ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Sharon Hart-Green is a writer, professor, and translator. Dr. Green takes us through her motivations in work, along with advice for others to keep on working.
Sharon's debut novel COME BACK FOR ME, was chosen as Editors' Choice Book by the Historical Novel Society:
Found on Amazon: https://a.co/7Vt8AMY
Sharon’s Profile linkedin.com/in/sharon-hart-green-764924a
Episode 39 · 2 years ago
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Episode 39 · 2 years ago
#39 Sharon Hart-Green - Writer, Professor, Translator BrianVee WhyWeWork
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Sharon Hart-Green is a writer, professor, and translator. Dr. Green takes us through her motivations in work, along with advice for others to keep on working.
Sharon's debut novel COME BACK FOR ME, was chosen as Editors' Choice Book by the Historical Novel Society:
Found on Amazon: https://a.co/7Vt8AMY
Sharon’s Profile linkedin.com/in/sharon-hart-green-764924a
...welcome to why we work with your host Brian V. As he speaks to people like you from all over the world as we together dive deeper into our motivations, struggles, joys, seemingly missteps, hopes, warnings and advice which would be an encouragement to us all to get up. Get going on, keep on working. Working is tough. What way is good? Now here's your host to why we way. And this is why we work today. I have the great pleasure. Speaking to Dr Sharon Green. Dr Sharon Green is a professor, but she's also a writer and she wrote the new book, Come Back for Me. And while I'd like to get into this new book, I want to find out what her motivation is to work so hard. And not only that, to find out what her messages to her students and what she tells them on a daily basis as to what they conduce to be better workers. So join me with this conversation with Dr Sharon Green. I'm Brian V, and this is why we work today. I have the great pleasure of speaking to Dr Sharon Heart Green. Good evening, fine lady. Very nice. to meet you and nice to be here on your show. I appreciate you taking the time, especially since it's your evening and it's my wee morning here of only 10 a.m. Your around 9 p.m. so I appreciate you taking the time I introduced you at the beginning of the podcast. But would you do me the great honor of just telling us a little bit about yourself? Sure. Um, I, uh, am both an academic and a novelist. I I've been wearing two hats for a little bit for a little while. Although I have Beardmore in the direction of writing than in teaching for the last few years, I've actually taken off time from teaching in order to devote myself to writing, which is a whole new career for me. It's not something that I've done all my life, and there is a bit of a story to it. But I published a novel called Come Back for Me, which has been doing very well, and I'm in the middle of writing my second novel right now and again, I'm on on break from teaching, which I did for more than 20 years and I'm not sure if I'm going back or not. I have to think about that. Well, congratulations to the success of your first book. And I'm a little shocked to hear that you're already writing your second. So that's good. But before we get into the career change that you're in and you mentioned the story that brought you in through there when What was your first job, Doctor? What was your very first job? Not too many moons ago, but a few. Uh well, I guess my first real job was as an actress in the theater. Yes. Yes. I was very involved within the arts when I was quite young. Uh, just a teenager I got involved in theater in Toronto is in Toronto is going to say in Toronto? Yes, and it happened. Kind of surprisingly, I guess you could say, because I wasn't really trained as an actress. I didn't It wasn't a child actress or anything like that. Um, I was in high school and I was looking for a summer job, and I saw an ad in the newspaper that a theater company was looking for actors and actresses for new musical. That was being put on in downtown Toronto. So I always like to sing. And I knew that I, you know, I had a pretty good voice on. I thought of a musical. Maybe I should try out. It would be a fun job for the summer. I ended up trying out and I got the part. And the funny thing is, is that the producer director writer of that musical ended up becoming a huge Broadway success. He was just very young at the time. I don't know if his name is that well known to everyone, but he became very successful. Name was Dez Mackin off, and this was his very first play, and I got a part in the play. I was. I certainly wasn't the star of the play, but I did get a pretty good part, and that started me in this whole direction of performing in theater, which I did for a number of years. So I guess you could say that was really my very first job, and I stuck with that for a few years until I had a bit of a disillusioning experience where I realized that even...
