Read on to enjoy an interview with Eric Lindner
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you have any unusual talents or hobbies?
I used to be able to sing, but this “talent” is long gone.
Hospice Voices deals with many aspects of life that people often don't want to think or talk about. What was the most challenging part of writing this book?
Trying to allow the book to write itself, as a sort of set of Last Wills and Testaments, but affixed to a narrative.
How do you think your life would be different had you not decided to become a hospice program volunteer?
Being a volunteer brought me so much closer to my parents and I made many new friends.
What is the most valuable lesson you learned from your experience as a volunteer?
I think it would be the power of simply and truly being present. While my patients were always grateful when I showed up with a favorite pastry or McDonald’s frappé, what meant the most to them was my willingness to listen. To sit in a chair in their living room or bedroom and listen. And I received at least as much from listening -- and being present -- as I ever gave.
Who is your favorite author?
Do you have a writing routine? A special pen, a certain type of music, time limits?
My routine is very irregular. I like to write/edit at least 4 hours a day, but some days, I can’t get in 4 minutes. Others, I’m at it for 15 hours. My preference is to get up very early, typically by 4am. If I awake with my mind “live” with ideas, I head straight for the computer or printed out pages (I prefer to alternate my editing medium). But just as often, I read first, typically for an hour, and then meditate. I especially love doing this outside on my back porch, where I can see the stars, followed by the sunrise and hear deer, coyote, and birdsongs. If there is any sort of distraction (not too often, as I live in the country), I’ll put on music ... Enya, Loreenna McKennitt, Giorgia Fumanti or Stanton Lanier.
Do you enjoy edits/rewrites, or not?
Anyone who enjoys edits and rewrites is, I think, probably certifiably insane. That being said, I stand in awe of great editors, such as Alexandra Shelley, who edited my book. What she can see, in so short a time, blows me away. And I do enjoy it when Alexandra says, “Good job of self-editing, Eric.”
Please tell us a little bit about your journey to publication
That’s the word, all right! There were several forks in the road, including whether to work directly with a publisher or via an agent. There were pros and cons either way, but I chose the former. And I committed to working with Alexandra and am thankful that she took me on as a client as she is justifiably very choosy. I had to work around her packed schedule of other clients (e.g., Kathyrn Stockett), workshops, etc. but being patient enough to sync with her was well worth it.
When you're not writing, what are your other hobbies/passions?
I love to read. I love hiking and kayaking with my wife and/or kids and spending time with my parents who are 88 and 87. And I enjoy hitting the gym, either for spin class or the elliptical machine, provided I have something good to watch, like “Downton Abbey.”
Are you working on any new projects?
At the urging of some, I’m noodling on a novel.
About the Book:
Title: Hospice Voices: Lessons For Living At The End of Life
Author: Eric Lindner
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Published: October 6 2013
As a part-time hospice volunteer, Eric Lindner provides companion care to dying strangers. They re chatterboxes and recluses, religious and irreligious, battered by cancer, congestive heart failure, Alzheimer s, old age. Some cling to life amazingly. Most pass as they expected. In telling his story, Lindner reveals the thoughts, fears, and lessons of those living the ends of their lives in the care of others, having exhausted their medical options or ceased treatment for their illnesses. In each chapter, Lindner not only reveals the lessons of lives explored in their final days, but zeroes in on how working for hospice can be incredibly fulfilling. As he s not a doctor, nurse, or professional social worker, just a volunteer lending a hand, offering a respite for other care providers, his charges often reveal more, and in more detail, to him than they do to those with whom they spend the majority of their time. They impart what they feel are life lessons as they reflect on their own lives and the prospect of their last days. Lindner captures it all in his lively storytelling. Anyone who knows or loves someone working through end of life issues, living in hospice or other end of life facilities, or dealing with terminal or chronic illnesses, will find in these pages the wisdom of those who are working through their own end of life issues, tackling life s big questions, and boiling them down into lessons for anyone as they age or face illness. And those who may feel compelled to volunteer to serve as companions will find motivation, inspiration, and encouragement. Rather than sink under the weight of depression, pity, or sorrow, Lindner celebrates the lives of those who choose to live even as they die.
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