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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Peter Simon Mond shares what inspired him to write his memoir about his past life in Poland and present life in England and Israel, The Life Of A Stone.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Peter Simon Mond about his life and career, the experience of learning about his past life that inspired him to write his memoir, and the creative work that went into The Life Of A Stone.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I’m British born and educated, and have lived in Israel since 1974. For 20 years I worked as a Psychiatric Social Worker, Group Facilitator and Social Work Lecturer. For the last 20 years I have been working with my wife, Pamela, a Drama Therapist, at our center, the In the Quiet Space Center, promoting our Conditioned Self-Calming Technique developed to help children and families to self-calm.
In addition to writing, the last few years I have become very involved in Storytelling, in particular, Hasidic Stories and Stories from the Holocaust. We live in Tsfat, in the north of Israel, and have 4 children and 17 grandchildren.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
The desire to write evolved when I began to study together with a mentor, Dr. Mark Cohen, a Scottish philosopher living in Tsfat. His style of learning opened me up to making connections between Jewish wisdom, wisdom of the world (different cultures, philosophy, literature, science, dreams, past lives and more) and our lives; the goal being to discover the path of our soul in the world. As I paid attention to these connections in my life, so grew the need to put them down on paper, and from this developed the desire to write a book.
When did you take a step to start writing?
Some twenty years ago.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
Probably about six years.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
About three years
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write The Life Of A Stone?
A person who I consulted with, recommended that I write a book which gave a central place to my past life. Thus the book turned into a memoir which explored the connections between my past life in Poland and the present one in England and Israel.
What were your biggest challenges with writing The Life Of A Stone?
How to keep focused and clear about the main themes, as naturally in a lifetime or two, there are many directions and leads which one can follow.
What was your research process for The Life Of A Stone?
The research process was an internal one, clarifying the most significant stops on my soul’s path, that is those events and experiences which when examined in retrospect led me to where I am today.
How did you plan the structure of The Life Of A Stone?
The structure was a function of the events in my life. The most significant event occurred on a family holiday to Brighton when I was 48; there I began the book. I had an experience which opened me up to examining my life within a wider and deeper perspective.
In the years after that event my life began to change, especially after I discovered I had had a past life in the Warsaw Ghetto. I was then able to focus on that past life and my childhood in England from within a new perspective and then examine how my life in Israel reflected the dilemmas and challenges I had experienced in Poland and England.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did The Life Of A Stone need?
My editor was absolutely crucial in writing the book. The first copy of the book was a mess, not clear or focused, and required considerable editing.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
Be prepared to write, and rewrite, many many times. There is no end to corrections.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
Yes, the first two books, The Birth of a Stone and The Life of a Stone are part of a trilogy. The third Stone book will not be related to my personal history, but will examine connections between stories: Hasidic stories, Holocaust stories, Personal Stories; it will be about how stories talk to each other over the generations.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Yes, definitely, the books I think exemplify a way of looking at and examining the path of our lives, the events we experience, through the prism of sources of wisdom, both Jewish and of the world.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
https://chat.whatsapp.com/GdeoisKIFKJKzEdmNK6e6m (Hasidic Stories)
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