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You were born in Madison, Wisconsin — the second of sixth children. Can you please tell us about your childhood, the sights and other sensory sensations that remain vivid in your memory? You were an avid tennis player, correct?
When I was a child I lived on what remained of an old farm after the land was sold off, five acres and a hand-built house and barn, outside Green Bay, near Duck Creek and the stone Catholic church with creaky wood floors where we went every Sunday, back when Mass was in mysterious Latin. It was always winter in that church, people tracking in the snow, coughing, and stomping and crossing themselves. Our school was a rural one-room structure, Highline Elementary (it burned down long ago), with 17 students total, grades one through eight, taught by a single overwhelmed teacher. When she quit, we didn’t have school for several months! I was almost 11 when we moved to a Wisconsin village, Verona, where my mother’s mother lived, and where I finally went to an ordinary elementary school. I was very shy — and desperately behind in math. I suppose I never did catch up.
The farm, as we called it, smelled like ponies (I talked my dad into buying several, since we had the big barn) and also faintly like the sulfur of smashed ancient chicken eggs around the pump house where the coop had been. The barn loft, up the wooden ladder and through a square hole, was a cathedral, though it still had old piles of hay, and light came streaming through cracks in the boards, through the knotholes, burning the dust motes. They were like those floaters in your eyes, wandering somewhat out of your control, but you could affect them with a wave of your hand. I might have been more religious if they had held Mass in the hayloft.
I didn’t start playing tennis until we moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico when I was going into seventh grade. I loved running madly and hitting the ball as hard as I could, but I never liked keeping score or playing matches. I have a line in a poem: “You never had to crush me and I never had to cheat.” That’s my idea of how sports should be played. That would eliminate a whole lot of our culture, however, and I recognize I am the anomaly.
When did you leave home for the first time? It could have been summer camp or a larger time, like leaving for college. Where do you consider “home”? I’ve read that you relocated several times growing up.
I wonder if “home” is more about people or more about place. The first time I ever left home was right after high school. I drove alone up to Denver for the summer, found a job as a clerk at a 7-Eleven convenience store, found an apartment after sleeping in the car for a few nights, and stayed alive. I’m sure I missed my parents far more than they missed me. There were six of us kids, after all. At the end of August, I went home to Las Cruces to start college at New Mexico State, and I remember driving all night from Denver, desperate to get home, and then when I arrived in the morning, just sitting in the parking area with the several other sleeping cars that so many family drivers seemed to require, and crying. I could cry right now, honestly, but that’s what it’s like to get old and miss those faraway years and times.
Home is where my people are. I’m trying to be near them these days, but they refuse to stay put! If home is also a place, though, for me that place is Duluth, Minnesota. I lived there more than 25 years, raised my kids there, worked at the library, worshiped the lake, wandered around Hartley Field, and felt part of the tribe of writers and artists and wilderness lovers who also call Duluth home.
In “The Death of the Hired Man,” Robert Frost wrote, using two voices:
‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.’
‘I should have called it
Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.’
That’s a poem that really should be read again in today’s political climate. I would say that Mary, in the poem, has the voice we need right now. I love it so much.
When did you start writing seriously?
I suppose I’ve written little poems and stories since I knew my name was Connie since I could tie my shoes. But writing seriously … that was in college when I gave up on being a visual artist. I really didn’t have the talent for that. As far as trying to publish, that would have been when my kids were older and I was in my late 30s, in Duluth, and I could carve out a few hours in the morning, before anyone was up, to write. Trying to publish seemed like the next step, once I had some poems I thought were worthy. Phil, my husband, and I were close friends with Louis and Ann Jenkins (still are) and Louis provided a model for me in many ways as a poet who really devoted his soul to his work.
Have you had any unusual jobs?
I don’t think so. They all seemed rather obviously designed to provide a little income, though working at the Mount Royal library in Duluth was most meaningful to me. I think lucky people are those who are truly interested in their jobs, so it doesn’t feel as though they are trading their lives for the money required to stay off the street and out of debt.
What is the one thing that should be part of a writer’s routine, in your opinion? Is there something you wish you’d been told when you were first starting out?
I think it was hard for me to learn patience, in pretty much every area of my life, but especially my writing. Revision was very hard. How could I light a fire again when all the kindling and logs had burned to ash? For me, and perhaps for others, too, it’s important to be able to set something you’ve just written aside for a time, a few hours, a few months or years (ha!), then look at it again with dispassion. In writing, as in life, one’s errors are clearer in retrospect.
Your poetry has been praised by the likes of Maxine Kumin, Bart Sutter, Linda Pastan, and Joyce Sutphen, to name a few. Who are the poets that have shaped and influenced you?
It would impossible to name them all. I also learn from work I don’t particularly like, as well as from other genres. It’s clear that I gravitate toward the natural image and clear language, both as reader and writer. The poets you named certainly are invaluable to me. I am constantly amazed by the number of wonderful poets we have, our literary riches. I know I learned the most, though, from my closest friends, which makes perfect sense to me, and from Phil, my husband, who is a great reader. Also, I would like to say here that the selections and the historical background on The Writer’s Almanac are a daily joy. Many mornings give me marvelous poems from people I’ve never heard of, which illustrates the beauty and breadth of our literary landscape.
What matters most to you in a poem?
I want to be touched, to feel a kinship. Dylan Thomas says that in the end, “You’re back with the mystery of having been moved by words.” Yes, I want to be moved by words.
