Interview with Myself

Why do you get up at five o’clock every morning to write? Because I think I have something to say.
Is that the only reason you write? No. I write to share my vision of the world with friends, most of whom I will never meet.
Can you explain that? Yes, with great pleasure. The beauty of a book is that it can become a friend. Without books, I would never have met people like Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Mann, or John Updike. Because language and books exist I was able to meet all three of them, and today I consider them all very good friends. I’ve never thought of “books” that way. It’s about time you did.
Why do you get up so early to write? What is early for one is not early for another. But I love the silence of the morning. I love to hear only the raindrops outside my window. When I go to bed at night I can’t wait to get up in the morning to get downstairs to my room in the basement where I write.
What is the room like? It is very small…maybe two meters by four meters. There are piles of books, papers, and manuscripts everywhere. Most people would call it a total “mess”, but for me it is sacred space. I can’t imagine where I would be without it, like a “believer” without his holy books and his church.
How many books have you written? I’m not exactly certain, but I think this book, “Bird Seed: Thoughts on Everything and Nothing – Volume II”, is my twenty-sixth book.
That’s a lot of books. How were you able to write so much being a full-time teacher and professional basketball coach for thirty-nine years? For most of those years I wrote every day that I was free…Sundays, holidays, Christmas, Easter, some years I was free on Wednesdays, etc. It was not possible for me to write on a day I worked. I have to have my mind totally free from other things. But I love such moments. Three hours of writing passes like ten minutes. My son, Jackson, is much into Buddhism. I guess writing is my form of meditation…of totally “getting away” from the world, yet at the same time being totally immersed in the moment, and often the moment was the totality of my life…concentrating the totality of everything I have lived and putting it on the page.
Do you write fiction only? I don’t like the dichotomy of “fact - fiction” or “fiction – non-fiction”. I once asked a psychiatrist I know if he had ever read any of my books. He said, “No, I never read fiction.” I thought to myself, “That is all you read is fiction. Nothing in those psychiatry journals that you read will be believed a hundred years from now…even fifty or twenty years from now. It will all be seen as “fiction”, i.e. not “true”. The same can be said about so-called history books. There are no “facts” in history books. Take a sentence like, “10,214 people died the Battle of Hastings”. This is not “a fact” because it says absolutely nothing about who those 10,214 people were. Those people were infinitely complex; they are only phantoms in such a sentence; they have no “reality” in such a sentence; death is also a mystery; no one knows what death is; to say they “died” is not a fact…it is part of a great mystery; the Battle of Hastings was also infinity complex; it is not a “thing”; no one knows what really “happened” there…So, if you follow my thinking, there is as much fact in fiction as in non-fiction. Maybe there is even more fact in fiction because fiction often takes us much deeper into the complexity of the world. I’ve never thought of things that way. Again, it’s about time you did.
What would you say are the major themes of your books? Probably the loss of God and the loss of love.
What do you mean? By “loss of God” I mean going from seeing the world very simply to seeing the world as something infinitely complex…from believing that man can understand the world to believing that no man can understand the world…from believing in a nice neat world made by a nice neat God to a world of total mystery where we have no idea about where anything came from…from believing in “truth” to believing that maybe the human head is not capable of truly understanding anything – for where is it written that “man is the creature that can KNOW”?… Nowhere, except in the Bible, and if the Bible is as fictional as everything else – maybe even more so - what then?
I see. And the loss of love? What do you mean by that? It is a similar thing. As a child I was raised in the Mormon Church, I was taught that God is real and absolute and love is real and absolute. My parents were very good about making us feel loved. They seemed to represent this kind of “perfect love”. God and love held me and the world up. They were my foundation for being…God was order and love was feeling good about my place in the world…Then as I got older, both fell apart…both blew up into a million pieces! I had to re-build a whole new world. I had to survive in a world where “God” and “love” were perhaps meaningless words, vacuous concepts.
And how have you survived? By writing…by being able to talk to myself (and a few others) about my vision of this existence.
Which is? That existence – that there is something and not nothing – is a total mystery…a total absolute mystery. Human consciousness is a mystery. Animal consciousness is a mystery. All consciousness is a mystery. And in this great ocean of mystery, “love” is probably the one thing that can save us from drowning, but “love” – real love – is probably the rarest thing on earth…rarer than diamonds and gold. Like Bob Dylan said, “Love is all there is. It makes the world go round…”
You say it is so rare, but it is all there is! What does that mean? It doesn’t really mean anything. Of course one can survive without real love. Probably 95% of the world does. But since I lost my belief in God, I replaced it with a belief in love. It’s a form of hope. Hope that if there is no heaven after death, at least there is heaven on earth.
You’ve said many times in your books that you have no idea what “God” might be like. Do you know what love might be like? I don’t think anybody has any idea what “God” really might be like. Where is it written that the human head is capable of understanding an Infinite God? Nowhere.
And love? It too is a mystery. But at least it is a “human” mystery. It is in the realm of the “possible”. Loving another happens all the time. What is rare is that the one you love loves you…
And? And that you both love everything about the other with the same force and at the same time…
And? And I would say that to truly love one must love oneself and the world.
That’s asking a lot, isn’t it? Of course it is. I said love is rare. But it is not as rare as truth. Every moment on this earth is – intellectually - infinitely complex. Hence I have my doubts about “truth”. I really don’t believe the word makes any sense. But the same is not true for love. Every moment in love is – emotionally - infinitely simple: either it is there or it isn’t. It fills one or it doesn’t fill one. Hence I believe in the possibility of “love”. Of course it is complicated too, but when it is there, it is simply the most beautiful thing on earth.
Does love have to be with another person? Of course not. But in my experience that’s when it brings the most satisfaction. I have loved books, music, painting, dogs, cats, food, wine, etc., but I have loved these things even more when I shared them with another human being…a person I loved.

Jon Ferguson - Morges - Tel. +41 21 803 40 14 - jonsferguson(at)hotmail.com   Designed by CRM-Lavigny