Tiferet Journal is at the nexus of literature and spirituality. It publishes high-quality poetry, prose and art that further meaningful dialogue about what it is to be human and conscious in today’s often divisive world. The entire interview is in Tiferet Journal, Summer 2015 http://tiferetjournal.com/
MS: I think that writing changes us – it brings things out in a person that were either dormant or not there before. What would you say it brings out in you?
IP: In a word – authenticity. I am not good at sitting down and writing four pages a day. I wait until the spiritual energy is present within me, then I write. Sometimes this is frustrating, as I want to get on with it, but when I do not stay still and wait – I simply write garbage! So I use the in between times to do research, edit and look for spelling mistakes and typos. When the energy is sparkling – the writing flows effortlessly. I do not consider this as a necessary template for others – it is just what works for me to connect to the Muse within. I trust that far more than any impatience.
MS: What gifts do you hope others will receive from your writings?
IP: Courage to believe that they can take steps to transform internally then make a difference externally. The stories I tell in my books are offered as a gift to our planet. My purpose in life is to share my wealth of experience on how to live in harmony not just with ourselves but with the place we call home… earth. I shed light on issues that will affect our world for generations to come. The example of my own challenging journey and personal transformation illuminates a path for others to expand their consciousness and chart the course for a future beyond the abyss. The human race does not need to be stuck with maladaptive options and patterns. We can and must transform. The key to change this deep freeze is Awakening, a spiritual relationship with self and Mother Earth. My books deliver a vigorous message about personal transformation in order to become different stewards of the earth and society. I’d like to consider Trailing Sky Six Feathers as the real life version of James Redfield’s best-selling fictional book The Celestine Prophecy. I have nine chapters – loaded with Insights and adventure, plus shamanic training over a period of three decades. Trailing Sky Six Feathers and Redemption are super unique, as they are drawn from my actual lived experience. Reality based information is in high demand in today’s society, which provides the potential for this project to become a fresh, new icon for today’s hungry culture. Hungry, that is, for authentic transformation.
MS: Can you tell us about the beginning of your writing career? When did you start writing, and what drew you to it in the first place?
IP: In my teenage expedition to Sarawak, Borneo, I kept a journal of the vivid surrounds and how I was feeling. From that time on I kept journals wherever I went. I eventually had trunks full of journals that reminded me of the experiences I went through, particularly in India. My extensive shamanic training with incredible First Nations medicine people was carefully logged. The journals were a sign post to me – to be always authentic, even when it was awful and hard to re-read. I do my best to maintain that. As a professor I wrote text books and scholarly papers, which had particular protocols that were somewhat stifling. When I started late on the writing craft – I had to re-learn how to write without sounding pompous, to be mindful of what the reader could take in. I also gave up on footnotes! In my career as an anthropologist I was fortunate to encounter many Native American story tellers across North America – Dene, Hopi, Ojibwa, Algonquin, Inuit – to mention a few. Their recounting of myths and history had a deep impact upon me. I now take all of this into my blog “Awakening – Spiritual Relationship with Self and Mother Earth” on WordPress – a great place to tell stories in an authentic voice.
MS: Do you have any advice for beginning writers and/or spiritual practitioners, something you wish you had known earlier on?
IP: I come back to “Authenticity” once more. That is something that took a while to register in my career as an academic. It is always essential to find your own authentic voice and do not be afraid to express it. At the same time find good mentors and guides to kindly assess what you create. Wise eyes on your manuscript, poem, spiritual path can gently encourage you to be authentic – for with that comes balance, mindfulness and clarity. Do the “thing” because it is in you, expressing your deepest self and be less concerned about reviews and results. In a recent conversation about craft with my cousin Lynn, a gifted photographer, she remarked that “Writing is like other creative activities – we are driven internally to do it regardless of the outcomes – like doodling on a notepad, singing in the shower or dancing while doing housework….but if one is lucky enough to have a talent and an audience that appreciates the art, the pleasure can be even greater in the sharing.” That says it all for me.
MS: Do you have any other publications or events coming up soon that you’d like to announce? What are you currently working on?
IP:. My latest book New Planet, New World is the final bookend of a trilogy. Redemption is the first book in this trilogy that has Trailing Sky Six Feathers as the second book. The final tome takes characters from the prior two books, placing them in the future on a new planet. Life on the new planet permits a beginning anew for our species – a communal Hero’s Journey to reconstruct a society based on ecology, sharing and caring. The reader will find in this futuristic novel three distinct love stories, the establishment of ethical settlements with a paradigm that echoes Tolstoy’s “people of the twenty fifth century” and wise resolution for severe setbacks. The novel moves from dark to liberating chapters with action, fear, resolution, death, rape, bravery, exile in this futuristic opportunity for humanity. This action packed book ends on a philosophical note concerning our place in the centuries to come.
I have a number of book signings in Ottawa over the summer in Ottawa.
Of her debut poetry collection, I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast, Robert Pinsky writes, “This poet’s ardent, winning ebullience echoes that of God…” and Cate Marvin says her work “would have no doubt pleased Neruda’s taste for the alchemic impurity of poetry.” Melissa Studdard is an editor for American Microreviews and Interviews, hosts Tiferet Talk radio, and judges the monthly Goodreads ¡Poetry! Group contest. She is also the author of the novel, Six Weeks to Yehidah, and a collection of interviews, The Tiferet Talk Interviews. Her awards include the Forward National Literature Award and the International Book Award. Her poetry, fiction, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in a wide range of publications, including Pleiades, Poets & Writers, Tupelo Quarterly, Psychology Today, and Connecticut Review. Learn more at www.melissastuddard.com