And we’re back!
An extra-long Three by Five with Matthew J. Pallamary since due to technical breakdown, he lost out on part of July. Writing life, writing community, and random facts all rolled into one.
VAH: Are you a full-time writer?
MJP: I write, edit, and teach full-time to make ends meet. If not writing, I would probably have a high level technology job as that is where I used to make my money.
VAH: Would you say writing is a vocation, occupation, or profession?
MJP: Yes – probably more aptly defined as an obsession.
VAH: Young writers often ask about writers block. When the page is blank, what gets you writing?
MJP: Getting out of my intellectual and emotional bodies and into my moving body. I go into great detail about these dynamics in my upcoming book Phantastic Fiction – A Shamanic Approach to Story.
VAH: Sounds interesting, and a different approach to writing. What is your “process” when working on a new piece of writing?
MJP: Research, gestation, outline, and then a draft.
VAH: I always find the research phase challenging. I’m inpatient.
What does your typical writing day include?
MJP: Writing, editing, and promotion.
VAH: Promotion – such a big part of the author’s job in the current publishing climate.
What about the writing community? What words of wisdom do you have for the emerging writer?
MJP: Writing = Ass in chair.
Just because it is easy to publish does not mean that you are ready. Writing is far more of a complex art and craft than people realize. One well known quote says, “There is no such thing as writing, there is only rewriting.”
If you are not doing it because you love it and have fantasies of being rich and famous, then you are in for a world of disappointment.
VAH: That is a quite often repeated quote of Robert Graves. Matthew, what choices have you made regards to traditional or independent publishing?
MJP: I am Independent all the way. I have been writing for well over thirty years and have seen and experienced all manner of disappointment and thoughtlessness as well as three agents who never did anything for me. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than having complete creative control as well as all the rights to my works.
VAH: That creative control is both enticing and challenging. Everything is now your responsibility. Getting the writing out there – what part does social media play in your writing career?
MJP: I have been involved with it from the start as a means to promote my writing and see it as a kind of necessary evil. Having said that, unfortunately it is being flooded by volumes of “not ready for prime time” crap that muddies the waters with all the desperate “Buy my book!” posts.
VAH: I’m in agreement with that. If one is going to independently publish, the standard remails make a book as good as the big publishing house does.
Have you found a benefit to writing or author?
MJP: I have been teaching my Phantastic Fiction workshops at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference and the Southern California Writer’s Conferences for twenty five years now and have been a member of numerous other conferences, conventions, and workshops. These conferences are my writing family. Everyone needs to get input from sources outside their immediate family and friends if they want to improve. They especially need it from those with more experience to share.
VAH: What was your writing education?
MJP: Other than a creative writing class and English classes in general, I have gotten the most from hands on writing read and critique groups led by qualified professionals and by attending writer’s conferences.
Your favorite writing conferences, retreats, seminars?
I have taught at both of them for twenty five years and they are my family.
VAH: I’ve had the same experience with the San Francisco Writers’ Conference. A core of people I see only once a year at the conference yet I consider close friends and my writing family.
Now, a little fantastical and random life –
If you had a super power, what would it be and why?
MJP: Omniscience – so I could be everywhere at once and fully aware of everything.
VAH: Haven’t heard that one before! How about in a movie about your life and times, who would play you? What would the theme song be and why?
MJP: Mark Wahlberg – because he grew up in Dorchester where I did.
I’ve already written Spirit Matters, an award winning memoir. The song would be “Flying in A Blue Dream” by Joe Satriani because I love the energy of it.
VAH: What is a little known fact about you that will amaze and/or amuse?
MJP: I have been working extensively with visionary plants in the Amazon for fifteen years now.
VAH: What are three random, non-writing facts about you?
MJP: I am an accomplished drummer and vocalist. My mother was a famous child acrobat. I have an extensive background in technology.
VAH: And who is your biggest fan?
MJP: Margaux Dunbar Hession.
VAH: If you knew tomorrow at midnight was your last day – how would you spend it and what would your last meal be?
MJP: I would spend it in the rain forest under the influence of powerful visionary plants to get as much of a preview of “the other side” as I could, so I could have some kind of idea of where I am heading. My last meal would be Thai food.
VAH: Big, nasty bug in the kitchen – what do you do?
MJP: Help it out the door.
VAH: Favorite quote and why?
MJP: “Through the ages, countless spiritual disciplines have urged us to look within ourselves and seek the truth. Part of that truth resides in a small, dark room — one we are afraid to enter.”
It is mine from my first published book – a short story collection titled The Small Dark Room of the Soul and Other Stories.
VAH: Thank you Matthwe J. Pallamary for participating in Three by Five.
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.
Connect with Matthew J. Pallamary:
Ashley Butler, a prize winning journalist at the San Diego Times receives an email from a man who claims to have discovered immortality by turning off the aging gene in a 15 year old boy with an aging disorder. The email has pictures showing a reversal of the aging process and the names of a scientist and a company to investigate. Thinking it a hoax, she forwards the email to friends.
Though skeptical, she calls to investigate and gets a no longer in service message. When she leaves her office she overhears a news story about the death of the scientist mentioned in the email.
Ashley checks out the company mentioned in the email and discovers a gutted building. At the deceased scientist’s address she has a confrontation with an unfriendly federal investigator. Returning to her office she finds him, subpoena in hand, confiscating her computer. He tells her that the scientist who sent the email is a killer that they need help catching. When her own investigators do more checking, none of them return.
The forwarded email becomes the basis for an online church built around the boy, calling him the CyberChrist. The church claims that the Internet is the physical manifestation of the group mind of humanity and the boy is the second coming of Christ online.
The federal government tries to shut down the church, but its website replicates faster than they can stop it. While church and state battle over religious freedom online, the media and the state battle over freedom of speech.
Ashley battles to stay alive.
Due out in 2015 –
Matthew J. Pallamary’s popular Phantastic Fiction Workshop has been a staple of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and the Southern California Writer’s Conference for over twenty five years. He has also lectured at numerous other venues and led his own weekend intensive workshops.
Matt has spent extended time in the jungles, mountains, and deserts of North, Central, and South America pursuing his studies of shamanism and ancient cultures. Through his research into both the written word and the ancient beliefs of shamanism, he has uncovered the heart of what a story really is and integrated it into core dramatic concepts that also have their basis in shamanism.