Friday, June 26, 2015

Timothy Spearman responds

Timothy Spearman: I'm probably the only Ph.D. in history to have his Ph.D. failed, then have it recommended for publication by a Professor Emeritus, only to find that immediately following publication, the publisher was fired from his tenured position at the University of Toronto, after which review journals started attacking the publisher, and finally the publishing house burned down. A pleasant start to my academic career. Seven years later in 1999, my published Ph.D. "The Ethics of Timelessness" was resubmitted for evaluation at the Intercultural Open University of Amsterdam and awarded the degree of Ph.D. I was awarded tenure once at a university in Seoul, South Korea, but a jealous junior colleague created a kerfuffle, which was clearly his fault. The Korean faculty sided with him despite his unprofessional conduct so I resigned. Back home in Toronto, I had a job at Sheridan College till the Dean set me up by getting two students to lie and so my contract wasn't renewed. Since then I have been a nomad on the run. I've taught just about everything and got just about nowhere. I've published many books "Gandhi Under Cross-examination", "Must I Remember", "Butterfly Dreams", Odds-on Favourite", "Sailing the Seven C's", "21st Century Lebensborn: Children Screaming To Be Heard", and "History of the Peace Train". None of them have gone anywhere. I have worked with a small-time independent filmmaker on a couple of films. Despite writing a slew of my own quality screenplays, none of them have gone anywhere. I think this is what is referred to as a checkered career.

DV: I'm pleased to have you and your work as a large part of this blog. But, why do you write?

TS: I guess we all know what our talent is. And there are enough intelligent, perceptive and appreciative people who like what I do to help me to keep the faith. I also have enough good people like yourself, who try to support the arts and their fellow artists to help restore my faith in humanity. Ultimately, I suppose I write for kind people, while at the same time trying to initiate something corrective in people who are not kind by teaching them about the consequence of their unkindness through the like characterizations they confront in my writing. I hope they will recognize their wrongful actions in the misdeeds and villainous acts of certain characters in my story. I show them the mirror, as Prince Hamlet showed King Claudius and Queen Gertrude the mirror in the play within the play "The Mouse-trap". I do this in the hope that misguided people might be filled with enough self-loathing in the face of the miscreant reflection they confront in the mirror to correct their wrongful ways.

DV: Does any form of writing have to have a serious purpose? Can't authors just noodle for sheer enjoyment?

TS: Many writers and literary critics hold the view that worthy art should not be prescriptive or dogmatic in tone. However, isn't it prescriptive and dogmatic for them to suggest that art be so? It reminds me of the social theories that evolved since the 60's regarding the disciplining of children that adopt a permissive view of parenting. Where has that got us? "Spare the rod and spoil the child" and what do you get? "The baby beats the nurse and quite athwart goes all decorum," as Shakespeare reminded us. We need standards of ethics and aesthetics, otherwise art degenerates to the lowest common denominator, where far from enhancing human dignity, it degrades the human and leaves us devaluing ourselves. Of course there is high art like "The Vagina Dialogues", but it is striking that one has to bend over practically double to converse with one's genitals. That said, It is probably true that art benefits from not being so overt and direct that it blatantly inculcates and imposes values. Indirect communication has always been a more effective means of communication, imparting teachings through parables, irony, satire, metaphor, imagery, symbolism and all the other hallmarks of indirect communication.

DV: That reminds me of a bit by Emily Dickinson.  "Tell all the truth but tell it slant.... The Truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind."  We've seen here some of your poetures and parts of your "Sacred Geometry" series. It seems to me that "Sacred Geometry," both in its written form and as oral presentation, is pretty straightforward in its didacticism, and we can return to that in a moment, but the poetures, while often meditative, are more spontaneous and impressionistic.  Do they violate your moral stance on the purpose of literary work?

TS: As is the case with your work, I try to be innovative. Art should break conventions and be something of an iconoclastic wrecking ball. As artists we should constantly break new ground, even violating our own established styles like typecast actors who try to forge new territory by taking on unconventional roles. As artists we can choose to be whatever we consider our assigned roles to be. I seem to always be around control freaks. I guess I push their buttons by pushing the boundaries. I think we are testing one another's limits. I am okay with life being a battleground of egos, with bruised egos littering the battlefield as the victims of war. I do not see myself as a victor in the battle, probably more of a victim to be honest, but I have tried my best and have endured a lot of humiliation, hardships and defeats and still carried on, never once even contemplating giving up. There is no point in giving up. I see the artist as no different from anyone else in that regard. We must soldier on till the bitter or triumphant end. By refusing to concede that can be its own kind of valiant victory.

DV: So, what part do you typically find cast yourself as? Are you a seer/prophet? Or a schlemiel?  Rebel? Role model? Victim or vanquisher? Asker of Socratic questions or Socratic martyr to the truth?

TS: Well Duane, there's no real telling who's going to win in the end. I'm not sure there really is such a thing as truly winning or losing. Winning can be a Pyrrhic victory, and in seeming loses, the winner can take it all. I believe the key is to free oneself from all attachment, which takes mastery and control, but after you succeed, everything becomes easier, because the divinity that is the true you can manifest at that moment of awareness. I do not think that it matters how enlightened an author is. The orchestration known as the Shakespeare plays embodies insight into states of wisdom and profound awareness, but also expresses states of psychosis, neurosis and psychopathy. It's all there, but it's still magnificent because it captures the breadth of the human condition in all its glory and vainglory and that's why we continue to celebrate it in a night at the revels 400 years later. Let art do what it does and if it moves us and makes us want to see it again, or recite its lines or sing its melodic strains then that is sublime enough and an explanation for why it stands the test of time and becomes part of our oral or written tradition.

DV: Okay, let's get down to brass tacks then. Is there a message you want to convey in "Sacred Geometry"? Some of it seems quite conspiratorial-minded. How did you come upon the underlying structure of the thing? How did you develop the theme?

TS: The field has been called "conspiracy theory" but all crime theory is reliant upon theory. As for the word "conspiracy", when two or more individuals plan a crime that is a "conspiracy to commit". Ultimately, I am a crime investigator. I am just trying to identify the true perpetrators of historical crimes, whether they be current or older. The geometric design of the poems is meant to impart or explain mysteries or secrets of the secret society fraternities. I have since discovered that Francis Bacon, which I am told I have a past life connection to, also wrote poems in very similar geometric design patterns. I have set some of my Sacred Geometry poetic lyrics to music and my songs and song lyrics can be seen at

DV: Is there any event or series of events that propelled you into writing or shaped your views as a writer?

TS: I loved the Romantic Period and the Romantics when I was in high school. My German teacher was the Head Master at my school and he was wonderful. I miss him. He made me fall in love with the German Romantics, Shiller and Goethe particularly. Then at my undergraduate university, Trent University, in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, I staged "The Rainbow Comes and Goes". I wrote, directed, produced and took the lead role in the play about Mary and William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Later, I visited the Lake District with my parents before settling into my Master's program at the University of Warwick. On the same trip, my father took some Hollyhock seeds from the plants growing in the garden of the house wrongfully attributed to the author of the Shakespeare plays in Stratford-Upon-Avon and planted them in the garden of his lovely estate home in King City called "Stoneleigh". My father believed implicitly that I would be a world-renowned writer. I will not let his dream die. I will fight with every ounce of my breath to make sure my father's dream for me is realized. I know he is up there still watching over me proudly, knowing that my time will come. I know it too. 50 is the new 30. I saw an article about Tom Selleck, who at 70 shows us that 70 is the new 50. I have a long life ahead of me and much can be achieved that has not yet come to fruition. Take the Poe Tree Blog for instance. I never expected something as special as this to come from a collaboration with my old friend, Duane Vorhees.

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