Author Interview with Josef Smith
Q1. Would you still have written this book if it had not been an assignment from your therapist?
A: That is an interesting question. During one of our sessions I made an offhand comment to my therapist that maybe I should write a book about my life, so perhaps the seed of an idea about actually doing that was already in me. She ran with the idea, and suggested that writing it down could be a valuable clarification in helping to understand my life, so I began writing it all down. She felt the experience could be very cathartic for me, and help me let go of a lot of anger and cynicism about the world that I had grown up with. The book may still have found it’s way into the world without my therapist’s encouragement, but I don’t know.
Q2. What would you like readers to take away from your book?
A: The idea that our lives, and every experience we have, is valid and worthwhile in what we can learn from it. The more difficult and challenging something is, the more potential there is for soul growth, and everything about life is about growth. It does not mean our lives should be difficult. Far from it. It just means that we should embrace difficulty, because fighting it only makes it harder, and why would we consciously want to do that to ourselves? We are given exactly what we need in life, but what we need is not always what we want. When we can open our minds beyond seeing ourselves as the center of the universe we explore a greater sense of being within the dissolving of earthly hurts and troubles. Living outside the prison of my urges and desires is helping me to see and experience that.
Q3. Are you planning on writing another book?
A: I have thought about it. I wrote Fifty Shades of Truth as an exercise and it was a very valuable one. As I wrote more and more I began feeling subtle changes in my own sense of self. I felt washed clean by the tears of pain and remorse that flowed while writing, which has given me a clearer mind beyond the anger I had lived with all my life. I do feel there is something more I’d like to say, but only time will tell whether or not it is said in a book.
Q4. Did you develop any strange writing habits?
A: No, I don’t think so, lol. I think I had some strange writing habits right from the beginning.
Q5. What would you say to others who are going through this same experience right now?
A: What I would say are the things I might say if I wrote another book. I’m not being secretive. It’s just that every day now my life becomes clearer and as it does I see more about what I’ve learned from my experience and it’s not 100% clear yet. At this point I would tell them to find someone they can trust, and talk to that person. A therapist is a good person to start with but even finding the right one is not as easy as looking in the phone book. The first therapist I spoke with got nothing from me because she was useless and I knew that as soon as she opened her mouth. It may not need to be a therapist but that is how I found my opening to then talk to some close friends. I chose my friends well and have trusted them with my life. If you can find the right people to talk to it is extremely supportive in that you are no longer alone. The friends I told are people I’ve known for 30 years. They actually love me more now so I definitely chose well, and I have no doubt that they will take my secret to their graves. Telling friends is all or nothing though, because telling the wrong person would be an absolute disaster and I’m not suggesting it is important to even tell any close friends. Start with the right therapist and see how it unfolds. Essentially you need to be totally honest with yourself and truly looking for a way out, and to be patient in how you go about that.
Q6. Do you feel that writing this book helped you move past the things in your book?
A: Definitely. Writing Fifty Shades of Truth was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Forcing yourself to re-live emotional depths of despair and entanglement is a difficult journey, but doing it consciously, rather than as victim of urges you cannot control, provides a very different view, painful as that is, and looking at it rather than being it, helps to develop a sense of identity separate to it all, which provides a foundation for true change to begin.
Q7. What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
A: Just the book itself was very hard because of the need to re-live/feel the experiences I was writing about. It bought all my old feelings and urges to the surface in a storm of desire, which at times almost saw me contacting someone, for a session of something. But shining the spotlight on the way I cheated on my wife was definitely the hardest part. It is very difficult to think about her at any time, but doing so within the context of my enormous infidelity and writing about it was incredibly painful. At times it was simply too difficult and I couldn’t keep writing, and only able to come back months later and try again.
Q8. In your opinion, is the BDSM community correctly portrayed in the media?
A: Not at all. Every single person (and the media are people) who cannot accept BDSM as a part of life does so through ignorance, fear and judgement, so that will tell you how much value they offer in their portrayal. I’m not saying people should be walking their bitches (men or women) around the streets on dog collars. The BDSM community respects the general conventions of society and that respect should be reciprocated. The media could do a lot more to help people get over their fears and balance the equation.
Q9. What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about massage parlors?
A: How beautiful some of the women are. I’m talking about the ‘deeper than skin’ kind of beauty, although some of them are gorgeous looking as well. Some of the strongest, most honest, and loveliest people on Earth are working in massage parlours. I will always cherish the time I spent with them, with a heartfelt gratitude for what I learned about life.
Q10. What writing advice would you give someone thinking about writing a memoir/autobiography?
A: Tell the truth, even if it hurts or you think people will judge you for your life. But if you lived a life like mine, use a name like Josef to write it…..unless your name really is Josef!
Q11. What has been the most positive outcome of writing this book?
A: Being able to live an honest life and not having to constantly lie. For 60 years I had wished to be the person everyone thought I was, and now I don’t have to pretend.
Q12. What famous person would you love to have as a fan of your work?
A: Bill Clinton.
Q13. If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could have ONE character from a book on the island with you, who would it be and why?
A: Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela knew more about forgiveness than anyone from the last century or so. If I could learn the art of forgiveness and apply it to myself I would be completely free. That would be a beginning to understanding and knowing true love.