Featured Interview With DAVID DANON
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born in Pasadena California. We moved to Newport Beach when I was ten years old, and I grew up in the water, surfing, and sailing. I sailed around the world when I was 19 to 21. I now live in Costa Mesa Ca. I’ve had many jobs, co-founded a clothing company, and worked in film and television for 20 years. I began practicing yoga over 40 years ago and began teaching yoga over 20 years ago.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
My parents were voracious readers and read a lot of science fiction, fantasy, and pulp fiction. From the first time I saw the comics in the newspaper, I wanted to know how to read. As I got older, my parents kept me in a continuous supply of books that they had liked. They were reading all the great science fiction/fantasy authors of the day, and it was so great because they filtered for me, and I always read great books.
I always loved reading, and I can remember being so obsessed with the Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings in High School, that I would have the paperback inside my textbook and be reading during class!
I never was a journaler and didn’t write much when I was young. I began to write a memoir about my youth and sailing around the world, but in the midst of that, my father died. I had to deal with the details of that, lost the momentum, and never finished. Next came a family and those responsibilities. About four years ago I started blogging when I was diagnosed with cancer, and that led to the book.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I love good writing in many genres. For me, writing or any art form, must speak to or evoke emotion. Anything else is just window dressing. It can be fiction or non-fiction. I love biographies and autobiographies of people who changed their art or profession. Fantasy, adventure, historical if it is well written, and moving I’ll read it.
From Michener to Stephen King, to Louis L’Amour, Jack London, Ray Bradbury I don’t care as long as it’s good. Biographies or autobiographies from Keith Richards to Mozart, to Paramahansa Yogananda, or Steve Jobs.
I prefer succinct, direct writing. Long descriptive narratives bore me, and I will skim over them. If I think the author is just going for word count or being overly self-indulgent, I’m done.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Honestly, I had considered writing a book. I even started one. It was a memoir told as a novel, to allow some creative freedom, and protect the innocent and guilty as well. I may still do that one.
But this is not the book I ever thought I would write. It is not a book that I wanted to write. It was, ultimately, the book I had to write.
First, I must make it clear that this book is not only about cancer. Cancer is used as an example of a problem to be dealt with, but many aspects apply to other physical and mental problems as well.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I did the same thing I have always done when confronted with a new and unknown situation. I studied it, and studied it, and researched it and lived it. And that has been going on for five years.
Throughout that time I have had many, many conversations with friends, family, co-workers, and students regarding cancer. I realized that I had accumulated a large body of information relative to the disease, and just as importantly, the system that treats it. People were so surprised and sometimes shocked by the information, that I began to think, “ok, there is a need for this information. People need to know this stuff.”
That is how it happened. I started a blog and realized that to use yoga as an ally in the battle of life, that life, yoga, and the problem were all inseparable to the yogi. All part of the package of living in material creation.
Thus the stories and views on life are from the yogic point of view. The chapters on yoga are from a long time in it. The section on cancer is from the viewpoint of a yogi facing his mortality.
There may be things in the book that resonate with you and others that don’t. That is exactly as it should be. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I know this. If you find one thing in one book that you can integrate and use in your life that improves it, it was well worth the read.
Because in the end, it is all about accumulating knowledge, and most importantly, doing the work.
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