Receiving And Giving – The Healer Friend And The Magic Of A Dream

This is a very special post for me. A token of love and gratitude to the friends who have made difference in my life. Once in a while you come across someone who touches your life in an unexplained way. Someone who is a giver more than a receiver. I feel that is very inspiring. Not many give so unconditionally and freely.

I came to know Penelope and Slim Chandra-Shekar via Facebook. I felt an instant energy exchange. Strange, isn’t it, how a social network can become a channel for healing, for receiving and giving, for sharing and expanding in all possible ways? That itself is indicative that life opens up many ways to heal and to blossom. Love changes forms, negative turns to positive.

Healing works through spirit guides. If you are open and receptive distances don’t count.   Even though I have known Slim for sometime, I met him, for the first time, in June. He was visiting India to celebrate his father’s 99th birthday in B’lore and after that for three days he visited Delhi to meet friends and relatives. His physical presence was such a joy. They say when the student is ready the master appears. It is the same with spirit guides. They will be there when it is time. In that short time we spent together, I learned some meaningful life lessons, had long conversations over good food, listened to his amazing story of life transformation and how he and his wonderful wife Penelope are touching one life a day to bring joy and love through their work.

The Magic Of Gayatri

You know, sound is a very powerful medium of healing. The vibrations can actually dissolve the negative in you within no time. You just need to be in right energy frequency.  I still carry the essence of the positive energy I received through our interactions. Slim is shaman, healer, nutritionist, hypnotherapist and a wonderful human being. You can know a little about him HERE. Meeting people who are selflessly doing healing work is a gift that life brings. Apart from the love, care and understanding Slim gave me a token of spiritual love that I will cherish all my life. The Magic of Gayatri.  Gayatri mantra has been part of my life since childhood and I am aware of the immense peace and light it brings when chanted the right way. You will find many versions of it on the internet but the reason I found this particular CD worth listening is the profound energy vortex it creates within you. The calming voice of Slim, the introduction to the mantra the soothing music and the sublime rendering of the mantra makes it a wonderful vehicle to meditate, relax or just be inspired. The mantra works at whichever level you need help – physical, spiritual or emotional. For me, it opens my mind and heart when ever I chant it.

This isn’t a promotional post and I am not being paid to do this. This post is in gratitude, in love, in honor of what I received from my friend. It is important to spread the magic of Gayatri so that more and more people can benefit from it. You can let it play in the background as you work or sit quietly and let  the words wash over you. Since ancient times people have always used and still use the sound-vibration of chants for healing purposes. Many of us just chant the mantra mechanically and are deprived of the true value of Gayatri Mantra. Listening to Slim explain it with such simplicity made me chant it with intent and with an open heart. I am not a religious person but this mahamantra is a universal prayer that spiritually connects us. Frequently listening to it creates a permanent template of peace in our consciousness and even if you are not chanting the mantra it stays in you creating the inner calm. This, of course is my personal experience. I believe that we are all energy beings and we are all fluid. it is in our inherent nature to flow. If we don’t we rot. We need to keep expanding our vibrations. I don’t know if this makes sense but do think about it. I also feel that one needs to be watchful about what’s being said or repeated and this is not just for mantras, chants etc but in daily conversations, the sounds we hear and produce for they impact us in a very permanent way. Gayatri Mantra is next to chanting ‘Om’. It unblocks a lot of energies as it permeates through consciousness. The knowledge of the science and philosophy of Shabd brahm is an integral part of Indian spirituality. The Gayatri Mantra has a specific sonic pattern coded in syllables and vowels to carry the cosmic energies of sound and act as a spiritual tool. I feel that the chanting of mantras scientifically helps in healing as well as strengthening our mind-body-spirit triad. Filling us  with eternal calm and love.

When I talk of calm and love my thoughts turn to Penelope. I have not interacted much with Slim’s wife but followed her insightful writing and lovely art work on FB. I think the meeting with Slim expanded my inner horizons to receive more. I had always felt connected to Penelope at a different level. Many times I would just browse her pictures with grand children, friends, her husband or look at her paintings and other artwork and it would instantly fill me with calm and strength. Beautiful and talented as she is, one can feel her paintings through the screen. Slim and Pen are perfect examples of people for whom age is just a number. It is an inspiration that one can pursue one’s passions at any age. You are never too old for anything.

Here is another example of how the fragrance of healing comes to you. When we are open and even when we are not or think we are not, we are in relationship with everything around us. It is for us to consciously recognise and choose the positive and be in it.

