Interview with Indigo, Author of Dancing with Chaos
07 Apr 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, Dancing with Chaos?
Dancing with Chaos is a memoir. There is so much I wanted to write about! How wonderful and fulfilling the profession of nursing is, how nature can sustain us, how travel can show us what an amazing place the world is. My story starts as a young child living in poverty in New York City and takes you on a lifetime of adventure culminating in the hills of Northern California. All these diverse experiences I was happily able to share in my book. Also, a major, repeating theme in the book is mental illness. Because there was so much mental illness in my family, I wanted to share some insights into the heartache and trials that individuals with severe mental illness and their families experience. To show how behind that snapshot of a dysfunctional individual is a story of a life come apart, a person who is suffering. I hope that people will find my book entertaining but I am also hoping to break down some of the stigma of mental illness by encouraging open discussion.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
Years ago when was I was in Nursing School I took an English class. We had an assignment to write something about our childhood. My teacher liked my essay so much that she wanted to show it to her friend who ran a magazine thinking she would probably publish it. I actually turned her down thinking “no, I’m going to write a book”. It has taken half a life time to do so.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
1. “My Journey to Lhasa” by Alexandra David Neel
2. “Endurance, Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing
3. “Seven Years in Tibet” by Heinrich Harrer
4. “The snow Leopard” by Peter Matthiessen
5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
Since I love true adventure/nature/travel stories I would want to interview Peter Matthiessen. I would want him to tell us all about his adventures.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I feel like when I write I have time to think about what I want to say and so I am able to express myself more clearly and in a more positive light.
What is a typical day like for you?
Well on the days that I work at the clinic I get up, shower, have some breakfast, drive to the clinic and for the next 10 or 11 hours I think about nothing outside of my work duties, seeing patients, charting, ordering testes etc.
On days that I am home I like to do my writing and other computer work in the morning when I have my best energy. The rest of the day varies, household chores, taking my adult son who suffers from schizophrenia to his monthly medical appointments, working in the garden. By evening I’m usually winding down. I go to bed early.
What scene in Dancing with Chaos was your favorite to write?
So many! Can I give you 3?
1. When I was around 8 years old and my mother and I were homeless in N.Y.C. in the winter when it was snowing. We spent a night on a welfare bench locked in the foyer with a couple of other homeless people so that we would not freeze to death over night. We spent part of the next night on the subway steps sitting out in the snow. Why did I like writing this? Because it was such an intense time for me and because it is a time so very different from my reality as an adult.
2. The time that I was helping to deliver a baby on Christmas night in the emergency room, because it is so representative of the experiences that I loved about being a nurse.
3. The time hiking in the desert. “There’s a thing about the night sky in the desert. It’s like magic. The sky becomes much larger than the earth and not so very far away. It looks like if you walk far enough, you will touch it and just tumble off into the stars”
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Yes “All’s well that ends well”. If you’re doing OK don’t waste a lot of energy worrying about the past!
Indigo is the author of the new book Dancing with Chaos.
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