Author Interview: Paul F. Rice
Hi, Paul. Welcome to my blog. Thank you for allowing me to interview you. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us.
Paul: Hi Lissette! Thanks for taking your time to talk with me.
Would you take a moment and introduce yourself to us?
I live in the DC area with my 16-year old son, Derick, and work as a software developer.
Here’s a favorite picture of mine from a year and a half ago.
I’m the one on the left, with my daughter Melissa and grandson Roberto.
How long have you been writing?
I wrote a series of consumer education books in the late 1980s, with titles such as Selecting Your Financial Advisors and Selecting Your Lawyer. I marketed them primarily to libraries, pre-Internet.
I didn’t follow through with any more writing until this summer, though. I felt that I had important information that could really benefit people. So from July through October 2011, I wrote and published two short books, Getting Well for the First Time, and When Do I Get to Live My Own Life?
Would you mind telling my readers a little more about your book, Getting Well for the First Time?
To start, the child on the cover of my book is my youngest granddaughter, Graciela, showing how she feels as she splashes in the Caribbean on Christmas Day 2010. Don’t all children show how they feel? Not me. One way to characterize Getting Well for the First Time is as an exploration of how it got that way for me; then what works and didn’t work to recover.
Your book chronicles what you’ve been going through with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Spondylolisthesis. You’ve stated that writing about your experiences is a sort of therapy for you. Have things changed for the better since you’ve written the book?
To clarify, speaking and writing about my problems and their resolution wasn’t sufficient to permanently help. The process that works for me is to re-experience the origins of the problems and the associated painful feelings over and over.
The byproduct of this process is better integration of my thinking and feeling, and of all aspects of my physiology and emotions. In other words, getting well.
Better internal integration has its byproducts, too. I’ve seen small degrees of improvement in things like stopping unconscious and automatic act-outs; accurately perceiving reality; keeping a steady weight; developing satisfying friendships; and experiencing fewer severe headaches.
This is all fairly recent and new to me at age 57. I’m pretty pumped up about my future, because I’ve made just a little progress, and my life has become so much better!
What type of research did you do for the book itself?
I’ve been in feeling therapy for the past 3 ½ years. I researched subjects related to the therapy before and during this time.
One area that’s hard for me to keep up with is the vast and growing collection of research studies by thousands of neuroscientists that show exactly how imprints come into being, stay put, act, and their other characteristics. It is truly awesome what is being uncovered!
Consider the money quote from this – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences research paper “Stress exposure in intrauterine life is associated with shorter telomere length in young adulthood” published in July 2011:
“A rapidly growing body of empirical evidence suggests the origins of susceptibility for many common, complex age-related disorders that confer a major burden of disease can be traced back to the intrauterine period of life (i.e., the concept of fetal, or developmental, origins of health and disease risk).”
In other words, a person’s current problems can have a long, long, long trail back into their history. Further in the paper and its references is the research showing that people who experience stress-related problems live shorter, more disease-ridden lives.
The question that this and other research papers don’t adequately answer, though, is: What can people do about stress that will be a permanently effective treatment?
What made you decide to include the section about Finances and Money Markets in your book?
One result of my physical and emotional illnesses is that some aspects of making money are fairly easy for me. For example, in investments, it’s often productive to separate one’s feelings from one’s actions.
That’s easy for me – it’s one of my symptoms. But dissociation is the opposite of my therapy’s goal, integration.
I spend a fair share of my current income on getting well from illnesses that it seems I’ve suffered from for a very long time. I incur costs because I can’t do it all myself. Everything I do in this area requires or is improved by others’ help. So when I describe what works for me to recover, I also want to offer, in that context, some ways to pay for others’ help.
Is Non-Fiction the only genre that you’ve written of? Or have you experimented with others such as Short Stories, Romance, or Poetry?
Yes, I’ve stayed with writing non-fiction. I find reality more interesting and fulfilling. I often read fiction, too.
Recently, in almost every book I read, aspects of the book seem to be an act-out of the author’s unconscious, deep-seated, unresolved feelings. I start to wonder what happened to the author to make them fictionalize their life experiences. This happens even in non-fiction I read such as memoirs, where the author tells a story about their past and present instead of finding out and presenting what really happened.
The fictionalization is unintentional because it’s unconscious. The author’s feelings bubble up because people usually don’t write about things that are unimportant to them.
