On my Millennial journey I was fortunate enough to recently speak to journalist and author Mary Daheim, whose Bed-And-Breakfast and Alpine Series have captured many mystery lover’s minds.
When I initially approach Mary to do an interview, she was with great humor and energy albeit a little hesitant, saying that she comes from The Silent Generation, therefore didn’t know what could contribute in terms of commentary on Millennials.
It was then when I informed her, what really appeals to me is getting all takes and hearing from all people of various ages and generations to share in the conversation, which only fuels what Bottlerot is about, which is unity of the generation and beyond!
Sure enough (which I never doubted from her vibrant spirt) she contributed to the conversation and then some. We talked her generation, my generation, and her work in the process…
Did starting out as a journalist help inform your fiction and or writing?
Any kind of writing helps any other kind because a writer is always honing his/her craft. Working for a newspaper is a great discipline for a writer because there are deadlines and there are also space limitations, which means you have to give all the information but learn how to keep it brief and to the point.
What would you say are some of the main differences between your generation and Generation Y or my generation of Millennials?
I can only answer that by observing my three children who are all Millennials or Gen Y. They were born between 1966 and 1980. The obvious difference is that they are very quick to adapt to new technology. I am not. I consider the computer/laptop as a fancy typewriter with pictures and some information I can use for research.
In your opinion, does an Artists have any responsibility to society through their work?
The only responsibility that I have as a writer is to entertain my readers with my two mystery series. It was a bit different with my historical books. I did a ton of research and wanted to make the events, the settings and the real history as accurate as possible.
What do you make out of our ever evolving technology? (iphones, laptops, etc.).
I don’t have an iPhone, I do have an older model cell, but I rarely use it. I’ve never been on good terms with technology. When I was working for the phone co years ago in PR they introduced computers. The first—and only—time I tried to use the computer I blew out the entire system at 1600 Bell Plaza. Nobody there ever asked me to use a computer again.
What drew you to writing as a creative expression?
I started telling stores as soon as I learned to talk. Oddly enough, grown-ups seemed to be amused by then. I decided there might be a future in telling stories as soon as I learned to write. I wrote my first mystery when I was 11 or 12.
From your debut Love’s Pirate to your Bed & Breakfast series, Romance and Mystery seem to be the mainstay in your work, what draws you to these genres?
Romance novels never were my sort of thing. My first published book was originally written as a straight historical novel, but when I got an agent in New York, he told me the historical novels were out and romance was in. The solution, was to keep my original more or less intact and to add some sex scenes along the way. I wrote the first 85 pages of the B&B mystery on a whim. I was tired of writing historical romances (did 7 of them) and told my agent I wanted a change. He said NO, the money wasn’t in mystery, but in romance. On the sly, I managed to sneak those first 85 pages into an editor at Avon and was offered a 3-book contract two weeks later. Then I had to call my agent and tell him what I had done. After the first B&B book came out I heard from an editor I’d worked with earlier on who had now moved on to Ballantine/Random House. He wanted to know if I could write a second mystery series for him. I hadn’t thought about it, but suddenly I thought of the old abandoned logging town of Alpine where my parents and grandparents and other relatives had lived between 1916 and 1929 before the logging was finished and the town was shut down forever. The result of that series has been that Alpine is now on the state register of Historic Ghost Towns.
For Millennials, if you could impart any piece of advice, perhaps something that has always served you well from when you were starting out, what would it be?
Never take on a job you don’t like. I never did. And for writers, I quote Hemingway: The art of writing is applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. In other words, you can’t wait for inspiration.
I want to personally thank Mary and encourage you to check out her website.
PAUL LAFARGE, AUTHOR. ACADEMIC (RESPONSIBLE FOR INCORPORATING A HYPERLINK IN HIS NOVEL LUMINOUS AIRPLANES, WHICH TAKES THE READING EXPERIENCE TO A MULTIMEDIA EXPERIENCE) DISCUSSES HIS WORK, HIS GENERATION, AND THE FUTURE OF MILLENNIALS…
For your novel Luminous Airplanes, the immersive text or hyperlink was ingenious as a literary device. How did it initially occur? I think in the age of the Millennials, a more multimedia experience could definitely benefit us. In term of expanding the readership. How do you feel about this?
