The Author Spotlight on Linda Lavid author of “101 Ways to Meditate”
My name is Linda Lavid and I live in Westfield, NY, a small grape-growing town along Lake Erie. Having retired from a 30-year career as a social worker, I now paint and write full time. As the years pass my writing has grown from telling stories to writing a wide assortment of books, fiction and nonfiction. My artistic pursuits include painting cats, women with birds, and landscapes that defy the laws of nature. Most recently I’ve been exploring 3D art. In all my endeavors, I do what I enjoy and market what I produce. Toward these ends I have a publishing company, Full Court Press and a studio/gallery, Mrs. Plum’s Art Emporium. My literary work has appeared in the following publications: The Southern Cross Review, Wilmington Blues, Plots with Guns, Unlikely Stories, Ascent Aspirations, A Cruel World, Zimmerzine, Cenotaph, Over Coffee, Tangents, and published by Haworth Press, BookTrope. A short story “The Accident”, was a finalist in Otto Penzler’s Great Mystery Stories of 2003. “DMV”, another short story, received an award from Ascent Magazine. 101 Ways to Meditate: Discover Your True Self, was a finalist in the 2011 Global E-Book Awards.
What prompted you to become a writer?
The tug began twenty-six years ago when I embarked on writing the great American novel. At the time, I had completed an advanced degree and wanted another challenge. Writing a novel seemed like a good idea. It was an inexpensive undertaking for a single parent with young children and a full time job. Certainly, I could steal moments in the early morning hours or during lunch. There was only one problem – I never demonstrated any particular talent for writing. In fact, my worst subjects in high school were English and typing. Hardly portentous. But I was a reader with an interest in the stories and foibles of human nature. So, with a sharpened pencil and a nice, fresh pad, I took the plunge and began to write. Over the years flashes of inspiration sparked, then burned in roiling, despairing seas. I puzzled, avoided, and gave up too many times to remember. What kept me going? Certainly not accolades or desperate bidding wars for print rights. What kept me going was an unbridled curiosity and getting from point A to point B. It’s about how to stay the course and not get lost. It’s about what I’ve learned from both writing and publishing my work. So where am I today? I have seventeen books under my belt. I write fiction, nonfiction and have picture books of my art. Some of my works have been translated into Spanish.
What do your readers like about your writing?
Due to my varied books, I attract a large readership with different interests. Some readers have found my work educational (nonfiction), others want to be entertained (fiction, picture books). My nonfiction titles have information on: honing writing skills, learning about publishing, improving English/Spanish skills, exploring meditation. My fiction (novel, novellas and short stories) generally call to those who enjoy mysteries. While I enjoy writing nonfiction, there are more challenges in writing fiction. Who knew that making something up would be hard? On the plus side, writing fiction reaps rewards as well. Creating a unique story and getting a great review is very satisfying.
How do you inspire others with and through your writing?
I feel my most inspiring writing comes from my nonfiction work, specifically 101 Ways to Meditate: Discover Your True Self. We all have so many questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Why do I behave the way I do? And, to answer these questions, we search by observing, reasoning, experimenting. Still no matter how many answers come our way, more questions remain. I suspect if life were clear and easily divined, the mystery and intrigue of living would quickly bore us and we’d shrivel up. We are meant to question, to search. It’s in our DNA. But there are other reasons to meditate. In my experience, meditation heals at every level. Physically, a meditative state: releases toxins, relieves stress, enhances relaxation, improves heart/lung efficiency, increases energy, reduces fatigue, and increases oxygen throughout the body. For emotional wounds, psychological trauma, meditation is a soothing balm and an accommodating resource to release unneeded baggage. Finally, to make sense of the chaos – at times ego-produced, at times out of our hands – meditation helps us step back and take a grander perspective beyond the personal. It is for these reasons I wrote the book. There is also a Spanish edition.
Tell us about your most recent book and why you wrote it.
In recent years, I completed a set of experimental novellas (The Simple Mechanic of Infinite Execution, The Dying of Ed Mees, Blood on the Page) that are on specific topics: sexual identity, death/dying, writers’ block respectively. I wrote them to explore a different writing style while exploring a topical issue within the bounds of a fictive story. I’m currently working on a two mystery series.