Congratulations! Myths, Monsters & Love #ASMSG #IARTG #RRBC

Congratulations! “Myths, Monsters & Love From The South of Chile” is live in the Kindle Store and is currently enrolled in KDP Select. It is available* for readers to purchase here.

Thank you for publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). We hope you enjoy the benefits of KDP Select. You’ll earn a share of the monthly global fund when your book is selected and read past 10% from Kindle Unlimited or borrowed from KOLL. Plus, you can use the book promotion tools including: Kindle Countdown Deals, time-bound promotional discounting you set for your book on or to help readers discover your book; or schedule a Free Book Promotion so readers worldwide can get your book free for a limited time.

Best regards,
The Kindle Direct Publishing Team


This book is dedicated to young and old alike. It is a centuries-old myth that has been passed down from generation to generation on the island of Chiloé. This island is located in the extreme southern sector of Chile, far from the urban center of the country.

This fact partly explains the fertile ground available for the myth’s survival to the present day. More importantly, its context is a superstitious world that sought to explain the mysteries of the natural world through the medium of dreams and myths. In fact, according to Joseph Campbell, “Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.”

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” ~ Joseph Campbell, “The Power of Myth”.

Posted in Culture, Reading, Reflections, Research, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Loving Memory: Bryan Keith Baker #RRBC #ASMSG

In Loving Memory-p1

Recently, I had the pleasure of teaching a unit about friendship with my students. During the progress of this unit, I was reminded of my nephew, Bryan. Let me share with you how this connection came to me, because I believe it is a valuable lesson worthy of being shared with my friends and family all over the world.

As part of the unit, we dealt with Aristotle’s ideas about friendship. Aristotle identifies three kinds of friendship in the book, “Nichomachean Ethics”. These are: 1. utility, 2. pleasure, and 3. goodness.

Although Aristotle acknowledges two schools of thought about whether we choose our friends because they are like us, or whether they differ from us, he takes a clear stand on which of the three types of friendships he considers to be the best. In fact, he states: “But the friendship of the good…is perfect.”

As I reflect on this, agreement with Aristotle is clearly indicated. Yes, in forming a friendship, we would like our friends to be useful to us, and vice versa. We would also like to enjoy pleasant moments, having fun, in the company of our friends. It is this point which forms Aristotle’s opinion that friendship based on goodness is the best type of friendship.

Let me ask two questions here. Would you or I wish to continue a friendship with someone who was unwilling to help us, or worse, gave us help which was worthless, of no value? The answer is, if you will allow me to answer for both of us, NO!

Let me ask my second question now. Would you or I wish to continue a friendship with someone who was boring, with whom there were no enjoyment, no fun, no pleasant moments? The answer, again, if you will permit me to answer for both of us, is NO!

Such friendships, based on pleasure and / or utility, can only be temporary. As we have seen, the friendship is terminated, when it no longer provides the utility or enjoyment one is looking for. Time and time again, we have experienced friendships in which we “give more than we get”. Sooner or later, common sense, or the need for self-preservation, dictates that we end such an unsatisfying friendship.

However, a friendship based on goodness is quite a different matter. Aristotle tells us that friends who are good, “…equally wish good to one another, inasmuch as they are good; but their goodness is inherent in themselves; and those, who wish good to their friends for the friends’ sake, are friends in the greatest degree; for they have this feeling for the sake of ‘the friends themselves… Their friendship therefore continues…and virtue is lasting.”

Friendship inherit in yourself, to wish good for your friends’ sake, are friends in the greatest degree.

As I reflect on the legacy of my nephew, Bryan Keith Baker, a year after his passing, I am convinced that Aristotle’s concept of friendship based on goodness applies perfectly to Bryan’s life. Yet I beg you not to take my word for it, because I am biased in this matter, being his uncle. Instead of my words, let’s please take the words dedicated to Bryan by his friends in this beautiful poem:


He was different, he was special…
unique in a thousand ways.
He was giving, he was loving,
and we’ll miss him all our days.

