Michael Phoenix is unemployed in Allentown, PA. Allentown has a reputation for being one of those cities caught in a web of unemployment– a victim of the demise of Bethlehem Steel. I asked Michael about the city of his choiceand he doesn’t seem to be too worried. Allentown is going through a re-birth, a brand new start, and so is Michael– from homeless and unemployed to journalist. They are both true Rising Phoenixes. It was a pleasure to interview a man so talented and hard-working. I present Mr. Michael Phoenix to you–author, journalist and self made man…
Q) Hey, Mike! Let’s start with the easy one! Tell
me all about Michael Phoenix.
A) He’s a writer who is slowly making a name. Someone who has
been through the worst he could experience. Survived it. Restarted
from ground zero.
Q) Right from the beginning? So what were these
experiences that shaped you?
A) The death of my wife. It changed me to the core. Everything I
believed was gone. Being attacked in a hotel room. Living on the
street for eight nights.
Q) I am sorry to hear that, Mike. What was the most
important thing you learnt from those experiences?
A) I learned that as long as you do not give up, you can survive
anything. When one thing ends, something else begins. If I had not
gone through those experiences, my book A
Dream in the Night would not have been finished. The idea andfirst draft were finished. The final version and second edition were not. I just sat down and finished it.
Q) Had you always wanted to pursue a career in writing? If
so, when did that start?
A) I think it wassecond grade. It was the first thing I remember. I got an A for a Haiku poem. Then, when I was14, a friend died. Writing became an outlet for my emotions.
Q) Would you say that it helped you overcome your grief?
A) Yes. It became a way of dealing with the emotions I could not
express openly at the time. I still use it as an outlet. Part of it
evolved to trying to help people out and making a difference.
Q) You live in Allentown, PA, one of the cities hit hardest by the end ofindustry. Do you help out your community?
A) Financially, I cannot do it right now. I try to do it through
Q) Tell me about your writing– how do you write? Late at
night? With music? What’s your writing style?
A) My writing style is freestyle. The ideas hit me at unusual
times. Sometimes at night, when I am out, etc. Music– I have always
loved it, but never had the natural talent. I do want to learn it in
the next two years.
Q) Is there a book inside you that you haven’t written
yet but badly want to get out and onto paper?
A) Actually a few. One is a series revolving around ancient
artifacts. The other is continuing the story of wraith in the night.
Q) You mentioned your book A
Dream in the Night earlier. What is it about?
A) Basically, it’s an auto-biography. What I experienced.
Hopefully, it can give others hope. It deals with being alone. Death.
Surviving the teenage years. Looking at life from dusk to dawn.
Q) Has living in Allentown shaped you at all? You told me
once the Billy Joel song wasn’t accurate– is it actually a nice
place to live?
A) Living in Allentown has had an impact. Coming back to the area
after eight years, I see it with fresh eyes. Like every other city,
there are good and bad sections. The Billy Joel song is dated.
Q) Well you choose to live there, correct?
A) Yes. There is a lot to do in different areas, lots of
interests. I just cannot get used to the cold (laughing)! Allentown
is going through a sort of re-birth. Several old buildings are being
replaced with more modern ones. The city government is building an
arena and waterfront.
Q) Do you feel that it will change the image of the city?
What are your feelings on this ‘re-birth‘?
A) I give them credit for trying. I just do not know if it will
work. Time will tell.
Q) So why did you agree to an interview with me, Mike?
A) I looked at your site. You are very professional and neutral.
That’s something I respect. I am very serious.
Q) Well, thank you for your time, and I believe you have a
great future ahead of you.
A) Thanks, Nick.
Mike doesn’t say a lot. He chooses his words carefully. I think you will agree, however, he makes his point. Words so easily wastedand I think Mike knows that as a journalist he can’t afford to waste a single letter.
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