Dec 22, 2011

Interview with Stan Faryna, Winner of the 200-word challenge

Courtesy of Stan Faryna
On November 3, I issued a challenge. A flash fiction challenge. It was seriously difficult to pick a single winner, so I went with two: Ruth Long and Stan Faryna.

Today, I interview Stan Faryna, blogging powerhouse and lover of fantasy fiction, gaming aficionado and devoted student of human nature. You can read his 200-word story here.

1. Can you define yourself in three words?

Poor in spirit. [grin] For I lack faith enough to move mountains.

2. Do you have a hero? Maybe an idol? Who is it? 

Thomas Aquinas, Booker T. Washington, Mother Teresa, Karol Wojtyla, and my mom are the first to come to mind as inspirations.

Mom came to America as a reluctant immigrant. My father, an American Army officer, gave her no choice in the matter. He held me (a baby at the time) as ransom, in a manner of speaking.

From ten, she raised me single-handedly. She put me through private schools for some years and she paid for most of my Bachelor's degree at the University of Southern California. She worked 12- to 16-hour days (seven days a week) to pay for it.

My brave mother today remains in the US, alone and growing older, and her son (me) is many thousands of miles away. Yet she does not complain. 

3. If you were a Star Wars/Star Trek character, who would you be?

It's a toss-up between Worf, Captain Picard, and Q. That reminds me of something I started and never finished. If you like, I'll share it with you...

I, Worf.  Episode One

Ambassador Picard enters the Klingon throne room. He stops about three meters before the Klingon Crown, and kneels.

"Speak!" thunders the Crown.

"If it pleases your majesty, I would be grateful for a word in private. Our old, dear friend, Q, has returned with a proposition that our alliance must consider."

The Crown barks for the imperial guard to take their leave. The eight guards each growl at Ambassador Picard as they pass him to leave the room.

When the doors close behind the guards, Worf leaps off the throne chair and gives Picard a great hug - lifting Picard off his feet.

"How are you, my friend!?"

"Not half as well as you!" Picard replies. "The Klingon empire has never flourished before in culture, science, and technology as it has under your rule."

"Tell me more about the cowardly god..."

Picard grins to Worf's comment and notices Worf is missing part of his left earlobe.

"You like?" Warf grunts and smiles big...

4. What was the best-written movie, ever?

It's a Wonderful Life. That's my favorite movie of all. Are movie scripts ever written well? On the level of a great book?  

5. Can you remember the first book you read?

My father had taught me how to read by age four. Not that I understood everything I read - of course! But I read his science fiction and fantasy books with great hunger.

I can't remember the first book, but I can tell you some books and authors that made an impression on me before the age of 12. 

J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. I know that you, JM, have a low opinion of Tolkien's style and work. [grin] {Although I don't consider him entirely devoid of talent - JMB}

Michael Moorcok's Elric Saga.

Jules Verne, Mark Twain, and Rad Bradbury also come to mind. 

6. When did you decide you were going to be a writer? How did that happen?

Being a writer crossed my mind when I graduated from U.S.C., but I couldn't find a job as a writer or a journalist. Nor would editors accept my freelance writing proposals.

Ironically, writing has been key to my work all along. Politics. Technology. Business. But really, I had hoped to write five books by thirty. The deadline, however, came and went. More than a few times. 

I remember turning down a god job at a publishing company in my twenties because I was going to write - not publish other people's books. How foolish I was! Or maybe not.

I remain a wannabe author of a great book. Though I have published essays and opinion in newspapers, scholarly journals, and other publications - not to mention putting together Black and Right (Praeger, 1996).

7. What's the key virtue a writer needs? 

Generally speaking, a writer must have profound insight into the human condition. A writer must have something worth saying about who we are, why we are here, and what we can hope for (while we are here). That's what makes a great book, great. Or art - for that matter.

Great art must serve us. It must illuminate the true, the good, and the beautiful in a meaningful, inspiring, and useful manner. Period.

8. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that people reincarnate. Who would you have been in a past life?

It has been suggested to me that I am the reincarnation of a great buddhist Saint. It was suggested by an important Buddhist leader. Just saying. [smile]

9. Finish this sentence: 'A scientologist, a used-car salesman and a transvestite in a Minnie Mouse suit walk into a... and then...' 

A scientologist, a used-car salesman and a transvestite in a Minnie Mouse suit walk into a pawn shop. The scientologist wants to pawn his geiger counter, the used-car saleman wants to buy an AK-47, and the transvestite is there to pick up a bald-headed trick in a tuxedo. Finish this story!

10. Who would win in a fight: Sigmund Freud or Godzilla?

Sigmund Freud doesn't believe in the supernatural. Godzilla is a campy, childish representation of the id. Siggy wouldn't stop laughing. Godzilla would slump back to the depths. Emotionally devastated. Poor lizard. As if life wasn't tough enough...

The scowl that terrified Godzilla.

Stan Faryna: Daddy, Author, Servant Heart, Online Strategist, Entrepreneur, Blogger, Mentor, Design Wonk, and - yes, suspected Gallifreyan. He blogs when the spirit moves him, and is usually very eloquent. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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