Friday, February 10, 2012

Following in the Footsteps of God: Inspirational writing by Robb F.

Following in the Footsteps of God is Robb F.'s fourth book, and to be sure, one of his most inspirational works to date. I have had the privilege of knowing Robb for several years now as his print publisher, and with this one book, I think he and I have become friends.

Here is the interview I forced on him, since he really works hard to avoid self-promotion. 

P: Let's start with a short introduction, so that the readers can get a general feel for who you are.

R: I write under the name of Robb F.  I am really just an ordinary guy who, following a series of apparent calamities in my life, went searching for answers and found God - and myself!  My books are meant to be inspirational and help guide others on their own spiritual path.  I am not a Doctor of anything.  Or a Psychologist, or a Visionary or anything.  I am just me!  I write anonymously because it became apparent to me, as I wrote, that it is the messages in the books - the actual writing - that is important - not me, as an individual. 

I felt led to write my first book Maybe God Has a Better Idea.  A flow opened up inside of me after Better Idea was published and I began writing more and more.  It became apparent to me that I have been given some sort of opportunity to do the writing that I do. As a result I have changed my life over the past few years so I could concentrate more and more on my spiritual growth and writing whatever comes to me.
 
P: It's rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a 'real' job other than writing, and if so, what is it?

R: Although I would love to be able to write for a living, I do have a “real” job right now.  I am a Manager at a local Home Depot, in change of the Plumbing (and sometimes) the Kitchen and Bath departments.  I have been working with them for just over 5 years now.  It’s challenging work.  I work in a very high volume store and in departments that require a lot of customer attention.  I am around people all day, so look forward to having some time off for myself and to be able to write.

 P: What are some other jobs you've had in your life?

R: If you want to go way back, I worked in a fried chicken restaurant during high school!  I played the drums (and most all percussion type instruments) from the time I was 5 years old and all through school.  After High School, I played with a local band in Albuquerque, NM (where I grew up) and made my living that way.  Years later, I took my other artistic interest and made my living as a magician and children’s entertainer for a number of years.  I owned my own magic shop for several years and also worked at a local costume shop in Phoenix for about 8 years before that.

P: What compelled you to write your first book, Maybe God has a Better Idea?

R: I had gone through a really rough period in my life.  I had gone through an intensive medical treatment and struggled with a new business for several years.  These both pretty well drained my pocket book and I found myself out of work, divorced and nowhere to go.  I headed back east to Ohio to spend some time with my Dad, who was in a nursing home at the time.  I began putting my life back together and was drawing on all the spiritual lessons I had learned over the years.  As I was doing this, I felt somehow led to write down what I was doing and learning with the thought of perhaps putting it into a book someday.  More details on this whole story are covered in the book Maybe God Has a Better Idea, and especially in the essay on Faith.

P: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

R: No.  I never really thought too much about being a writer.  When I was doing my magic shows I used to create the scripts and routines for the routines I was doing.  I took a course on writing for children at one time, but still never considered writing for a living or anything.  I took the class mainly to get my creative juices flowing.  It was pointed out at one time that if someone is an accomplished musician (for example), if they learn how to dance (for example) or do magic or something else artistically, they will end up becoming a better musician. So, I took the writing class because I wanted to open up more of my own creativeness.

P: Tell us a little bit about your books. List titles with what you think each of them are about and what a reader should get out of them?

R: Maybe God Has a Better Idea: This was my first book and it is a book about recovery.  Because of this, much of the book is couched in some AA and 12-step terminology.  It doesn’t seem to matter though if you are involved in a 12-step program or not, the book is full of spiritual truths and lessons that will help anyone.  We all seem to be recovering from something at one point or another - alcohol or drugs, or just recovering from getting run over by Life!  This book lays a strong foundation for spiritual growth.

God Waits Patiently: Now that we have our feet under us a bit, God Waits Patiently helps us get more stable in Life.  There are sections on Taking Care of Ourselves, Surviving in the Work-a-Day World, Love and Relationships, developing a closer relationship with God and a section for those of us who have had to deal with Authoritarian Influences in our lives who have dictated how we should live.

God Is: A remarkable book, if I might say so!  God Is takes the plunge into finding our spirituality and creating a meaningful and personal relationship with God.  The poem-like God Is was written following a lengthy meditation as I was contemplating just who or what God means to me.  One of my favorite spiritual writers, Joel Goldsmith, suggested that it is important for each of us to do that.  To Jesus, God was Father, but what does that mean to each of us individually?  Who or what is God?  The poem-like God Is started off as something different and then became what it is.

