VAH: Three by Five always starts with asking why do you write?
MJP: I am passionate about my search for truth and meaning and I believe that I have a unique perspective on reality that comes from a life time of exploration, particularly in non-rational and non-ordinary shamanic realms that defy description and can only be experienced directly. Most people never get to experience reality in these ways, so I have spent a lifetime trying to articulate them to give my readers a glimpse of an expansive perspective that pushes the boundaries of the “known” world.
VAH: Why did you become a writer and when did you know or feel like you were a writer?
MJP: English was by far my best subject in school. Everything else was secondary. I won school wide spelling bees and excelled as a storyteller. When I took a creative writing course in college I had to write an essay, which was to be turned in as a first draft to the teacher, then re-written and typed out for a final grade. I wrote my first draft about my first experience skydiving in longhand and when the teacher read it, she said, “This is excellent. You don’t have to do anything else. You get an “A”.”
VAH: Any influences on your development as a writer?
MJP: I was blessed to be taken in and more or less adopted by the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference where I had the tremendous good fortune to be mentored by Ray Bradbury, Charles Schulz, leading L.A. Times film critic Charles Champlin, and Barnaby Conrad as well as learning from Elmore Leonard, Robert B. Parker, Gore Vidal, and many others. In San Diego, I have had an awesome friendship with science fiction writer David Brin.
VAH: What do you remember about your first piece of writing?
MJP: I am also a drummer and a vocalist, so my first poem/songs were about my search for truth and meaning. My first published piece was an article titled “Whose Reality is it Anyway?” which was published in an inspirational magazine. It had to do with the multitude of different ways that people view the world.
VAH: What is the favorite piece you’ve written to date?
MJP: I remember reading an interview with Billy Joel many years ago where he was asked, “What is your favorite song that you have written?”
His answer that I have paraphrased here was, “They are all my children and though they are different in popularity and achievements, I love them all equally.”
More Matthew J. Pallamary this month, on days that end in 3.
Matthew J. Pallamary’s historical novel Land Without Evil, received rave reviews along with a San Diego Book Award for mainstream fiction and was adapted into a stage and sky show by Agent Red, directed by Agent Red, and was the subject of an EMMY nominated episode of a PBS series, Arts in Context.
He has taught a Phantastic Fiction workshop at the Southern California Writers’ Conference in San Diego, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles, and at the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference for twenty five years, and is presently Editor in Chief of Muse Harbor Publishing.
His memoir Spirit Matters took first place in the San Diego Book Awards Spiritual Book Category, and was an Award-Winning Finalist in the autobiography/memoir category of the National Best Book Awards. He frequently visits the jungles, mountains, and deserts of North, Central, and South America pursuing his studies of shamanism and ancient cultures.
San Diego, CA
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