Ted Kooser writes a lovely introduction in your latest collection, Rival Gardens, in which he says, “[Connie] was not a professor of creative writing on her way to a better position but a person who worked at a public library [and] fixed up old houses for resale, a part-time painter and decorator, a gardener, a full-time mother, and a journeyman framing carpenter of our beautiful American language.”
I was so moved by this. When I read your poems, there is such life in them. I’ve read well-crafted poems from students/graduates of MFA programs, but they sometimes feel rarefied or removed from the common daily minutiae that make poems relatable and inspiring in the first place. So many today are on the straight path to an MFA — poetry in particular. Is it valuable to sit in a classroom and study form, aesthetics, and devices for extended periods of time? Or is it just as important, perhaps more so, to simply get outside — observe — write by living foremost? Perhaps there is a middle ground. I wonder how a waitress or a mailman or a veterinary assistant with some good poems under his/her belt could best approach getting their work published. I’d like to believe they are out there, writing in little notebooks or on iPads at the end of a shift.
First, thank you for these incredibly kind words. I am so grateful to Ted Kooser also. He has been a model for me in many ways — he is certainly one of our finest poets.
I worked on an MA in English as a teaching assistant, and I think it was great fun (as well as a job), but I never felt there was a future for me in academia. Why? The numbers were against me: at least 1,000 applicants for every position in an English Department back in the late ’70s. So be it. I think it’s lovely that there are many university programs that encourage and teach creative writing, whether it leads to a job or not. I think when we are young writers, we imitate, in the great tradition of apprentices of all sorts. Finally, it’s your own life, the particularity of it, that shapes “your voice.” You are exactly right when you say that looking out at the world is crucial. We learn that as we mature.
I think I drifted quite a bit in my life, took many paths of least resistance. I wouldn’t call that a virtue, though. I did the work-at-hand as well as I could.
Poetry is a big house, and there are rooms dedicated to many different kinds of poetry. There’s a room for the kind I like to read and write; there are rooms for a wide range of approaches. We should feel free when we try to write, I think. Unconstrained by what we have done before, and what anyone has done before, for that matter.
A former poet laureate of Wisconsin, Max Garland, used to be a mailman in Kentucky. It’s not easy to break into publishing, now or ever, but I think the best approach is to start with the small literary magazines, online or print, in your area, and maybe to join a writing group. A lot of people find that to be very encouraging, and certainly, at least one good reader is crucial to every writer.
Can you tell us about your poem “Girdle” from Rival Gardens? It was featured on TWA in March. I laughed out loud after reading it.
I have written a lot of “object” poems, and that’s how this poem started. Focus on an object and see where it leads. I thought … hmmm, a series of poems on women’s undergarments … but this is as far as I got. There’s a line about a heaven for pets in this poem, and I want to say I believe that, if there’s a heaven for people, there’s a heaven for pets, too.
You’ve also written prose, a book of short stories called Summer Cars (2014). Do you enjoy writing prose? Does a story start like a poem that couldn’t be contained? Is it nice to have all those extra words at your disposal? I imagine writing a poem is more difficult, somehow.
Oh, for me, writing poetry is far easier. So much less typing! But you’re right, “Summer Cars” was originally a poem that could not be contained. I kept getting ideas—what’s the story of each of those lovely cars that emerge up north in May, nosing up to the stop signs? I would like to write more prose, certainly, and maybe if I drink enough coffee, I can sustain a narrative more easily and keep my fingers hovering over the keyboard.
Do you routinely write from a particular desk? If so, what’s on your desk right now?
Desks are so serious and intentional. Sometimes I feel like I have to sneak up on a poem, which is hard to do sitting at a desk. I’m a bit like an old hound looking for a quiet place to curl up. A dog with blank paper and a pencil, and one eye half-open—sniffing for a poem on the air.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
I’ve had wild dreams and I was irresponsible as a kid, but actually, I’ve gotten very boring over the years. I think maybe the wildest thing was climbing Long’s Peak in Colorado, 14,280 feet, in tennis shoes with a peanut butter sandwich and a tiny plastic canteen meant for a child. I was 18. What could go wrong? It was just a hike, right?
Thank you for taking the time to do this!
It was my pleasure, truly, and a great, great honor.
Interview by Joy Biles
You grew up in Queens and, an only child, have said that your mother read to you often. You said: “I have a secret theory that people who are addicted to reading are almost trying to re-create the joy, the comfortable joy of being read to as a child by a parent or a friendly uncle or an older sibling. Being read to as a child is one of the great experiences in life.”
Can you tell us about growing up in New York, the books you loved, the sights and tactile memories that remain vibrant in your memory?
I was born in the French Hospital, which was on West 30th Street, so I can proudly say I was born in Manhattan, but we lived in Jackson Heights, Queens. Now that Brooklyn is saturated, Queens has become the new hip destination. A little late for me. They say people who claim to have happy childhoods are just good at repression, but I had a family as sturdy as a milking stool, the three legs being my mother, father and me. My mother did read to me just about every night at bedtime. If I had a babysitter, she would be handed a book and told to read to me. Most of them read a couple of sentences and said, “OK, I read to you, now go to sleep.” Once I outgrew Mother Goose, my mother read the classics of the day: memorably, Black Beauty and The Yearling. Later I was on to the Hardy Boys and the collie novels of Albert Payson Terhune. More animals than human characters. So reading and the saying of poetry were common activities in my childhood. I think a point occurs in the reading development of some young people where they change from identifying with the characters to identifying with the writer, that mysterious, creative presence behind and in the words. The more noticeable that shift, the more likely it is that the reader will become a writer, or at least fantasize about being one.