Abstract Painting is one of the gifts Penelope has. She works with acrylic and mixed media. Her art has this strange calling. There is much more that what is clear. Art as a medium to heal is a concept I love. I reviewed a book sometime back where a doctor has introduced and infused poetry, music, art with medical care. It is exciting to know people are opening up to complementing and alternate healing therapies along with the modern medical care. The mind, body and spirit need to be in harmony for a wholesome wellbeing. Art in all forms – dance, music, painting, creates that harmony. Neuropsychologists believe that art and music heal by changing the person’s physiology and attitude. It changes from fear and stress to deep relaxation and inspiration, helping the person to change his/her perceptions of their world. Art, prayer, music and healing come from the same inner source of our body and are associated with similar brain wave patterns, mind-body changes. They all are deeply connected in feeling and meaning and take us to our inner resources of healing as we know that all healing comes from within.

I am struggling with a lot lately. I have a nervous temperament and am very vulnerable to everything around me. Life is challenging when you are a woman, rebel and have a mind of your own especially when living in Indian society. The fact that I trust so easily and open too soon is cherry on top and yet that is all I know. I am still learning to consciously be attentive to my emotions. To choose which emotion to act on, which to drown in and which to let go. To love, and bring myself up again.

On one such day, caught between the emotional and health issues, I had a very beautiful and life affirming dream. It was about Penelope. She came to me as a mother, a confidante, a friend. Women, I think are born healers. Some of us may not know it and hence not use the energies in positive ways but those who know, do amazing work. I have never spoken to Penelope, nor interacted with her much but still she found me as I sought the spirit who could guide me and she responded, a healing inspiration across time and space. I am a lucid dreamer and have earlier also connected to spirit guides in various forms and each time is special. It doesn’t have to be a human. It can be a spirit animal.

Let me introduce you to Gyp at this point. She was a Dingo, an animal companion of my very dear friend and mentor, author and artist Kris Saknussemm. Kris introduced her to us on FB through photographs and little stories about her and I always felt a calling. It was as if she was there, in the shadows, watching over me. I told Kris and he was very pleased. She was an animal spirit guide for many who met her or came in contact with her in some way. I often go and read this Article Kris wrote in her memory. The moment I read it for the first time I knew why we felt connected. Another female spirit , brave and wild, who was inspiring lives through her energies. Do click on the link and read.

Coming back to the dream, I shared it with Slim over the phone and he suggested writing to Penelope. I was hesitant but at the same time excited. The love I felt needed to be shared so I wrote to her. Here is what I said,

“I have been through difficult times and am still dealing with challenges, trying to bring on the positive in my life and this dream is a new beginning, new insight for me. Positive warm thoughts coming from you.”

“In the dream, You were making a painting with bright blue, fluorescent colour butterflies, fireflies etc. A beautiful scene from around where you stood. Not sure of the place but it was some lovely hilltop. I am sitting on a rock watching you paint.
The creatures you painted weren’t around us. You said “Tiku, if you believe in goodness of life it comes to you. Even inanimate comes to life.” I said , I believe you Pen, but how can inanimate come to life. It can have a different life, an aliveness about it but it can’t live like us.

You said, “like this” and as you gave the final touch to a wing of a bumblebees everything you had painted began to fly out, crawl out of the painting. Birds, butterflies, fireflies, bumblebees, the air got filled with a fragrance I can’t explain but I felt it. The canvas became white again as I watched awestruck. The voice I heard was soft, motherly voice. Something I crave for. It filled my heart. Not a shrill sound but light as a feather.”

“Wrapped in the fragrance and the sight I slept but I remembered the whole scene after waking up. I felt relaxed and the message came to me so clear , to move on, to cleanse myself of all the negative about myself, people , places. All the while we talked and I watched you paint Slim was in my thoughts too, as if validating the good vibes we shared. I loved the healing bond we formed.”

She responded with such love. A new bond was formed. She was even inspired to paint the dream and trust me, it is exquisite.

Tiku's Dream

Posted with the permission of the artist. (Penelope’s painting)

What can be more fulfilling that this? A blessing from the universe. You ask and you


Life unfolds in so many magical ways. One can only be grateful for such events and imbibe from them. That is the true gratitude. To learn from what you seek and flow with it. Heart connections are always way above the geographical distances. I always believed in this and now it’s proven in yet another amazing way.

Thank you Slim for connecting me and Penelope. For bringing to me the Magic of Gayatri, for your friendship and for the tremendous love and light you bring in so many way to so many people.

Thank you Penelope for making me aware of the immense possibilities that lie within me, for the dream visitation, for the awesome support work you are doing to touch so many lives and for being a strength, a solace and a source of light.

Thank you universe for your benevolence and for the challenges that make me strong.

For the gift of vulnerability in me.

The more we journey inwards, the more we shine outwards.

Let us create more space for healing. Do please listen to Magic of Gayatri and if anyone who is reading this wants to help Slim in making the CD available in India, please leave a note in his ‘contact me’ on the site link above.

