Welcome to Three Questions with Van Heerling. This is where you get to meet authors, actors, painters and anyone else that is bent toward the arts, but on a more personal level.
Today I welcome F. Simon Grant author of The Swimming Away as well as several other works including The Egg-Shaped Room and Vanishing Point.
VH: If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
FSG: My seven-year-old self was planning all kinds of books to write because I'd been a big hit with my first book, "The Platypuses of Platypus Desert," so I'd tell myself, "Don't stop" and "Don't listen to other people: You can do this!" and "This is who you are, you can't change that." I don't know what advantage this would give me other than time. I've always been rejected, and I've never felt like I fit in or that I was accepted by other writers, and knowing this is who I am wouldn't make me feel like less of a monster, but this may encourage me not to give up, as I have too many times in my life, because I'd know at least weird time traveling Future Me believed in me.
VH: When was the last time you felt alive? I mean really alive!
FSG: Nine years ago I had a ruptured diverticulum that would've killed me except for some remarkable chance occurrences. I had to have three feet of intestines removed, and the doctor said I came very close to dying. I've had many opportunities to feel really alive after that, but they're not always the sort of beauty you see in greeting cards. I was in graduate school at the time, and once on campus, soon after my surgery, I found myself suddenly surrounded by a hundred screaming cheerleaders, and I realized life was this sort of terrible ululation, from the screaming of babies for food or love to the rasping old age scream need of death beds.
VH: What is the one thing, good or bad, you wish you could have said to a former boyfriend/girlfriend? Why didn’t you? Don’t worry he/she probably won’t read this.
FSG: The first girl I ever kissed went missing, and I didn't see her again until thirteen years later. It was a complicated family situation involving custody and foster care, but I was led to believe, because I did not have her to ask, that she had tried to kill herself with valium and was put into a mental institution. One of the many things I regretted when she went missing is that, despite the many times she told me she loved me, I never told her I loved her back. When I saw her again thirteen years later, I got to say many things I had wanted to say, but I couldn't tell her I loved her. I was married by that time, so I had to let it go unsaid.
VH: That's too bad. However being married, you probably made the right decision. Interestingly enough I am on the other side of the coin. I have an "I love you" I would like to take back.
Thank you F. Simon Grant. I wish you the best health and a long life. One filled with minimal regret and maximum well-being.
The Swimming Away is the story of a first love that might bring about the apocalypse. Artemis, a rebellious and constantly disatisfied girl who takes up a new hobby each week to find something to excite her and believes she can bring her imagination to life, meets Meek, a tennis player who's not like other tennis players. He's quiet and awkward, but at the same time he's strange and wise and powerful. They're both haunted by the death of their mother. Artemis believes she killed her mother but refuses to remember how or why, and Meek urges her to explore what she's afraid to face. When Joy, Artemis' friend who is always too proud of her own intelligence, warns her that dating Meek could bring about the end of civilization, Artemis somehow believes her. Meanwhile, she inspires Meek to make a discover that challenges the boundaries of reality and just may bring an end to everything we know.
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"For me, writing is a joyful torture or sorts." ~vh~
“In this life, seek your own answers, and quote yourself for a change.” ~vh~
The muse has tapped my shoulder and my ear is turned toward her lips. I am waiting for her whisper. ~vh~
"The funny thing about life: more often than not it’s laughing at you rather than you laughing at it." ~vh~
"At some point there is a moment when you should give up. I’m here to tell you that today is not that day." ~vh~
“If you are afraid of the truth, never ask a young child a question.” ~vh~
“The frailty of life is most evident at its last breath.” vh
“Prove not to the world but to yourself that you are above your current circumstance.” ~vh~
"Don't be wishful when it comes to your dreams. Take aggressive action in your pursuit of them. Start now with a single step, no matter how insignificant it may feel." ~vh~
"Nothing is more powerful than an unwavering, unapologetic decision to BE." ~vh~
"Strive to be the light in an ever-darkening world. SHINE!" ~vh~
"Think big and then think small. That’s where the details live." ~vh~