Thursday, October 16, 2008

Towards Understanding by Lillian Brummet

Towards Understanding – a collection of 120 nonfiction poems (2005; Lillian Brummet)

1 - How did you get interested in the topic that’s featured in your book?
Lillian: Poetry was a healing tool for me that I used to crawl out of my own personal hell. You see, after growing up in an unstable, troubled and abusive home and never really experiencing the joy of a father, I found myself on my own when I was just under 14. I was angry, scared and determined to thrive despite it all. Poetry was key in the journey from just getting by to growing into myself, learning to move in with myself and reach some form of understanding about the past – but also about my value as an individual… the reason why I live and breathe today. So that is what Towards Understanding represents – I selected 120 poems and placed them in chronological order so readers can follow along on this journey.

2 - Tell us a bit about your background. What have you done in the past that relates to your book and that topic?
Lillian: Well, the pen and I have always had an intimate relationship. It was not necessarily taught to me by outside influences, although I did go to school like everyone else. It just seemed to be so natural to me, and I’ve always enjoyed it. Friends, who had read some of my poetry, began encouraging me to save it. So I did. Little scraps in shoeboxes under the bed. Then I began writing them out and storing them in photobooks, believe it or not… with little drawings that I had kept over the years. In the late ‘80’s, I became brave enough to enter a contest, and my writing career really began then – I suppose, though I didn’t start writing as a career until 1999.

3 - What advise would you give to someone who is interested in your topic?
Lillian: Write because your pen compels you to do so – not because you feel you should write about this or that. When your head pounds and words flow down the arm and into the pen… write, write, write. It does not matter if the item is ever published. You never know who you might influence long after you are gone because of something you wrote once. Family will have a better insight into the person you are because of the writings you do today. There are so many reasons to write, if not for your own sanity… then for the pure joy of it. Don’t worry about being educated in this or that – just do it.

4 - What do you see as the benefit to participating in groups and organizations? My first thought would be networking opportunities and the chance for personal and business growth. What are your reasons?
Lillian: The best place to reach readers now-a-days is on the Internet and this is where authors, storytellers and poets need to spend their time in both building name recognition, but also in interacting with potential readers and selling themselves first. As such, joining networking organizations is a great way to begin this journey, but it is only one step in many that writers will need to take. Too many writers find themselves chatting away in various networking sites and spending way too much time interacting online. Balance is the key.

5 - Who is the ideal person to read your book? If each person that reads this was going to recommend your book to one person, what sort of person would they want to chose?
Lillian: Towards Understanding was written to speak to those who struggle with self-identity and for the people who are trying to give them support they need to get through this stage in their life journey.

6 - What do you think ignites a person’s creativity?
Lillian: There is only one word that I can think of – Passion.

7 - What have you found to be the biggest stumbling block for people who want to start writing?
Lillian: The inner critic is the harshest barrier to overcome… that little voice that says your work is not good enough, that the story has been told before so how could anyone want to read your book?. This is the voice that says you’ll never have the courage to approach a publisher, the media, an agent, or whatever the fear is. Sometimes we write with absolutely no intention of publishing it and making it available to the public – and that is okay too. Lack of support can also be another barrier, but if we have enough passion, if we really crave this – no one’s nay-saying can keep the pen out of our hands. Others find time is their constraint; but even parents with full time jobs that have a passion for writing will set the alarm early to get their words on paper. There really is no barrier if the passion is there – except one, sometimes it is not the right time for us to do that project. We can embrace that, and make a note to come back to that project at a later date.

9 - What do you find is the biggest motivator for people to succeed? Is it money, security, desire for fame or something else?
Lillian: I think for most people their motivation is money and security, honestly. But there are a growing number of writers who write because they really do believe in the message they are trying to relay to their readers. For us, that message is that the individual truly has value, that they can make a real and measurable positive impact on the planet and their communities, and that the past can be both embraced and released.

10 - Who is the “perfect” person to read your book?
Lillian: People who want to really feel a real-life journey of survival, of breaking the chains of inner demons, finding value and purpose in life and growing towards understanding of their inner selves.

11 - Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Lillian: I would love for your readers to visit me at: There people will find our free newsletter and blog, a long list of free resources for greening the office, the home and eco-crafts for families. They can also find more information about all the things my husband and I do, including our 3 non-fiction books and our 2 radio shows.