Without my realizing it, this entire book was written in only 6 weeks from start to finish.  One night I found myself writing what was to be the Author’s Note at the end. A day or two later I was writing what was to become the Introduction. I realized that if I had written the ending and the beginning, then I must be done with the book!  When I checked my documents, I discovered that the whole thing had been done over a period of just six weeks! I had covered so much ground during those six weeks, I was amazed!

Following in the Footsteps of God
My earlier books were all presented in Sections, where similar essays were grouped together.  Footsteps however, is presented chronologically and details my meditations and discoveries as I attempted to become closer to God and seek Oneness with Him.  It seems to be a book that gets people thinking.  One might not agree with everything I have to say, but the book does seem to get people looking and thinking and for that I am grateful!  A minister friend of mine wrote a review for the book.  In her notes, I remember there was a section where she had written “No!”, as in “No, that cannot be!”  The second time through the book, she had changed her note to a question mark (?).  By the time I talked with her she had decided that “Yes”, what I had written was probably correct!

P: Which book is your favorite, and why?

R: Footsteps is probably my favorite because it is just as relevant and meaningful for me now, as it was when I first wrote it down.  I can go back through the book and everything I read is totally just what I need to read at the moment.  The meaning transcends the time when it was originally written down.

P: Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for soon?
I am working on what will be a free E-book that people can read, hopefully use, and then pass on to their friends and family.  This book will most likely be called Inner Peace: Gift it Forward! The book is sub-titled The Twelve Ideals of Living - Enriching Your Life and Those Around You.

R: This book is based on what was originally the Ten Perfections of Buddhist spirituality.  I added in two perfections or ideals to make twelve and originally adapted these as my new year’s resolution a year or so back.  Practicing these ideals (which include things such as generosity, virtue, energy, love, truthfulness and others) made such a change in my life - on my whole outlook on life - that I started looking for a way to spread these out to everyone.

My hope is that people will read and use this little book and then gift it forward to their friends and family.  Perhaps it will actually make it all the way around the world!

P: How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

R: It was wonderful!  I had worked on that book for several years.  I had it written and knew I wanted to publish it but just couldn’t find the right person.  When I did, the book came together quickly and I was overjoyed with the result!

P: What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

R: I don’t listen to anything while I am writing.

P: What inspires you and motivates you to write?

R: God inspires me!  (Or perhaps that Consciousness whom we call God inspires me!)  I often get inspired to write something just out of the blue, or after reading a passage in a spiritual book or after meditating.  With that idea in mind, I usually just sit down at my computer and go quiet.  I let whatever is supposed to be written flow out and onto the paper (screen.)  Many times I am surprised by what I write down.  Sometimes, as in the case of the poem-like God Is, I started off writing one thing and something entirely different came out.  Sometimes I write something down and go, “No, that isn’t right!”  And then take another look at it and reread it and say, “Ahhh, yes!  Now I see!”

P: Meditation has apparently been a large focus of your books, when did you begin to practice this and why?

R: Meditation is the tool - the route - we use to improve our conscious contact with God and increase our spiritual awareness.

I started meditating many years ago - or I went through the motions of meditating anyhow!  I used to do short 5 or 10-minute “meditations” and think I was doing pretty well!  And short meditations like that are fine if you are just trying to ease some stress in your life and get more comfortable.

In his book The Seven Spiritual laws of Success, Deepak Chopra recommends meditating for at least an hour a day.  Half an hour in the morning and another half hour in the evening if possible. For me, my whole life only really started changing and really opening up when I started doing regular lengthy meditations.  Doing a half hour in the morning and evening hasn’t always worked with my schedules but I make the time whenever I can.  The funny thing, is that as we start meditating more and start improving our conscious contact with God, we usually find ways to make more time.  Unimportant diversions and activities are cast aside to make room for that inner search and awakening!

P: If you suggest people turn inward by meditation, how would a person begin this process?

R: There are many books on meditation techniques.  I wrote an essay on Meditation that covers what I, personally, have found to be successful.  I suggest you read this for some useful guidelines on beginning - or continuing - your own meditational journey.  Then see what works for you.

P: Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

R: I have turned to many spiritual writers over the years.  One that I really admire is Joel Goldsmith.  He has opened my eyes to many new realms!  And sometimes in my own writings, I discover later that Joel wrote something similar!  We seem to be on the same wavelength!

P: When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

R: I have always enjoyed Science Fiction and Adventure books but can’t recall any favorite author or series.