His legacy was friendship,
he was so giving of his time.
His bequest was his faith in God.
His child, family and friends
were constantly on his mind.

He knew sorrow in great measure,
and was stung by illness too;
but neither could defeat him…
nothing his faith couldn’t subdue.

Of course, the Lord will welcome him
with Angels magnifying;
the beauty of the celestial place,
devoid of pain and crying.

But forgive us Lord,
for sinning, for wishing
he was here.
It’s hard to give up someone
we have come to love so dear.

Because you see,
he was different,
he was special…
unique in a thousand ways;
he was loving, he was giving,
and we’ll miss him, miss him,
all of our days.

Ithica - Family

Posted in Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bryan Keith Baker Memorial Scholarship for Rivercrest High School Students #ASMSG #RRBC

Bryan Keith BakerThe Bryan Keith Baker Memorial Scholarship for Rivercrest High School Students provides financial assistance for 1st & 2nd semester of college/university.

Several basketball games will be played on March 14,2015 starting at noon at the Charles Strong Recreation Center in Luxora, Arkansas. The proceeds from this event will be used to help fund the Bryan Keith Baker Memorial Scholarship for Rivercrest High School Students.

We will have our first memorial basketball tournament in memory of our beloved Bryan.

Date: March 14, 2015
Time: 12:00 (NOON)
Place: Charles Strong Recreation Center
Address: 602 Canal Street

We, the family and friends of Bryan, are very excited about this and we are looking forward to seeing everyone. There will be three (3) games played.

The class of 1995 vs. old school team.

The winner will play Bryan’s co- workers from Memphis and Forest City Arkansas.

We will raffle off an iPad at the beginning of the 3rd game.

Come out and cheer for the COLTS class of 1995.

Contact Katherine Warren for more information about how you can donate to help fund this scholarship.
Event Facebook Page:
(Please check out the page and like it)

It will be wonderful to see you at the fund-raising event. Let’s pack the house one more time in the name of education to honor Bryan’s legacy!Gym at LHS


BryanBryan Keith Baker, born December 28, 1976 to Katherine Warren and the late Joseph Warren Sr. Bryan was raised in Luxora, Arkansas and attended grades K-6 at Luxora Elementary School.

While in school, Bryan participated in basketball and was a volunteer for the school’s safety patrol program; the program was responsible for assisting students crossing the street to school safely and to raise and lower the United States flag before and after school.

At this age, Bryan was already implementing selfless service and putting others safety and needs above his own. From 7-12th grade, Bryan attended Rivercrest Junior and Senior High School and excelled in school, band, basketball, track, and numerous student clubs.

Upon graduation from Rivercrest High School in May 1995, Bryan enrolled at Grambling State University in the fall semester and chose nursing as his major. While there Bryan found a different passion and changed his major to Criminal Justice because he felt that he could make a greater impact on the lives of others.

Bryan graduated from Grambling State University in May 2000 and started working at Juvenile Court in Memphis, Tennessee where he touched countless youth and co-workers with his positive demeanor and upbeat personality.

Because of his dedication, many troubled youth were given second chances in life and many came back and informed him of how much they appreciated his motivation and genuine care.

After leaving Juvenile Court, Bryan started working at Memphis Recovery Center and worked with troubled teens that fell victim to numerous substance addictions. Not deterred with one’s background, Bryan was on a mission to open the eyes, hearts and minds of the youth that were at the recovery center in order to allow them to have a second chance in life and take advantage of the opportunity to live out their dreams as positive, productive citizens in their respective communities.

To this day, there are numerous teens that still go back to the center and share their experiences with others and take out time because of all of the time and sacrifices that Bryan dedicated to them.

With the desire to further advance his career, Bryan joined the Federal Bureau of Prisons in both Forrest City, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee. During this time he crossed paths with individuals from all over the world and because of his out-going personality, he never met a stranger in all of his encounters.

