Michael Shevack – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Adam & Eve: Marriage Secrets from the Garden of Eden.

It’s a book that saved my marriage, because I had to, in a very strange way, write it in order to save my marriage.

We were having a lot of difficulties. But, for some reason, neither of us knew what was going on. We had everything. Beautiful home. Great children. We had love, but, something shifted— something we didn’t understand— and all of a sudden, we were in serious trouble.

I’m what people would call a “spiritual leader,” because I’m ordained as a rabbi, but, it didn’t help, because religion is part of the problem. They give you a lot of rules and regulations about “how to be” in marriage, and that, it turns out was part of the problem.

So I actually had to start from scratch and try to figure out what was wrong. That required me—- and I know this sounds strange—- to think through the entire Creation, and see where marriage fell in. I had to discover the spiritual principles that would make marriage work, and when I did, I was rather shocked.

It was right there in the story of Adam and Eve, only disguised. The story made much more sense as a spiritual-marriage lesson—– how to align ourselves, as individuals, and as a couple, with how Reality is “designed”, to learn Life’s ropes—– than as a sick, twisted lesson in falling into punishment (but often, I guess, that’s how marriage becomes.)

Tell us something about yourself.

I have a rather strange background. By trade, I am an advertising creative director. I’ve created some of the bigger award winning campaigns, like Gillette. The Best A Man Can Get, and many others.

However, in my tenth year, after getting fired from a very prestigious job, I had a spiritual experience. I was lead, through a very curious series of steps, to meeting a gentleman who was considered, by many, to be a key theologian to the Vatican and the World Council of Churches. He declared me the student he had been praying for 15 years, and because this, I became, 8 years later,
under his guidance, a rabbi.

I do inter-religious work all over the world; I’m active as well in the New Age communities.

Curiously, I’m not very religious at all, and am not happy with religion— never have been. But, it seems my gifts are teaching how to live life spiritually, Now I know that sounds very “la did a”, but, really, there are “ropes” here, built into Life.

If you learn how to live according to them, Life gets wonderful, because you are aligned to them.

That’s how I saved my marriage. We discovered the ropes, and re-arranged our marriage not according to our ego, but according to Life.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I was born in Brooklyn, moved to Queens. And I was actually a medical student before going into advertising. I dropped out. It was then I discovered I could write.

I had a sudden inspiration to write a children’s book, and did it. I never published it, but, I realized I could write, and it made good sense, because I had been on the newspapers in high school and college.

But, since it takes a while before one can support oneself writing books, I decided to go into copywriting (advertising writing). My brother had married a new lady who was a copywriter, and it seemed a way to make a living and write. Actually that lady is Melisse Shapiro, also known as M.J. Rose. She was the first person to actually market a book over the internet. She is quite an expert on the subject and a wonderful person.

So, I became a copywriter, and then, only after meeting my rabbi, did I become a writer. It seemed God had a task for my writing, and it was spirituality. My first book was a collaboration with Rabbi Bemporad called Stupid Ways, Smart Ways to think about God (Liguori) press.

My second book was on Vatican II , Our Age, The historic new era of Christian Jewish Understanding (New City Press). Adam and Eve, is my third book.

I’ve written other books though in Italian.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

For me the hardest part of writing is making sure, there is a correct balance of feeling and thought, and my words are very, very precise, in order to communicate their meaning, but, they are also, entertaining and pointed.

I cannot bear when communication is sloppy; perhaps it’s an old ad requirement. But, writing is supposed to communicate, isn’t it?

So, I care about being precise and communicating clearly.

These days writing is so casual, because the internet is so casual. We’ve lost something, I think.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

By writing this book, I learned the fundamental secrets to keeping not just a marriage, but any relationship, happy and alive. The relationship could be a marriage. But, the spiritual-ropes around a marriage are not particularly different than the ropes around any relationship, whether between yourself and a boss, yourself and a friend, or what not. Marriage is just a little more intense, and it has a few extra ropes, which, if you don’t know how to learn them, will hang you.

Committed relationships, whether with an institution or not, are the same spiritually as marriage however, sometimes, if people are afraid of marriage, they will withdraw from it by “just living together”. That, in itself, can be a problem. And by the way, it makes no difference what your religious background, because spirituality is spirituality.

Up until writing this book, I was a kind of robot, doing “what’s right”, but not truly living spiritually, with the woman I love. Only just following the prescribed roles. We were outwardly happy, but inwardly miserable. Now we’re inwardly and outwardly happy.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading a brilliant book, Conscious Community, which was written by a rabbi who buried it in the Warsaw Ghetto, when it was under attack. It was dug up and discovered.

It is a work of genius describing how people should live in community for the purpose of their spiritual growth. It comes at a pretty great time, because I seem to have learned how to be a person, and I guess, I’m ready for some kind of community, though I’ve been shying away from it.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I’m writing currently The Six Fix. A spiritual guide for restoring America’s goodness. You can find an old (and far too extensive) version on the internet, www.sixfix.com There’s wonderful information in it, but, I’m taking the book, and condensing it right now.

The same spiritual rules I learned in marriage, can, with a few changes, help save our country from the insane things that are going on.

So, I’m taking on America. Everyone is talking AT each other. We have a marriage problem between democrats and republicans living in the saem house.

I’ll post the newer version, as soon as its finished, but you might be interested in the older one. It is a crash course on God and Creation.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

The most important advice I can give is to write.

Just write. Whatever it is in you, that needs to express itself, express it.

Just allow. Just allow. Just allow. Let what comes up, comes up. I assure you, Life will lead you, and use your talents for its purpose. If you wish to call Life, God, that’s fine—- I’m not selling religion, or any view of God, here.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

I haven’t been promoting the Adam and Eve book, much, because my wife had gotten sick, and I was unable to focus on it. I’m doing tremendous amount of marriage counseling, though, and it is coming up handy.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Please feel free to visit my website rabbimike.com; you can order books there. You can also see a T.V. interview on the book that I did out in the Hamptons. There’s a radio interview of mine from the Lionel Show, as well, and some blurbs on my thinking.

Please feel free to contact me.

I love new friends.