“The things you take for granted are the things others are praying for.” Be generous with  gratitude. Be in harmony with yourself and with all.

Digital art by me. All rights reserved.

Digital art by me. All rights reserved.

‘Collection Of Chaos’ Review – Kalpanaa Misra

Last few months have been really a whirlpool of let-downs and the loss of so many precious things, people, left me disillusioned and dejected but I got a pleasant surprise the other day when @Kalpanapster tweeted a link to the review of my poetry collection. It is always a joy when readers express their views about something you have written. It helps to look at the work from a different perspective and improve upon it. Poetry books aren’t so much in demand and for a student writer like me every feedback is a step forward to more writing and learning. Good to know the book is still in circulation.

Thanks kalpanaa for appreciating my poems. Writers supporting writers is a very good thing in my opinion. While you read the review on Kalpanaa’s blog, do click on other pages and read them too. Didn’t you pledge to read diverse subjects? She is a traveler, writer, healer, reviewer, language teacher and most of all a wonderful person. Go explore her creative world.

Read what Kalpanaa has to say about ‘Collection Of Chaos’ .

“Skilful language with a controlled use of dramatic images makes the heartrending subjects she writes about bearable, as they touch you and caress you but are rarely violently demanding of your attention.I don’t enjoy language that’s too adjective laden, believing always that ‘less is more’ and Tikuli’s poems are sparse, delicate yet full-bodied. Sorry if I sound as though I’m writing about a wine. In my defence, wine and poetry have a lot in common. You think they’re going to make you comfortably numb and they end up seeping into the most emotional and well hidden corners of your being, extracting that which you would rather keep hidden, even from yourself.”

You can read the full review Here 

Show some love by reading the book. Buy it from any of the on-line retailers including Amazon, Flipkart, Book depository and more. Tell me what you think. You must.

Want to know what other (potentially) satisfied readers said about the collection? Click here. 

Thank you for all the support and encouragement.

Collection of Chaos – Tikuli

A heartwarming review with some excellent translations of my poems in Italian by writer, editor Alessandro Canzian, who is doing great work in the promotion of poetry in Italian and other languages in Pordenone, Italy, a northeastern city where one of the most important national literary events, Pordenonelegge, takes place each year.

You can read more about his International poetry press , the Samuele Editore website & BookStore and Letters To The Wind by clicking on these links.

Thank you so much Alessandro, James, Rachel, Kris and all the others who have encouraged me by becoming a part of my poetic evolution

Here is an excerpt from the review:

Collection of Chaos by Tikuli (Leaky Boot Press, 2014, foreword by Kris Saknussemm, cover by Rachel Slade), edited by my english friend James Goddard, is a primitive book of flesh and blood, passion and pain. Tikuli had the courage to do what was right for her. It is this courage, as well as her concern for the rights of women, her experience of a bad marriage, her love for her sons and the difficulties of life in India for a woman in her situation, that informs and humanises the poems in Collection of Chaos. Her themes are universal, her language often emotional and full of understanding. These, however, are not poems of self-pity, but of questioning, of trying to understand. In fact, they are a true reflection of Tikuli herself. Collection of Chaos is a book to read and reread, without fear of being overwhelmed by real life.”

View original review from the link below the cover pic. 


You can Buy the book from :


Book Depository 



More links:

Samuel Editore 

Leaky Boot Press  (Facebook) Leaky Boot Press Webisite 

Rachel Slade Art 

kris Saknussemm 

Alessandro Canzian - versi e cose sparse


View original post 2,323 more words

Good News – Poems In Zaporogue XV And Another Review Of My Book.

The wonderful 2014 edition of ‘Zaporogue XV by Various Authors’ is out and is FREE to download. An international e-magazine by acclaimed author Seb  Dubinsky, Zaporogue’s current edition has fiction and poetry in Danish, French and English. It also showcases some impressive work by artists and photographers. Overall an electric blend of creative geniuses.

I have 15 short poems in the collection along with well-known writers and poets such as Cynthia Atkins, Matt Bialer, James Goddard and Robert Stark, noted artist Manu Rich, photographer Jean-François Mariotti and fashion designer Laure Kczekotowska.

Apart from them there is an added bonus of discovering lesser known but impressive writings of several other writers. I am absolutely loving this 258 page treasure.

This is the third time my work is published here and I am grateful to Seb for providing me this platform.

My work in previous editions of Le Zap 

1. Zaporogue 11 – Poems

2. Zaporogue 13 – Short Story


Zaporogue XV 

Click to Download FREE.


Another good news is a heartwarming review  of Collection of Chaos by William. B. Burkholder (poet/author).  It is very helpful when readers connect, an important step in the evolution of self as a writer.  Do read the book and let me know your views.

