William Kenower Interview

   This was my Epiphany Video. Watching my son’s fiancee’, Nicole Persun‘s father, Terry Persun, interviewing William Kenower about his book, Fearless Writing, has changed everything. See why Bill believes that content, not form, is what matters for writers. His own content, what he cares so much about, why he writes: To share his deep belief that Unconditional Love – for life, for others, for our own lives, for our work and art – is why we’re here and should be why we do whatever we do.


Time for Some Tom

“I’ll say this much: virtually every advancement made by our species since civilization first peeked out of its nest of stone has been initiated by lone individuals, mavericks who more often than not were ignored, mocked, or viciously persecuted by society and its institutions. Society in general maintains such a vested interested in its cozy habits and solidified belief systems that it had rather die — or kill — than entertain change. Consider how threatened religious fundamentalists of all faiths remain to this day by science in general and Darwin in particular.

“Cultural institutions by and large share one primary objective: herd control. Even when ostensibly benign, their propensity for manipulation, compartmentalization, standardization and suppression of potentially disruptive behavior or ideas, has served to freeze the evolution of consciousness practically in its tracks. In technological development, in production of material goods and creature comforts, we’ve challenged the very gods, but psychologically, emotionally, we’re scarcely more than chimpanzees with bulldozers, baboons with big bombs.”

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Read the delightful interview the excerpt, above, was taken from: Reality Sandwich

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“Emotionally, we’re scarcely more than chimpanzees with bulldozers, baboons with big bombs.” Has this ever been more true than now?



   “If a person who fears rejection were suddenly unafraid of it, what might she be capable of? Wouldn’t she be better at everything she does? If she were an artist or musician and didn’t fear how people received her work, wouldn’t she be able to search deep into her soul and make pieces that truly reflect who she is?”

   Jia Jiang, Rejection Proof

   I came across Jia Jiang when Sue and I were listening to TED talks during a several hour drive recently. (Discovering that we have the technology to play things from the Internet through our radio has been a gift that keeps on giving.)
   Jia is an immigrant who, early in his life, was inspired by a Bill Gates’ visit to his hometown in China. As a teenager, Jia came to the U.S. via a high school exchange student program, intending to get started building the next Microsoft.
   Within a few years he earned a cushy job in marketing for a Fortune 500 company, with a six-figure income, got married, and was expecting his first child. He was also miserable. He’d wanted to be an entrepreneur, realize his own vision, live his dream.
   His wife, just weeks from delivering their first child, gave him an astonishing gift: She encouraged him to quit his job and take six-months to put together a tech team and build a company around an app he’d envisioned.
   He and his team worked round the clock and reached a point where a venture capitalist appeared ready to make a major investment in their business.
   Jia was thrilled, so much so that he had nightly dreams that the investment came through and they were on their way to success.
   Except it didn’t. The investor said no. Jia was devastated, to the point of giving up. His wife wouldn’t allow it, and reminded him there were still two of the six months remaining.
   The epiphany in Jia’s life came when he decided that he needed to deal with his fear of rejection. He knew his entrepreneurial heroes, like Bill Gates, would never let being turned down by the first prospective investor be the death of their vision.
   After lots of googling around, he found a website created by a man who believed that the best way to overcome rejection is to seek it out. In essence, to desensitize yourself to it. JasonComely.com
   This appealed to Jia, who decided to create his own list of 100 exercises likely to produce rejection. For example:

   1. Ask the security guy in his office building to borrow $100.
   No. But the man was curious and asked why, even though Jia was too busy fleeing back to his office, in embarrassment, to respond.

   2. Ask for a free “refill” of his cheeseburger at Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
   No. But the guy behind the counter was amused and thought about it for awhile.

   It was number 3 that turned Jia’s world upside down:


   Jia’s Youtube was a worldwide sensation. He received dozens of requests for radio and TV interviews, job offers, an offer to host his own TV reality show.
   When the Krispy Kreme girl took his request to custom make five doughnuts, linked together like the Olympic Rings, seriously, made them on the spot, and didn’t charge him for them, his idea to desensitize himself to rejection got turned on its head.
   The idea to deliberately solicit rejection became a passion to discover why, on only his third experiment, his outlandish request was granted. Now he wanted to learn about how he could present his goofy requests in ways that encouraged a yes.
   His email inbox, and the comment section of his Youtube, filled up with expressions of gratitude from people who shared his fear of rejection and took heart from watching his goofy request be greeted with enthusiastic acceptance.
   That’s why, a quarter of the way into his book, Rejection Therapy, Jia wrote what is quoted to open this post:

   “If a person who fears rejection were suddenly unafraid of it, what might she be capable of? Wouldn’t she be better at everything she does? If she were an artist or musician and didn’t fear how people received her work, wouldn’t she be able to search deep into her soul and make pieces that truly reflect who she is?”