P: What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

R: I enjoy reading all the time.  I still enjoy Science Fiction, Mysteries and Adventure books.  Dean Koontz and Greg Bear are two of my favorite authors.  They both are excellent writers and usually weave some sort of spiritual or humanitarian theme into their books.

P: What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

R: Well, I was very proud of my first book - and have actually been very proud to produce each of the books!  But, let’s go w-a-y back.  In High School I was selected to be a part of the McDonald’s All American High School band that was composed of musicians from all 50 states.  We marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York and in the Tournament of Roses parade on New Years in California!  It was quite an experience!

P: What about your family? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

R: Yes, my family has been very supportive!  My sister, especially, seems to be one of my biggest fans!

P: Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?

R: I sit at a computer desk with a dictionary and a thesaurus at hand.  I keep it quiet.  I get an idea for something or get inspired somehow.  I sit down, go quiet and whatever comes out comes out!
 
P: Do you watch television? If not, then why?

R: No.  My TV has been packed away!  I got tired of all the stupid, mundane nonsense and realized my time was better spent reading something worthwhile or meditating.  This is one way I found to make time for my daily meditations - get rid of the TV and spend the time on my spiritual growth!

P: Do you watch movies on occasion then?

R: Sometimes.  I got tired of movies too for many months.  I watched too many that just seemed pointless.  I’ve gone to see a few recently but after the last one (The Grey) I will probably forgo watching any for a while! 

P: Now that you are a published author, does it feel differently than you had imagined?  

R: I am still me!  And he smiles.

 
Author’s Note
I am just a writer,
A simple writer of books.
Books sometimes deep
And full of meaning,
Or so some say.
But who am I to do this?
I am just me,
A simple writer of books.
Listening and writing
What I hear within
From that small, quiet voice
Urging me on …
“Here, write this down.”
I am just a writer …

This book forms a new personal journal of my quest to find out more about myself and get closer to that consciousness we call God.

If you have found something useful, please pass it on.

I can be reached at robbf1@netzero.net or visit my website at www.trapezoidaluniverse.com

6 comments:

Patti Hultstrand said...

Hey Robb,
Tell everyone hello.

And everyone - I know you are reading this so if you have a question, please ask Robb. We will give away a PDF eBook of Robb's first book, "Maybe God has a Better Idea" for anyone who writes in a good question for Robb THIS WEEKEND and leaves their email address to send the book.

Thanks and have fun,
Patti Hultstrand
Publisher/CEO
Az Publishing Services, LLC

susan seats said...

Hi Patti and Robb,
This was a great interview with well thought out questions and answers. I learned a lot about inspiration and like Robb going within to discover the creative juices that lie within me. It sounds like Robb has taken the time to answer his passion of writing and he listed to the inner stirrings and guidance to do so. We all benefit from his sharings in his books. I highly recommend them. A question could be how working at Home Depot helps him "walk his talk"(philosophies that he writes about?)as many of us feel spiritual but feel our work places don't nurture that feeling.

Thanks
Susan Seats

Patti Hultstrand said...

Thank you Susan.
I think you have a very intuitive question and I know Robb is working on an answer for you and the audience.

Patti Hultstrand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patti Hultstrand said...

Robb was having technical problems with Blogger, so here is the answer for Susan.


The funny thing is that what Susan is writing and asking about is what I am involved in, right now! Crazy, hectic schedules and various stresses at work. The only solution has been to take the time - to make the time - to retreat into the inner sanctum and spend the quiet time with God. Then we achieve some peace of mind! We let go of our stresses, fears and worreies and can then allow God to work through us. All goes more smoothly!

My department was in somewhat shambles when I took over a year ago. Today it is a whole differernt and much, much improved scene. I would like to think that it was me who did all this, but it wasn't. It was the presence of God working through me to "make the crooked paths straight."

Trio Part Three
Two Worlds

As we get closer to God and begin to live in His consciousness, we soon discover that we are apparently living in Two Worlds: God’s world and the Human/ Physical Universe world.

We retreat to God’s world whenever needed and whenever possible to refresh ourselves and reenergize.

As our oneness with God improves, we begin to see that, in reality, there is but one world - God’s world, which creates the physical universe world.

When we are able to fully get our self - our human self - out of the way, our life becomes God’s will manifested.

Patti Hultstrand said...

Susan has won Robb's first book in print, "Maybe God has a Better Idea." If you could leave me your address for sending this book, please email me at phultstrand@yahoo.com

Congratulations.