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1. Let's dive right into your book Higher Connections. Being an accountant, how difficult was it to write the book? What was the writing and publishing process like?
Given I am an accountant and not an author, the writing process was an interesting one. At first, very early on in the process, my wife started jotting down some of the thoughts that I had in a notebook that was used as the basis for some of the concepts of the book.
At some point, I decided to take those thoughts and do the outline of the chapters so I could see what a potential book would look like.
Given a good chunk of the book was about my experiences while high, it was easier than I imagined to summarize those experiences within the book.
It was really when I got to the deeper concepts of the book (e.g. third-eyes, souls, simulation theory, etc.) that I had to take a step back and think about what would be interesting or entertaining for a reader to understand. Most people aren't thinking about these concepts on a daily basis and would just say that these thoughts were just ramblings from a pothead (which they still may be).
My publisher spent a good chunk of time helping me with edits and framing the material in a way that would flow a bit better than I had originally designed it.
Overall, it was a very interesting (and time-consuming) experience and certainly makes me appreciate how hard authors work to create a piece of work that is different and unique.
2. You wrote the book under a pen name due to the content of the book. Can you tell us a little more about why that was and how you feel about
that? How has it changed your life?
Given I am an accountant and cannabis is still federally illegal, I was unsure how my company and my clients at work would feel about me writing about some of the concepts in the book.
It is a deeply personal and revealing book about my history with alcohol and cannabis but also about my relationship with my wife, Alexandra, my parents and my family. I also get into some very sensitive topics like God and religion so I didn't want these personal revelations to negatively impact my career. To be clear though, cannabis has been a positive influence on my life and (I think) on those around me. Just because I was hesitant to use my real name doesn't mean I think cannabis can benefit people that have never tried it before. Cannabis calms me down, helps me refocus on the important things and makes me happier than alcohol ever did.
Maybe at some point, I will reveal my real name but I am not sure too many people will care at that point
3. How do your family and friends (those that know you've written the book anyway) feel about your book?
They are happy for me (I think). My one brother and Alexandra's sister have joined me on our podcast to talk about their experiences with cannabis and my younger brother helps me edit the podcast so he gets to hear all of our silliness.
Most of my friends that have read it have enjoyed the book, even if some of them don't use cannabis.
Given the sensitive nature of the chapter about my parents, I have not told them about the book. It's unfortunate because I am proud that I released a book but I don't think they would take it well, which is okay. One good thing about using cannabis is that I am able to understand how my parents think and am more patient with them than I used to be. So even if they are unaware of the book, cannabis has still helped my relationship with them.
4. Tell us about some of the feedback you've gotten from the book? Have you seen the book change anyone's life?
Most of the feedback is good. I think the book is settling in around a 4 out of 5 rating, which I am very happy about.
Some of the negative feedback seems to be focused on the ramblings of some of the sections of the book around third eyes, souls, etc, which I understand as these are not easy topics to try to summarize on paper. This is why we do our podcast to try to expand on some of these topics that may be hard to understand by just reading them.
Other negative feedback seems to be centered around the fact that people aren't sure who the audience is for the book. In my mind, the audience for the book is really anyone that has either: 1) tried cannabis and wants to try to take what I have experienced with my connections with others and apply it to those in their life; or 2) people that have not tried cannabis before because they are scared to but may be open to it if they are interested.
In general, I think anyone that wants a funny read about my interesting experiences while high should enjoy it. However, I know the topic of cannabis is not for everyone and I am okay with that.
I know it's not a perfect book and I am sure there are things I would have done differently if I did it again, but overall, if people take away some positive things from the book and apply it to their lives, then I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that.
5. Since our last interview, it looks like you've started a podcast. What's the podcast about?
The podcast is really about expanding on what we talk about in the book. We try to keep the podcast light and funny while focusing on how cannabis has changed our lives for the better. We also have guests on from time to time to talk about their experiences with cannabis and other topics around cannabis and hemp.
In general, Alexandra and I talk about:
•Our experiences with cannabis that are summarized in the book as well as new experiences with cannabis since the book came out
•The benefits of cannabis on our relationship
•Some of the deeper concepts in the book like third eyes, souls and simulation theory.
•Some of the more recent episodes have focused on me writing a letter to my mom, a review of our relationship in graph form and a discussion about simulation theory while Alexandra was high, which was an absolute hoot.
I hope people check it out and give it a listen. It is called Higher Connections (shockingly) and is available on our website www.higherconnectionsnow.com or on Spotify.
6. What has it been like to produce a podcast?
It is fun. As I mentioned my brother helps to edit it down which is interesting because he gets to hear some pretty emotional moments from Alexandra and me as we talk about our lives and our relationship.
Overall, it is fun as it gives us another medium to talk about some of the topics in a book in a way that may be easier for people to understand what we are trying to say.
We also realize there are thousands and thousands of podcasts out there so it is hard to stand out from the crowd in an interesting way. Because of this, I have marketed the podcast pretty heavily on social media to try to gain an audience, which is tedious, to say the least
7. Are you wanting to reach a different audience with the podcast than the book?
That is a very good question and I honestly have no idea. I would imagine that anyone that is re-listening to the podcast are folks that have read the book and are open to our "sense of humor" and personal revelations that we speak to.
Folks that did not enjoy the book or are not favorable to the subject of cannabis may not enjoy the podcast.
However, I hope those people listen anyways to understand cannabis better and how it has benefited us since we started consuming it a few years ago.
8. Has the podcast had the impact you were looking for? How?
It takes a long time to build an audience. There are so many options for people out there today between social media, streaming services and other things that consume people's time.
If people are going to spend 45-60 minutes listening to something, it has to be entertaining and relatable, which we try to do. But at the end of the day, we are not entertainers. We are accountants with three kids who have busy lives and do the best we can to summarize our views on cannabis through the podcast.
Similar to the book, if we can make a few people laugh at our stupidity and make their day better, then we have done our job.
Let's end with some more fun questions.
9. What one person, living or dead, would you most want to have a meal with and why?
Maynard James Keenan – the lead singer of Tool, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle. Music has been a central focus of my life since I was young and their music has greatly impacted me. He is also a funny guy and has a vineyard in Arizona so would love to sit down with him and get his views on life.
Given I don't drink alcohol anymore, it would have to be a meal only (maybe with a little cannabis involved )
10. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Both? With three kids, a stressful job and a wife that snores and farts in her sleep (love you), I tend to be up early and in bed late.
I usually get up early to work out and do work at night after the kids are in bed. Probably not the healthiest way to live but until my book explodes and I can retire early, this is what I have to do!
11. What do you find funny?
12. What's your biggest pet peeve?
There are so many to name but my biggest one is people that don't hold the door for you or that don't say thank you when you hold the door for them.
It is such an easy thing to do but most people are too busy buried in their phones to pay attention anymore (hopefully they are reading my book or listening to our podcast). I make a point to try to hold the door for people when needed and to say thank you when people hold the door for me. It is such an easy thing to do but as I say in my book, most people are too self-absorbed with social media and other things in the moment, they can't be bothered to realize what is going on around them.