My thanks to Mathias B. Freese for stopping by Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways for an author interview about his book, This Möbius Strip of Ifs.
1. How did you come up with the title?
The title itself appeared in my award-winning essay, “To Ms. Foley, With Gratitude,” which is also the opening essay in my latest book, This Möbius Strip of Ifs. A Möbius strip is essentially a ribbon with a twist. A mathematical model, it is used as a metaphor by physicists to describe why we, living within four dimensions, are unable to perceive other dimensions outside of the single boundary of time. For me it is a metaphor for unknown opportunities – possibilities outside of our perception. We can only remember the past and how we thought our future might have been.
2. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
Sam Goldwyn famously said to a writer that if he wanted a message in his screenplay he should call Western Union. I observe, I experience, I respond and I have no messages to send which is really naïve on my part; my very existence declares a message. Since this is a non-fiction work of creative essays, I joust with American culture. A mixture of my reminiscences, insights, observations, and criticisms, I set out to examine the use and misuse of psychotherapy, childhood trauma, complicated family relationships, my frustration as a teacher, and the enduring value of tenaciously writing through it all.
I describe – often scathingly – the conditioning society imposes upon artists and awakened souls.
3. How much of the book is realistic?
The profound visceral truths in this book will speak to anyone who endeavors to be completely alive and aware.
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I would be more artful in casting phrases and sentences, in my definitions, and editing over and over again. I stand by the feelings and the thoughts I have set out, for the book is a summing up after more than 40 years of writing.
5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Weeding out the gold from the dross and sequencing the essays so that the reader would sense a flow.
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I realized that I am one hell of a subversive.
7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I write to explain myself to myself. It has always been a dialogue. I want to come to terms with my life so like Kazantzakis, my epitaph might read: “I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.” I write to be psychologically free in a heavily burdened world of mass conditioning.
8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Nikos Kazantzakis, author of The Last Temptation of Christ and Report to Greco, for his transcendental genius and spiritual risk-taking, a man for all seasons, who had the audacity to write a sequel to Homer’s Odyssey – in verse – and by all accounts equaled Homer.
9. Tell us your latest news.
My next book is a collection of short stories, I Truly Lament, Working Through the Holocaust, and completes an endeavor to fathom the Holocaust which I began with The i Tetralogy, which some reviewers consider a major contribution on the subject. I was fortunate in 2011 to have eleven stories published from the book.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your reader?
Consider Epicurus’s epitaph while journeying on the Möbius strip: “I was not; I have been; I am not: I do not mind.”
About the Book
Release date: February, 2012
Formats: Paperback, Kindle
Price: $10.95 paperback. $9.95 Kindle
Availability: Amazon (paperback), Kindle, Barnes and Noble and Wheatmark.com
About the Author
Mathias B. Freese is the author of The i Tetralogy, a Holocaust novel, winner of the Allbooks Review Editor’s Choice Award 2007, and Down to a Sunless Sea, a collection of short fiction, Indie Excellence Finalist Book Awards, Mathias B. Freese is a psychotherapist and teacher. Non-fiction articles have appeared in the New York Times, Voices: The Art and Science of Psychotherapy, Pilgrimage and other journals. In 2005 the Society of Southwestern Authors honored him with a first-place award for personal essay/memoir. In November/December 2011 Mensa Bulletin published this essay in revised form. His new collection of short stories is in progress, I Truly Lament, Working Through the Holocaust. In 2011 ten stories from this collection were published, the latest being “Slave,” Del Sol Review #18, 2011. His writer’s blog is www.mathiasbfreese.com. This Möbius Strip of Ifs, a collection of essays written over four decades, was published in February 2012.
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