[Note: No part of this interview took place outside my head. Any resemblance to any interview I might give at any time in any future in which Oprah has discovered Crazy Free is pure coincidence :)]
Good morning Melissa. We’re glad to have you with us on the Crazy Free website this morning. So, tell us what this Crazy Free book of yours is about.
Crazy Free is a story of exploration – exploration of various world perceptions, concepts of self, geographic locations and personal physical boundaries. The journey covers the past two years of my life. It starts in Bellingham, where I experience something I would call a “mild out-of-body experience”. This leads me to a Vision Quest Fast in Death Valley, where I have a full-blown spiritual experience – mind blown, world upside-down kinda experience. The rest of the book deals with understanding what happened to me in the Death Valley through gradual awakening. It ends in Sedona when I fall in love with a man who champions UNspirituality (the opposite of spirituality) to the point of having published a book about it.
It seems these days bookshelves are filled with stories of spiritual journeys. Oprah started nothing short of a small awakening revolution when she brought “Eat Pray Love” to the Oprah Book Club. I see that you start in a similar fashion: 40-years old recently divorced woman sets out to find herself and her truth. So, what sets your book apart? What would a reader get from your story that has not yet been shared and published by others?
Well, first of all, every person’s story is unique. I enjoyed reading “Eat Pray Love”, and I do see a similar progression in world-view perception in Liz Gilbert’s book and Crazy Free, but I am a whole different beast than she is. Ha ha! Although the internal journey is a running thread throughout the book, the adventures that support my awakening belong more to the category of “Into the Wild” (except I don’t die at the end – I hope!) than that of “Eat Pray Love”. I take the reader along on two years of free-form wandering. 15,000 miles by road (with stops in five states), 2660 miles on foot (the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada) and 400 miles by kayak (from Whitehorse to Dawson on the Yukon River), with a side trip to Rishikesh, at the foot of the Indian Himalayas. I also like to push my own limits. In the book, I spend 4 days without food, 3 days without sleep, I climb high peaks, and I explore low deserts. I cover the full spectrum. I also go from complete perceived insanity to absolute clarity. And just when I get there, I meet Chris – Mr. UnSpirituality -, and my whole deck of neatly stacked spiritual cards go tumbling down. So although no part of my story is a first of its kind, I like the combinations and juxtapositions in it. I like how “epic” it is.
You describe your journey as an “epic spiritual adventure.” Are you referring to the scope of adventures that constitute the background to your spiritual journey? What is your tie to the word “epic”?
Ha! Yes, I like the word epic. I have looked it up to ensure that I followed through on my promises to the reader. Promising an epic story isn’t something you do casually. Basically, my story is epic because it is out of the ordinary. In my daily life, I tend to shun the mundane and have a slight mistrust of “normality”. I think we create our own lives both through the choices we make but also by the way we perceive ‘what is’ or ‘what was’. I like to create a BIG life for myself. Writing a book about your life is the ultimate indulgence in terms of perceiving what was, and I am first and foremost writing this book for myself. I would not be able to sustain the writing process to completion if I were not thoroughly enjoying it. If my future readers get half as excited reading my book as I am writing it, it’ll be on the best-selling list in no time. Ha ha!!
And we hope that it will. Tell us a little bit about the logistics of writing this book. You are still unemployed and homeless, is that correct?
Yes, technically, though so far the Universe really has had my back. The decision to write Crazy Free hit me with the same strength as that of walking the PCT. Although I had been thinking and talking about writing a book for years the shift was instantaneous. Suddenly, I was writing a book – unavoidable and non-negotiable. My writing of Crazy Free is as much of an adventure as the journey described in the book. I would not be surprised if Crazy Free is followed by a second book, “the making of Crazy Free.” Ha ha! I have been a roaming writing gypsy. Each chapter of the book is being written in a different location. Sometimes I have the luxury of a desk and chair, other times I write in the back of my truck parked in breath-taking sceneries. Writing a book on the road definitely presents challenges, but my first and foremost passion is in the full experience of life. I believe my creativity would dry up if I were stationary. I am writing about my life, so I need a life about which to write.
[At this point, Chris (Mr. UnSpirituality) entered the room and asked what I was writing. I told him. He laughed. “So, you’re writing a fake interview of yourself, by you, about your book, which is about you, to put on your blog. I think you’ve reached a new level of narcissism!” – He meant it as a compliment. Narcissism is just an other name for Self-love 😜]
Mr. UnSpirituality himself, here disguised as a Sedona irrigation specialist.