...though I was pretty good at it. I didn't think I was really destined to be a great actress or singer. I thought I was okay, but I wasn't really good as some of my peers and I I pulled back, I suddenly realized, if you want to make it in that kind of business, you have to be fabulous. And I just didn't really had it. So I ended up pulling back and I went to university instead. What was your? I'd like to get into that, too, because that shows it shows humility, I guess. I mean, you never know If you would have pursued it, maybe you would have been a glamorous actor or singer. I guess you never know. But But it also it also shows humility to say, looking at Maybe I don't know what you were comparing yourself to or what you're listening to our seeing. But you are seeing something that said that your itself was not toe where you felt it should be to continue that, and that shows humility. But when you you said you wanted to get a job and you answered that call for that screenplay, what was your motivation to get you out of the house at a teenage years to say I need toe work. It was just, I think, expected at that time. I was probably around 17 and I didn't go to, so I never went to summer camp. A lot of people young people, go to summer camp, and afterwards they end up becoming counselors. I never went to camp or my parents never sent me, and I never had that experience. So once I was about 15 or 16 it was expected that you know you shouldn't do something. Yeah, you shouldn't be lazing around all summer, but it was expected that you should go and work and get experience and make a little money. And that was something that I was quite prepared to dio. But if you could enjoy it at the same time, it made it all the better. Better, and it was It was fun. It's a It's a message, though, but you're you're hinting at, and I think it's a It's a great lesson for us today to tell people who are 15 16 1. I don't know how big camps are, but camps air pretty big, but there's a lot of freedom for teenagers to sit around and not do anything on what was expected of us years ago, and I didn't always do it. But it was expected that you're doing something active, even if it consists of volunteering or doing something for your family opposed to playing on social media and stuff. So I think it's a really good point that people should realize that, you know, time, time tells us a lot. There's a lot of lessons in history saying that if you're productive, you will also be that prepares you for the workforce. And if you're unproductive, that's gonna drive you through into possibly some habits you developed in your job. That's true, but a lot of experience. And even if you get if you gather experience, which tells you that you don't want to do this exactly that stuff is important. I remember once volunteering because I I toyed with the idea at a certain point that I might want to go into social work on this was once I was already in university and I volunteered for a social work agency and worked with, you know, teenagers that had emotional and psychological problems. And even though it was fulfilling. I did not feel it was really for me. And that told me a lot. It was actually a great experience because I could have wasted a lot of time going to social work school, you know, getting a master's of social work or whatever and then finding out that this isn't a career I really want to pursue. So sometimes just doing work in the field is so important. It tells you a lot. Yeah, that is. And so staying active. Even if you don't like it, you're figuring, Okay, long term. This is not for me. So you'll venture off to something else. So before you went to university, were you thinking of like before you even had the experience in the play? Were you thinking of a path for university and then that changed your view? Or how did how did your mind work? Then choose what you went into? Well, I was still very It was still involved in the arts. And so, you know, that was something. I was always tourney in a way between academic life and artistic life. Even as a child, I was always drawing and painting singing. I was just a very artistically inclined kid was just my personality and but at the same time, I really liked school and I did well, and I really never quite knew which direction I would go. And so when I was, I guess, a teenager. I was experimenting with different forms of the arts. Um, I took oil paint class painting classes. I studied music I and...