You published your first poems in the back of Rolling Stone magazine. They paid $35.00 a poem. Did you get letters from the large readership for any of these poems? I think it’d be terrific if traditionally nonliterary print magazines published poetry nowadays, and music fans seem like a rightful and appreciative audience for emerging poets.
Thirty-five dollars might not seem like a lot of money for a poem, even a short one, but at the time a pack of cigarettes cost 32 cents. We’re talking cartons! Rolling Stone is not a literary magazine, but the little poems (mostly involving states of mind while staring at something) were read by lots of people. What it lacked in highbrow cachet, it made up for in subscribers.
Although you never attended a writing program or took writing workshops, you did meet poet Robert Frost when he visited your class at Holy Cross College. What was this experience like?
Frost paid a visit to my college in 1962 to give a reading, not surprisingly because Frost popularized the now-ubiquitous practice of inviting poets and prose writers to university campuses. About six or seven students who made up the staff of the student literary magazine were invited to join the poet and a few teachers (mostly Jesuits) for dinner in a private room on campus. So technically, I did have a meal with Robert Frost, but none of us dared to ask him a question or even say a word. Frost was elderly, his face deeply furrowed under that blinding white hair, and we were intimidated. Plus, the priests kept shooting us looks of discouragement just in case we opened our mouths and made fools of ourselves. At least that is the way I interpreted those glances.
Do you think writing workshops are helpful, now that you’ve gone on to teach many?
There is no guarantee that you will leave a workshop as a better writer, but you will be a better reader. No harm in that. One of the workshop’s drawbacks, as someone pointed out, is that some teachers want their students to write poems just like theirs, only not quite as good. I tell my students that I don’t know how to write their poems. And even if I did, I wouldn’t let that take time away from trying to figure out how to write my poems. I never took a workshop, mostly because such things simply weren’t around much when I was young. Plus, I was attracted to writing poetry because you did it alone. In fact, the main subject of my early poems was being alone. I laughed in agreement when Kay Ryan told me that she would consider taking a workshop “an invasion of privacy.”
So many bios about you mention that you didn’t publish your first book until you were 40 years old. As if that’s ancient! It’s not as if writing is playing tennis and you’re past your prime. Why do you think there is such focus on the age a writer publishes his or her first book? It’s as though you may as well not even try if you haven’t published prodigiously by age 23.
The pressure to publish early, often prematurely and at your own peril, arises from a single source: the MFA craze. Once a pleasurable activity becomes part of academic curricula, something inside it dies
You said something once, and it always stuck with me. You may or may not recall. Actually two things. One: Always put your best poems first in a book. And two: Avoid a poem with cicadas. I’m paraphrasing. But ever since I heard you say this, I notice poems with cicadas everywhere — every fourth or fifth chapbook has a poem mentioning them. They were not there before you pointed it out; I’m sure of it. It’s a curse on the poetry world that once seen cannot be unseen.
More importantly, I now always read the first five pages of any poetry collection, even if I end up skipping to other pages from there. Why put the best poems first? I think one might want to spread them around. How do you determine what is the “best” poem — or the ones to put first? Do you want readers to approach your collections sequentially?
Here are the two ways to arrange the poems in a manuscript: a) when you submit a ms, front-load it. Put all your best poems right up front. (If you can’t tell which ones are your best, it’s too early for you to be thinking about publication.) Editors are among the few people who read mss from front to back; if you catch their interest early, they might just keep reading. b) after your ms has been accepted, tell the editor you’d like to change the order of the poems. An editor doesn’t want to get in the way of that, leaving you free to fiddle the poems into some kind of “creative” order. Remember that what editors are looking for above all else in a manuscript is a reason to stop reading it.
Don’t get me started on cicadas. When I see one, I stop reading the poem. Next!
In 2001, you launched a project called Poetry 180, encouraging high schools to read one poem over the intercom every day, with no analysis or discussion allowed. You said, “[My hope is that it will] take poetry out of the coffin of an anthology … [that] it floats out to the student in an unexpected way.” Can you tell us more about Poetry 180?
The best thing I can say about Poetry 180 is that it works. Based on many hundreds of anecdotal reports from high school teachers, their students love hearing a poem a day and even clamor for it. It’s not “school” poetry, and students are not asked to interpret it.
Do you have a certain place you write, a favorite desk? Does it face a window or wall? What time of day do you like to write? Do you prefer silence or some sort of ambient noise as you concentrate?
I write anywhere. I don’t require a scented candle or a favorite cardigan. I can write on a train or in Yankee stadium. When it comes, it comes. Of course, I can enjoy a long train ride and extra innings in the Bronx without writing a thing.
What’s the deal with mice, Mr. Collins? They enjoy coming around your poems.
Too much attachment to cartoons plus living in a porous 1860s farmhouse for many years.
Please tell us about your latest collection, The Rain in Portugal (2016). The first poem in the book is called “1960” and was recently featured on Almanac.
I can’t say much about the contents, but the book’s title is an admission that I’m not much good at rhyming. One of the themes of my poetry is absence, in this case, the absence of Spain.
