What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.
My most recent and currently my only book is. Leaving Stress Behind: A yoga practice.
The book tells the story of my unexpected journey from 20 years in rock and roll to my new life as a yoga teacher. It also includes stories from my travels and experiences in Mysore, India while doing a yoga teacher apprenticeship and details the yoga class I now teach.
Tell us something about yourself.
I was raised in Cleveland, Ohio in the working class suburb of Euclid. >From an early age-7 years old-I wanted to be a famous rock and roll guitar player. I’m sure it was my mother’s obsession with Elvis that did it. At age 18 I moved to Los Angeles to give it a go. I had a little sucsess. I recorded some songs for film and television (What Women Want with Mel Gibson and How The Grinch Stole Chrismas with Jim Carrey) but it wasn’t enough to support myself. I did 3 tours of Europe with a death rock band and found myself unsatisfied with the bullshit called “the music buisness”. I spent a few years in a recording studio producing and enginering small time bands and finding myself generally unhappy and in pain from too much time on the computer in my studio. During a divorce, I found myself in a very fucked up situation and ended up homeless for a second. I had a bit of an epiphany that led me to yoga and a “simple life”. I began teaching yoga in 2005. I took my first trip to India in 2006. I wrote my first book in 2007 about that journey and life transition.
What inspired you to write this book?
I love writing. I love to play with words. I’m a dyslexic and I see things a little differently. I love to use that. I ultimately wanted to share a story with people. Simply, I’m a storyteller.
How did you choose the title?
The tittle of the book has a few meanings. If I give them all away that would be no fun. It’s like seeing a movie trailer. Once I’ve seen that I probably don’t really need to see the movie. Anyway, My nickname used to be Stress. You know like Slash. I was a rock and roll guitar player named Stress and part of my book is about moving away from that part of my life. Leaving Stress Behind.
One of the other meanings has to do with my first trip to India. The tour guide I paid to get me to Mysore, India abandoned me in Bangalore, India. They left me, Stress, behind. Which is probably the funniest chapter in my book.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I had spent almost 20 years working my way into the music buisness. It started to seem strange to me that I gave someone in an office behind a desk so much power to say, “Yes, you can create” or “No, you can’t.” I really took a hard look at the Punk Rock community which has a history of saying, “Oh yeah? Fuck you, I’m going to do it anyway.” I never considered getting my book published. I was going to do it on my own from day one. I eventually sent a few query letters out and found the process made me feel like a call girl. I didn’t like it. I sell my book directly to my yoga students and on the internet. There is a freedom in that I find very appealing. I teach thousands of people a year in Runyon Canyon Park in Los Agneles. There is a communtiy-run yoga program there that is in its 10th year. We have reached a lot of people.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Stories come into my head. They kind of run around. I can hear them like I’m telling the story. I’ll edit and run it back and forth in my head and then I’ll write in on paper. If I don’t write them down they disappear. These stories pop up at the most inconvenient times. Mostly, just as I am about to nod off to sleep.
In Leaving Stress Behind I lived the stories. But it wasn’t until a year or so later that they-the stories- started to rattle around in my head.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
If I start a project, even if I don’t know in the beginning how, I will finish it. There is a good chance it will work itself out. The right people will apear at the right time.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Don’t let anyone tell you no. Don’t let anyone tell you there is not a market for what you are doing. If you’re just trying to write a book to make a bunch of money or get famous, I think selling drugs or getting into poltics would be more satisfying. So before you start, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” And be honest. Then no matter what the answer is, do it anyway.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
People who like to be a little outside the mainstream. People who can laugh that the F word is in a book about yoga and a spiritual journey.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?