Published March 30, 2008
Trade Paperback, 169 pages
When Len Richman calls his memoir unconventional, he prepares us for an enlightening read. Aptly titled, Raindrops, Glimpses, Moments, this memoir is not a chronological account of his life but rather a reflection of the author’s life, the choices he made while raising his three sons, and the books, travels and people who had a lasting and profound effect on him.
Several of the issues that Richman brings up in his account remind me of those I read in Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift From the Sea. Richman talks about rediscovering a “sense of wonder” which is sometimes lost in much of the way our society functions. He questions today’s technological advances and if man is really in control of his life. He explores the topic of our frenzied lifestyles that leave much to be desired when it comes to contemplation of our life and gratitude for our awe-inspiring natural environment and habitat.
The author’s love of books and the valuable lessons he learned from them renders much of the memoir rich with thought-provoking statements and questions. For this reason it took me longer than usual to read it as I found myself stopping to re-read and reflect upon certain topics several times to fully absorb what he was trying to get across to the reader. It raised in me a healthy curiosity to read the books from which he quotes, making me search my local library’s catalogue in hopes of finding some of them. I went through a myriad of emotions reading this book: contentment, wonder, reflection, contemplation and even regret when I thought of things in the past I might have done differently.
Richman honestly admits that he struggled with an identity crisis, and this memoir, or writing project as he calls it, is an in-depth look at what he gleaned throughout the years of living and working, parenting and teaching. It is a window into one man’s professional and personal journal—a man who was courageous and generous enough to share with us some of the gems of wisdom he collected from his journey of self-discovery, his travels worldwide, especially China, and from his literary research, with the belief that in doing so he would enlightened the reader or at the very least entertain him intelligently.
Len Richman is an educator, actor, playwright and loving grandfather who has taught and been associated with the West Island College in Quebec, several universities and middle schools in China, and is currently at the Thomas More Institute for Research in Adult Liberal Studies in Montreal. He has recently worked on the set of Barney's Version with Dustin Hoffman, Mini Driver and Paul Giamatti.
If any of you live in Montreal, I encourage you to see the theatre performance of Raisin in The Sun directed by Len Richman. Details below:
And now for the interview:
1. Tell us about yourself and what you do.
After involvement in the above three educational areas of World Literature, Outdoor Education, International and multi-cultural studies for years, and an extensive travel history (Asia, Europe, the South Pacific, Latin America, Canada’s Far North) I became “unexpectedly” involved in the performing arts as of August 2004. This led to stage work (acting, playwrighting, directing), and film work eventually qualifying for membership with ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Arts). It continues to be a fascinating new learning curve and experience!
2. How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since my teens.
3. Where do you get your inspiration to write?
My inspiration comes from life experiences and the people around me.
4. Where do you like to write? What type of writing schedule do you follow?
I like to write in the quiet of a “special” corner of the library I belong to, and in my study at home WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS! I try, TRY to write three mornings per week before anything else—e-mail, phone calls, postal deliveries, even breakfast conversation. It doesn’t always work!!!!
5. What genre do you write and why?
I write memoir-type essays and playwrighting because both clarify my perspectives in many aspects of living and being, although two children’s short stories I wrote were recently published in an elegant coffee table book: Essence of Flora – A Photographic Journey through Colour in the Garden (visit http://www.fairchild-designs.com/ for details).
6. Tell us more about your book and where it is available for purchase.
My book’s secondary title – “An Unconventional Memoir of an Unplanned Journey” is just that. Inspired by several sources as given in the Introduction, digging back, I chose certain “moments” be they fleeting or sustained that nourished who I became over the years in the most positive way rather than dwelling on the dreary or negative. It is available for purchase through me, my publisher- Llumina Press, Chapters in Pte. Claire, Quebec, and Amazon.
7. What have you done to promote your book?
I have not aggressively promoted my book since it was written really as a sort of review/catharsis and specifically for my grandchildren.
8. Do you ever get writer's block? What helps you to overcome it?
Writer’s block, no, procrastination, yes! I pay dearly for that and finally have to give in and get back to writing.
9. If you are self-published, why did you choose this option instead of traditional publishing?
Much has changed in the publishing world, and it seemed to me that traditional publishers were only interested in the horrific, the bizarre, the scandalous, the pornographic, the voyeuristic, or, as our media is now described as “infoentertainment.” This is what is selling. I was on another “trip” so to speak, again, as explained in “Currents and Tributaries: An Introduction” at the beginning of the book. No traditional publisher would have found it marketable.
10. What is your next project?
Currently directing an adaptation of the play, A Raisin in the Sun, I am writing two more of my own plays, one solo, the other in collaboration, and making notes for another book that I hope will eventually share my experiences in the performing arts having started much later than most, but still not considering it a second or third career as much as a happy accidental avocation.
11. What advice do you have for new writers?
Keep writing, do a lot of observing and read, read, read!
And now for the giveaway! Len Richman has given me one signed copy to give away. For a chance to win, please leave a comment stating why you would like to win this book. Do NOT forget to leave your email address. For an extra entry, please become a follower by clicking on the Google Follow on the right sidebar of this site.
GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED
Giveaway ends on November 19, 2009. Open to US and Canadian residents only. No P.O. box addresses.