Advice for aspiring writers? Poets in particular.
Read, read, read. Aim for 10,000 hours of reading. Start with Wordsworth’s The Prelude.
Interview by Joy Biles
SEE ENTIRE ARTICLE IN Quanta Magazine
Computational physicist Sharon Glotzer is uncovering the rules by which complex collective phenomena emerge from simple building blocks.
By Natalie Wolchover
March 8, 2017
Sharon Glotzer has made a number of career-shifting discoveries, each one the kind “that completely changes the way you look at the world,” she said, “and causes you to say, ‘Wow, I need to follow this.’”
A theoretical soft condensed matter physicist by training who now heads a thriving 33-person research group spanning three departments at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Glotzer uses computer simulations to study emergence — the phenomenon whereby simple objects give rise to surprising collective behaviors. “When flocks of starlings make these incredible patterns in the sky that look like they’re not even real, the way they’re changing constantly — people have been seeing those patterns since people were on the planet,” she said. “But only recently have scientists started to ask the question, how do they do that? How are the birds communicating so that it seems like they’re all following a blueprint?”
Glotzer is searching for the fundamental principles that govern how macroscopic properties emerge from microscopic interactions and arrangements. One big breakthrough came in the late 1990s when she was a young researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland. She and her team developed some of the earliest and best computer simulations of liquids approaching the transition into glass, a common yet mysterious phase of matter in which atoms are stuck in place, but not crystallized. The simulations revealed strings of fast-moving atoms that glide through the otherwise frustrated material like a conga line. Similar flow patterns were later also observed in granular systems, crowds and traffic jams. The findings demonstrated the ability of simulations to illuminate emergent phenomena.
A more recent “wow” moment occurred in 2009 when Glotzer and her group at Michigan discovered that entropy, a concept commonly conflated with disorder, can actually organize things. Their simulations showed that entropy drives simple pyramidal shapes called tetrahedra to spontaneously assemble into a quasicrystal — a spatial pattern so complex that it never exactly repeats. The discovery was the first indication of the powerful, paradoxical role that entropy plays in the emergence of complexity and order.
Lately, Glotzer and company have been engaged in what she calls “digital alchemy.” Let’s say a materials scientist wants to create a specific structure or material. Glotzer’s team can reverse-engineer the shape of the microscopic building blocks that will assemble themselves into the desired form. It’s like whipping up gold from scratch — only in modern times, the coveted substance might be a colloidal crystal or macromolecular assembly.
Glotzer ultimately seeks the rules that govern emergence in general: a single framework for describing self-assembling quasicrystals, crystallizing proteins, or living cells that spontaneously arise from simple precursors. She discussed her eureka-studded path with Quanta Magazine in February; a condensed and edited version of the interview follows.
Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature 462, 773-777, copyright (2009)
QUANTA MAGAZINE: Tell me about your famous 2009 Nature paper that linked self-assembly with entropy….
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer,mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system. Born: July 10, 1856, Smiljan, Croatia Died: January 7, 1943, Manhattan, New York City, NY.
Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before immigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison in New York City. He soon struck out on his own with financial backers, setting up laboratories and companies to develop a range of electrical devices. His patented AC induction motor and transformer were licensed by George Westinghouse, who also hired Tesla for a short time as a consultant. His work in the formative years of electric power development was involved in a corporate alternating current/direct current “War of Currents” as well as various patent battles. Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs and made early (1893) pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. He tried to put these ideas to practical use in his ill-fated attempt at intercontinental wireless transmission, which was his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project. In his lab he also conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He also built a wireless controlled boat, one of the first ever exhibited.
Tesla was renowned for his achievements and showmanship, eventually earning him a reputation in popular culture as an archetypal “mad scientist.”His patents earned him a considerable amount of money, much of which was used to finance his own projects with varying degrees of success. He lived most of his life in a series of New York hotels, through his retirement. He died on 7 January 1943. His work fell into relative obscurity after his death, but in 1960 the General Conference on Weights and Measures named the SI unit of magnetic flux density the teslain his honor. Tesla has experienced a resurgence in interest in popular culture since the 1990s.
Interview: 1899 Nikola Tesla and John Smith (From the American magazine “Immortality“)
TESLA: It is a right question, Mr. Smith, and I will try to give you the right answer to it.
JOURNALIST: Some say you’re from the country of Croatia, from the area called Lika, where together with the people are growing trees, rocks and starry sky. They say that your home village is named after the mountain flowers, and that the house, where you were born, is next to the forest and the church.
TESLA: Really, all it true. I’m proud of my Serbian origin and my Croatian homeland.
JOURNALIST: Futurists say that the 20th-and 21st centuries were born in the head of Nikola Tesla.
They celebrate conversely magnetic field and sing hymns to the Induction engine.Their creator was called the hunter who caught the light in his net from the depths of the earth, and the warrior who captured fire from heaven. Father of alternating current will make the physics and chemistry dominate half the world. Industry will proclaim him as their supreme saint, a banker for the largest benefactors. In the laboratory of Nikola Tesla for the first time is broken atom. There is created a weapon that causes the earthquake vibrations. There are discovered black cosmic rays. Five races will pray to him in the Temple of the future, because they had taught a great secret that Empedocles elements can be watered with the life forces from the ethers.
