Gerasimos Kambites

What would inspire you to spend thirty years writing this book?

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Gerasimos Kambites Everyone's existence is filled with special stories. But my life is my story; an amazing journey, a bouncing steel ball in a living pinball machine flying through the molecules and empty spaces of primal experience. Those empty spaces needed filling, demanded filling and my job was to keep it all moving.

This last week I found out that my once upon a time literary agent Carl Brandt of New York had passed away. I wondered why he had not responded to the copy of "Tears on the Equator," I sent him in the mail and I was touched by that intuition…is he still with us?

"I'm so sorry to be the one to have to tell you," Mr. Thayer his longtime associate and friend said, "Carl passed away last summer," I held the phone a little tighter, took a breath and slowly let it out. Carl was one of the great agents of America. I met him after a quick intro from Tom Smith at National Geographic. "You've got a book here," I want you to get on a plane in a hour and meet Carl for lunch." Amazing. We sat in a Manhattan deli. I ate smoked Pastrami, with a side order of fries with vinegar. Carl had a salad. We talked, rather I talked and he listened asking a question now and again. After lunch he made a phone call and sent me over to Random House.

"Heh folks," my new editor said-"we have ourselves a writer!" I can't remember his name today, but he said the words.

"We have ourselves a writer." A strange looking black robed long bearded writer, where better than New York? Most people couldn't tell whether I was a Hassidic Jew or some strange cultic Christian. My Priest's cross was the great confuser. The new writer smiled. What I didn't know that fall day in New York City, so many decades ago, was that the Ugandan, boots on the ground chapter of my life was in its death throes, an undesired event which would somehow mystically morph in my belly giving birth to the thousands of pages I would churn out about our families struggle in Africa.

I am a writer and so I wrote. Carl Brandt was my mentor, a few words here, a few words there-"I can't sell your book but I encourage you to keep at it, because it is a story which must be told." So when you ask me why did I write this book or what my motivation was or what images moved me forward and what is my idea of success for this work, it all had to do with the words of others and the experiences of my soul filtered through my passions and prayers and the hope--perhaps a vain hope-- of winning some major literary prize, because 60 years ago, a teacher stuck a barb into me with her words, "you'll never be able to write."

To write is to create, to create is to resist the forces of tyranny and oppression which I faced and hear my mind-speak to me from countless pages urging me to pray for my part in the whole thing. That is why I wrote this book-perhaps that is why I will continue writing, but I had better hurry up and say what I need to say because there ain't no other 30 years left on this lunch card.

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by Gerasimos I. Kambites (Goodreads Author)
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