Throughout your work, I keep coming across a theme of DISAPPEARANCE (e.g. Frank’s parents’ in The Artist of The Missing, Charlie in The Night Ocean) and OPEN CREATION (Like The strong presents Lovecraft plays in The Night Ocean or the painter and Frank Himself in The Artist of The Missing. Not to mention Haussmann in Haussmann or the Distinction, being a sole creator and destroyer and the story setting around the repercussions of such a duality). I mean the examples are numerous. Does this derive from a conscious effort or the stories just unfold how they do? I feel there’s more at play here, subconsciously maybe?
Where do you feel the form of communication in terms of relaying artistic expression will evolve into?
As a GenXer yourself, was there any pieces of literature you felt inspired by growing up, and any that relates today in regards to my generation of millennials?
Where would you say we have gone as a society, from a literary standpoint and in general in the form of what we digest, and where are we going, and how will that effect, either positively or otherwise for Millennials?
Anything you wanna promote?
REX PICKETT author, filmmaker, fellow artist, revealed underlying message in his work, openness of the generations, and bearing one’s own being
I feel in your novel Sideways, Miles is indicative of a passive figure who’s also self-serving in his own right while Jack is more of a dominant, impulsive force. Do you see a parallel from your generation?
There is no question that he is the classic Jungian introverted/thinking type and Jack is his polar opposite: the extraverted/feeling type. I don’t think about this when I’m writing, but I see it after the fact. There is no question that Jack is more of a force of nature.
I see the wineries representing a bliss or a haven if you will. Almost metaphor for relaxation, where you going for this? Also, ironic how that same sampling of wine has a consumption aspect that plays into their bliss, again, done deliberate? By the end of the book, I’m feeling no matter what they’ve consumed, vis-à-vis; wine, women, adventure, it never amounts to much, as the characters themselves still aren’t satiated. Almost like you’re saying we’re never fulfilled no matter how much we take in which is why we just need to be content within ourselves?
“There is no question that Miles — like me at the time — needs to get away. He’s leaving with little or no money, but on a minor high: his book has a chance at publication. Everyone’s dream. Jack is leaving on a high, too, because he’s got one last week of unadulterated freedom to be whomever he wants to be, drink, get down with his friend Miles, maybe get a dose of life lessons from his intellectual — and recently divorced! — friend. Miles is too smart to think that wine, or a one-week trip, is going to be an anodyne to any of his life’s worries. He may want to indulge, he may want to get away from the pressure cooker of his life — different in the book than in the movie, by the way — but his life is always there. No amount of wine will make it go away, even if it appears at time that neither know the meaning of insatiate. Nothing anyone does will ever prevent anyone from expunging the obvious: we’re all going to die. It doesn’t matter how much success you have, or whatever, that fate is inevitable. And Miles is keenly aware of it. Jack doesn’t think like that. Miles wants to get away from his life. And Jack needs an escape before he begins his life.”
Do you feel Jack and Miles’s journey is really a vacation, never an exploration?
What starts out as a vacation, and turns into a disaster of sorts, is really, as I wrote above, in retrospect, a great crimson blot on the trajectory of their lives. And Jack gets this! He says it in the book and the play. Miles will one day write about it and make him and Jack famous, as I did. But at the time, in the moment, it’s Jack who has this revelation. In the movie, it’s in Jack’s wink to Miles at the wedding. But, in the book/play it’s in dialogue, and eloquently expressed by Jack, even with his limited vocabulary. To me, it is an unbelievable exploration of their whole beings, their entire souls. They descend into the proverbial realm of Persephone and make it back, transformed. The comedy maybe undercuts this quasi-hero’s journey and, if viewed only as a comedy, can seem trivial. But, if it were just a comedy, and not a journey of the soul, the film would not have stood the test of time. Okay, maybe they need the wine to disinter those deeper feelings — uninhibiting them, as it were, to get there — but it’s only in going to the dark side that they realize something greater. In that sense it is way more than a vacation, but I never wanted to hammer anyone over the head with some ham-fisted, sausage-fingered message-mongering story. In the end, to sell despair, and psychological growth through despair and desperation and deprivation, I needed the via regia of comedy.