TESLA: Yes, these are some of my most important discoveries. I’m a defeated man. I have not accomplished the greatest thing I could.
JOURNALIST: What is it, Mr. Tesla?
TESLA: I wanted to illuminate the whole earth. There is enough electricity to become a second sun. Light would appear around the equator, as a ring around Saturn. Mankind is not ready for the great and good. In Colorado Springs I soaked the earth by electricity. Also we can water the other energies, such as positive mental energy. They are in the music of Bach or Mozart, or in the verses of great poets. In the Earth’s interior, there ie energy of Joy, Peace and Love. Their expressions are a flower that grows from the Earth, the food we get out of her and everything that makes man’s homeland. I’ve spent years looking for the way that this energy could influence people. The beauty and the scent of roses can be used as a medicine and the sun rays as a food. Life has an infinite number of forms, and the duty of scientists is to find them in every form of matter. Three things are essential in this. All that I do is a search for them. I know I will not find them, but I will not give up on them.
JOURNALIST: What are these things?
TESLA: One issue is food. What a stellar or terrestrial energy to feed the hungry on Earth? With what wine watered all thirsty, so that they can cheer in their heart and understand that they are Gods?
Another thing is to destroy the power of evil and suffering in which man’s life passes! They sometimes occur as an epidemic in the depths of space. In this century, the disease had spread from Earth in the Universe.
The third thing is: Is there an excess Light in the Universe? I discovered a star that by all the astronomical and mathematical laws could disappear, and that nothing seems to be modified. This star is in this galaxy. Its light can occur in such density that fits into a sphere smaller than an apple, a heavier than our Solar System. Religions and philosophies teach that man can become the Christ, Buddha and Zoroaster. What I’m trying to prove is wilder, and almost unattainable. This is what to do in the Universe so every being is born as Christ, Buddha or Zoroaster.
I know that gravity is prone to everything you need to fly and my intention is not to make flying devices (aircraft or missiles), but teach individual to regain consciousness on his own wings … Further; I am trying to awake the energy contained in the air. There are the main sources of energy. What is considered as empty space is just a manifestation of matter that is not awakened. No empty space on this planet, nor in the Universe.. In black holes, what astronomers talk about, are the most powerful sources of energy and life.
JOURNALIST: On the window of your room in hotel “Valdorf-Astoria”, on the thirty-third floor, every morning, the birds arrive.
TESLA: A man must be sentimental towards the birds. This is because of their wings. Human had them once, the real and visible!
JOURNALIST: You have not stopped flying since those distant days in Smiljan!
TESLA: I wanted to fly from the roof and I fell. Children’s calculations could be wrong. Remember, the youth wings have everything in life!
JOURNALIST: Have you ever married? It is not known that you have affection for love or for a woman. Photos from the youth show you were handsome man.
TESLA: Yes. I did not. There are two views: a lot affection or not at all. The center serves to rejuvenate human race. Women for certain people nurtures and strengthen its vitality and spirit. Being single does the same to other people. I chose that second path.
JOURNALIST: Your admirers are complaining that you attacking relativity. The strange is your assertion that the matter has no energy. Everything is imbued with energy, where it is?
TESLA: First was energy, then matter.
JOURNALIST: Mr. Tesla, it’s like when you said that you were born by your father, and not on you.
TESLA: Exactly! What about the birth of the Universe? Matter is created from the original and eternal energy that we know as Light. It shone, and there have been appear star, the planets, man, and everything on the Earth and in the Universe. Matter is an expression of infinite forms of Light, because energy is older than it. There are four laws of Creation. The first is that the source of all the baffling, dark plot that the mind cannot conceive, or mathematics measure. In that plot fit the whole Universe. The second law is spreading a darkness, which is the true nature of Light, from the inexplicable and it’s transformed into the Light. The third law is the necessity of the Light to become a matter of Light. The fourth law is: no beginning and no end; three previous laws always take place and the Creation is eternal.
JOURNALIST: In the hostility to the theory of relativity you go so far, that you hold lectures against its Creator at your birthday parties.
TESLA: Remember, it is not curved space, but the human mind which cannot comprehend infinity and eternity! If relativity has been clearly understood by its Creator, he would gain immortality, even yet physically, if he is pleased.
I am part of a light, and it is the music. The Light fills my six senses: I see it, hear, feel, smell, touch and think. Thinking of it means my sixth sense. Particles of Light are written note. A bolt of lightning can be an entire sonata. A thousand balls of lightning is a concert. For this concert I have created a Ball Lightning, which can be heard on the icy peaks of the Himalayas.
About Pythagoras and mathematics a scientist may not and must not infringe of these two. Numbers and equations are signs that mark the music of the spheres. If Einstein had heard these sounds, he would not create theories of relativity. These sounds are the messages to the mind that life has meaning, that the Universe exists in perfect harmony, and its beauty is the cause and effect of Creation. This music is the eternal cycle of stellar heavens. The smallest star has completed composition and also, part of the celestial symphony. The man’s heartbeats are part of the symphony on the Earth. Newton learned that the secret is in geometric arrangement and motion of celestial bodies. He recognized that the supreme law of harmony exists in the Universe. The curved space is chaos, chaos is not music. Einstein is the messenger of the time of sound and fury.
JOURNALIST: Mr. Tesla, do you hear that music?
