Guest Post By: Robert Digitale
As writers, who wouldn’t want to fashion a best seller? But Albert Flynn DeSilver hopes authors will reach for a bigger prize: a life well-lived.
It’s not that he dismisses the goal of creating a great book. Far from it. He praises the written word as a powerful means to awaken and move people.
Even so, to him it makes no sense for people to gain success and lose their souls.
“The older I get, the harder it is for me to respect creative people who make a mess of their lives,” he says. DeSilver, a writer, speaker and Marin County’s first poet laureate, will be the luncheon keynote speaker at Redwood Writers’ Pen to Published 2016 conference.
He acknowledges his own efforts as a young man to overcome abuse and addiction, a story he recounts in his memoir, Beamish Boy.
In one talk captured on video, he recalls how he began drinking alcohol by the age of 12 and was a binge drinker by age 19. It was about that time that a drunken friend accidentally ran over him with a car after he had passed out in a driveway.
“Writing the memoir became a way to let go of the past,” he says, “Even a means of ‘writing your story to let go of your story’.”
“My writing career has been sort of two parallel paths,” he says. For him, writing has been a creative endeavor and also as a “practice of transformation and healing.”
DeSilver now teaches workshops on “Writing as a Path to Awakening.” On his website he proposes that “our destiny as humans is to be of service through our unique creative visions for the world.”
One of his key concepts is that of having an “open poetic identity.” Asked to define the idea, he says, “It requires living where you don’t see yourself as an individual ego.”
To others, he has defined it as being “about an open heart” and creativity and about living life “with a kind of grace and beauty woven in.”
In contrast, he points to writers who produced best sellers but drank themselves to death, committed suicide or “never got over” themselves. “It’s particularly important to cultivate balance in our lives,” he says.
For example, keeping the right perspective means that writing shouldn’t take precedence over relationships.
DeSilver considers himself a “late bloomer” in writing, but adds, “I feel like I’m just kind of coming into my stride.”
He has his first novel with an agent in New York and is now working on his second work of fiction. For his own endeavors, he says, “I take good care of myself.” That includes exercise, meditation and being “mindful of relationships.”
It also means being a reader as well as a writer.
“As a human being, I’m constantly learning and growing.”
Robert Digitale is a member of Redwood Writers and a staff writer for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. He is also the author of the fantasy novel Horse Stalker.