I feel like at the heart of Sideways you’re conveying human connection, in various forms, was that the underlying statement?
Was the Sideways trilogy a conscious work against the backdrop of the society you know and the culture you live in?
I take from real life, from the era I’m writing in, and then I fictionalize for my narrative needs. If that answers your question. It’s not so much about where society is at. It’s where Miles is at. Writing is not an avocation; it’s a life. If you aren’t prepared to give it your life, then you’ll probably never make it.
Life is not a meritocracy. Sadly, with wealth inequality, nepotism — which is rampant in Hollywood — not everyone has the same shot. I hate it when people say that if you work harder than others, or you’re more talented, that you’ll find a way to make it. Bullshit. I’ve seen so many people who were mediocre talents who went on to have great careers because they got more than one chance. I’m not going to name the names, but everyone knows them. There’s no question that desire and the need to want to say something, as opposed to people who have the need to say something so they can live the lifestyle, will get you further than not having any talent, but there’s no question that having people believe in you is important.
People often will say to me that I must live a charmed life. To which I always reply: You wouldn’t want to live the life I’ve lived in order to live the ostensibly charmed life I’m currently living.
If you want to write you have to read, read, and read. And write. I’m of the school that you should just vomit it out and fix it in revisions. I’m also of the belief that you should have the story adumbrated in your head all the way to the end — yes, all the way to the end — before you begin. 2017 Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro wrote his legacy work The Remains of the Day in 4 weeks!! Sure, he spent half a year researching and ideating it, but he wrote the book in 4 weeks. He’s my hero. But, everyone’s process is different.
Furthermore, do you feel an Artist has a duty to the world in which they occupy or only to themselves?
This is a very deep question. Well, if you’re a published writer you’re going to be judged — presumably — for all time — because your work’s in print. Artists — the good ones — don’t ask for a lot from the world. They’re not in high demand. True artists. Most people I meet who want to be “artists,” really just want to live the lifestyle — agent, high-level meetings … they want all the superficial, materialistic trappings of the life, and don’t want to do the hard work, suffer — like Miles — the rejections, the hardships, the abandonment of family and friends when you persevere and they’ve given up on you, as they inevitably do. So, first, you have a responsibility for your own welfare, I guess, but you would be inhuman if you didn’t believe that your art could move somebody in the world that maybe helped them see their own predicament in it in a brighter, more brilliant light. My greatest moments aren’t when I get a royalty check. They’re when somebody writes me and says how much my work has moved them. So, I don’t think the artist has a duty, per se, to the world, but they do have a duty, I believe, to be honest to their characters, to their story. But, it’s harder and harder in this sell-out world of sensationalist garbage.
Finally, my generation of Millennials are up against a lot, no doubt, what would you offer in terms of us gaining footing in the world, in general?
“The Internet is a dark road to infinity potholed with links. Just as the tobacco industry did everything they could to keep your addicted to their horrible product — ditto for the sugar industry; Big Pharma — remember, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, only want one thing from you: your endless, mindless engagement. They see your brain as an ATM machine, the same way Big Pharma does, Big Sugar, the medical professions. Your mind, your body, is the last frontier of exploitative, colonialist capitalism. I hope to God your generation understands that you are being conned by this technology. And that comes from someone writing this on a MBP in an email browser. I hope to God your generation realizes that they control their minds and their bodies and not these venal capitalistic interests, driven by insanely powerful computers, competing for you very soul. Resist.”
Rex Pickett is currently writing The Archivist, a novel for Blackstone Publishing. And he will soon be working on the libretto for Sideways the musical comedy with composer Anthony Adams
Amongst THE BOTTLE ROTTERS WE FIND ONE OF THE MOST HARD WORKING GENERATIONS where elitism is foreign and hard work is ever present. Apparent as the results are in!
81% have donated money, goods or services, (ACCORDING TO Walden University and Harris Interactive). Considering the sparse job market and fact that they are the most in debt generation in modern age it is inspiring how they give very generously.
Outdoing Generation X in the largest amount of contributors in the American workforce. (Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.)