He remained a diligent worker that always had a positive message and provided words of encouragement to help people realize that it is never too late to change no matter how old you are. While working with the Bureau, Bryan became ill and was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma Cancer. After a strong battle with cancer, he succumbed to his illness on March 4, 2014.

Today and forever more, our family remains committed to letting his legacy live on through the next generation of youth.


Posted in Culture, Education, Higher Education Teaching & Learning, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#PublicSpeaking: What #Amazing Nonsense You Are Talking! #ASMSG #IAN1 #IARTG #edchat

The author at a recent public speaking event in Hualpén community, Concepción, Chile.

The author at a recent public speaking event in Hualpén community, Concepción, Chile.

To be a good public speaker, never give up. Face your fear. “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” ~ James Baldwin

In this book, I share my story, from a variety of angles, of how I face my fear of public speaking. I don’t preach, I don’t lay out a magic formula. I simply share different ways I deal with public speaking, from a variety of viewpoints, stories, activities, some old, some new.

I study people, I do what ancient speakers did to train themselves, like Demosthenes, an ancient Greek lawyer from Athens who was often humiliated and made fun of due to a speech impediment before becoming a much admired public speaker. And then who can forget England’s King George, a man with a stammer and a nation to lead. To lead a nation, in wartime, you must speak to your people – in public – in spite of your speech impediment, despite the stammer, despite the fear.

I share people and stories and activities that helped me. I am convinced you will be helped, there is something here that will aid you in overcoming your fear. At the very least, by knowing my experience, you will know that public speaking fear is normal, and using the information that helped me, begin to search for your own way of dealing with your fear.

In fact, it must be your way. You are the one who suffers, and you must help yourself. Know you are not alone. I admit that speaking in public scares me to death, and I am a teacher of English, a leader, a person responsible for helping young people reach their full human potential.

Nonetheless, I am afraid of public speaking, always have been, and always will be. That fear is constant. It is a feeling of sheer terror, when you are about to open your mouth in public, and risk humiliation if what you say, or don’t say, is foolish.

It is the kind of fear that is best resolved by simply, well…just being quiet, literally keeping your mouth closed. Except that doesn’t make the problem go away, it only defers it for another day. It’s like being haunted by a ghost, when the night comes, the phantom returns, the fear of public speaking visits us again.

Most people are afraid of public speaking, many to the point of a phobia. I am afraid of public speaking, just like you are. We worry about being embarrassed, making a fool of ourselves, getting humiliated by something we said. In fact, some people become absolutely terrified, paralysed, by the very thought of being shamed by public speaking.

In fact, many studies have shown that people fear public speaking more than death! This makes sense to me. Death happens only once, with public speaking we die a thousand deaths!

A common myth about the fear of public speaking is that it’s possible to completely eliminate it. In my case, I can’t eliminate it, but I have learned to control it, to make it work for me, not against me. You can too.

Credit: Fame Pictures, 2008

Credit: Fame Pictures, 2008

Even the most confident public speakers, people like Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Tina Fey, Warren Buffet, Socrates, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Cicero, Thomas Jerome Baker, will all tell you that they feel some degree of anxiety before stepping in front of an audience. Call it stage fright or phobia. Call it fear or simply nervous anticipation.

The fact is, we all have to overcome nervousness when we have to talk in front of a group, large or small. As the stakes get higher, you will feel anxiety. The most common way to try to eliminate your public speaking phobia is by “desensitization”. As with any phobia, you have to put yourself through the anxiety-inducing experience so many times, again and again, until your body stops reacting to it, or until you learn how to make your nervousness and anxiety work in your favor, and not against you.

However, not only is this a long, difficult process, but most people give up before they reap the rewards for their efforts. If I have a secret, again, it’s this: be perseverant. Never give up, and you will become the best public speaker you can be.

What The Reviewers Are Saying

5.0 out of 5 stars Don’t Be SAD, February 6, 2015
By Josh DVerified Purchase

This review is from: Public Speaking: What Amazing Nonsense You Are Talking! (Kindle Edition)

According to the National Institute of Health, SAD, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is one of the most prevalent anxiety disorders. SAD includes the fear of public speaking. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the intervention of choice for SAD, and it includes exposure to anxiety-provoking stimuli to induce systematic desensitization and reduce anxiety. That means if you are afraid of public speaking, the cure for your fear is public speaking! You must face your fear to overcome it. The information in this book will help you to understand your fear, to realise that you are not alone, and give you tips that can help you get over your fear of public speaking. I recommend this book highly.


5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and Pragmatic
February 6, 2015
By Chref
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

This book explains thoroughly the process of understanding what public speaking is, and how to approach it without fear paralyzing you or crippling you. It provides a lot of practical and pragmatic suggestions to improve your public speaking. I recommend it highly for beginners and even experienced speakers will find it useful too. I give it 5 stars.


5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Ways Are Still Good February 4, 2015
By Vessy Tab
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

I was very impressed with this book. There is a lot of research that went into this book. Readers are treated to anecdotes, quotes and tips from people like Demosthenes, Cicero, Socrates, James Baldwin, Edgar Allan Poe, Tina Fey and King George too. What all these people have in common is that they are all great public speakers. The book is packed full of so many gems you will be referring to this book again and again in the future. When you compare how Demosthenes and King George worked in similar ways to overcome their public speaking problems, you can see that the old ways are still good. The methods Demosthenes used are still good today. Highly recommended.


Posted in Authors, Culture, Education, Reflections, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Las verdaderas lecciones de #Finlandia: Mario Waissbluth entrevista a Pasi Sahlberg, experto en #educación #MondayBlogs #ASMSG #Chile #IARTG

La semana pasada tuve el privilegio de conocer y conversar en privado con Pasi Sahlberg, el especialista finlandés (o finés) en política educativa, de renombre mundial, que nos estuvo visitando en Chile. Es matemático con post grado en educación, e hizo clases 20 años en una escuela pública de ese país, por lo cual no es únicamente un académico del tema. Es autor de la mundialmente citada obra “El cambio educativo en Finlandia: ¿qué puede aprender el mundo?”.

Aprendí más en esas 3 horas que en 3 meses. Por ello, le solicité una entrevista, que plasmaré aquí. Esta no es una columna, sino una entrevista con transcripción traducida pero textual de las respuestas.

En este polarizado país, me temo que algunos lectores encontrarán aquí párrafos para abanderarse pro o contra la reforma, a favor del gobierno o la oposición, y borrarán de su mente los párrafos que no les convienen. Pero, en fin, sigamos discutiendo y tratando en lo posible de generar un consenso nacional. Sin ese ingrediente, estamos fritos, y Sahlberg lo deja muy claro.

1. Ya todos sabemos de la importancia de los profesores en Finlandia, y de los elevados grados de autonomía que ellos y las escuelas gozan. Vamos un paso más alla, entendiendo que ningún país puede copiar a otro, especialmente con trayectorias tan disímiles como las de nuestros países. ¿Podrías comenzar identificando los aspectos culturales y sociales que marcan la situación educativa de tu país?

“Creo que las políticas educativas deben ser aprendidas, nunca copiadas… tal como enseñamos a los niños en nuestras escuelas. Es común no sólo en Chile sino en muchos países intentar imitar la educación de Finlandia, y siempre recomiendo no hacerlo. La principal razón es que la sociedad finlandesa ha logrado funcionar bien en su conjunto, no sólo en educación. Las políticas de salud, empleo, juventud y medioambiente están intrínsecamente ligadas con la educación escolar”.

“Si acaso hay un aspecto de nuestra educación que es más importante que otros, es el foco sistemático en incrementar la equidad y la igualdad educativa: educación parvularia universal, atención preventiva a niños, y escolaridad obligatoria sin selección ni especialización temprana”.

(Nota de MW): Como me explicó Sahlberg, hay procesos de elección de escuela por los estudiantes, en el tramo de 16 a 19 años, con selección por promedio general de notas incluyendo las de arte, deportes, etc., tanto para escuelas técnico-vocacionales como científicas, y aquellas altamente especializadas, y todas son igualmente demandadas. Este es el tramo de la “Educación Media-Superior”, a diferencia de Chile, en que la selección se hace a los 13 años, al menos hasta hoy.

Para leer más, haz click aqui:

Entrevista de Mario Waissbluth a Pasi Sahlberg.
Publicada originalmente en Voces de La Tercera.

“Ningún país del mundo ha sido exitoso con sistemas como el chileno. Se requiere más foco en la equidad de resultados, mejor gestión de la libertad de elección y de la segregación, mejorar la profesión docente, y construir una reforma con una visión clara de futuro, y esa ha sido la sugerencia de muchos especialistas internacionales”.

Posted in Education | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#MondayBlogs: Pasi Sahlberg in #Chile #ASMSG #edchat #education

This past week, I had the opportunity to participate in a seminar for teachers of English at the Hualpén Municipal DAEM as an invited guest speaker. The seminar was entitled “Improving English Speaking Fluency and Effective Teaching Methodologies.” In this opportunity, I chose to give a talk about whether becoming bilingual in English was an impossible task for Chile. I ruled out a more historical talk about the progress of ELT in Chile due to time limitations. Maybe next year?

Recently, the Finnish education expert, Pasi Sahlberg, who teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, was in Chile. Sahlberg was the director general of the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation (CIMO) in Helsinki, Finland, and an adjunct professor at the Universities of Helsinki and Oulu. He has been a teacher and teacher educator, as well as an education specialist for the World Bank and the European Commission.



3 Key Findings of PISA 2012

1. Countries that give schools autonomy over curricula and student assessments often perform better. PISA shows how success is often associated with balanced professional autonomy with a collaborative culture in schools. Evidence also shows how high performing education systems engage teachers to set their own teaching and learning targets, to craft productive learning environments, and to design multiple forms student assessments to best support student learning and school improvement.

2. High average learning outcomes and system-wide equity are often interrelated. Equity in education means that students’ socio-economic status has little impact on how well they learn in school. Equity is high in the agenda in all successful school systems. Focus on equity means to give high priority to universal early childhood programs, comprehensive health and special education services in schools, and balanced curriculum that has equal weight in arts, music, and sports, and academic studies. Fairness in resource allocation is important for equity, too. PISA 2012 shows that fair resourcing is related to the success of the entire school system: High student performance tends to be linked to more equitably resource allocation between advantaged and disadvantaged schools.

3. School choice does not improve the performance of education system. School choice and competition between schools are related to greater levels of segregation in the education system. That, in turn, may have adverse consequences for equity in learning opportunities and outcomes. Indeed, successful education systems do better than those that have expanded school choice. All successful school systems have a strong commitment to maintain their public schools and local school control. PISA 2012 data show that the prevalence of charter and free schools with related competition for students have no discernible relationship with student learning.

Source: The Guardian

Short Bio

Pasi Sahlberg is Finnish educator, author and scholar. He has worked as schoolteacher, teacher educator, researcher and policy advisor in Finland and has studied education systems and reforms around the world. His expertise includes school improvement, international education issues, classroom teaching and learning, and school leadership. His best-seller book “Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland” (Teachers College Press, 2011) won the 2013 Grawemeyer Award. He is a former Director General of CIMO (Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation) in Helsinki and currently a visiting Professor of Practice at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, MA, USA. More on his website: and Twitter: @pasi_sahlberg.

Digital edition of La Tercera Newspaper

Posted in Education, EFL, Higher Education Teaching & Learning, Interviews, Reflections, Research | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#FREE #Book! The Chilean National #English Test: The Years 2001 – 2014 #ASMSG #MondayBlogs #edchat #ell #efl #eslchat

Wow! 2015 is off to a fast start with so many things happening for me personally and professionally. I start the year off, appropriately, with a free book for my readership. But first, to catch up on the news, I was invited to participate in a very satisfying seminar for English teachers in the community of Hualpén. The teachers there are amazing, absolutely amazing. They took my breath away with their dedication to their profession, to their students, and to their own professional development. I can not thank them enough for inviting me, because I left very inspired by them. I learned so much from them.

The coordinators of the Hualpén English Teachers Network, Isabella Diaz and Yenny Gaete, have formed an incredible group of dedicated, motivated, enthusiastic, determined, cohesive and talented teachers who are doing tremendously good work and really great things in the municipal sector in Hualpén. I can’t praise them enough for the outstanding work they are doing with students from the public sector. Their students come primarily from very vulnerable, at risk for failure, low socio-economic backgrounds. The teachers are making a difference in turning that around into an epic success story.

Very importantly, they have the support of the community behind their efforts. There is a real, palpable and united effort from everyone, from the office of the mayor of Hualpén on down, to provide the very best educational opportunities to children in that community. English has been given a priority in Hualpén, from the earliest ages, starting in kindergarden. There is a belief that 2 languages can be learned at the same time. There is a belief that learning English is not a socio-economic issue, that poor children can learn English. Over time, their efforts will surely bear wonderful fruits for the children of that community. In sum, it’s the kind of stuff that makes my heart sing! I truly look forward to collaborating with those teachers whenever I can, again and again, in the future.

On a personal level, this year is a year of change for me. I will be taking on a new personal challenge, career wise. Yet at the most fundamental level, I will be doing what I love, namely, teaching English. As I have said many times, teaching English is my life. For better or for worse, English has the ability to change lives, to improve the quality of someone’s life, to open the door to economic and social opportunity, and to enrich one’s own appreciation of your own cultural heritage in numerous ways.

Related to that, today is a very good day to announce that my book about teaching and learning English in Chile which looks at the past 15 years of national English tests is available for free for 5 days. So, if you have an account at Amazon, download this book for free. For me, it is appropriate at a moment of change to look backward, to appreciate where I have been (personally and professionally) before moving on to where I want to be in the future.

This book combines my history as a teacher of English with the history of teaching and testing English in Chile. I am happy to share it with you and hope it will help you to become a better teacher, a better learner of English. I have tried to remain objective, state the facts, and use a factual evidence base to inform my thinking about testing. It is this knowledge of where we have come from, overall, that is the strongest case for where we are heading. Regardless of the snails pace we are traveling at, there can be little doubt that we are moving forward toward the ultimate goal of bilingualism in Chile (Spanish-English). In fact, I sincerely believe we are a lot closer than we think, but that’s only my opinion…

Book Description
Publication Date: July 4, 2013

Bienvenido. Welcome to educational testing in Chile. The object of this book is to present as clear an account as possible of the historical development of educational testing in Chile with regards to the Chilean National English test. It is a mixed-genre, story within a story, autobiographical-historical text interwoven into one continuous, developmental narrative, of a teacher and of a nation, Chile.

The aim has been to adapt it to the needs of the great body of busy teachers and learners who have neither the time nor the means to make a comprehensive study, but are earnestly striving to be informed regarding the facts that are indispensable for an understanding of the theory and practice of modern English Language teaching, learning and testing in a foreign language context.

Why this book? This book is written by a teacher, for teachers, worldwide. It deals with questions of interpreting test results, washback, and the inevitable, preparing for international exams, regardless of type.

Yet beyond these considerations, there is the historical aspect. In today’s globalized world, it seems we forget things that happened only a decade ago. Thus, we repeat the mistakes of the past, unnecessarily. This book plays a role in remembering what we have done in the past, especially in English Language Teaching, Testing & Learning.