TESLA: I hear it all the time. My spiritual ear is as big as the sky we see above us. My natural ear I increased by the radar. According to the Theory of Relativity, two parallel lines will meet in infinity. By that Einstein’s curved will straighten. Once created, the sound lasts forever. For a man it can vanish, but continues to exist in the silence that is man’s greatest power. No, I have nothing against Mr. Einstein. He is a kind person and has done many good things, some of which will become part of the music. I will write to him and try to explain that the ether exists, and that its particles are what keep the Universe in harmony, and the life in eternity.
JOURNALIST: Tell me, please, under what conditions angels can adapt on the Earth?
TESLA: I have ten of them. Keep good records vigilant.
JOURNALIST: I will document all your words, Dear Mr. Tesla.
TESLA: The first requirement is a high awareness of its mission and work to be done. It must, if only dimly, exist in the early days. Let us not be falsely modest; Oak knows that it is oak tree, a bush beside him being a bush. When I was twelve, I have been sure I will get to Niagara Falls. For most of my discoveries I knew in my childhood that I will achieve them, although not entirely apparent … The second condition to adapt is determination. All that I might, I finished.
JOURNALIST: What is the third condition of adjustment, Mr. Tesla?
TESLA: Guidance for all the vital and spiritual energies in labor. Therefore purification of the many effects and needs that man has. I therefore have not lost anything, but just gained.
So I enjoyed every day and night. Write down: Nikola Tesla was a happy man…
The fourth requirement is to adjust the physical assembly with a work.
JOURNALIST: What do you mean, Mr. Tesla?
TESLA: First, the maintenance of the assembly. Man’s body is a perfect machine. I know my circuit and what’s good for him. Food what nearly all people eat, to me it is harmful and dangerous. Sometimes I visualize that chefs in the world are all in conspiracy against me … Touch my hand.
JOURNALIST: It was cold.
TESLA: Yes. Bloodstream can be controlled, and many processes in and around us. Why are you frightened young man?
JOURNALIST: It’s a story that Mark Twain wrote a mysterious stranger, that wonderful book of Satan, inspired by you.
TESLA: The word “Lucifer” is more charming. Mr. Twain likes to joke. As a child I was healed once by reading his books. When we met here and told him about, he was so touched that he cried. We became friends and he often came to my lab. Once he requested to show him a machine that by vibration provokes a feeling of bliss. It was one of those inventions for entertainment, what I sometimes like to do. I warned Mr. Twain as not to remain under these vibrations. He did not listen and stayed longer. It ended by being, like a rocket, holding pants, darted into a certain room. It was a diabolically funny, but I kept the seriousness.
But, to adjust the physical circuit, in addition to food, dream is very important. From a long and exhausting work, which required superhuman effort, after one hour of sleep I’d be fully recovered. I gained the ability to manage sleep, to fell asleep and wake up in the time which I have designated. If I do something what I do not understand, I force myself to think about it in my dream, and thus find a solution.
The fifth condition of adjustment is memory. Perhaps in the most people, the brain is keeper of knowledge about the world and the knowledge gained through the life. My brain is engaged in more important things than remembering. It is picking what is required at a given moment. This is all around us. It should only be consumed. Everything that we once saw, hear, read and learn, accompanies us in the form of light particles. To me, these particles are obedient and faithful. Goethe’s Faust, my favorite book, I learned by heart in German as a student, and now I can recite it all. I held my inventions for years ‘in my head, ” and only then I realized them.
JOURNALIST: You often mentioned the power of visualization.
TESLA: I might have to thank to visualization for all that I invented. The events of my life and my inventions are real in front of my eyes, visible as each occurrence or the item. In my youth I was frightened of not knowing what it is, but later, I learned to use this power as an exceptional talent and gift. I nurtured it, and jealously guarded. I also made corrections by visualization on most of my inventions, and finish them that way, by visualization I mentally solve complex mathematical equations. For that gift I have, I will receive rank High Lama in Tibet.
My eyesight and hearing are perfect and, dare to say, stronger than other people. I hear the thunder of a hundred fifty miles away, and I see colors in the sky that others cannot see. This enlargement of vision and hearing, I had as a child. Later I consciously developed.
JOURNALIST: In youth you have several times been seriously ill. Is it a disease and a requirement to adapt?
TESLA: Yes. It is often the result of a lack of exhaustion or vital force, but often the purification of mind and body from the toxins that have accumulated. It is necessary that a man suffers from time to time. The source of most disease is in the spirit. Therefore the spirit and can cure most diseases. As a student I got sick of cholera which raged in the region of Lika.
I was cured because my father finally allowed me to study technology, which was my life. Illusion for me was not a disease, but the mind’s ability to penetrate beyond the three dimensions of the earth. I had them all my life, and I have received them as all other phenomena around us.
Once, in childhood, I was walking along the river with Uncle and I said: ”From the water will appear the trout. I’ll throw a stone and it is out.”
That’s what happened.
Frightened and amazed, my uncle cried: ”Bade retro Satan’s!”
He was an educated and he spoke in Latin …
I was in Paris when I saw my mother’s death. In the sky, full of light and music floated are wonderful creatures. One of them had a mother’s character, who was looking at me with infinite love. As the vision disappeared, I knew that my mother died.
JOURNALIST: What is the seventh adjustment, Mr. Tesla?