...then I went into the theater, and even after I left, the theater continued studying music even once I was in university because I didn't really know whether I was going to follow any kind of academic path or whether I was going to stick with the arts. But once I was in university, I really, um, fell in love with my studies, and I threw myself into it with complete passion, and I pursued it until I got my doctorate. And really, the arts kind of fell by the wayside until I started writing. So what were you studying along the way into your doctorate? Um, modern Hebrew literature? E saw that, and I was wondering, what is the reason for Hebrew? I did a master's of divinity and took one year Hebrew and my dear life would help me. And she did Justus Well or even better than I did. What was what was the motivation behind the Hebrew? Well, I think I went through a little bit of a spiritually e. Guess you call it awakening. At the time I was exploring my identity, I was trying to figure out who I was and where I where I fit in the world. And I was born into a Jewish family, A very kind of a traditional family, but not particularly religious, somewhat traditional. Um, and I rebelled against them when I went into all these artistic pursuits, I kind of rebelled against my background and didn't really identify with it. And then when I came out, that's funny. Sarid Interest e think I think of a rebel going off like I did in often to never never land like I'm going to go study something else. Bell. Yeah, it's like, Well, I wish. I hope my child rebels like you did well. I was pretty rebellious. I mean, even just get involved. Theater world. There was something not, You know, it was a little sketchy at the time, and some of the friends I was hanging around with that we're kind of bow. He was bohemian circles, and my parents weren't thrilled about it. And I As I said earlier, I became quite disillusioned with that world. And I came back and I started to, um, just explore my own heritage. And this I did through books, and some of it was just, I don't know, you could say faded. Perhaps I came across certain books in it and the used bookstore one day, and they were such an influence on me. I came across a book by Martin Buber, the Jewish philosopher. I came across, Ah, book of short stories by the Hebrew novelist uh Agnan, who later won, who won the Nobel Prize for literature. And I was just blown away by them because I'd never realized there was such beauty and profundity in my own background. I really didn't know that much about my own background. I really wasn't well educated in Judaism, so I started to explore it, And so when I went into university, I majored in Jewish studies and I started becoming very interested, particularly in the literature. So that's why I ended up doing my graduate work in modern Hebrew literature. So when you begin teaching, what were you teaching Hebrew then? Or were you teaching something else? I was teaching literature. I was I wasn't teaching the language. I acquired the line capable. I acquired it. But I was teaching modern here, and I was also teaching Yiddish literature, which is different from Hebrew literature. But they're related. So when I finally did get a job, we went. My husband and I, we went down to Boston to do graduate work. I mean, we weren't married at the time. We were just going out. He got into graduate school and then I came afterwards. We ended up getting married and and we were in graduate school at the same time. We went to BRANDEIS University in Boston, and I studied both Yiddish literature in Hebrew literature, and we lived there for seven years. And then we came back to Toronto when we had our first child and we ended up both getting jobs and teaching at University of Toronto. You're you're quite rebellious. Oh wow. That's when I realized rebellion was not a good path. Thio. That's that's good. So for the time that you taught what I would like to know for my listeners of why we work. And since that you're a little a step away from teaching and not quite sure if you're going to get back into it. Did you? Did you have a consistent message for your students about their work ethic and following their goals and their dreams? Did you have something for them that you kind of felt like you're harping on...
...but their new students who was new to them? I expected a lot from my students. I felt, you know, I expected them to put in serious effort into their studies. I didn't e don't think I Harang them in any way, but I I think I held them up to a fairly high standard. And I always ran my classes as seminars, so there was a lot of discussion, a lot of interaction between me and my students. Often my classes were made up of between 10 and 20 students, so I got to know them really well. And, um, we worked very closely together. So I encouragement, especially if there was a student who showed great promise. I often would. You know, Try to encourage them to, um, continue on or, you know, work to They're the best of their ability. Yes. I tried not to let students get away with laziness. I guess you'd say so now that you're unauthorized, you are you saying full time that you're going to take both feet over and stay being an author in the rest of your career, or you gonna back teaching? I think so. You know, it wasn't as drastic shift as it might sound, because I was always teaching part time. I never taught full time thing entire time. I was at University of Toronto. I was always part time. I was having kids. I have three kids, and, um, you were full time. Just not full time teaching. Exactly. I just found juggling having Children and teaching to be a very big load. And I liked working part time. I always did. I never took time off ahead kids and I went right toe work, but it was part time. So I was able to go down once or twice a week to the university and do my thing and then come home and still have time for my family, which was really important to me. So when I decided to take time off from teaching, it wasn't like I was giving up this huge career. I wasn't I wasn't on the kind of 10 year track, um, kind of, uh, system where, you know, it's publisher Parish. And, you know, you're constantly being assessed. I was I was just someone who taught, and they kept renewing me, and I ended up getting good contracts with them, but I really didn't look at it as, ah, huge career for myself. So shifting to writing has actually been more of a decisive step for me in some ways. When did you pick up your the pen or put your fingers to the key? Come back for me. Yeah, well, that started many years ago. I would say, Believe it or not, I wrote the first line probably 20 years ago. I wrote a line. I was just experimenting on the keyboard and I wrote a few lines and I just loved the feeling because, you know, I hear I waas I was teaching literature for years on. It was analyzing with my students what makes for a moving cloth. You know, why do character characters function the way they do? Why does this happen the way it does? So you know, when you're analyzing literature day in and day out, you get to the point. At least I did. I got to the point where I felt like I could do this. I don't wanna be just teaching literature. I want to create this. I want to be. I want to be the one who actually produces the material. So I started experimenting by just writing a few lines, and it ended up becoming the first few lines of the novel, although I ended up changing it much later and before it was published. Those few lines ended up in a completely different place, but it got me going, and then every few months I would pull it out and I'd say, I think I'm going to continue this and I didn't know it was a novel. I thought it was a short story, so I kept adding to it and adding to it, and sometimes I would leave it, believe it or not for for a few years and still come back to it and then add a bit more and add a bit more. It was a very long sag. Believe me. My second novel is not taking me that long jumping into it and say, I did I have time. You see, when I was teaching, I didn't have time raising kids and teaching. I just did not have time to really write very much. But I think it's interesting. I was just going. It's interesting. Yeah, you go ahead. Really, This was what really fulfilled me more e. I love the teaching. I did, but there was...