FACINGTHE STRUGGLE OF A STILL SUFFERING, STAGNANT ECONOMY, THEIR VAST PLANS NEVERTHELESS ARE UNDERWAY TO BRANCH OUT INDEPENDENTLY.
Unfortunately the days of living free is a hurdle, as 18- to 34-year olds are considerate to be homeward found (pew reports). No doubt in large part to the student debt crisis in what Bloomberg reports $1 trillion in student debt.
The journey ahead is fierce but the movement never stops for a millennials/bottle rotter!
Name: Christopher Coop
Location: Lived all over island, but graduated in Centereach
Favorite Quote: “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership” – Harvey Firestone
Overview: Graduated with an MBA in 2010, gave my life to The Lord a year later. Attempting to figure out God’s plan
Current Job: Ops Manager
Dream Job: Serving The Lord in all ways
Hope for the generation: That people would turn away from idolatry and lean toward The Lord
Promoting: The World race. God can use you to build his Kingdom for 11 months
Dream Job: Nurse
Current Job: Mail Clerk
Favorite Quote: “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” (Bruce Lee)
Overview: After dropping out of college and working odds jobs, Chris is currently underway to reenroll and pursue a certification in Nursing.
Future Ambitions: Aspiring EMT and Nurse.
Hope for the Generation: That we use our time wisely.
Dream Job: Drummer in a Rock Band
Current Job: Social Worker
Favorite Quote: “You light the world with lots of chatter, you laugh and make your feelings matter, you sometimes stay hidden in your bed, you sometimes need to be spoon fed, whatever life you choose to lead, a wife, a doctor, a lover, or chief, you needn’t try to be so good, your life gets crowded with all the shoulds, so let loose and let your wild side heal, all your parts can be revealed, happy girls come in all shapes and sizes, you don’t need any compromises, for if you think you are fat or thin, smart or sexy, or content with in whatever girl you choose to be, in my book you’re right by me, nothing can be wrong in this life song all happy girls do be long.” – the original happy girl by Rokoko
Overview: After graduating in 2011 she obtained a Mater’s degree in social work while still continuing to work at DSW (retail store specializing in shoes) as she had previously through her college years. Denise got her License in March of 2012. From there she continued to work at the store and landed her first professional gig for a not-for-profit agency (outpatient mental health). However it was only 2 nights and 10 hours a week. “I really wanted to work with kids so I took it,” she sites as her reason, though she quickly progressed to where she currently is today, a full time position she started September, 2013, focusing intently on her clients and always striving to do better.
Future Ambitions: One day opening her own practice (while possibly doing a part-time position from an agency). Family, and a nice house, with a porch of course.
Hope for the Generation: We become successful and progressed and break stereotypes that other Generations have created about us… and I hope that our generation continues to become open minded, positive, more tolerant, less violent.
Promoting: The Universe!
Adam Shepard, Author (Scratch Beginnings, One Year Lived) Public Speaker, and all around Cooool Dude, shares his thoughts on AMERICA, MILLEINAILS, and HIS OWN MESSAGE on improving where we are and where we’re currently going, as a GENERATION as well as a NATION in general.
When you set out to embark on this social experiment that became Scratch Beginnings you had stated initially that you didn’t know if it was a book, you just wanted to shed new light on what you felt was already confirmed, that of, The American Dream was still very much alive for anyone who wanted it, which had in subsequent years been more grimly portrayed, motivating your experiment in the first place. Do you believe since writing it that The American Dream has been more stifled or just as obtainable?
The American Dream is just as obtainable now as always. The American Dream is not a time period or a particular economy or good luck and bad luck. And it’s most certainly not a woe-is-me-in-these-circumstances scenario. The American Dream is an attitude that exists here, as it does in other free and democratic countries, that if you wake up in the morning and decide that you are going to kick your day in the ass, you can. And if you want to sleep until 11am, well, you can do that, too.
Out of the Great Depression emerged a great generation of workers and entrepreneurs and thinkers. And the same has been true since this country was founded as it was during our most recent recession, that the economy will always ebb and flow, but the attitude of the American Dream remains constant.
