Chin Wag At The Slaughterhouse: Interview With Monica Brinkman

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Monica Brinkman is the author of The Turn of the Karmic Wheel. She writes speculative genre fiction which contains the paranormal, spirituality, horror and suspense.

She hosts the Meaningful Writings as well as the online radio site Two Unsynchronized Souls.

She met me at The Slaughterhouse where we talked about the media and gun culture.

Do you think we are manipulated by the media?

That’s an easy question to answer for all we need to do is look around us and see how much the media influences our lives.

One of the first things you are advised to do when turning your life into a positive, goal-seeking path is to turn off the television. It is the most important part of achieving your personal success. The media delivers tons of negativity into a persons’ life.

Think about it for a second. You wake up in the morning, a bit groggy, get your coffee or tea, sit down and turn on the morning news. Not only are you being told news that is ‘sensationalized’ to get large ratings, you are reported news to keep you in fear.

Fear that the economy will collapse. Fear that a tornado will hit your town. Fear that there are no decent jobs. Fear that someone will walk into your child’s school and shoot them. Moreover, don’t even get me talking about the Fear of those who have different political views than you or those who are of a different ethnicity. These are just a few examples. In addition, much of the news is simply someone’s opinion.

On top of this, you are bombarded with useless, silly and many times senseless advertisements.

Credit card companies trying to get a laugh while, in reality, they suck many middle-class working people into their clutches until these people over extend their credit, which can be ruinous. Car manufacturers showing the new, improved, sleek model with all the bells and whistles, which costs more than most average households can afford.

It goes on and on, cleverly attracting our children to plead and beg for the latest electronic gadget or delicious cookie.

Then there are the movies. Sex, violence, and corruption fill the screen. It has made many of our youth numb to the finality of death. The killing of anyone should be shocking and unacceptable, yet it is treated as if it is just another statistic…look the other way…be glad it didn’t touch your life.

I could go on and on about this topic but will end in saying it is time this country and the world stopped allowing the air-waves to lead our lives and tell us how to act, talk and what makes us happy. For true happiness is reaching for your passions in life, making that journey until you are able to work doing something you truly enjoy.

Media has taken away our imagination, replacing it with their thoughts, images and concepts. It is a form of control. For me, yes I watch television but try to focus on shows that have meaning, truth and purpose or just make me laugh. For laughter will heal your heart and soothe your soul.

As an author, I wish our youth would read books, for that is where your imagination goes wild. It is your perception of the story, which is personal to you alone. Imagination also brings forth creativity, without which, nothing new would come into the world.

Who are your literary influences?

As so many authors have influenced me, this is a more difficult question to answer.

Readers will notice I start each Part of a novel with a poem and I will continue to do so with each book written. The works of the Brothers Grimm, Edgar Allen Poe, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow are innate within my spirit as I grew up reading and listening to their works.

More recently, I have favoured none other than Mr. Stephen King, perhaps because he chose to take a unique look at normal, ordinary objects and situations and add that bit of magical realism. Truth be told, to me, his books are more frightening than any other horror writings to date.

Some very recent influences have been found reading new authors books. Take for example, Kenneth Weene, author of ‘Memoirs from the Asylum, Oana, author of The Healings and Sal Buttaci, author of ‘Flashing My Shorts’ and ‘200 Shorts.’ I’ve marveled at their creativity and well-crafted stories. It makes me wonder why their books are not on the NY Times Best Sellers List today. I implore any inspiring authors to look at some of the unknown authors for they are the future of writing.

My own writing tends to lean toward speculative genre, which many say is death to an author. Are they kidding?

Many traditional publishers shy away from this genre fore they are unable to place the work in any one area and they do not have the knowledge to market the books. All I can say to them is they are underestimating readers intelligence and placing the readers of the world in their self-made ‘box.’ Every person whom has read ‘The Turn of the Karmic Wheel’ has not only given it fantastic reviews, they are asking when the next book will be available. So, why then are publishers failing to offer speculative genre to the public? Simply put, it is economics. They rely on what has worked for them in the past and are afraid to put money into something different. It is a shame.

Do you think the idea that the people around us are unknowable is the ultimate source of horror and how true do you think this idea is?