TESLA: The knowledge of how the mental and vital energy transform into what we want, and achieve control over all feelings. Hindus call it Kundalini Yoga. This knowledge can be learned, for what they need many years or is acquired by birth. The most of them I acquired by birth. They are in the closest connection with a sexual energy that is after the most widespread in the Universe. The woman is the biggest thief of that energy, and thus the spiritual power. I’ve always knew that and was alerted. Of myself I created what I wanted: a thoughtful and spiritual machine.
JOURNALIST: A ninth adjustment, Mr. Tesla?
TESLA: Do everything that any day, any moment, if possible, not to forget who we are and why we are on Earth. Extraordinary people who are struggling with illness, privation, or the society which hurts them with its stupidity, misunderstanding, persecution and other problems which the country is full of a swamps with insects, leaves behind unclaimed until the end of the work. There are many fallen angels on Earth.
JOURNALIST: What is the tenth adaptation?
TESLA: It is most important. Write that Mr. Tesla played. He played the whole of his life and enjoyed it.
JOURNALIST: Mr. Tesla! Whether it relates to your findings and your work? Is this a game?
TESLA: Yes, dear boy. I have so loved to play with electricity! I always cringe when I hear about the one also the Greek who stole fire. A terrible story about studding, and eagles peck at his liver. Did Zeus did not have enough lightning and thunder, and was damaged for one fervor? There is some misunderstanding … Lightning are the most beautiful toys that can be found. Do not forget that in your text stand out: Nikola Tesla was the first man who discovered lightning.
JOURNALIST: Mr. Tesla, you’re just talking about angels and their adaptation to the Earth.
TESLA: Am I? This is the same. You could write this: he dared to take upon himself the prerogatives of Indri, Zeus and Peron. Imagine one of these gods in a black evening suit, with the bowler hat and wearing white cotton gloves prepares lightning, fires and earthquakes to the New York City elite!
JOURNALIST: Readers love the humor of our paper. But you confuse me stating that your findings, which have immense benefits for the people, representing the game. Many will frown on it.
TESLA: Dear Mr. Smith, the trouble is that people are too serious. If they were not, they would be happier and much longer would have lived. Chinese proverb says that the seriousness reduces life. Visiting the inn Tai Pe guessed that he visits the Imperial Palace. But that the newspaper readers would not have frowned, let’s get back to things which they consider important.
JOURNALIST: They would love to hear what your philosophy is.
TESLA: Life is a rhythm that must be comprehended. I feel the rhythm and direct on it and pamper in it. It was very grateful and gave me the knowledge I have. Everything that lives is related to a deep and wonderful relationship: man and the stars, amoebas’ and the sun, the heart and the circulation of an infinite number of worlds. These ties are unbreakable, but they can be tame and to propitiate and begin to create new and different relationships in the world, and that does not violate the old. Knowledge comes from space; our vision is its most perfect set. We have two eyes: the earthly and spiritual. It is recommended that it become one eye. The Universe is alive in all its manifestations, like a thinking animal. Stone is a thinking and sentient being, such as plant, beast and a man. A star that shines asked to look at, and if we are not a sizeable self-absorbed we would understand its language and message. His breathing, his eyes and ears of the man must comply with breathing, eyes and ears of the Universe.
JOURNALIST: As you say this, it seems to me like I hear Buddhist texts, words or Taoist Parazulzusa.
TESLA: That’s right! This means that there is general knowledge and truth that man has always possessed. In my feeling and experience, the Universe has only one substance and one supreme energy with an infinite number of manifestations of life. The best thing is that the discovery of a secret nature, reveals the other. One cannot hide, there are around us, but we are blind and deaf to them. If we emotionally tie ourselves to them, they come to us themselves. There are a lot of apples, but one Newton. He asked for just one apple that fell in front of him.
JOURNALIST: A question that might be set at the beginning of this conversation. What was Electricity for you, Dear Mr. Tesla?
TESLA: Everything is Electricity. First was the light, endless source from which points out material and distribute it in all forms that represent the Universe and the Earth with all its aspects of life. Black is the true face of Light, only we do not see this. It is remarkable grace to man and other creatures. One of its particles possesses light, thermal, nuclear, radiation, chemical, mechanical and an unidentified energy. It has the power to run the Earth with its orbit. It is true Archimedean lever.
JOURNALIST: Mr. Tesla, you’re too biased towards electricity.
TESLA: Electricity I am. Or, if you wish, I am the electricity in the human form. You are Electricity; too Mr. Smith, but you do not realize it.
JOURNALIST: Is it thus your ability to allow fails of electricity of one million volts trough your body?
TESLA: Imagine a gardener who is attacked by herbs. This would indeed be crazy. Man’s body and brain are made from a large amount energy; in me there is the majority of electricity. The energy that is different in everyone is what makes the human ”I” or ”soul”. For other creatures to their essence, “soul” of the plant is the “soul” of minerals and animals. Brain function and death is manifested in light. My eyes in youth were black, now blue, and as time goes on and strain the brain gets stronger, they are closer to white. White is the color of heaven. Through my window one morning, landed a white dove, which I fed. She wanted to bring me a word that she was dying. From her eyes the light jets were coming out. Never in the eyes of any creature had I not seen so much light, as in that pigeon.
JOURNALIST: Personnel in your lab speak about flashes of light, flames and lightning that occur if you are angry or into kind of risk.
