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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Writer interview - Andrew Meek

Writer and philosopher Andrew meek recently released his first big novel Quintessence, which is an accomplishment within its own right. In addition, he regularly sparks lively discussion among his Facebook friends and followers by posting intelligent and thought-provoking videos on a variety of topics from friendship to madness to the origins of the Universe.

I sat down with Andrew to get a glimpse into the workings of his incredible mind.

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What is your favourite virtue? Generosity of spirit. I like people who give of themselves to others, their time, their patience, their understanding, their talents, and do so willingly; without an ulterior motive. Often rare it seems, which is why it is such a wonderful thing to find. It makes a person shine.

What are your favourite qualities in a man? Thoughtfulness. Honesty of intention... integrity. Consideration of others. A free thinker.

What are your favourite qualities in a woman?
Openness. Kindness. A gentle spirit. A poetic heart. And a free thinker.

What is your chief characteristic? Romantic curiosity: I like to think that I am a deep thinker, (sounds strange put like that... well, to me anyways.) Why romantic? Because understanding the science of ‘how things are’ means not much until we put it back together with ‘us’; our human qualities, then it takes on a whole new dimension: It’s like looking at a beautiful painting, or listening to a wonderful piece of music; when you know more you can be ‘in’ the painting, the music, it becomes not just an external thing you experience; you are part of it, and it you. I feel like that about the universe around me, and all it contains... so I feel like that about everything. And if at first I do not feel that way about something, its because I don’t yet understand it: so off I go again on another adventure! And if, in time, I find nothing of any great value to humanity (and there are many cultural ideas that serve us very badly indeed) I discard it and go in search of something new.

What do you appreciate most in friends? Understanding. That they will be there for me even if they do not always know why I may need them to be there. And sometimes, just to drag me out of myself and loose myself in something they want me to do, or see, or feel.

What is your main fault?
Romantic curiosity: Being a deep thinker requires one to ask many questions (mostly of, in the first instance, your own motivations for doing/thinking things). This puts you at odds with perceived wisdom and preconceived ideas, and that makes people like me very unpopular: I push things to see if they will break, (Just like a scientist). Most people never do this, even if they often argue that they do. Because if they did, they would not hold the views that they do and then feel the need to defend them so aggressively: because they too would be filled with, not answers and dogmas, but questions and knowledge that goes beyond human experience. Like I said before; (and is a mantra of mine), first one must look beyond the human to understand things, then come back to the human and during the journey you will find the questions changed, and even, sometimes, you will have some answers to some of your questions. But mostly you will have more questions, which is a good thing, and should not be feared - as it often is. Most human thought about life the universe and everything is based upon human cultural ideas that put as at the top of the pile and work out from there. (This is why all our gods have human qualities.) So the first step to real understanding is to escape from human centred cultural ideas – only that way can we then place ourselves back into the picture and begin to have an idea of our true place. And even the small slice I have of it now, make it an awe-inspiring, wonderful place beyond the wildest dreams of the ancients some seem to hark back to so much in search of ‘wisdom’.

What is your favourite occupation? I was going to say writing, but no; it's thinking. That and researching. Then writing it all down, seeing if I can make the ideas in my head make sense to someone else.

What is your idea of happiness? Getting lost in the moment and forgetting that time exists (debatable anyway, but that’s another story for another day). But a feeling of timelessness - a single moment not constructed of seconds and minutes and hours... just ‘being’ in the world. It can be finding myself before a beautiful scene, or while listening to music, or reading poetry, or just being with someone I care for – loosing yourself – your sense of ‘self’ to what is, who is, before you.

What is your idea of misery? Being isolated in thought – not being understood. Worse still: ignored; not considered worthy of consideration. Childhood memories make these things hurt deep inside of me. A desperate loneliness.

If not yourself who would you be? Difficult question for me; I have seen and felt and come to understand so many wonderful things, that to give all that up would be difficult... but, if I had to choose; Einstein. To have thought his thoughts, known what he knew, and knowing that no one else had ever thought those thoughts before, and to express them in a five symbols that carry more information, more power and understanding than hundreds of volumes of philosophy or literature: E=mc2.

Where would you like to live? Anywhere on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Preferably a small island, maybe a Greek one. I adore the southern European laid-back lifestyle over the work orientated north. A simple life appeals to me. But most of all, its being warm, seeing the sun almost every single day. And swimming in warm waters. Winter in the north brings me down.

Your heroes in real life and in fiction and why? Real life is easy: All the great thinkers and scientists that have ever lived. The ones who stood up to perceived wisdom and religious dogma and dared to question. Religious apologists tend to get cross with me because they complain that I do not understand the times in which people like Galileo where persecuted, or Bruno burnt alive. I understand them only too well, and may of them would no doubt like us to return to such times when such religious ‘truths’ were protected by draconian laws. (Sorry restraining bolt came loose a second). Knowledge gives us freedom, dogma enslaves us. So all free thinkers are my heroes, even if I disagree with what they think, the fact that they dare to question is what makes them stand away from the herd. As for fiction? Well, I grew up without books around much. My parents never read to me. So my heroes where on the small and big screen, and the one form of reading I did have; American comic books. So my heroes of fiction are (starting at the top of the list) Superman, Captain Kirk, Spiderman, Doctor Who (the concept of the character - the scientist hero - not a particular actor), then every other comic book hero, like Sub-Mariner, Ironman, Batman, and so on and so on. I loved the artwork; its what I had instead of Greek gods, or The Famous Five, The Hobbit and so on. Growing up the way I did, its not surprising I have little in common with most other writers in my style and content – I was not exposed to the same source material.

What natural talent do you wish you had? Easy; that I could read music and play the piano. Not so I could play the ‘great’ works of others, no – so I could write my own music! I do not get the whole classical music world thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the music, but consider it this way. In more popular styles playing someone else’s music is considered doing a ‘cover number’, but in the classical music world it is considered that the playing of music already played over and over and over before is a great thing. I love finding ‘new’ classical music rather than always getting stuck in the same cul-de-sac of the ‘classics’.... (I’m ranting aren’t I?). Okay, stopping. But music says so much more than words ever can – and that is the thing, the reason why. Music can conjure up a million different feelings and thoughts.... words? Words struggle by comparison. So I would be a composer of new music.

What is your present state of mind? Not good place to be at present – in my mind.

For what fault do you have the most tolerance? Doubt.

Your motto? This is one my wife likes, I wrote it down as part of a thought process I was undergoing at the time, (about 12 years ago) and it’s this: “Never use a thousand words when none will do.” Which, when you think about it, is not great for a writer, but perfect for a composer. But what it meant was, sometimes I should just shut up and say no more. Which is what I am now going to do.

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- Quintessence by Andrew Meek is available on Amazon Kindle.

- For more from and about Andrew, visit his blog.

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