An avid champion for other people's talent, author and radio show host Monica Brinkman joins us today to discuss her Karmic Wheel series. Our friendship is living proof that people with diametrically opposite political views can still be friends. Monica is an absolute saint for putting up with my endless Republican rants on Facebook. She has enough heart for both of us.
MJN: The word Karma gets misused all the time. There are so many people who don't fully understand its meaning. Rather, the definition has changed over time. When you do interviews, do you feel compelled to clarify your personal definition of karma?
MB: I do not feel compelled to clarify my personal view of karma, rather I am more likely to explain what the karmic wheel represents and why I chose the title. If I would explain my perception of karma, I would state it is a form of justice for choices made in life, a retribution of sorts. I pondered if people would make different choices in life if they knew their actions would be judged within their lifetime, thus the Karmic Wheel series was created.
MJN: Do you personally believe that there is a form of cosmic justice? I am not using "revenge", because that word is not in your vocabulary.
MB: What I believe is as we go through this journey of life, we touch many other people’s lives, often without even knowing we are doing so. We can bring negativity or positivity to others and, in the end, I think there is a time we will reflect on our actions. Not so much for revenge, but to learn. To me, the overwhelming pain we shall feel when we view our poor choices and actions, along with the joy we shall feel for the kind and caring acts performed are a form of karmic justice. So, yes, I do believe cosmic justice is alive and well within the universe.
MJN: Some parts of the novel read like someone inspired by a nightmare. Is this something from your own psychological experience, or is it based on something others have shared with you?
MB: First, let me explain that I thrive on taking ordinary, everyday items, situations or circumstances and making them a bit bizarre and surreal. It is when something occurs that is totally unexpected which is the most horrifying. My goal is to catch the reader by surprise and keep them hanging on in anticipation for what is to come next. So, to answer your question, nothing from nightmares or conversations with others; just from my own bizarre mind.
MJN: Your novel clearly has some very dark elements, yet the cover is very abstract and almost psychedelic. Was this contrast deliberate?
MB: You hit on one note that I regret somewhat. The cover. I thought it was gloriously vivid and showcased karmic energy of the universe, only to find that people viewed it as some ‘60’s era psychedelic trip. The cover of the next sequel will not be so vivid in color. So, it was deliberate but I do feel a poor decision on my part. Lesson learned.
MJN: Your artistic talents spread beyond writing. You also have acting experience. Where you live right now, do you find that the environment is conducive to theatrical activity? You have lived in many parts of the country. Do you miss certain states because they offered more in terms of acting opportunities? Writing is something you can do anywhere.
MB: As I live in a small college town, they do have many opportunities for those interested in theater through the college itself and a semi-professional theater. I am quite fortunate in that aspect. I have performed in the local theater a bit but right now I am more interested in assisting others, primarily young talent, in reaching their goals. I had many years and wonderful experiences performing on stage and it is now my turn to give back. I adored singing and acting before live audiences as that adrenalin rush cannot be matched, but now prefer radio hosting, writing and painting.
As far as missing places I have lived, well, in all honesty what I miss is the glorious weather in the California Bay Area, the bluntness of the East Coast and the ability to speak freely without so much judgment from others.
One example, that I find rather amusing, is we broadcasted a Halloween themed show and our guest was a Priest of Witches whose lineage could be traced to the Salem witches. This gentleman was wonderful, sincere, caring and a marvelous guest. I soon found I was being labeled as a witch or someone possessed by demons. Was that a shocker! I couldn’t wrap my mind around how anyone could come to that conclusion for someone who is a radio host. Of course we will have many diverse topics and guests. Had to chuckle a bit.
But in the end, what better way to experience our people in the States than to have been fortunate enough to live on the East Coast, West Coast and now in the Midwest. Truth be told, wherever I have lived, I have found the most caring, giving, interesting and kind individuals, whom I cherish every single day.
Monica M Brinkman believes in ‘giving it forward’; reflected by her writing and radio show. A firm believer open communication is the most powerful tool to make positive change in the world; she expresses this in her book, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel and It Matters Radio. Look for the release of The Wheels Final Turn, in 2015.
Monica resides in the Midwest with her husband, two dogs and five cats.
Visit her web sites: www.itmattersradio.com
On the Brink