...something even more fulfilling about the writing. It's interesting to think of listeners who want to do something, and there may be something in their past that they did but periodically or they dabbled in it and they haven't really put the effort in because life gets in the way Exactly. You know, marriage and Children in a house and a move and a new career. And then, you know, those thoughts are in the back of your head, and I think it's encouraging to know that people like yourself could do something 20 years ago. Yeah, and then suddenly pick it up. Finally it comes and then you're off to another one right away like, yeah, this is This is what I could be doing or it could have been doing or should have been doing or at least paused for the time and then got into it at that right time. There's you mentioned, Boston and I have up, I think I would not do very well. But you you wrote a poem Ode to Boston did in two 1013. But I found it was it was when I read it, I didn't see that the date was on the bottom and it could be is relevant for today some of the and some of the protests and things that are going on in the world. And I mean eso I see that you're a writer. Most definitely. Yes, I guess. You know, I didn't I never published that. That was on a new old log of mine that I I just I felt very strongly after the was written. After that terrorism terrorist attack during the Boston Marathon on, I felt I really felt it because when when we were living in Boston, we lived right on the Boston Marathon track. It went right by the window of our apartment, and we watched it every year. So when that bombing occurred, it felt it felt very personal. Retching. Yes, yes. So, yeah. Do you have many poems and other short stories as well that you're I have some short stories published Onda few poems here and there. But really, the novel was my main focus, and I've devoted most of my time to getting it out there. Well, finishing it finishing it was a huge undertaking. But once I stopped teaching, it was not hard to finish it. Um, I had the time and I was able to do it. And then I rewrote it about three times because what happened was I had It's very hard to get published. If you don't have a name, if you don't have a platform, it's extremely difficult. You have to get an agent first of all, because most publishing houses won't look at you if you don't have an agent, um, story. At this point, you would. So learning this difficulty, you would have your book in hand printed or on USB or something, ready for it to be distributed, and then now you're finding the difficulty is in getting it published? No. Well, you know, before it was published, you have a manuscript that's finished. And you think I want to get a good publisher. I mean, everyone dreams of having Random House or Simon and Schuster pick it up and and take it on. Well, you know, the chances of that are minuscule, but everyone dreams of that. And you can't get those publishing houses toe look atyou to look at your manuscript unless you have an agent. But what you discover when you're ah, young writer looking for, you know, your first time writer you're looking for publication. You have to find an agent. And there are very few agents and thousands tens of thousands of writers trying to get the attention of these agents for their attention. Yes, you're buying. So I did get an agent. I ended up getting one of the top agents in New York who loved my book, but then she couldn't sell it. And from the feedback that we got, um, I realized that the book was Foolad and it had to be rewritten. The struck, the structure of it had some weaknesses, and they the editors who looked at it, pointed it out. I ended up rewriting it, but the agent ended up dropping me because she couldn't sell it. I end up rewriting it, getting a second agent, and that happened again. I rewrote it. What is that doing it twice to? How does that feel is that it's devastating, absolutely devastating. You feel as if you're just kicked in the gut. You put so much into it and you think you're finally there. The second agent I got was also hugely successful, and then she couldn't sell it. And people don't realize that that these agents there are tons of things they take on that...
