heels or suspended, forearms on my knees, hands on the keyboard. The position is called Malasana or Garland Pose. I don’t know how I get into this position, but I do, instinctively, and I love it because it’s a pose of extreme energy, alertness, and readiness. I feel that I’m open to receive and poised to deliver. Obviously I don’t stay this way very long because, quite frankly, it’s not very comfortable. But when I’m in the most intense part of any writing project, I instinctively end up sitting like this for at least a little while.
MM: Melissa’s posing leads me into another topic. In your story, you meet at a type of spiritual retreat. In some faiths, people go to church, in others, they meditate. What more can you tell us about your faith that we don’t get from the story?
Scott: I’m always struck by phenomenal examples of human-kind that cross my path quite unexpectedly. This has deepened my faith in people in general and the universe’s ability to constantly surprise me with people of incredible quality and experiences beyond my wildest imaginings.
Over time, I’ve developed greater faith in the fact that love is the most powerful force in the universe. I’ve been fortunate enough to have witnessed how acts of love and courage beyond the norm can transform lives of chaos into lives of peacefulness, meaning, and order.
One final factor that guides my faith is that I’ve become aware of a “Flow” in life, an invisible stream of energy and circumstance that runs along like a powerful silent river. I’ve experienced being in and out of this flow at different times in my life. Events and relationships move incredibly smoothly as if they were traveling gently along in the same serene river of energy. A deepening awareness of this flow reinforces my faith in a loving and orderly universe.
Melissa: I don’t know if there is a word for what I am. Agnostic means you’re uncertain but thoughtfully considering. Atheistic means you don’t believe in a deity. I believe it all. I believe that Buddha attained enlightenment. I believe that Jesus is the son of God and came as our savior. I believe that Ganesha is a remover of obstacles and Guanyin is a goddess of compassion. I believe that shamans communicate with the spirit world.
When you look at the common denominator among religions – to do to others as you would have done to yourself – the details of the different faiths don’t seem to matter as much, and it becomes easy to believe in their mutual relevance and that they can peacefully coexist.