Maria: The times you’re most joyful
Mike: If you asked every member of my family and extended family this question about me, no one could provide an answer. Recently my youngest posted a photo on Facebook of ‘our’ fourth grade ‘California Mission’ project, which sixteen years later resides at the same school it was submitted to. That it still exists and that she cared enough to share it brought me joy.
California Mission Project 1996, 4th Grade by Kate and Mike Friedman
Maria: Something you’d like to learn
Mike: Ciao, VORREI imparare l'italiano
Maria: The times you’re most creative
10 pm to 6 am.
Maria: If we peeked in your closet
Mike: Coming Out of the Closet
Maria: Your favorite book and why
Mike: Easy question. “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert A. Heinlein is my favorite book. Why? Now that’s tougher. It arrived in my possession the second week of basic training. I spent many an hour with it in between running up and down hills with a full pack and KP duty. It taught me that it is better to laugh at things.
The message was important to me then as it is now. It taught me to question things people told me. It provided my first adult conversation.
Maria: Your best advice to a new writer
Mike: This is a really tough question. Any answer I give makes it sound like I might know something. I think two things would stand as advice. The first is to write what you know about. The second in the value of quotation marks; anything between quotation marks is exempt from all the rules of the language, because people do not always speak ‘by the rules’. And this is not a rule, but I suggest that you write for yourself first.
Maria: In what subjects/genres are you best in writing?
Mike: I am known for writing a story about things that ‘might could’ happen at a Texas Cafe, a roadside stop just off the highway, on the way to nowhere. I have been told that I write about the mundane. That the story is about ‘nothing’, but to me the story is about life, and about good people.
Whether I am best at this genre or not is questionable. My view is that the more compelling stories are ‘better’.
About the poetry: A quote from an anonymous source called me a ‘rhymer’, which is just not fair, can’t help that I’m square, held up in this lair, eating a pear, which is neither here nor there, ok I’ll stop I swear, because I can just not bear to be this debonair.
Maria: What would be a subject/genre that would challenge your current writing efforts, or are you perfectly happy with where you are?
Mike: Some writers are in tune with themselves; they easily draw from their emotions and can get their thoughts and feelings onto paper. I place myself at a distance, as the narrator, the characters have their thoughts and their feelings. An odd thought, I am not the hero in my stories.
Maria: Song(s) that tell us about you
Mike: No one song defines me. Not even close. Nothing could sum me up in three and a half minutes. I have selected a song. It is a recurring theme in the least significant part of my history.
Maria: Your secret talent
Mike: Oh, that I had a secret talent. Okay, here it is. I can take a piece of wood, balance it on the tip of my finger, extended away from my fingertip with a man’s leather belt draped over the piece of wood and the piece of wood nor the belt will fall to the ground thus defying gravity. The trick amazes those under eight-years-old.
Taking the picture with one hand while balancing the belt was a trick in itself.
Maria: Some advice to your younger self
Mike: I don’t feel that I wasted much time as a young adult, the Army was kind enough to give me a full time job right out of high school, then my oldest daughter came along and demanded to eat every day, and so my adult history began. To be more concise, if there was a time machine available I would make a few minor adjustments to my decisions and instill the fact that time is very precious and should be spent wisely.
Maria: The best part of getting older
Mike: There are several possible categories to this question. “Amorous-wise” - given the loan of a proper time machine that I can hop a ride back 25 years then take a second hop back again, so I don’t show up in the past from my future golden years.
See? It gets so complicated. What’s the point showing up as a five year old? Barring that, lunch at a nice café, with lots of terrific people would be just fine.
Maria: Your favorite vacation spot
Mike: I have travelled quite a bit, but have only taken a couple of what are referred to as vacations.
Of the places I have been, Italy is the most beautiful and welcoming. I likened it to walking around inside a painting. There was art, architecture, beautiful people, and three hour dinners.
In Florence I walked down a narrow passage and heard an operatic solo coming out of a nearby studio--someone just practicing for her performance.
I smoked a Havana cigar while standing at the edge of the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. My shadow danced on the Adriatic Sea, across the bows of the moored gondolas in a choppy tide.
In Rome I had dinner in a restaurant that every inch of wall space was covered with oil paintings from local artist. It was a restaurant where the locals ate. It was a community as well as a place to eat. There was incredible energy.
Thanks, Mike, and congratulations on the publication of the third book in your, The Carriage Driver, series. This will make a great holiday gift for yourself and the book lovers on your reading list.
Until next time, take care and be inspired,
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