Thursday, July 30, 2015

My First Periscope

Write this name down:  Periscope.  I think you’re going to be hearing it a lot in the days ahead.  Periscope is yet another addition to the social media landscape but this one lets you do something a bit different:  broadcast yourself live.  This means interviews.  It means reports from the scenes of events.  It means going live from the locations of spot news, just like TV reporters do.  All you need is an account, a smart phone, and a follower.

My friend Guy Atchley has embraced the new technology big time.  Even though the service was only announced a few weeks ago, he’s already signed up thousands of followers.  Mostly they tune in for various behind-the-scenes things he has going on at KGUN9—and judging from his schedule of broadcasts, his camera is almost always on. 

Every now and then Guy and I will grab a cup of coffee.  This week he added a Periscope interview to the invitation.  I didn’t really have any idea what I was in for.  When I got to the restaurant I found that Guy had a little iPad set up on a holding stand.  It was all very informal.  We talked as if the viewers were sitting right there at the table with us—and in essence, they were doing exactly that.  At the top of the interview I was astonished to learn that seven people had already tuned in.  Within the next 60 seconds another 30 or so had joined, turning this little interview into a real event.  I was blown away at the potential power of it.  Further, the experience is fully interactive, with participants able to send questions, which they did.

The interview was billed as an opportunity to talk about the rave reviews my third novel, The Dark, is attracting, and also to get an update on my health.  We certainly did that.  As you can probably tell, my health is continuing to slide.  I’m losing my battle to keep on any weight and am visibly more gaunt than I was.  This is due to the fact that I have been suffering from a near complete loss of appetite combined with a loss of taste; food just has no appeal to me, by and large, and I have been suffering from nausea and have a hard time keeping food down during certain times of the day.  My voice is also going, for some reason.  As I'm sure viewers could tell, it’s hoarse and raspy.  That problem has been getting worse, too.  Loss of appetite and nausea are quite common for cancer patients in my position, but whatever might be causing me to lose my voice has doctors stumped at the moment.

We also took the time to peer ahead into the next book project in the pipeline.  This one is not a novel but rather will be a memoir of sorts.  The title will be, My Lifetime of Weird Coincidences and Strange  Happenings.  As the subtitle will point out, the gist of it will be to lay out some of the incredible and wonderful things that have happened to me in my life—up to and including a miracle that is responsible for me being here today (no, I’m not kidding).  It’s my intention to show how one ordinary person learned to experience precognition, visions, clairvoyance, lucid dreaming, and even miracles—and you can too.  Acceptance of the daily wonders that surround you will not require you to change your religious beliefs in any way, but only to have an open mind and perhaps to be a bit more jaded about the automatic nay-saying and skepticism of others—you know, the feedback from people who insist “this can’t be real because there’s no such thing as (fill-in-the-blank).”

I’m writing the new book because of a desire to explore the premonitions that have led me to where I am.  As those of you who’ve been following my story know, two years ago I decided to take a couple of years off from my “day job” in order to pursue fiction writing—something I’d always wanted to do.  I made the decision to do this amid strong forebodings that if I were to delay any longer, that it would never happen for me, that my health would deteriorate and I’d never get the chance to pursue my dream.  I was suffering from no actual symptoms of anything at the time, mind you, but the premonitions turned out to be fully accurate.   Had I kept working instead of embarking on that change of life, here I’d sit diagnosed with terminal cancer, and nothing to show for it other than another two years of experience as a TV news director under my belt.   But instead I have three novels to my credit, each of which has received rave reviews.  In other words, had I not done what I did, I’d be a very unhappy, bitter person right now.  It doesn’t matter whether the novels are successful in a New York Times bestseller since, but it does matter that they were well reviewed and thereby helped me reach that level of self-fulfillment I was striving for, without which I’d feel very lost right now.

During the Periscope interview Guy asked me to share another anecdote from my “lifetime of premonitions.”  I told a story about a reporter friend of mine named Joan.  I had not worked with her in 15 years—and had last spoken with her in 14—when one day out of the clear blue her first name and face popped into my mind.  I was surprised by this because this particular reporter had been a good  acquaintance but not a close friend.  So why would I suddenly be thinking of her now?  Further, I could not for the life of me remember her last name.  I wrestled with this all the way to work that day, finally retrieving her last name out of my deep memory just before getting to work.

But here’s where it gets weird.  About an hour later I get an email from her.  The slug is “What the
hell—” and the tone struck me as almost indignant, as if she was embarrassed to have caught me thinking of her.  It turns out, Joan was expressing her surprise that she’d only just learned I had taken a new job as a news director there in Albuquerque.  We’d both totally lost track of one another,  having moved several times since we’d last worked together.  Would you care to guess what city she was in now? 

If you guessed Albuquerque, you’re going to have to do better.  How many feet away from me would you believe this person was at that time?  Answer:  150.  My friend was now working at a competing TV station that was located literally right across the street.

The new book will be filled with those kinds of strange “coincidences,” the type of occurrences which some reputable scientists believe are not coincidental at all.  In my case I believe such events served, among other things, to alert me to the power of premonitions, so that I would be receptive and act on the most important one I’d ever receive—which I did. 

I’ll have more on this project as a publication date draws nearer.

Meanwhile, many thanks to Guy and his viewers for having me on and for listening in!


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