...they can't sell. It's the times's lockets, you know, being in the right place the right time. There are a million reasons for it, but also the book also had some flaws in it. So again I had to rewrite it, and then I got a third agent and it's old. Is there a lot of editing you have to do in that rewriting or they're just enormous enormous? Um, yes, yes, there is. When you thought it was done three versions ago, you're so naive. You just don't realize what goes into writing a book, and I had written Who's doing that? Editing whose, Besides the advice besides that advice writer there you're doing all the the rewriting or yes, you're doing rewriting. And And if you're smart, you have, um, other writers who are friends or colleagues who will consent to read parts of it and maybe offer feedback. So that's helpful to. And that's really something that's important to have, yes, But you learn this. You know, if your experience is hard way the hard way, through failure, I feel like it's a story of my life. Learn. But your failure. It wasn't too bad because you're in on another book right now. So yes, and this one, Maybe I'll have to do the same thing. I don't know, but I think I I think I know a little bit more now. Yes, at least I have nothing knowing Maura about you in this process. What is the as a writer? What is the most difficult thing that you experience? What is maybe the biggest discouragement sitting down and staring at a black blank screen every day? That's the hardest part. Getting yourself to start once you start. It's not so bad, but getting yourself to start. And you know it's not that different from writing an essay when you're a student. So it's always the hardest thing, and I remember students coming to me and telling me, I just I can't I can't start and they start procrastination And it's the same when your creative writer. But I always gave them a piece of advice, and it's something that I learned myself and I try to practice it, and this is this is what it is. Write one sentence bond. If you write one sentence, feel that you have accomplished what you had to for the day, and you'll probably find that when you write that one sentence, you will write a second and a 3rd and 1/4. But just content yourself with one. It's like a little game. You play with your mind where you you challenge yourself to write a sentence, even if you hate it and it's horrible and it's just needs editing. Just get it out and that leads. It's like an opening, so that usually leads to the ability to write more, and I and I do that in the book writing process. Even when you have an idea and you're on chapter four, Are you still coming up with blanks as well? During that period of all the time? Yes. Now I do find, though, if I'm in the middle of a chapter and I go back and read what I've just written sometimes that helps me get back into the mindset of the scene. And then I'm able to do it without that fear of the blank blank page. I don't quite understand what the fear is, but everyone seems to share it that fear that you won't be able to produce. Well, being from Canada, you're gonna have to turn it. There was that commercial of showing the ice hockey rink just after the after the Zamboni went across it. So then it went, ran down all the potential things that they're gonna happen, you know, the the guys 50th goal. You know, the shutout and whatever other things. So it's the possibility. So don't look at it. I mean, this is coming from a guy who doesn't right, But look at it as the potential opposed to the problem that set before you. That's blank and nothing is there but the potential that what's going to be there Skater jumps onto the Zamboni. Err on the ice. What is what brings you satisfaction in this writing process? Or even as you brought out your first book, you published your first book. Well, one of the first elements of satisfaction, I think in writing, is when a phrase seems to appear out of nowhere. You're writing, and something just occurs to you that you don't expect, and that is almost magical when you can write and you you're not really rationally planning it out, and it just emerges. That's probably one of the most fulfilling parts of writing when something just emerges naturally. So that's one thing.
