Author F.M. Longo answers the Pivot Questionnaire

F.M. Chef FrankLongo (and I both have stories in “The Toll of Another Bell“, a fantasy anthology from Xchyler Publishing (2015).  My story is “The Year of No Foals“. His is “Naoki No Yokai”: Yokai have overrun a local village, and it’s up to Saga Naoki to discover the reason why.

1. What is your favorite word?

Synchronicity. It has a beautiful cadence that rolls off the tongue. Plus the word itself means that there’s more than chance that governs our lives. I’ve had many synchronous experiences, all having deep meaning to me.

2. What is your least favorite word?

I have so many of them. Any short, guttural word, I guess. They’re reactionary. There’s no thought behind them, and there’s no way to read into them.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Music. While I’m writing, I listen to it constantly, mostly Baroque, and especially fugues. I find it soothing, and I tend to write along with the mood that the music evokes.

4. What turns you off?

The spoken word. I can’t concentrate on creating when other people are talking. Listening is an intense process; you’re not only interpreting what is said, but how it’s being said, and wondering if the words have meanings beyond their face-value. It eventually starts sounding like, “blah, blah, blah,” and my mind shuts off.

5. What is your favorite curse word?

I don’t curse at all. I grew up in very religious home, and even a mild ‘damn’ was enough to have your mouth washed out with soap. ’Oopsie,’ ‘ouchie,’ and the occasional ‘drat’ is as close as I come to cursing.

6. What sound or noise do you love?

Birds. It’s more than sound. It’s a language. I can sit and listen to the birds outside and wonder what they are telling each other. I hear a call close by answered by another far off in the distance, and it starts me thinking, “What does it mean? Is it a warning? A boast? A cry for help?”

7. What sound or noise do you hate?

Heavy machinery. They signal destruction, even if it’s creating. To me, they’re a metaphor for how even the best intentions have consequences.

You can’t run a bulldozer to smooth a field without leaving deep tracks behind it.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

This is tough since I’ve tried a number of professions. I originally went to college to study music, and ended up in a master’s in Computer Science. I just follow whatever muse grabs me by the hand and leads me down a new path. I went to clown school. I went to culinary school. I studied photography. I acted in several films. I worked as a professional musician. I earned an MBA. I now compose press releases and design ads. Writing is just another experience on my bucket list of skills to develop. I have no idea what’s next. I’ll have to wait for that next muse.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

Anything that has a strict set of rules. I don’t like to be constricted by other’s boundaries.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

“You’re finally here! I expected you decades ago.”

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