Yet, is this book able to make a contribution? Does it provide new knowledge, new insights? Despite the hasty conceived generalization that socioeconomic factors explain everything, I believe this book has something new to say, the ability to shed a fresh light, from a different, closer perspective than what we have been provided thus far. I am talking about the view from the classroom, the teacher’s “unheard voice” to what has been left unsaid…

Yes, the public, worldwide, is often led to believe that poor children can’t learn. They go to poor schools, with weak teachers, with low hopes and low self-esteem, hopeless and helpless. Yes, we know, this is what worldwide is often the case for the underprivileged masses.

To exemplify, Carolina Schmidt, the former Minister of Education, here in Chile, said, (I paraphrase in my own words): The situation here in Chile is that learning English is a socioeconomic privilege. I hope the reading of this book will lead you to draw a different, more hopeful, conclusion. Some child’s very future could depend on it…

Posted in Culture, Debates, Education, EFL, Reflections, Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

20 Incredibly Rare #Author Interviews Unearthed! #MondayBlogs #ASMSG #RRBC

Hi Thomas,

We recently published an article that you may be interested in entitled, “20 Incredibly Rare Author Interviews Unearthed” (

After having followed your blog for a while, I feel that this one article would align well with your blog’s subject matter. I thought perhaps you’d be interested in sharing this article with your readers? Thanks, and keep up the great blogging!

Carol Brown
(March 20, 2012)

20 Incredibly Rare Author Interviews Unearthed

Readers often love to see into the minds of the authors who have penned their favorite books, but sometimes, doing so is next to impossible. There are a variety of reasons why it might be difficult to track down an author interview: the writers in question only offered interviews along the same general frequency as Halley’s Comet, or they typically pop up in different media, or some even lose the footage over time. But despite these struggles, the following reads, listens, and watches all earned consideration. Some of these prove far more available than others, of course, but each one stands as a lovely look into a powerful, creative mind. Yes, even the ones who tend to communicate in itty-bitty quips.


Shortly after earning the International Man Booker Prize, beloved Jewish-American author of Portnoy’s Complaint, The Human Stain, and myriad other medium-spanning works granted The Telegraph’s Benjamin Taylor a brief chat about writing, his love of history, John Updike, and other topics.


Happenstance brought together the War of the Worlds author and seminal actor and filmmaker who infamously adapted it for a Halloween radio show in San Antonio. The pair discuss both the bizarre incident and the parallels between science-fiction and then-current World War terrors.


These days, Cormac McCarthy is known almost as much as something of a media hermit as he is the author of All the Pretty Horses, The Road, No Country for Old Men, and other gritty Southern dramas. He continues shunning most journalists, but did pop out of his self-imposed exile long enough to “talk rattlesnakes, molecular computers, country music, [and] Wittgenstein” with The New York Times’ Richard B. Woodward.


The Daily Mail (of all places) headed to Monroeville, Ala. and scored a brief audience with Harper Lee around the 50th anniversary of her seminal To Kill a Mockingbird. Of course, there was a catch – Sharon Churcher couldn’t ask one question about the game-changing novel. So the resulting article wound up rather thin indeed.


It took more than two decades before the Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey writer would smash his media silence for Lacy Fosburgh of The New York Times. What incited the truly rare event was the unauthorized publication of some older writings.


The notoriously interview-adverse Rebecca scribe eventually showcased her Cornish home to Wilfred De’Ath of the BBC and delved into her career in her very first television interview.


Although madly press-shy, renowned American postmodernist Don DeLillo allowed Robert McCrum an interview possibly because they share a mutual friend in Paul Auster. The result was a fantastic, insightful glimpse into the process behind an exciting mind.


Well, it wasn’t an interview so much as a brief, playful chat that ultimately never saw release, but CNN still impresses with its ability to get Thomas Pynchon to say ANYTHING! Even if it’s just how he isn’t really a recluse so much as not terribly fond of reporters.


Beat movement cornerstone William S. Burroughs may not have lived as elusively as many of the other authors listed here, but partnering with the legendary Kathy Acker at an October Gallery proved a once-in-a-lifetime event before both passed.