I mean, of course, when you finish something when you finish a chapter or you finish a section or you finish an entire book, it's incredibly gratifying. You feel like you've really accomplished something that will last. At least you hope will last, and you hope will be read by other people that they will respond. You're able to transmit something, and that's I think, why I prefer to have my my self expression manifest in writing, as opposed to teaching now teaching its temporal. You do influence people, but you don't see it. It's very hard to know whether you're really having an impact. Sometimes you dio you know, sometimes I'll run into a student I haven't seen in 10 years and they tell me, Oh, my goodness, your course changed my life. You know, occasionally doesn't happen too often. But you know, or I loved it was like, of course. But you know, when you have a book, you feel that it's something that is tangible. Yeah, hold your hand. Very fulfilling sense as a as a writer and even as a teacher, what is your favorite tool to use? So I mean, it could be the computer. It could be a pencil. It could be a pen. It could be a legal pad. What, it as a writer, what is your favorite tool? Um, I always use the computer. I dio. I sometimes scribble notes when I'm, you know, away from home. I always have a pad with me, and sometimes I'll have an idea, and I'll scribble things down. But because I like to rearrange things all the time, I find that ideas come out there kind of stream. And then once I'm at the computer, I can organize them, put them in the right order. So I find that the computer it's so helpful in that way because you can move things around and perfect. Um, whereas on a piece of paper, I find what happens is it just becomes things scratched out, and then I can't even read my own writing. It's frustrating. So I know there are writers that use legal pads. I can't fathom it. I really like the computer. So we're not gonna find any doctor green parchments with Perfect. No, I'm afraid not. Now, what is? What is it? As a writer, you would like people to understand, or even as a teacher, maybe that you felt that people did not understand or appreciate as a professor or is a teacher or more specifically, to being a writer. What would you like people to understand, whether it's the process or just the frame of thinking or what you're trying to produce for the readers? I guess I tend to write about, um, the acquisition of wisdom. That's my riel interest is the pursuit of wisdom. I'm not saying that one could ever completely find it. But pursuit of wisdom is something that it's something that that is obsesses me. I guess you would say and and I feel that that is something that is embedded in my work. And it was something that I felt when I was teaching that I wanted. I always chose material that had meaningful messages. There were never there was never a consensus. Of course, I always believed in in students being able to air their opinions freely. And there was never an absolute consensus as to what the meaning is. I don't think anyone look has only one meaning, but yet struggling for meaning struggle, trying to find deeper meaning in a work of art. And that's what I'm hoping to be able to convey to my readers as well. How is it you stay productive in your writing? So you come across, You know, I don't know if it jinxes people. People get superstitious, but this writer's block, But when you feel that you know it's not, the juices aren't flowing, it's not coming to you. Whether it's magical or not, how do you stay productive? Like I know you mentioned writing one sentence. But do you step away from the computer? Do you? What is it that you do to stay product? I do go through periods where I feel blocked. Um, usually it's not blocked that I can't get words out. It's I can't figure out where I want to go with the material. And sometimes I really I can't figure out why. And if I figure out why, that's how I solved the problem. Usually the blockage has to do...
...with my own inability to figure out what where I'm going on. Once I figure out that that usually what I write myself into a corner and I realized, no, you don't want to go there. That's why you can't write. You're going off in the wrong direction. Go back, scrap that start again and then you know the scene ends up working and I know I can move on. Do you ever take that chunk and try to save it for another time? Spend so much I always do. In fact, I've got a file. It's called Sharon's deletions. I've got a whole while on my computer, and I because I'm always afraid I spent time on this. I'm just gonna throw it out. Maybe I'll need it. So it's like throwing as an old piece of clothes that you think maybe one day you'll feel on. And so you just hoarded away. I do that with the writing. I take the chunk I copy pasted in Sharon's deletions file. But, you know, I don't think I've ever gone back, and you know any of that I never did. It makes you feel good, though. Makes you feel good. It's like an insurance policy, just in case he's my computer crashes is any of that, and I don't mean to get too personal, but is any of it like a distraction? Say you have a dog and the dog sick. So then you're focusing a little bit on the dog, and personal issues would get you off track and you don't really. So I'm saying this for listeners as well, and whatever work they're doing that sometimes they're not as productive because something else that needs on there plate that shouldn't really be there. And they need to clear some of that away first. Absolutely, I've had that happen many times where something happens, you know, life happens. Things you know someone gets sick or, you know, who knows? There are all kinds of things that happen in life and take you away from your normal routine. And what I've learned is I'm able to Maybe it's because I took me so long to write that first novel and I kept leaving it and then coming back and I was able to do that. That taught me a lesson. I can leave things for a long time, and it doesn't shrivel up and disappear. I could leave things for a long time and come back, so that really taught me. It's not tragic if I leave my writing for a few days a week, even a month. We're 20 years or 2020 e never want to do that again, but you know, But really, it's okay. It's okay, You know, I could get back into it. You think you can't, but you can. It's not going anywhere. What is your top tip for people who are getting into work or maybe don't like their job too much, or maybe a discourage? Maybe by life's events. But what's your top tip for people that are working or looking to getting into work. I guess I would tell them to try to find something that they've always wanted to dio something that they think will really fulfill them and try it out. Try it out on the side. Don't quit your job, but try if you think that you want to, you know, be an airline pilot. You know, you've always been drawn to the flight. Um, you know, take a course or do something that will give you a taste of it and see whether that is something that you could really see yourself doing and and slowly tested out. Don't do anything radical. I guess that would be my major tip. I mean, really, that's what I did before I left teaching. I didn't just suddenly say OK, goodbye. I was writing while I was teaching, but it got to the point. I really couldn't finish the novel unless I stopped teaching. But it was gradual. I wanted I wanted to be a pilot as well, but I get woozy on elevator, so I e it is good for you, Dr Greene. How do you find balance in your life? So your personal life and writing so setting aside, writing time versus Is that a struggle? Uh, do you find really? Because, you know, my husband's Also when academic, So he's he's writing and way, I guess because we share it. That makes it a little easier. Although he's teaching as well as writing, Um, I I guess because I'm a bit of a home body to its, You know, if you're someone who has to be out all the time, then it would probably be an inner...