Here is what William says,

Book Review: Collection of Chaos by: Tikuli

“Every writer is a city unto themselves. 
Their memories and experiences; the streets and avenues.
The reader is conveyed via the words and lines of the poet.

The miraculous journey gifted to us to see the sights, and hear the sounds within these cities.

Tikuli’s newest collection of Poetry, “ Collection of Chaos” provides the reader with this privilege. To journey with her through those memories and experiences.

When immersed in verse and page that she has so masterfully created, the reader shall find themselves connected in a way that is more than literary joy, more than the mere passing of a moment’s time reading…

They shall find themselves’ s in a world, in a city that Tikuli has created. It is hers and hers alone.
She allows us to wander among the pages, to see what lies beyond the curve, around the next corner.

Each page leaves me asking for “ More Please”
When a writer/poet present themselves with the purity of heart as this author does.
You can tell immediately that she lays it all on the table.

These are her truths, these are her words, this is her poetry, and this is “Collection of Chaos” by Tikuli. 

The reading public should take note of this author. For this will not be the last that we hear from her. I trust that her City will continue to grow and that there shall be more streets and avenues, giving us the continued gifts of her poetic journey. “

William Burkholder

The Writer’s Sight, The Sower’s tree, This Thing Called Man

Thank you so much for the encouragement William.  So glad you found a connect with my book.

Leaky Boot Press FB Page

Leaky Boot Press Website

Collection of Chaos (Amazon) (also on etc.)

Collection of Chaos (Flipkart)

Collection Of Chaos – My Poetry Book And First Mini Review

Collection of Chaos

My short collection of poetry Collection Of Chaos is out from a new and power packed Leaky Boot Press, England. Editor James Goddard ( himself an excellent writer, mentor, editor) has done a fabulous job with it. Without him this would have remained just another dream.  Acclaimed author and multimedia artist Kris Saknussemm has written a heartwarming foreword for the book.

The cover art  is a painting by talented artist Rachel Slade  .

Big thanks to all who encouraged and helped me break my mental barriers.

The book is now available to buy at , , Bookadda, uRead , Flipkart and from other online book sellers too.

While I await my author’s copies here is an initial response of a wonderful fellow poet and published authorWilliam. B. Burkholder –

“On Tiku’s “Collection of Chaos”…
I am still in the process of digesting this tasty morsel of poetic beauty.
However, the first thing that comes to mind is as follows, and for some reason, I feel that my mere words shall not do justice to the exquisite beauty with which these lines are written…

Powerful, miraculous, extreme in its undertaking to convey the heart and mind of a universal writer, who not only speaks to some, but to all.

In a far distant land, where kismet thoughts reside, and poetic verse is unleashed to quell and calm the troubled and broken hearted, the view afforded to the reader by this single poet, captures elements of the human condition and the heart. I am enthralled to have the privilege to read these works, and I am blessed to have Tikuli as a friend and poetic colleague.

If you have not already, please do yourself a kind favor and purchase this collection today.

My formal review of these works shall come soon, however, my excitement about this work cannot be contained. 

On a 1 to 5 star scale… “Collection of Chaos” rates a fabulous 6!

W. B. Burkholder”

Thank you William. Your words mean a lot.

Leaky Boot Press FB page

Interview With Author Kris Saknussemm

I often say ” When the student is ready the master appears “.

I found my Mentor , Sensei , Teacher  in Kris. We met through Facebook and  in less than a year he helped me evolve as a person and as a writer and still  continues to do so. It is an honor to feature this exceptional human being and fabulous writer on my blog.

Kris Saknussemm is  widely acclaimed cult novelist and multimedia artist. Born and educated in America, he has lived most of his life abroad, primarily in Australia and the Pacific Islands. He is also a painter, sculptor and musician.

The reason I wanted to do this interview with Kris is personal. There is something  unique and rare in him, a flame that needs to be shared. Only once in lifetime one comes across someone like Kris who can lend you a hand and help you take those baby steps with so much encouragement and caring that you gain an inner strength to realize your dreams. I learned  a great deal from his perceptions and impressions.

He is an amazing writer and one can draw life from his words.  The richness of his work comes from his being fully awake to the life around him.

Hope you will learn something valuable from this interview. It has been a pleasure to know him and an honor to share his thoughts with all of you. Outrageously Brilliant , he will make you long for more. If you love bizarre , sci-fi, mysticism, tribalism,  totemism, magic and humor, ancient rituals and cults , erotic and supernatural and are willing to be led where He wants to take you then you are truly alive and awake to life and beyond.

Do open the links to discover more.

The Interview

How did your love affair with writing begin?  Tell us about it from where it began.

