Thanks for visiting my website. I’m a novelist and student of the imagination living in Honolulu. Fantasies, visions, hallucinations or whatever we call those irrational powers that illuminate our inner life fascinate me. I’m particularly intrigued by the creative intelligence that scripts our dreams. And I love carrying this soulful energy outside my mind, into the one form that most precisely defines who we are: story
I grew up in the urban shadow of New York City during the Cold War. The likelihood of thermonuclear holocaust made it really difficult to believe in a future.
Looking for a peaceful place to be, where my life didn’t feel threatened, I spent a lot of time reading. My obsession with creative writing began then.
The certainty of imminent apocalypse set me on an urgent, personal quest for answers to those big questions everyone asks: Where do we come from? Where do we go when we die? What exactly is reality?
I was appalled to discover that there are no answers!
We landed a man on the moon when I was seventeen, but no one knew then (or now) the origin of life let alone the cosmos.
Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem and Wittgenstein’s limits of logic prove conclusively that reality is unknowable. All answers to those ultimate questions are … fantasies!
That astonished me, and I began to look closely at the stories we tell and why some fantasies feel truer than others.
Why did you become a writer?
It’s a psychic journey. I wanted to find myself. Storytelling is a renowned technique for self-exploration. It admits one directly into what Tibetans call the bardo, literally “between existences.” There, we create the stories that define us. All of us do this, usually unconsciously. We gauge our distances in life by these stories, right to the edge of the world. The collective soul has its stories, too. These are the tales written down that become part of the psychic fabric of society. The drive of every writer is to find and recount these stories, because then one finds not only oneself but the world.
Why do you write science fiction and fantasy?
Those are the genres that most directly plumb the bardo, because they’re most straightforward about being imaginary. By their honesty, the genres of fantasy and science fiction almost equal poetry in their propinquity to the Place of Mystery that is the soul.
What about fiction simply as entertainment? Why regard fiction as a soulful concern at all?
Entertainment is soulful. It’s symbolic action at its finest. When one is most entertained, most engrossed in a work of art, one is no longer simply with oneself. One has entered a shared psychic space with the artist and the collective soul. From the first fireside storytellers, the goal has always been entertainment, the portal that opens to what is beyond us.
When I’m not writing, thinking about writing or thinking about thinking about writing, I enjoy hiking the high trails of the Hawaiian Islands. I get a spiritual lift visiting sacred sites where the first people told the stories that defined them.
The islanders had an oral tradition. Many of their stories disappeared before missionaries introduced writing. Sitting among the stone ruins of ancient shrines, surrounded by the same elemental vistas that inspired myths now forgotten, I feel the power and grace of writing. And I share presence with silence.