It’s my bias to think that if a person confronts their reality, feeling their history will make their life better than will escaping into a world of fantasy or ideas or beliefs. Making what’s in their unconscious conscious will be painful, though, which is why things stay unconscious.
Do you have any upcoming projects? If so, are you able to tell us a little more about it/them?
There’s one project I feel that I have to do. The problem is, though, that the subject is too painful for me to start right now. I’ll have to re-experience it in therapy sessions first.
The subject is on bestseller lists and optioned for movies as fiction. I feel that I could write the book straight from my feelings once I’ve felt their reality. I might even write it as fiction at that point. But I can’t go there yet.
How do you find inspiration when sitting down to do a bit of writing?
I usually lie down before writing and feel my feelings about what it is that I want to convey. The various sitting and standing body positions don’t work as well for allowing me to feel.
I often use writing prompts. They aren’t random, though; they pertain to the subject.
What has influenced you the most?
In Getting Well for the First Time, I reference the study of over 1,000 New Zealanders that showed that the person they were at age 3 was basically the same as who they became at a later age. It was the same for me. I was essentially whatever my parents made of me, no matter my age.
That’s not who I’ve wanted to be, though. The challenge for me has been how to permanently change out of that child, and stop my parents’ influence from intruding on my current life.
What’s your favorite book or movie?
I don’t have one that comes to mind right now. I haven’t found one that stays with me as I change.
For example, I really enjoyed Dune when I first read it, and I enjoyed the movie, too. Earlier this week, though, as I watched the DVD of the movie with my 16-year old, it seemed gimmicky, and full of poor premises and bad acting.
Do you have any recommendations for books that you think the blog’s readers may enjoy?
If your readers are like me, they may enjoy discovering things that are new to them. The top new eBook I’ve read like that during the past few months is Sex & the Subconscious by Dr. Arthur Janov. It impressed me to the extent that in September, with the author’s permission, I set up a blog for the eBook.
The blog contains four excerpts from Chapter 3, “The Hormones of Love,” regarding oxytocin, dopamine, vasopressin, and romantic love. I think that it would be hard for your readers to read any one of those four excerpts without learning something new.
What do you do in your spare time? Do you spend it reading or doing research for future works?
I do a little of everything you mention. I take frequent breaks, too, and dedicate at least an hour every day to physical activity.
When thinking about writing new material, do you take the time to outline your story or do you just go with the flow and see where it takes you?
Yes, I outline the material before I get started. I then keep the outline updated as I write.
Do you have any tips, or thoughts, that you would like to offer to the blog’s readers?
Another interest of mine is food banks. I publish Food Bank Daily every day around 11:15 a.m. Eastern. It’s a collection of articles, blog posts, and other material from 175+ food banks around the U. S.
Each issue always offers multiple opportunities to help. Be the friend who will help. You can:
Bookmark Food Bank Daily in your browser and visit there everyday during lunchtime.
Follow my Twitter account @GettingWell4 for notifications of when the daily issue is published, and of one highlight from each issue.
Join the open Food Bank Daily Facebook group for additional ways to help online.
Subscribe by email using the link in the top right corner of each issue’s first page.
There you have it, Everyone. A lovely interview with the author of Getting Well For The First Time, Paul F. Rice. I hope you’ve all enjoyed learning more about him. Thank you so much for the interview, Paul. I look forward to more of your work and wish you the best of success.
Synopsis for Getting Well For The First Time:
Getting Well for the First Time is a first-person account of the author’s progress in getting well from post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. The past 3 1/2 years of the author’s treatment for PTSD provides the book’s source material.
The author’s chosen treatment is an experiential therapy that addresses the underlying problems. This is in contrast to the vast majority of treatments that deal only with symptoms.
Synopsis for When Do I Get To Live My Own Life:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs
This year, 2011, is the author’s answer to the title’s question “When Do I Get to Live My Own Life?”.
From the Foreword: “..of all the things I’ve tried to do that are actually possible to do, living my own life has proved to be the most difficult.”
About The Author:
Paul works as a software developer as his day job.
He has a lot of interest in consumer education topics, as shown by the out-of-print titles that he wrote and marketed to libraries in the late 1980’s.
With his two new eBooks “Getting Well for the First Time” and “When Do I Get to Live My Own Life?”, he’s now more interested in human development and psychology.
Connect With Him Online: