Abdul Sallaj is a psychiatrist in Chicago. We talked about aspects of the developing mind that are unique to growing up in a household steeped in religious fundamentalism. We also talked way too much about spanking... ouch! Abdul and Denis conducted their interview in Undergrounds Coffee House and Roastery, converted a year or so ago from a funeral home.
Jon Elston is a playwright who, in 2003, co-founded Road Less Traveled Productions, a theater company in Buffalo, NY. Jon has won numerous awards for his writing. We talked about how a love for the truth can lead to a crisis of loyalty. We explore the #MeToo movement and its aftermath. We talk about Jon's play After America: Wasteland 2015, and Jon gushes about the writing and character development in Game of Thrones. Jon also collaborates with his fiancé, Winifred Storms. Her play Branches is going into production soon and Denis will link up to show dates just as soon as they're available.
Brian is an educator who wrote the young adult novel, Miss E. Brian began his career in the Washington DC area, teaching middle schoolers. He continues to work in a DC area school district to help educators make the best use of technology. We talk about his book, Miss E., and the impact it made on my mind. Brian's next book, Cross Country is due this Spring.
Phil wrote this about himself 15 years ago...
"I've been a psychiatrist for over 25 years. From the outside, it looks like a quiet, almost serene, profession. But it's never felt like that to me. My days are prolonged battles. And the fight isn't directly with my patients. They're in pain. They want to get better. The fight is with an invisible force that dominates them. A force with an other-worldly power to destroy their happiness."
"The idea of tools were, in essence, really weapons used in a war."
Phil wrote The Tools, and Coming Alive with his writing partner Barry Michels. Their tools are helping thousands of people (me included) live courageously by releasing them from traps set by resentment, fear, inauthenticity, worry, hurt feelings, demoralization, lethargy, and self-gratification. I first discovered Phil three years ago on Marc Maron's WTF. Mind blowing! I bought the book immediately. Life changing! Phil was back in Marc's garage just a few days ago.
Abby created Intimacy Alive, where she offers coaching in relationships and intimacy. She is also a yoga instructor. We talked about her transition from interior design industry employee in NYC to business owner in Buffalo.
Omeri writes and performs his own songs. He strives to learn, collaborate, absorb, and inspire. Omeri grew up listening to the solid gold soul sounds playing on his godmother's radio every day. Omeri performs two of his songs, "Let's Go", and "You're My Medicine"... prepare to groove ya'll. From an early age he developed independence and ability to provide for himself. As far as I'm concerned, he's a natural-born leader.
Josh works with people who are homeless and have severe mental disorders and addictions. He helps them find stable housing and he does it with a rare strength of mind and body. Josh loves philosophy and uncovering challenging thinkers whose buried ideas are as volatile as they are revolutionary. He's also the most quietly ferocious dude I know in our Jiu Jitsu academy.
Erik Light discovers interesting people doing interesting things. Then he conceptualizes, writes, directs, shoots, and edits a reality web series with them. The process to bring one concept to life takes loads of personal sacrifice and years of his life. He's having a blast, and he's learned a ton about how to prevent a creative dream from being snuffed out by the naysayers.
Stephen has written for a dozen television shows, including Roseanne and Spin City. He was the Executive Producer and head writer of the acclaimed series Dead Like Me on Showtime. He has written television pilots for CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, FX, TNT and USA. He was nominated for a Writers Guild Award for Best Original Television Movie for his film “Charlotte,” part of the film anthology Five on Lifetime. He is adapting Walker Percy’s celebrated novel “The Moviegoer,” winner of the 1962 National Book Award for Fiction, as a screenplay for the film producer Cary Brokaw and Sony/TriStar.
A self-described, recovering cellist... Angela wrote the book on how to create a career in music, and she works directly with composers, giving them tools to get unstuck, take risks, and face the hard questions only art can answer.