...conflict. But because I don't mind being home a lot, it's really I don't find it that difficult to balance when you answered the call for the play while you were looking for some part time money up until today as you write your second book, what is something that you wished you knew then that you would like to tell people Now, Hmm. That's a hard one. Something I wish I knew then that I do know now. Yes, and that you would like to tell other people is it might be something they wish they could put in their bag before they go on their adventure. I guess not To be afraid of taking risks. Um, you took you took a big risk by writing a book. I did big risk. It was a huge risk. It's a huge risk, but I don't know if I would have done that when I was younger, when I was very cautious. I mean, I still went to this audition and tried out for this plan and got in. But I I was pretty came in terms of the kinds of auditions I did then, and even afterwards, you know, I was the one addition that actually made me realize that I probably shouldn't stay in the theater was for the play Godspell, which was coming to Toronto, and I got quite far. I got right almost the last cut, and I realized that I chose this extremely tame song to sing. It didn't show my talent at all. It was really hadn't thought it through properly. And, you know, the very famous actress, late actress Gilda Radner. She I knew her at the time. She was a little older than me, but she sort of She was in one of the plays that was in, and she auditioned for it and got in, and she did the most incredible audition and I was watching it because I was down to almost the final cut. She didn't have much of a singing was all but she sang zippity doo dah with such panache malaria, and she got that part and I thought I would never have thought of doing something like that because I was too timid. So I think I've learned that you can't be timid if you want to succeed, you have to. You have to have a lot of confidence, and you have to take take the risks I didn't realize it with. With that taking risks, maybe you can speak to their support along the way, so it's not like you're totally alone now. You have to take that risk on your own, but the first step, at least. But there's a support system in any walk of life in any sort of true. But when you're younger, you don't really realize that. I think that's something that you learn as you get older, to be able to ask for help, to be able to seek out mentors. I don't think you really know that unless you grow up in a family where you know the your pursuit conforms to their interests. So they'll they'll help guide you. But certainly in my family, that wasn't the case. I was on my own. I just decided to venture forth and try this out. So I just did what I thought felt right but really did not know what I was doing. Exactly. When I started out with that you mentioned about, you know, revising your book and doing different editions. What is what is one of the biggest mistakes that you've made that you've learned from that can help other people understand humility? Well, I think I did not give my book to enough people to read. They call the Beta readers their readers. Who will you know either friends or colleagues will offer suggestions will offer a critique. I was too proud, I think, when I first wrote the book, I think this is perfect just the way it is. Yeah, no one needs to tell me how to make this that or it's fine. You know that sense that But really it's fear because you don't want to be criticized. And I realize now that if I had gotten a really good critiques earlier on, I probably wouldn't have had to go through all that anguish with the various agents and rejections until I finally perfected the book enough to get it published. And I'm glad you did write it. Do you want to talk a little bit about your...