TESLA: It is the psychic discharge or a warning to be alert. The light was always on my side. Do you know how I discovered the rotating magnetic field and induction motor, which made me became famous when I was twenty-six? One summer evening in Budapest, I watched with my friend the Sigetijem sunset. Thousands of fires were turning around in thousands of flaming colors. I remembered Faust and recited his verses and then, as in a fog, I saw spinning magnetic field, and induction motor. I saw them in the sun!
JOURNALIST: Hotel service telling that at the time of lightning you isolate into the room and talk to yourselves.
TESLA: I talk with lightning and thunder.
JOURNALIST: With them? What language, Mr.Tesla?
TESLA: Mostly my native language. It has the words and sounds, especially in poetry, what is suitable for it.
JOURNALIST: Readers of our magazine would be very grateful if you would interpret that.
TESLA: The sound does not exist only in the thunder and lightning, but, in transformation into the brightness and color. A color can be heard. Language is of the words, which means that it is from the sounds and colors. Every thunder and lightning are different and have their names. I call some of them by the names of those who were close in my life, or by those whom I admire. In the sky brightness and thunder live my mother, sister, brother Daniel, a poet. Jovan, Jovanovic Zmaj and other persons of Serbian history.
Names such AsIsaiah, Ezekiel, Leonardo, Beethoven, Goya, Faraday, Pushkin and all burning fires mark shoals and tangles of lightning and thunder, which does not stop all night bringing to the Earth precious rain and burning trees or villages. There is lightning and thunder, and they are the brightest and most powerful, that will not vanish. They are coming back and I recognize them among the thousands.
JOURNALIST: For you, science or poetry is the same?
TESLA: These are the two eyes of one person. William Blake was taught that the Universe was born from the imagination, that it maintains and it will exist as long as there is a last man on the Earth. With it was a wheel to which astronomers can collect the stars of all galaxies. It is the creative energy identical to the light energy.
JOURNALIST: Imagination is more real to you than life itself?
TESLA: It gives birth to the life. I have fed by my taught; I’ve learned to control emotions, dreams and visions. I have always cherished, as I nurtured my enthusiasm. All my long life I spent in ecstasy. That was the source of my happiness. It helped me during all these years to bear with work, which was enough for the five lives. The best is to work at night, because the stellar light, and close bond.
JOURNALIST: You said that I am, like every being, the Light. This flatter me, but I confess, I do not quite understand.
TESLA: Why would you need to understand, Mr. Smith? Suffice it to believe it. Everything is light. In one its ray is the fate of nations, each nation has its own ray in what great light source we see as the sun. And remember: no one who was there did not die. They transformed into the light, and as such exist still. The secret lies in the fact that the light particles restore their original state.
JOURNALIST: This is the resurrection!
TESLA: I prefer to call it: return to a previous energy. Christ and several others knew the secret. I am searching how to preserve human energy. It is forms of Light, sometimes straight like heavenly light. I have not looked for it for my own sake, but for the good of all. I believe that my discoveries make people’s lives easier and more bearable, and channel them to spirituality and morality.
JOURNALIST: Do you think that time can be abolished?
TESLA: Not quite, because the first feature of the energy is that it transforms. It is in perpetual transformation, as clouds of Taoists. But it is possible to leverage the fact that a man preserves consciousness after the earthly life. In every corner of the universe exist energy of life; one of them is immortality, whose origin is outside of man, waiting for him. The universe is spiritual; we are only half that way. The Universe is more moral than us, because we do not know his nature and how to harmonize our lives with it. I am not scientist, science is perhaps the most convenient way to find the answer to the question that always haunt me, and which my days and nights turned into fire.
JOURNALIST: What is matter?
TESLA: How are your eyes brightened! … What I wanted to know is: what happens to a falling star as the sun goes out? Stars fall like dust or seed in this or in other worlds, and the sun be scattered in our minds, in the lives of many beings, what will be reborn as a new light, or cosmic wind scattered in infinity. I understand that this is necessary included in the structure of the Universe. The thing is, though, is that one of these stars and one of these suns, even the smallest, preserves.
JOURNALIST: But, Mr. Tesla, you realize that this is necessary and is included in the constitution of the world!
TESLA: When a man becomes conscious, then his highest goal must be to run for a shooting star, and tries to capture it; shall understand that his life was given to him because of this and will be saved. Stars will eventually be capable to catch!
JOURNALIST: And what will happen then?
TESLA: The creator will laugh and say: ”It fall only that you chase her and grab her.”
JOURNALIST: Isn’t all of this contrary to the cosmic pain, which so often you mention in your writings? And what is it cosmic pain?
TESLA: No, because we are on Earth … It is an illness whose existence the vast majority of people are not aware of. Hence, many other illnesses, suffering, evil, misery, wars and everything else what makes human life an absurd and horrible condition. This disease cannot be completely cured, but awareness shall make it less complicated and hazardous. Whenever one of my close and dear people were hurt, I felt physical pain. This is because our bodies are made as of similar material, and our soul related with unbreakable strands. Incomprehensible sadness that overwhelmed us at times means that somewhere, on the other side on this planet, a child or generous man died. The entire Universe is in certain periods sick of itself, and of us. Disappearance of a star and the appearance of comets affect us more than we can imagine. Relationships among the creatures on the Earth are even stronger, because of our feelings and thoughts the flower will scent even more beautiful or will fall in silence. These truths we must learn in order to be healed. Remedy is in our hearts and evenly, in the heart of the animals that we call the Universe.