KS – My family was very story oriented, both in the sense of reading literature, and anecdotes and tales told around the table or in the car on trips.  The latter was an assumed family skill.  To this was added a kind of private superstition of mine from early childhood that words were somehow alive.  So, I arrived at writing from several angles.  The decisive moment came when I realized very practically that I would soon exhaust one of my favorite series of books—so I appropriated the characters and began creating new stories of them for my own.  I remain very sympathetic to fan fiction as a consequence, and to the incorporation of famous characters from literature in new contexts.

What ignites your inner fuel?  Does being wakeful and sensitive to your surroundings help you to create more than any other thing?

KS – I think writing, in fact any artistic activity, is based on a fine balance of being hyper-alert to what’s going on around you—and then being able to switch off and to go inside, to process and imaginatively reconfigure those externally derived perceptions and observations.  The mind is both inside and out, and is forever dynamically shifting those boundaries, defining them, revising them.  So, you have to stay in rhythm with those oscillations.  I’ve also found that the practice and pursuit of art makes one more attuned to the levels of things “going on around.”  For instance, there’s an interesting conflict going on right now in my office between a spider and a moth.  My dog is having a dream.  My local council is about to decide an important town planning issue.  I just Googled on the latest developments in the Middle East uprisings.  Checking my e-mails, I see I’ve been offered the chance to be a book reviewer in the USA.  And then I get a call from a Call Centre in India regarding my water bill, which is overdue.  We live on so many levels today.  Art should make us more sensitive to their complexity and interaction.

There is a mysterious world that emerges out of your writings.  A world very few like to venture into.  Tell us more about it.  What gives birth to these characters in your works?

KS – I lived a pretty adventurous life at various points in the past, and I was fortunately exposed to lot of the things that I think promote creativity—even if they’re terrifying or sad in the moment.  But my greatest inspiration is a very rich dream life, which has been the case since my first memories.  I’m not always influenced by any one specific dream—more by this pervasive certainty that there’s a whole other multidimensional world that I’m part of, which I can only take fragments of back to so-called waking life.

What is your idea of a good work of fiction?

KS – One that works on both the micro level of detail, and as unified whole.  Books with individual sentences I ponder over, particular scenes, as well as making me want to reread them completely.  Ultimately, I believe good fiction is what makes you want to read it again.  When you think about it, we apply that same criterion to music and visual art.

Do you feel that creativity becomes captive when it is up for sale?  Is writing for pleasure, a free form of writing better than the formal one?

KS – No, I see great value in the disciplines of professionalism.  Working with deadlines, respect for audience, diligence in fact checking where necessary, the self-control of editing and revising.  I don’t begrudge people the satisfaction of creativity in any form.  I encourage it absolutely.  But that doesn’t mean that someone has real talent and is an artist because they express themselves.  I also think that working within a professional framework humanizes the end creative achievement.  Art becomes meaningful when it’s shared and there needs to be some shared risk in that.  Audiences in any form enter into the work more fully when they pay for it.  It’s just human nature.  I think all the discussion of “commercialism” in the arts overlooks the simple spectrum principle.  You can go to a gourmet restaurant for fine dining and a real experience—or you can go to McDonald’s for a quick cheap feed.  In both cases however, you pay.  Both are commercial.

When the musician, painter, sculpture, poet, writer Kris is resting what does the other Kris do?  What are your other passions?

KS – A good portion of the rest of my time now is spent corresponding with associates, fans, agents, etc in relation to those activities—in other words the promotional, business side.  Some of it is honestly hustling for attention, some of it is supporting friends and colleagues as best I can.  The musical collaboration takes a lot of organizing.  The intensity of the time demands had a lot to do with my divorce and the recent end of a five-year relationship.  I do a lot of walking with my dog.  I used to be heavily into adventure sports like whitewater kayaking.  I have binges of intense new reading.  But I’ve been pretty hard focused on work of late.

Share some experiences from your journey to publishing your first novel.

KS – Well, my first published novel was really about my fifteenth.  I’d written a lot of highly experimental stuff that I thought was terribly interesting, but no commercial publisher agreed.  They in fact seriously doubted my sanity.  Some of those manuscripts survive in bits and pieces and keep insinuating themselves in new work.  Others I destroyed in a fit of depression and during a period of younger drug use.  My road to book publication is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I love the websites for your books ZANESVILLE and PRIVATE MIDNIGHT and the music for PM.  Tell us about the inception of these unique, captivating ways to promote your work.

KS – I draw on skills I’ve made my living with promoting other people and organizations.  So, I wanted to apply them to work of mine.  There’s unquestionably a pure promotional aspect to them.  But there’s also a larger and I think much more interesting desire to make the works live on more levels—to potentially reach people who may not be readers.  Sharing in as many ways as the works allow.

Tell us about Clamon ?  I loved the tracks based on PRIVATE MIDNIGHT and would like you to share something about them.

KS – Clamon is an informal and highly flexible arts collective of people I admire and enjoy working with.  In many cases we work remotely from 12,000 miles apart.  Steve Joseph in Houston is a key collaborator.  Lyric Powers has done much of the main graphic design.  There’s the enjoyment of a sense of tribe—and the ability to extend a concept into other media.  I think extensions are something all writers have to think about today.  The music reflects these other strong individual’s response to the work.

MP3 for Private midnight

You once said “writers need to be dreamers”.  For dreamers like me who are at the threshold of a door that leads to the unknown yet adventurous world of writing, what advice would you give ?

What happens when a dream is crushed or left suspended?  When words shrug their shoulders and walk away and you stare into a biblioblackhole ?  Did you ever face such a situation?

KS – Rejection, disappointment…the struggle to be paid—any kind of “career” in the arts is fraught with so much uncertainty and heartache this way, you have to wonder why anyone would choose such a path.  So, it has to choose you.  Only very hardy people can survive the hard knocks on the business front.  As to the artistic challenges and crises…the times when the creative solutions aren’t coming, fatigue and depression set in, inspiration just isn’t there…I perversely believe you have to be the kind of person who enjoys those moments.  Listen to what your doubt or anxiety is telling you.  Listen to your anger as much as to your joy.  The more you can embrace the whole of your own psychic being (with all its failings), the more you will connect with people.  The crucial dividing line between the amateur and the true artist (however successful finally) is that the amateur seeks primarily approval.  The artist is seeking connection and self-awareness.

Tell us about your co authors, your animal companions, and how their presence in your life made it richer.

KS – Almost too much to tell there.  My dingo Gyp and my mastiff Luciano (and Tom the cat) have been extremely close spiritual companions…and also very close down-to-earth/on the bed friends.  If I had to encapsulate what they’ve taught me, it’s that the spiritual and down-to-earth aren’t opposites at all.  They’re the same meditation, as the Buddhists would say.  They’ve also made me more aware of means, performance, and demonstration in the world.  The mastiff head butts me for a pat.  Well, what other means does he have?  I think in human relations, especially in romantic ones, we forget there are only so many means at hand to communicate, to express.  I’ve grown more appreciative of seemingly simple gestures…the apparently off-hand remark.

It often takes a good amount of courage and belief to go against the tide.  What would you suggest to writers who like me who want to move away from the normal and take the dangerous road?

KS – The responsible answer is “don’t do it.”  A more considered answer is to be very articulate about what you mean by the “normal.”  The clearer you are about what you feel you’re breaking away from, or wanting to break away from, the more successful you will be.  But I think this larger principle holds—it’s much more important what you value and are in favor of, than what you dislike or resist.  Rebelling against something doesn’t necessarily give you a new direction, and we end up admiring advocates much more than critics.  As my gangster stepbrother would’ve said, “Have enemies because of who’s on your side and what side you’re on.”

How important it is to stay rooted to the culture and society we live in?  What if one wants to venture beyond?  How do we know of our calling as a writer?  Thoughts, ideas come as a deluge sometimes but how does the inner editor work?  It is always turmoil for a learner like me.

KS – Can we ever escape our culture?  Many have tried.  They’ve moved far away physically (as I have)…they’ve adopted new ways, sometimes another language.  They often seem to become more a part of their origin culture as a result!  It’s always ourselves we’re in search of, and we are all examples of our cultural backgrounds, as much as we are arguments against narrowly defining them.  I’m no more a representative American than you are of India.  And yet…

As to managing the flood of ideas, give up.  You’re a parent.  I’m sure you started off with some ideal notions about raising children.  Things don’t work out that way.  Love doesn’t work out that way.  You have to enjoy the mess of process.  Be glad you have some chaos in your head and in your heart.  That’s what art is all about.  The only remedy is constant work and training.  Like a dancer.  Like a martial artist or tradesman.  Like a musician.  Practice the scales.  Throw stuff out.  Making love is like that too.  We’re all pretty clumsy and foolish at the start.  And there has never been in any endeavor, even among the most beautifully talented by nature, ANYONE, who couldn’t get better through work.  Many people expect things to come too easily.  Good things come to those who work and failure is a very fine teacher.

We have read some memorable write ups about your family.  How did your growing up years influence you?  Share one incident that changed the course of your life for good?

KS – My father was a complicated man-child.  Frustrating, failed, impossible not to like, yet always sneaky and not entirely to be trusted.  A cowardly war hero, a nervous but brilliant preacher, an alcoholic-innocent teacher, leader and lost soul boy.  But once (and scenes like this repeat a lot in my growing up) we were driving through the California foothills to go fishing in the mountains.  A mix of old volcanic land and terrain that had been raped by the Gold Rush and its aftermath.  A blank field of jagged shale, like a dead planet, shining under hot high summer sun.  The car broke down, no one around.  I was about eight.  Sweaty, thirsty, irritable.  From his adult perspective, it could’ve been a painful moment.  Then we looked out through the sun glare over these shards of thin granite and saw—literally thousands of Monarch butterflies—it happened to be that moment in the year when they appear in mass numbers.  It looked like some strange imaginary storm over the stones.  “Isn’t it lucky,” he said.  I think about that still, whether in moments of annoying inconvenience—or real tragedy.  We so want things to go smoothly…and yet we long for the wonderful to happen.  Then we wonder why it doesn’t seem to enough.

Share the art of pulling together a good story especially if it’s going to be slightly away from the set “norms” of writing.

KS – I’d happily do this, if I had the answer.  I remain a student.  What I’m certain of is that any good story demonstrates what works in all art—some distinctive balance between intentional structure and organic, quixotic flow.  I think that comes out of losing yourself in your characters.  Plot really is secondary.  In a great story, action and character seem to meld together.  I never set out to write something odd for the sake of it—but I never dismiss any possible line of drama or scene that crosses my path, whether from walking around life, dreams, something heard from others’ experience or stray imaginings.  I’m a scavenger and relentless what-iffer.  As the poet Ann Sexton observed about a humble paperclip on her desk…if it were larger it would look something like a snowshoe.

Mind game and fairy tale, PRIVATE MIDNIGHT is a novel to treasure.  I am half way through it and it is a complete turn on for people who love to play with primal emotions.  Aren’t we all haunted by time?

KS – I think we all are haunted by time, but some are more haunted by themselves too.  Often the causal factor is the denial of primal emotions—the inability to channel them—so that they can take on monstrous proportions.  The main character in PM suffers this problem acutely.  His past becomes a monster.  El Miedo, which means The Fear.

Does your being a multimedia artist make you break through categories and bend and experiment with various subjects?

KS – It may be the other way around.  Some internal drive has necessitated a multimedia response.

The Bizarro Starter Kit is next on my reading list.  Why is this genre not really recognized in the fiction world when we are deep inside so much bizarreness?

KS – Oh, I think this genre is gaining great traction around the world, in underground circles at least.  You can’t be alternative, avant-garde, edgy (however you want to put that) and be openly accepted by the mainstream.  Bizarro is an affront to much “serious” writing and the publishing mechanisms behind that.  They also value having fun with what they do.  The bigger question is how they will respond when a serious major publisher offers to buy them out, which will happen one day.

In all my discussions and interactions with you as a friend, student and admirer I discovered a rich life and a beautiful heart that needs to be shared with everyone.  Have you ever thought of writing a biography or a collection of memoirs?

KS – My most recently completed work is called SEA MONKEYS, and is with my agent now.  It explores the childhood / coming of age part of my life.

This year has been exceptionally good for you.   SINISTER MINIATURES and ENIGMATIC PILOT are already making waves and EAT JELLIED EELS AND THINK DISTANT THOUGHTS has been accepted for publication.  After SEA MONKEYS, what’s next?

KS – A continued period of intensive writing, and sadly not much painting.  Three other novels are in the works right now, and I’m working with Clamon on music and video for REVEREND AMERICA, which is scheduled to be released in February 2012.

Any plans to raid the sub continent?

KS – I’d love to.  Probably not realistically until 2013.  When there’s some more time.

What kind of readership do you have in this part of the world?  Do you think people appreciate your style of writing here?

KS Tabish Khair, a Man Booker Prize nominee did a feature on ZANESVILLE for the Indian version of the Wall Street Journal.  I think I have a potentially fairly large audience.  It’s arguably become or fast becoming, the world’s most sophisticated audience for literature.

You love jazz and have such a fantastic taste in music.  You introduced me to a whole new world of great artists.  Does music inspire you while writing like it does me?

KS – Constantly, although very often indirectly.  Music is deeply mysterious, because it can be examined objectively as a system—more so than any other human creation except mathematics.  Yet, if it’s just system, it’s not felt as music.  I try to hear what that implies for writing as well.

Let’s talk about COLORS OF COMPULSION , your portfolio book of paintings.  I have seen your graphic work and it is as mind-boggling as your prose, absolutely delicious to say the least.

KS – Thank you very much.  It’s very meaningful for me, and I’ve been naturally pleased that it’s been taken up others.  I’m proud to have had sales and to be officially represented, but it’s honestly my very personal amateur side.  Professional validation is just a wonderful bonus in this form.

Would you like to share something I have missed and your heart desires?

KS – The only thing I can think to say here is that like every artist, I seek a certain level of success.  I just would like personally to avoid the level of pretension and self-satisfaction that seems to come with it.  It’s unfortunate to say the least that some of our most lauded artists become so taken with themselves they lose sight of anything else.  I always think back to working in a hospital.  Cleaning a bedpan brings you right down to the truth of it all.  Same with burying a dog.

Any parting thoughts you would like to share with us?

KS – Stay true to your heroes.  Take issue with them, try to transcend them if you can.  Revise them.  Discard and exchange them.  But never outgrow the need for heroes.


Some more learning with Kris

KS on Facebook

Author’s Page on FB

Kris’s Blog 

The Nervous Breakdown Articles

Complete book list of Kris




Reverend America is available on Amazon . Do pick it up . 

For Gyp – My Spirit Guide


For Gyp

from the shadows of my silent thoughts

you emerged like a vision

your inner spirit glowing

radiant, spirited, feisty

a reborn human soul


You come to me,

a young girl with bright eyes

and a smile that warms

the loneliest of heart

and reign over my

thoughts and actions

slumber and dreams


You come when evoked

and one by one  unlock

the rusted old locks

of my being

and yet

you dwell alone

my free roaming spirit guide


your golden youth

merging with the landscape

of the great Aussie wild



chased by the phantoms of my mind

with their double edged swords

I seek you and find

three pairs of footprints

two yours and one mine

side by side

your sinews strengthening mine


there is a stream of life

that runs through my veins

and in yours day and night

two hearts in one


with you I  visit the tombs

and chase the scents of those

who  had memories and dreams too


we  stray to secret

pathways in the woods

hidden by star fires,

bird wings and fragrant flowers

of the wayfaring seasons

and then ours hearts fluttering

we  laze under the blue sky

sun kissed


we   float on moonlit waters

our bodies wet  shimmering

nude sculptures


You, the shape shifter spirit

and me the wild gypsy child

hand in hand we chase the veiled night

and make it plunge into the fiery dawn

and then

our souls seamlessly merge

to greet the new morn of our lives


Your presence grows stronger

With each passing day

beautiful, wild, untamed

you reside in me


heart to heart

soul to soul


I met Gyp through my mentor and friend Kris and the day our eyes met I knew she and I had some calling.  She visited me in my dreams and I felt her presence all the time. I still do. One very fine, courageous female soul. Words fall short sometimes when emotions run deep.

This is for you Kris, Gyp and Luciano.

All  those who wish to meet Gyp Please visit this link. Do not forget to leave your heart prints.

Living with a Dingo

Erotica: A Poetry excercise with Kris


My hands
open the curtains of your being
clothe you in a further nudity
uncover the bodies of your body
My hands
invent another body for your body

Octavio Paz

I wrote this poem as an excercise in writing erotic or passionate poetry. My first attempt went flat so posting Kris’s correction also. I think it just stones you once the flowery words get trashed. enjoy both the versions . :). It’s wonderful when someone goes all the way to help you improve and make you learn the finer aspect of something you are passionate about. My heartfelt thanks to Kris for being such a considerate, caring and excellent teacher.

The curtains rhythmically sway
sunlight streams in,
into the dark chamber
caressing the soft pillow cases and sheets
faintly touching their bodies

drowsy curled honeysuckles,
entwined in sleepy heat
bathed in moist molten bronze
they glisten,

electrified nude sculptures of Khajuraho

A moment suspended in time

Fragrance of passion
wafts through the room
and whirls around them
She stirs, stretches in feline grace

From behind the Dark lashes
emerge deep intense eyes
teasing twinkling with want
tilting her lips
She dared him to play


Her twin tulips, tipped crimson
in the refracting sunlight
He felt the rush
Their breath synchronized

feverishly his hand travel
down the smooth arch of her back
her firm breasts crushed against his face
ignited, flamed by fiery passion

Soaked in scintillating sensuous notes of saxophone
intermingled with citrus aromas
his lips, hands and tongue
traced circles, lines and curves
on the canvas of her body
unknown frenzied patterns
brush strokes of splashing exploding colors

liquefied bodies
in the rivulets of steamy sweat
moving in synchronized, frantic fluidity.
A torrential river gushing
to meet the raging deep ocean
swirling like a whirlpool,
gasps, moans, screams
A mystical ride
complete surrender.

Here is Kris’s version, a quick rewrite and a perfect one . Thanks Kris for being the light.

Electrified nude sculptures of Khajuraho
suspended in fragrance

He felt his hand travel
down the arch of her back
her firm breasts crushed against his face

Liquefied bodies intermingled with
unknown frenzied patterns
moving in synchronized whirlpool surrender

making it too hot for her to handle anymore.