...book going back for me? Just a little bit? Sure. I'll tell you a little bit about the plot and some of the main characters. The story is a post for a story some people call it Ah, Holocaust novel. I don't consider it a Holocaust novel because it takes place after the war bond. It's about the effects of the war that don't go away. Um, very easily. It's about the lingering effects on to individuals. One is a young survivor. He's only 14 when he survives or 15 when he survives the war and he goes in search of his sister, who goes missing during the war. They were separated, and he's convinced she's still alive. So that's one of the major threads of the novel is coming of age story and how he copes with loss and finds a way to restart his life. The second story is contemporary. It's about a girl in the 19 sixties who lives in Canada. Not based on me, a lot of people wonder, but it's not, Um uh, and she is comes from a family of Holocaust survivors, and she has to cope with all kinds of secrets in her family that are being held back from her. And there is a sudden death in the family no one wants to talk about, and she ends up getting involved with ah, young man who is clearly, um, not right for her, but she she can't see it. It's all about deluding oneself and but yet hiding from from one's own identity, and they have to their narratives air separate. It's a story that goes back and forth in time until you realize, as you're reading the story that their lives are connected, but you don't know how they're connected. There are certain hints that start to emerge, and you realize that those two characters air going to eventually meet, and it's about what happens when they need and also how their stories are inter wealth and and there are many stories similar to that and war and all the things that go on the atrocities of the world and devastating things. Sometimes we look at, you know you, for instance, writing a book and how difficult it is, which it is difficult, or me and my family and all someone didn't do their homework. But during war times and people after that, they there's some things that I'll never be able to understand. I mean, unless I go through or hopefully not, but some of the tragedies that people go through and then they have to live with. And I'm glad, And I'm glad you wrote this book. Come back for me, do you? Do you have any other advice for just my listeners? I have a couple more things for you, but some something else that you'd like to say in terms of people who are working may be discouraged. What have you They're just maybe a young person like yourself in in theater or they're they're starting something that thinking about writing or some totally different field, or just workers in the idea of it is good to work, and we should encourage workers Well, I think it's the Onley way. You really learn to know who you are and what you're good at, I think everyone's good at something. And you can Onley really discover special about you. What, What you're talented at by working at it and really putting, um, all your effort into it because if you don't try, you'll never really find that out. And you'll always be dissatisfied that, you know, there's e think that sense among people. If they don't try very hard, they end up, you know, drifting from one profession to another because they haven't really tried. If you really try something and you don't like it, well, then that's fine. But you're not going to really discover who you are on what you're good at, unless you really give it your full effort. And that the adage of no regrets, living without regrets and not growing older and saying, I wish you know, I was on that stage one day. Yes, if I had only tried that Well, you know, it's all too late. You could you could do that. You can try anything you want if you put your mind to it. Absolutely is usually ourselves that are stopping us, not other people. You will find that a lot of people are gracious. You know, at least we attempt to be gracious, toe one another and try to encourage people to do the things that they really want to do. Dr. Sharon Heart Green How can people reach you? Well, I have a website. It's just www...
...dot Sharon heart green dot com. So all one word I know hyphens in the website, So that's one way of reaching me. There's a contact form if anyone has questions. Um, you know, I do get people's messages. I'm also on Facebook. I'm on lengthen Twitter, um instagram a little bit. I don't post too much, but I have the odd thing on there as well. So I I love to hear from readers to So I'm always encouraging people if you read the book. Oh, and also good reads Good reads is another great source. So I do encourage people to contact me, respond to the book. If you have questions about writing or anything to do with the book itself, please feel free to contact me. Dr. Sharon Heart. I do have another question for you, but the author of Come Back for Me Did you mention the title of your new book? It doesn't have a title yet. I wish I had one for you, but it doesn't have a bill yet. I'm about halfway coming soon. Yes, my final question for you, Doctor. Why do you work? Why do I work? I could answer that by just saying, Why not? But that that's insufficient. You could have just held up your book and say, This is why I think that working is a way of of doing good in the world. That's how I That's how I perceive it that, you know, it's a way of connecting with other people rather than concentrating only on oneself. But when you work your engaging, you're doing something for the world, for other people, for your family. You're not just sitting around, you know, lazing around doing nothing, which is so self indulgent it's It's a way off making connections and perhaps making a difference. Perfect. Dr. Sharon Heart Green, the author of Come Back for Me, End a book two yet to be released. That's right, and and I hope you all the best with this new publication and I appreciate your time, and you've given us a lot to think about. Thank you It was a lot of fun to be on. Thank you for listening to this episode of why we work with Brian V. Be sure to subscribe, follow and share with others so they to be encouraged in their work. E I hope that you have yourself a productive yet joyful day in your work. Mhm.
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