Do you feel it’s a particularly challenging time for Millennials as of now? If so, what can they do to utilize what’s available to them in terms of breaking through?
The challenge for Millennials now is to break through a sense of entitlement that has been ingrained in us from the compilation of our parents, our teachers, television, and social media. Society has dictated that we are special, or different from any other generation, and the fact is that we are not. Once we recognize that, we recognize that we have the capacity to be good or bad, lazy or hardworking, kind or mean, frugal or spendthrift, greedy or selfless. And once we recognize that capacity, we can recognize that Millennials have the power to break through and make a positive impact on this world. It’s up to us whether we want to exercise that power. Or sleep ’til 11am.
In just the last decade we have seen a major shift in the country; politically, economically, socially, etc. Where do you see the vast, unique landscape of America currently going?
If I knew that, I would be writing to you from one of my many homes, this one on Barbados, and I would shortly be boarding my private jet to go have dinner with my wife in Paris for the evening. I guess the excitement, though, and what keeps me getting up in the morning, is that we don’t know where it’s going. That what we have today could be gone tomorrow, and that is a very exciting challenge, and one that we can control with our effort and our spending habits and how we treat people.
Do I interest myself in political candidates and interest rates and who my friends are? Sure, but I only do so to the extent that I recognize there are things that I can and cannot change, and regardless of the swirl or calm around me, I’m going to keep plowing forward with the same conviction.
Technology, essentially for Millennials, seems to have even affected our sensibilities, as no one has to deal with real conflict or engagement, when a majority of us are on our phones, on our computers, completely disengaged. How can we redirect this in a more positive fashion?
Take time to step away. It’s simple. Technology is a beneficial component of all of our lives, but it also has the dark side, and much like gambling or alcohol or hashish, it can be abused. So use it to your benefit for an hour or two (technology, not hashish), and then walk away and realize how beautiful it is to cuddle up and read a book, to meet a friend for coffee and dive into some heavy issues, to take a moment to engage a stranger with a smile or a nod or a wave.
When you give your lectures, what are some of the main focal points you try to instill amongst your audience to lend themselfs to a more fulfilling way of life?
My talk isn’t so much centralized in seeking to help someone fulfill their life as much as it is to say, “Hey buddy. Life is tough. And awesome. And when you get kicked in the teeth, you either get back up or you lie there whimpering. And when you win, you either call and tell everybody how fantastic you are or you work to capitalize on that win.”
Dealing with failure, maintaining a positive attitude, setting goals, getting after it…every speaker’s messages–including mine–are commonplace but if they are wrapped around entertaining stories, they can be packaged in such a way that those messages become very real and relatable.
Can you tell us about shepardspeaks.com?
I have been fortunate over the last 8 years to travel the country addressing these very same issues with high school and college audiences around the country. I love it. Storytelling is what I do, and when I speak to an audience, and then I get an email that says that I touched someone in the audience, and inspired them to action, it makes my life a little bit more worthwhile than it already is.
Is there a main source toward where your inspiration lies in terms of your natural desire to explore the uncharted, like putting yourself in places you haven’t’ been, encounters you wouldn’t normally have, people you wouldn’t normally meet?
The inspiration comes from my parents, and it is the belief that experience trumps income.
In the middle of it all, a few years ago, I took a year to travel around the world. I volunteered in Central America, I worked on a cattle station in Australia, I rode elephants in Thailand, and I spent a couple of months traveling around Europe with my future in-laws. (Oh yeah, and I fought bulls.) And all along the way, as my eyes continued to widen, I gathered this sense that as long as we remain curious, it is incredible what we can learn about the world around us.
And even more exciting is how those teachings, while enriching our lives, allow us to then give back to the world in a very purposeful way.
Finally, What’s on the horizon for Adam, in what direction does your journey currently take you?
I just finished working on a second feature-length documentary (with a really skilled and passionate group of Millennials!), and now I have another really big project in my sights (that I can’t quite discuss at the moment).
I just moved to Orange County, California for my lovely wife Ivana to go to grad school, and we’re loving it out here.
Well, I wanna personally thank Adam, and know he’ll be fulfilled as he continues on his journey.