Today, I am handing the ‘Meet The Authors’ page, here at Fiction Books, to author Lance Umenhofer.
Lance sent me a PDF of his debut fiction novel ‘And The Soft Wind Blows’ for review and also indicated that he would be more than receptive to writing a guest post about his other passion, poetry!
Personally, I much prefer and value this spontaneous and personal style of author post, over and above the more traditional ‘question and answer’ style of interview and respect any author who can chat freely about any aspect of their lives or writing.
Lance has an excellent representative selection of his poetry over on his blog, so if, like me, you are captivated by what you read and take away from this beautiful post, then why not drop by and see more.
Over to you Lance …
I am Lance Umenhofer and I live in Nashville, TN. I am twenty three years old and graduated from Belmont University (Nashville, TN) in May of 2012 with an English degree.
I started writing song lyrics long before I ever moved to poetry, let alone fiction. Like many young teenagers of my generation, I dreamed of being a rockstar most of the way through high school, but something happened along the way. I found that I started to enjoy writing the lyrics to songs much more than writing the music to them, and then one day I had the epiphany that I could just write poetry instead, since song lyrics were poetry already anyway.
I was just a poet for quite some time, until college, when I decided to write a series of interconnected short stories that soon turned into a full-length novel. And now, I consider myself mostly a fiction writer that still dabbles in poetry every chance I get.
out here in the still:
the silence overwhelming,
broad as the shoulders
of a woodsman,
I sit and think:
this is peace.
out where there are no bodies––
out here with the trees––
this is peace.
out here the silence takes you,
becomes one with you,
and you let it
as if it were a choice,
remain alone with your thoughts
and your self and think:
this is peace.
out here where no one’s striving,
driving to new places
with new faces
always wanting something,
you hear the birds finally,
watch the trees sway lightly,
flowers bloom brightly,
this is peace.
this is peace here.
and you’ll return again
when the world wants from you
and does not cease.
you’ll come back here,
and return to peace.
I recently had taken up the habit of walking, and lucky for me, I live in a part of Nashville that is borderline to rural. Therefore, there happens to be a lot of nature and hiking trails around me. It was during one of these walks, one weekend after a long week of working food service and self-publishing And the Soft Wind Blows, that I was struck suddenly and abruptly with an idea, a mantra, a phrase which could change the way I lived: the world is still.
The world is still. This mantra has repeated over and over in my mind during times of high-stress or anxiety or any other sense of unease, for that matter. As people, with all of our daily activities, constantly driving our cars, attending meetings, running around restaurant kitchens, etc., we have created a world that is fully dependent on our bodies’ ability to act in motion, whether it be for money or time with the people we love, etc., and I have consistently found myself, in this modern world, to always be moving.
But the world is still. When you’re out in nature, you reconnect with what has been around much longer than we have: the stillness of our earthly coinhabitants: trees, plants, rocks, fallen branches, fallen leaves, etc. And as I stopped my walking and just noticed all of the stillness, none of them wanting more than to stay in one spot and let the world around them provide, I felt a cool rush of calmness flood through my veins and started trailing off the beaten path. I ended up hiking up to the top of a hill, all the way to the top, where I fortuitously found there to be a couple, large fallen logs, which provided something to lean against as I got out my notebook. For a while, I didn’t write anything. I just listened to the birds and the wind and the occasional snap of a branch and let it all soak in until I wrote “this is peace.”
During the coming weeks, and even up to this day, every time I am out in nature, or in my own backyard, I am reminded that this world, all around us, is still. Everything about our modern society is made up by us: measured time, money, material possessions, etc., when all around us everything is already content as it is right now. We can be like they are. We can choose to be like they are. We can drop all of our desires and striving and achieve stillness of mind. We can choose to not let the outside world, with all its required motion and action, affect this. And whenever you find yourself in a situation that causes you to be rushed or enter a high level of stress, just remember: the world is still, and breathe deeply, and relax, because everything else around us already is doing so.
Thank you so much for your eloquent and thought provoking post today, Lance. I truly loved it and appreciate you sharing some of your most innermost thoughts with both myself and my readers.
‘And the Soft Wind Blows’ is still working its way up my review pile and I am so looking forward to reading it.
‘AND THE SOFT WIND BLOWS’
Timmy Enosh is a peculiar, small man: fivethree, onehundredandfifteen pounds, and is a pharmacist in Ashton City, Tennessee. He finds himself at fortythreeyearsold as his life starts to fall apart: his threehundred pound wife disappears, his romantic interest has lost interest and has gained hatred toward him, his coworkers harass him, customers verbally assault him, and he has the strange urge to adopt his foulmouthed, eighteenyearold coworker, Alex. When things start to pile up, Timmy must find a way to deal: he turns to Alex to supply him with marijuana, starts sewing an elaborate Mr. Mistoffelees costume, finds solace in the wild, etc., etc., etc. And the soft, constant wind of change blows him on, on, and on.
As this was an author invitation to read and review, a PDF of ‘And The Soft Wind Blows’ was sent to me free of charge, by its author, Lance Umenhofer.
This will in no way influence any comments I may express about the book, in any blog article I may post. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.