Prior to The Teaching of Don Juan’s exploding, which left many genuinely questioning its veracity, the author — Carlos Castaneda — still studied anthropology at UCLA. He eventually retreated from the public view in the early 1970s to further study shamanism, making this radio talk with Theodore Rosak rather rare.


Pope John Paul II proved a prolific writer in his lifetime, with plenty of books, letters, and essays to his name, but men in his political and religious position rarely entertain the time for interviews. Vittorio Messori published a novel-length interview with the pontiff in 1995, covering a wide range of Catholic topics from a more personal perspective.


This audio transcript of Marcel Proust’s interview at Le Temps is in French and appears to be its only online presence. Considering the In Search of Lost Time (which he opens up about here) artiste’s notorious hermit lifestyle, it’s rather stunning he even courted the media at all.


Laudable Calvin and Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson’s email exchange with John Campanelli might very well be his first media interaction since 1989.

14. J.M. COETZEE AT DN.SE, DEC. 8, 2003

Although this Nobel winner makes occasional appearances at readings and the like, rarely will he ever compromise his valued privacy to grant an interview — although David Attwell managed to encourage him to publicly discuss his award and the literary canon as a whole.


Filmed at his own home, the Sherlock Holmes creator talks to William Fox about his belief in terrestrial communication with the deceased and other occult practices he found exhilarating. Some think this interview, in which he talks both his beloved detective and spirituality, might be the only one he ever conducted on tape.


Neither of these progressive political and social staples are strangers to the media machine by anyone’s definition, but appearing at the same time proves a different story altogether. Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman paired the legendary linguist with the legendary historian for a fiery Patriots Day conversation about then-current events.


Press-shunning Denis Johnson emerged ever so briefly after receiving a National Book Award finalist honor for a very short exchange with Bret Anthony Johnston about Tree of Smoke.


Eirik Steinhoff managed to catch up with a brilliant metaphysical poet at his most unlikely day job — as the Chief Fiduciary Officer of a Chicago bank.


Public interviews of the elderly Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf playwright are scarce, and his appearance at the Sydney Theatre Company proved polarizing among theater critics and aficionados.


Because Samuel Beckett wanted so to avoid the spotlight, interviews with him rarely crop up, which is what makes this taped interview from 1987 all the more resonant.

Posted in Authors, Reading, Reflections, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

#Bilingual in Chile by 2020? #ASMSG #MerryChristmas #FelizNavidad #ProsperoAño #Felicidad #MondayBlogs

Bilingual in Chile by 2020. For the one, an impossible dream. For the other, reality. Let me hasten to explain.

English is a very powerful, prestigious language. It is literally, “money in the bank” for those people who learn it as a second language, or a foreign language, as is the case in Chile.

English is used as the language of international business, commerce, tourism and travel. If you speak English, you have the legitimate aspiration to earn more money, have a higher quality of life, and broader educational opportunities. English is something that can make you healthy, wealthy, and wise. Very few people would argue with that.

In light of such tremendous individual and collective benefits, then I ask, “why isn’t Chile already a bilingual country?”

The answer might come as a surprise to you. Chile is already a multilingual, multicultural, multiethnic country. Besides Spanish, Chilean citizens speak Rapa Nui, Aymara, Quechua, and Mapudungun. Granted, these are indigenous languages. There is little prestige, little social and economic power connected to speaking an indigenous language.

Nonetheless, let us not fool ourselves. A child who learns Aymara, Quechua, Rapa Nui or Mapudungun as his/her mother language, at home, must learn a new language at school, a second language, Spanish. And the children do this wonderfully, becoming bilingual in the prestige language – Spanish – and maintaining their cultural heritage in the indigenous language. In other words, Chile has a tremendous amount of people who are bilingual.

So why can’t we add another language to our multilingual, multicultural society? That’s a big question, with a lot of variables, and no easy answer that will suit everyone. But I wish to be clear on one very important point: Chile is already a bilingual country. We don’t have to wait until 2020…

Posted in Reflections, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment