David E Navarro Interview Published on: 20, Nov 2020

Which is your favorite childhood memory while growing up in inner-city Chicago until age 10?

Wow, I have so many great memories of Chicago. My favorite memory is kind of a "collective" memory. I lived across the railroad tracks from Calumet Park, which is one of the largest lakefront parks with long beaches in Chicago, and which features a US Coast Guard station as well as gymnasiums and a community center. My home was literally 450 feet from the entrance to the park (Google measured that for me) 1000 feet from the community center, and 1500 feet from the lakefront beach. I practically lived at the park my entire childhood (apart from school) and was engaged in numerous community services, crafts, hobbies, woodworking, organized sports, clubs, dog club, astronomy, and nature walks. I believe my fascination with and love of the park and beach is what instilled deep within me a total love of nature and everything natural. The contrast between the cement, steel, broken glass, asphalt, factories, and slag on the west side of the tracks, and the whole different world of flora and fauna on the east side of the tracks—the trees, fields, brush, grasses, birds, squirrels, otters, sand on the beaches, the shore and water of the lake with many fish, crabs, crawdads, frogs, and toads—is the collective childhood memory that remains my favorite. What a world that was for me, an escape from raw urbanity, a refuge of wonder.

At what age did you start writing your poems? Who or what inspired you?

I started writing poems at 8 years old. I already loved language and phonics, and I simply followed the patterns of Dr. Seuss books and nursery rhymes and other children's poetry that I had heard, and made my own poems of rhyming verse about Calumet Park and stuff relevant to me. In 4th grade (8 years old) one of my poems won the school poetry contest (grade school 1 - 8). Never had a 4th grader beat the 7th and 8th graders! Then at 12 years old I won another contest run by the Chicago Tribune newspaper and my poem was published in the paper. Aside from my early dabbling in Seussish and sing-songy rhyming verse poetry, at 13 years old I became fascinated with Robert Frost's poetry and his love of nature. Since my mom's family is from New England (I was born in Newport, Rhode Island), we visited Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island several times while growing up, so I got to experience Frost's world, and the world of another of my favorite most influential writers, that of Henry David Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts. Frost and Thoreau, along with Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, and Carl Sandburg, were my early writing influences and inspired me to share my love of life and nature with the world.

What are the most effective and proven time management techniques?

I became fascinated with offices and office work early on in my life and had numerous opportunities to begin to develop good habits of office administration and time management. Now after many years of being a manager, administrator, executive officer, and integral part of global corporate teams, I would have to sum up the three most important overall driving factors of good time management and productivity as: 1) organization; 2) flexibility; and 3) action. Organization includes a "to do" list, file system, planner (calendar and appointments), methods of communication, and the physical arrangement of the office and supplies. Flexibility includes adaptability and resourcefulness and a willingness to understand that Organization will NEVER be perfect, so just learn to plan the best and roll with it. If it can't be done one way, find another. And Action is the least complicated, yet the hardest to do—Action simply is DO IT. Just get on it and stay on it. Get in the game and carry out the plan. STARTING is the hardest part of time management, we always want to "rest" or do that "fun thing" and put the hard stuff off until later and then it piles up and becomes a burden and seems insurmountable, so we lose initiative, motivation, and drive and just want to "rest, relax, and have fun" even more. That's why it is the hardest (at least for me) and so I make myself stay on it, stay driven, stay in the game. I will have plenty of time for rest and relaxation and the fun stuff if I stay on it and stay driven.

What is more fun, writing poems, or writing stories?

This is hard to answer, because writing poetry and stories are both very hard work and involve periods of time pressing your brain until it aches, and pushing yourself to keep writing words when your whole body and mind are screaming, "You're done, quit, stop, go to bed." And yet, because of the passion to write, share, teach, and communicate, this grueling work is actually the most fun thing I do in my life. I love writing and editing even when it is the hardest work in the world at a particular moment. So, between the two, poems or stories, each has it's own kind of fun. Overall, I tend to favor time writing poetry, but thoroughly love immersing myself into a fantasy world and losing myself in the life of my characters when I write stories. Therefore, when I write poetry it is the most fun thing to do, and when I write stories it is the most fun thing to do. If I hypothetically had to pick only one over the other, it would be poetry, but I thank God everyday I don't have to make that hypothetical choice.

Is it better to self-publish or find a publisher for first-time authors?

That really depends on the individual situation and I don't feel qualified to recommend one method over the other unless I walked for a period of time in the shoes of the person for whom I am making the recommendation. Personally, I must be true to my art and will not compromise my art for commercial success. It is an inherent thing with me, I am not out to push myself as a commercial success, but feel my art is powerful enough that when enough people discover it, it will push its own commercial success. I'll bet most people have no clue how many HUGE names in the publishing business, how many giants of literature, started out self-published? Here is a list (not exhaustive) of Poets and Authors who originally self published because their work was rejected: Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, Alexander Pope, Edgar Allen Poe, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, ee cummings, Carl Sandburg, Oscar Wilde, Ezra Pound, Virginia Wolff, Deepak Chopra, Gertrude Stein, Zane Grey, Upton Sinclair, Mark Twain, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Stephen Crane, Bernard Shaw, Thomas Paine, Rudyard Kipling, Henry David Thoreau, Benjamin Franklin, Alexandre Dumas, William E.B. DuBois. Fourteen of my favorites and strong influencers on my work are in this short list.

What challenges did you face while writing your book, In the Praise of His Glory?

At the time of the writing of In the Praise of His Glory, I had been through a long period of unemployment, I ran out of cash flow, bills were due, kids needed to eat, debts mounted, and my wife went lame and was confined to a wheel chair. It was one of the most challenging times of my life and every day I made up my mind to continue to practice what I had been preaching for 35 years, to remember that each day was a new day, that this is the day the Lord has made and we can rejoice and be glad in it, and that I still had so much to be thankful for. I wasn't going to let a dark time extinguish my light. I began to think more and more about all the reasons to praise God and thank God for His manifold goodness and glory. So I began to put together poems about it and why we should fight and be strong in the midst of the darkest times and circumstances, because that is what defeats it and shines light on it. So the book came together rapidly, I was hired full time to be a Clinical Researcher and Medical Writer, my son got a great job, my wife improved in therapy and within months was walking again, and the darkness was gone. We had lived the reality of "in the praise of His glory" and, as the book shows, we will triumph in due season when we stand and do what is right.

How much did you research while writing your book, "Early Childhood Learning"?

I actually engaged in some very intense research and field work to write the book Early Childhood Learning. I worked under the guidance of a PhD and a Professor at Purdue University Global, as well as front line experts in the field at Early Childhood Learning facilities. The field work part was observing children in class while learning and participating with the learning process. I had to get official clearance from the State of Arizona, have a background check, and get a fingerprint card to be able to even enter the facilities as a researcher and writer. After an intense three month period of immersion in the topic I wrote the book which is designed to be guidance to Early Childhood Learning educators on how to put together instruction and curricula to provide the necessary education to children across a spectrum of learning domains so that they would perform as expected in development milestones. Children are the most impressionable they will ever be from age 0 to 5 and it is this critical Early Childhood Learning timeframe that will set the foundation and pattern of success for the rest of their lives. It has been proven over time that a child who has reached all expected milestones by age 5 will succeed in the primary educational system.

Which is your favorite poem from the collection 27 engaging contemporary poems in "Dropping Ants into Poems"?

I'm admittedly very bad when it comes to favorites, because I'm so flexible, malleable, and transient that I change from week to week and with it my favorites also change. So I usually have to take a step back, look at what maybe has been a favorite more often than others, and then make a choice—which will change next week. Anyway, right now, at this moment, I will choose as my favorite from Dropping Ants into Poems, the poem "Warning: Semi-Automatic Re-Deconstruction Ahead". This quirky poem, from a very quirky yet magnetically attractive collection, is about the prehistoric tar pits that bubble up in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, California. They are called the La Brea tar pits. These are "natural asphalt" tar pits that captured and destroyed massive amounts of prehistoric life and animals, dinosaurs, reptiles, saber tooth tigers, and more. They act like "sticky paper" in that a prehistoric beast would accidentally wander into the pit and then get stuck. There is a science center built there where scientists actively excavate the tar pits and bring up whole skeletons of prehistoric animals. They then clean them painstakingly and put them together for their own museum and museums around the world. In the poem I draw a comparison with how the tar pits "deconstructed" prehistoric earth and are now pits full of bones, and how the bones of buildings will someday sink into oblivion in the cycles of the earth, skyscrapers captured in pits of goo for future beings to recover and put together.

How would you describe your experience of serving in the United States Air Force for ten years?

It was an exceptional time and I did exceptionally well in my service, setting some records and accomplishing things for the military that helped to protect and preserve our nation. Ultimately I was involved in three different conflicts, the Air Raid on Tripoli (1986) (launched from RAF Lakenheath UK), the Invasion of Panama (1989) probably better known as the extradition of Noriega, and the First Gulf War (Liberation of Kuwait). It was in the military that my abilities to communicate in the written and spoken word were discovered and put to good use by the Department of Defense. I became a tech writer and editor as well as a teacher and trainer, recording my own class on Air Force TV that was used for years to come to train others on Electronic Warfare. I wrote hundreds of operating instructions, procedures manuals, program manuals, and Base as well as Air Force Regulations. Getting to trot all over the globe and live in various places overseas was a marvelous experience I would never trade for anything. My Air Force service was enriching.

How did the Livestream of your graduation ceremony on Facebook go?

It is amazing that after so many years, and having already earned degrees in Communications and Theology, that a door opened up for me to return to school with Purdue University Global and pursue a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. Undertaking the research assignments and challenges and working with the doctors and professors of Purdue was a priceless experience that was a super-launcher into my new career as a Clinical Researcher and Medical Writer. I graduated Summa Cum Laude and was part of a commencement ceremony in Los Angeles, California that was livestreamed on Facebook. Not only could friends and family from all over the world attend the ceremony by livestream (happening simultaneously) but they could text messages to a phone number that then interfaced with the livestream and displayed their messages to all the students graduating (over a thousand), and on Facebook, and on the final video. I had INCREDIBLE support from friends and family with live messages directly to me appearing about every ten to fifteen messages. It was incredible to see and feel such support. My children were there with me and my degree has inspired all three of them to pursue their own academic achievements with more tenacity.

What are your best tips for an aspiring book editor?

You have to be aggressive and push your way into the field, not just wait for it to happen. Start out by doing some jobs for clients at next to nothing to build your portfolio. Be sure to start a "praise" file and maintain it. Don't be afraid to ask clients to write recommendations for your work and reviews about it. Save everything positive about the books you edit. If they become even moderate successful sellers, that is a feather in your cap. Build that portfolio with samples of your editing and revision at every level (proofing to rewriting) of the kind of writing you want to edit. Once you get a portfolio built be sure to stay aggressive at getting your name and editing services out there. Remember, you are competing with thousands upon thousands of editors. Don't be shy about tooting your own horn and telling potential clients why you are BETTER than the competition. Use your portfolio to back up your claims. In the long run, it will be persistence that pays off. Just keep getting your name and services out there. So aggressive marketing and acting like you are the best editor in the world will land you book contracts.

How do you know if you need a life coach?

Are you the kind of person that does better and keeps themselves on track professionally or in life when you have a friend, or person, or mentor with knowledge and ability in living successfully and achieving goals in life that helps to guide you, support you, encourage you, listen to you, provide sound counsel, praise you when you do well, and give you tips for doing even better; someone who wants to see you succeed, be fulfilled, and be happy? If no one else in your life is in this role, then perhaps you need a life coach. Like a physical trainer, a life coach helps you to define who and what you want to be in life (professionally and/or domestically), where you are at, what it will take to get there, and who helps you to make a plan for getting there. Then, a life coach keeps you on track by encouraging, helping, counselling, challenging, and working the plan with you.

What does it take to develop one's self as a popular essayist?

Relentless pursuit and relevant content. By relentless pursuit I mean write every article and essay you can and get them posted in multiple locations. Engage readers. Post frequent updates on all your social media sites and do a regular blog. Build a social media following. I wouldn't consider myself a "popular essayist" at this point in my career, but I am well known within my niches and on my way to gaining more popularity as I keep writing and keep posting relevant content.

Which is the next book that you are writing? When is it due for release?

In my latest book, A Tree Frog's Eyes: Haiku, I provided a sneak preview into my upcoming book, which is called Rain in the Mountain (Busting Common Haiku Myths). This is a non-fictional instructional work on the ins and outs of writing haiku. In it, I cover about 20 common myths (standards, mandates, rules) about what you supposedly "have to do" to write haiku and I show the reader that these myths are not true and how much more liberating it is to really engage in living and writing haiku and not just going by formulas and rules. It covers some ancient history of haiku and engages in a discussion about haiku now and where it is going. There is currently no planned release date other than "by the end of the year".

Lastly, what are your thoughts and opinions on AllAuthor and its services?

I am very impressed. I have worked with a lot of different marketers and reviewers over the years and have never experienced someone take such a personal interest in promoting my work and helping me to promote my work as Mady and AllAuthor. AllAuthor takes a very proactive approach in helping each individual author to promote their work in the best way possible with graphics, links, posts, and access to audiences. It's simply the best deal I have come across. I certainly plan on taking advantage of more of their (your) services.

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