   That first sentence, “If a person who fears rejection were suddenly unafraid of it, what might she be capable of?” sent me skittering back to Bill Kenower’s Fearless Writing, which I posted about a few weeks ago:

   “To write your story you must love it unconditionally. You must love it simply because you love it, be interested in it simply because you’re interested in it. You don’t love it because other people might love it, or because your writing group praised it, or because you think it will get published and bring you lots of money and win you a bunch of awards – you love it simply because it feels good to focus your attention on it. Most people live conditionally. We think about outcomes and about what pleases other people.”

   (i.e. We are afraid what we love, and want to write about, will be rejected by other people.)

   “Your portal to your greatest creative potential is your unconditional love of what interests you. Open that door, and what you most want in your life will flow through it.”

   Bill Kenower, Fearless Writing

   Jia Jiang discovered the power of ignoring the fear of rejection, of not worry about pleasing other people, of not being concerned about outcomes, but just asking for something. No matter how ridiculous or outlandish. Fully expecting rejection, but being stunned by more than a million views and an avalanche of heartfelt, grateful responses.
   Bill Kenower has discovered the power of just writing something that you love enough to write about, regardless of outcome or what other people will think of it.
   Bill Kenower and Jia Jiang have tapped into the same powerful magic. It dawned on me that I think I know what that magic is, and I think I am beginning to understand it better than I ever have.
   The magic is FAITH.
   What happened to Jia Jiang on only the third day of asking for ridiculous things, just so he could learn to be comfortable with being told no, taught him the importance of asking anyway.
   Just ask. Just write. Trust the power of asking for what you desire, of doing what you love to do.
   Here’s what another teacher said about Faith:

   “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
   “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

   Jesus, Mark 11:23, 24 (KJV)

   If you want Krispy Kreme doughnuts custom made to look like the Olympic Rings, even though you are certain you’ll be laughed out of the doughnut shop . . . just ask.

   Here’s Jia Jiang’s TED Talk, if you want to hear him tell his story himself:


   Jia Jiang: Just Ask













   Bill Kenower: Just Write



You Had Me At Wacky

From the Amazon blurb:


“This wacky, charming novel…draws you in with humor, then turns out to contain both a suspenseful subplot and a sweet romance….Hilarious and moving.”

You had me at wacky. But I’ll take humor, suspense, romance, hilarity, and … moving.

I’d add heartbreaking. In the bit that follows, Eleanor has made a fool of herself in a rare moment of leaving the emotional cocoon she’s been in since some horrific childhood event involving “Mummy.” Think Mummy Dearest.

She responds to her shame by attempting suicide by alcohol poisoning. She’s discovered, all but dead, by her only real friend.



Everyone has their own reasons for reading fiction. Above all, I love fiction for illumination, epiphany, literary open heart surgery. This novel is luminous. And it will make your heart better.

A little about the debut author, Gail Honeyman:


Here’s the full article and author interview: Foyles


Natalie Goldberg

We have a wonderful thing about to happen in Port Townsend: an evening with Natalie Goldberg.


Writing Down the Bones liberates wannabe writers to tell their inner critic to STFU and then to get on with putting words on the page. Anne Lamott does the same thing with Bird by Bird, Bill Kenower with Fearless Writing. These are literary Emancipation Proclamations.

“What I hope, when people write, and learn to just keep their hand moving, not good or bad, no judgment, is you start to find out what you really think, see, or feel. And that’s very powerful, because often we walk around and have no idea who we are. Once we connect with that, and understand that, you’re centered and you can actually hear what someone else has to say, and you can clearly say what you have to say.” Natalie Goldberg


Don’t miss this. Thursday, October 26th, 7 pm, @Writers’ Workshoppe, 820 Water Street, Port Townsend