What a great question, Richard. I tend to disagree with this statement.

It is according to your prospective. I see true knowledge available to the masses, yet they hide from it, deny it, or sometimes even scorn it. Thus, if they are not knowledgeable, it is due to their own lack of interest. This scares me.

One example is you point to the sky, state it is the proverbial blue and those around you say no, it is yellow. The knowledge lies right above them in the blue sky yet they bury their head in the sand, wanting to be right, and call it yellow. You see this around you every single day.

On the other hand, as an author, I find the most frightening stories come out of nowhere, jump out at you when you least expect it. In this instance, it is not lack of knowledge but rather the knowledge itself that frightens. You know that the man travelling alone in the wilderness is soon to meet that ghastly apparition, so knowledge in this case, provides the fright factor.

Do you think gun culture is prevalent in the Unites States?

Unfortunately, this culture has been prevalent since our forefathers made their way from England to the new land.

The right to bear arms is not specific to guns, though many will use this part of the Bill of Rights as an excuse to own guns. If you look up arms in a thesaurus, you will see it lists weaponry, armaments, missiles, artillery as well as guns. We, as a people, have the right to bear arms against our enemies when threatened.

If you take Canada, for example, more people own guns in that country than in any other yet they have one of the lowest shooting death rates. Why, you may ask. Because they realize the purpose of guns is for hunting, not killing each other.

It runs much deeper than gun culture. It is our views of war, power and superiority that create a culture sustained on supremacy where we will accept peace only on our terms. Instead of seeking a solution via communication or understanding, we rely on force. Until the United States comes to grips with the fact, we are part of the world and look for peaceful solutions instead of almighty force, our society will continue to embrace gun culture.

You see it in our films, our music, our media, our beliefs, and in our everyday lives. I fear without changing our views, American, once so loved and respected by other countries, will find even more hatred from what were once friendly nations.

My one hope is our youth will stand up and be unafraid to change the paradigm.

Do you think a female killer thinks and acts differently to a male and if so how?

Women tend to act on emotions, therefore when they kill it is very personal, for the most part.

I believe we have two types of female murderers. One, the battered partner who either, snaps one day or carefully plans the execution of the source of her abuse. In both instances, she kills from a place of deep-seated resentment and passion. These women usually over-kill; wanting to be certain, their abuser cannot strike back.

The other type of murderess kills for self-gain, cunningly, carefully, methodically, obtaining the trust of the victim. She will blind sight this person without batting an eyelash. Cold and heartless, is this type of female. The poor sap who gets into her clutches will never know what hit him.

Now men, on the other hand, will murder for the feel of power and control. It is much a game to them. Most feeling they are smarter than the authorities, believing they shall never be caught. Part of the pleasure they seek is in the initial plotting of the murder. They may daydream about it until it consumes their mind and they must act upon the impulse growing within.

Some will kill at random, unable to suppress their sick, sexual desires or need for complete control.

So I must answer yes, I definitely feel female killers, overall, think and act quite differently than a male murderer.

What are the most interesting experiences you have had on your radio show?

On the top of list would be the day a guest didn’t show up. Instead of letting it get us down, Oana, my co-host, and I proceeded to discuss the topic, Marketing and Promotion, in great detail treating it as a joke rather than allowing it to affect the show.

There are two shows that peaked my interest more than any other and that was when we had authors, Robert Rubenstein and Jonathan Maxwell as guests. The topic of discussion on both shows was Nazi Germany. It was interesting to see the different approach both authors took on this difficult topic.

Mr. Rubenstein had written a book called Ghost Runners. He centered on two characters, based on non-fictional men, who were expert runners and journeyed to Berlin during the Olympics. Though they were outstanding athletes, they were denied entry into the Olympics as they were Jewish Americans. This book is a testimony to two very real figures.

Jonathan Maxwell took a look at the Elite in his book, Murderous Intellectuals. It covered the years prior to the Nazi takeover, giving the reader an inside look into the participant’s background and minds.

Another that caused my ears to perk and drew my attention was our guest James Goi, Jr., author of ‘How To Attract Money,’ which was based on the Laws of Attraction. The conversation between Mr. Goi and Phil Harris, publisher of Allthingsthatmatterpress, was simply fascinating.

One last show that touched my heart was our Valentine’s Day Special with guest Salvatore Buttaci. Who wouldn’t feel a tug at their heart hearing Sal read poetry he had accumulated, for years, written on special occasions for his beloved wife?

One, I’m looking forward to is the chance to speak with Animal Psychic/Medium, Patricia Bono. She will be a guest on June 8th. This is sure to be fascinating, though by the time this interview is out, people will be able to view the show in our archived broadcasts.

I’ve also had my share of technical difficulties, which can be interesting. You must go with the flow and do the best you can. The audiences seem to understand when a speaker stops working or the line hangs up on the host. You never know what to expect.

Michel Foucault writes in ‘The Archaeology Of Knowledge’ : ‘The frontiers of a book are never clear-cut: beyond the title, the first lines, and the last full stop, beyond its internal configuration and its autonomous form, it is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network.’ What do you make of his observation?

Richard, I thought long and hard on this question.

Being an author, I want to say it is mine exclusively, the ideas, the words, and the thoughts.

After all, aren’t I the one who conceived the story, the characters, and the meaning? So, putting whatever small ego I have left aside, I tend to agree, for the most part, with Mr. Foucault. I know somewhere there is a character somewhat like mine. I certainly see that among the millions, if not billions, of stories throughout the world and the decades, someone may have come up with text, sentences similar to my own.

Nevertheless, with that said, I also feel each good book has its own style, unique to the author. Without creativity and imagination, new forms of writing would not exist.

Personally, I strive to bring to the world something a bit different, something that may rock the traditional accepted rules of authoring a book. In addition, if an author is using what has already been done, then I do not believe it is consciously written in this way. It is like saying; someone wrote the sky was a deep blue. I will use this example again, the sky is blue at times so the verse may be utilized time and again through different adjectives and verbs. You cannot change a constant from what its reality may be, thus we will continue to hear about blue skies in writings until eternity.

Joseph Conrad in ‘Heart Of Darkness’ suggests that civilization is a lie. Do you think that we are ruled by the irrational?

Richard, there are so many forms of civilization that it is more of an illusion than a lie.

We come into this world, taught what our own society’s values, rules and expectations should be. In part, it is irrational, for many of the instructions given us are indeed senseless and with little worth. Yet, if we all ran amok, centered solely on our own wants, aspirations and passion; never caring for our fellow man or what is good for our particular society, state, town, we would surely turn into savages.

I’m sure the governing forces would love all of us to follow as sheep, never questioning their rule but if we did this, it would be the ruin of civilization. Nothing new would come into the world. Therefore, in that sense, civilization is a half-truth but not an out and out lie.

“Never fear being the fool” is one of my favourite sayings. I have found that in order to live a fulfilling life, you must first be true to yourself, yet so many people fail to live their life instead settling on mere existence.

Civilization, of course, is a set of rules we agree should be in place and handed down from generation to generation. Not complete illusion, but hope for our future especially when irrationality is part of the mindset. Thus, I tend to agree with Mr. Conrad’s statement for the most part.

Do you think some readers are addicted to word patterns?

What an insightful question, Richard.

After much thought, I had to conclude that I believe most readers are addicted to word patterns.

How could they not be? What we have heard from the day we were born etches familiar groups of verbs, adjectives and nouns together that are stored in that memory bank called our brain.

Take for instance the fairy tales from our childhood. Would they have meant so much and made such a deep impression if not starting out with ‘Once Upon A Time’?

Would we be able to recognize a tale of horror if not for such delightful sentences that speak of ‘ghastly, ghoulish figures looming in the dank, darkness of the night’?

Word patterns allow a reader to comprehend the essence of a story and relate its meaning. So, in ending, I feel not only readers are addicted to word patterns, but every person who listens to someone speak, watches a movie or listens to a song’s words.

Most authors write because it is their passion and they must write. Assuming this to be a given, is there any other reason you chose to become an author?

Certainly not for fame or fortune, though that would be a wonderful gift.

Richard, the main reason I write, other than the fulfilment of telling a story that I hope will bring pleasure to others, is one of great importance to me. You see, I donate a portion of each book sale to EBMRF, a foundation that uses 97% of donations on actual research. You can view their web site at www.ebkids.org

Several years ago, I became aware of an incurable, genetic, disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa or E.B., for short. Like most of the world, I did not know of its existence. When I viewed a young girl who was born with E.B., my first thought was she had been in a terrible fire as her arms, hands, legs and feet were covered with gauze bandages. After learning about the disease, being a fire survivor would have been a much easier choice, if given.

These brave, beautiful children were born without the first layer of skin, inside and outside of their bodies. What that means is doing something as normal as hugging, swallowing food, or being lifted, to name a few, cause painful blisters on their skin. These blisters must be torn and kept clean and the child will get them anywhere she has skin. It could be the face, the neck, fingers, inside her mouth, throat, feet, legs; you name it. I won’t go further into the details. Let’s just say each child lives in constant and continual pain and as they age, the disease gets worse until their little fingers and toes become clubs, their legs and arms distorted and they will ultimately pass away.

Therefore, in answer to your question, more than anything, I write and continue to write so I can open readers’ eyes and minds of the need to generate funds to EBMRF and one day find a cure for these children. In fact, my latest release, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel, has a character whose little girl was born with this disease. It is yet another way to get the word out to the world of E.B.’s existence.

If anyone would like to know more about EB, they may look at my web site, Meaningful Writings, www.monicabrinkmanbooks.webs.com, as I have several videos of the children.

Thank you for engaging with these questions with such gusto Monica.

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Links

Monica’s website

Her radio show  Two Unsychronized Souls

‘The Turn of the Karmic Wheel’ can be found at Amazon.com here

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12 Responses to Chin Wag At The Slaughterhouse: Interview With Monica Brinkman

  1. First let me say, Richard, your questions are always beyond the typical ones asked by interviewers, which certainly makes for better reading. As for Monica Brinkman, your guest here today, I don’t have, nor will I ever have, words adequate enough to describe her or her writing ability. If it were up to me, everyone would order her book “The Turn of the Karmic Wheel,” and everyone would tune into the blog-radio show she hosts with an equally talented author Oana, “Two Unsynchronized Souls.” The buttons are to the right of Monica’s photo. How about clicking on them, good people out there!

  2. Monica’s blog talk radio show is one of my favorites. Her concern for others comes across there and in her excellent writing.

    • Kenneth Weene, I am so honored to hear your comment as your talent as an author is amazing. Can’t wait to read your Tales from the Do Drop In. So do drop in and let us all know when this flash fiction is available.

  3. Turn off the TV. Yes indeed. I’m fairly lucky. Except for football and the rarity like “the Walking dead,” I find most TV boring as can be.

    • I know Charles. How many reality shows can we endure? Find myself watching Discovery and History channel more often than not and, of course, football. One other point are the meaningless commercials which often make little sense.

  4. Cool interview Ms. Brinkman. I agree completely on the concept of so much media being a pervasive force in people’s lives. It is necessary to “unplug” from the constant bombardment of marketers, telling you what to eat, think, wear, feel, etc,… I am also addicted to word patterns. People have their own favorite writing styles, and I believe that they will subconsciously seek out similar patterns and compositions. Excellent stuff here!

  5. AJ Hayes says:

    I’d agree that media needs to be at least downplayed in our lives for the same reasons Monica cites. Even the simplest of themes is crammed full of editorials, flag waving, fear and suspicion, I do watch the NFL on the telly — but with the sound off. It’s a much more enjoyable exprience that having my ears full of jabbering announcers pontificating upon an event I’m seeing with my own eyes. I usually read only week old newspapers brcause the prophets of doom a week ago are quite probably wrong by the next week. I wonder how the yappers can erase from their memories the yowing certainty of any number of things that, uh, didn’t happen. A lot more food for thought here. I’ll be re-reading it a few times to make sure none of the thoughts escape me. Thanks.

  6. Monica, what a beautiful, thought-provoking interview. We turned off our TV 8 years ago and I have to say I have felt significantly less manipulated since! I love your thoughts about admired authors, too. Lastly, sadly, I had just heard of EB from a cousin who works with ill children at camp. How wonderful that you are supporting the effort to understand and fight this disease.

  7. richardgodwin says:

    Thank you Monica for an informative and perceptive interview.

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