Today, I'd like to welcome Bishop Garrison, author of “Felix, Upon His Bench” to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
Bishop "B.J." Garrison is originally from South Carolina. He's written fiction of varying forms and quality since the 3rd grade. He's been "working on that novel" for quite some time, but it'll be finished eventually. Currently, he spends his days engulfed in the politics and policy of Washington, D.C.
OK - HERE WE GO !!
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? .. why?
If it were life or death, yes, assuming I wouldn't be forced to take the lives of innocent people in the process. If we’re discussing someone just going to jail or dealing with punishment for making bad decisions, then it’s a much different story.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
For me, it’s the difference between the effort you put into whatever it is you’re doing, and what you’re attempting to get out of your experiences. If you can find joyful moments in the most mundane of tasks I think you’re truly living. It’s also being able to simple exist in the moment and enjoy it without thinking about what needs to happen next. It’s really hard for me to personally do that sometimes. I always want to think and plan things out several steps ahead without just enjoying what time I have in the present.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
I’m motivated by the idea that my writing could potentially make one person feel better about something happening in their life. Even if I just help provide them with an interesting or joyful distraction for one minute. It’s about helping people see the world around them differently and getting lost in the moment. Second, I see it has an opportunity to provide my perspective to the world. We all have a unique voice and I greatly enjoy sharing mine with people.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
It’s all about a creating a legacy and giving back to the world. I think that we as living, sentient breathing beings have a strong desire to pass our beliefs, thoughts, culture and the retelling of our experiences through our children. This provides the best evidence to demonstrate to the world that we were here, we existed, and, more so, we had something to contribute. I also think people love the idea of bringing a piece of themselves into the world and watching that individual mature into something great.
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book "Felix, Upon His Bench” ?
I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it at first. It began as a one-off short story, but I liked the characters so much I knew I wanted to do more with the characters. The question, then, was what did “more” look like? It actually took me a few weeks to get to the idea that this needed to be a novel, but the first part seemed to stand alone strongly on its own. I decided the novella technique could work for piece, and I believe it does.
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
You have to be patient. I was so impatient in everything I did for so long, and the exact moment I just took a breath and relaxed my disposition on life changed seemingly overnight. When I was young I was constantly just ready to get things done. Whether in work, personal life, or my writing, I just wanted to get through it as quickly and successfully as possible. It took me over a decade to realize that’s not how the world works, nor should it be. I view life now as one big editing process. You can write and write all day, but if you don’t go back and edit you’re really not accomplishing much. In life, you can work as hard as you want, but if you don’t make the proper time for personal reflection you aren’t going to get very far.
No.7 How did you come up with the title "Felix, Upon His Bench" ?
The novella begins in Lafayette Square, the park across from the White House, with the namesake seated on a bench. I saw a man seated there regularly in the summer of 2014, similar to what I describe in the piece, with various people for different walks of life sitting next to him and chatting away. I always wondered what they were talking about, and kind of just went from there. I toyed with a lot of names before landing on “Felix, Upon His Bench.” I believe it sets the best overall tone for the novella without really giving anything away.
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
I would like to say well, but I’m sure there are some folks out there that might disagree. I believe at this point in life I love receiving critical, constructive feedback. I find it extremely helpful. For a long time I didn’t really understand how to properly accept it. I was immature and thought critiques were more along the lines of a personal attack than actual help. It’s unfortunate because I likely missed out on some opportunities because of my mindset. Once I got over it, however, I came to understand and truly appreciate the value in that insight.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
It’s a short read that I believe has a lot of themes that will be relatable for a lot of people. The characters are vibrant and there is a mysterious story there that I believe will really pull people in. By the end of the first chapter there will be a lot of questions floating around in the reader’s mind that will not only intrigue them about the story’s arch, but also make them think critically about their own lives and experiences.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
Great question, and it’s really the main theme of this work. Why are we here as opposed to nothing? Why do we really exist? I have some very strong thoughts on this, but I hope readers will read my novella to find some of those answers. I think there is something because we have a purpose here. We exist because we must exist to serve that purpose. Maybe that’s a little self-fulfilling, but I truly believe in the concept of finding meaning in life. Without it I worry that we as individuals will lose perspective on what is important and what is truly valuable.
Thank you Bishop :)
For taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out “Felix, Upon His Bench” on
Delaware Foster is at a crossroads in life.
The early-thirties Washingtonian begins Monday as best he can, knowing that Friday holds a painful reminder of his ongoing struggles. As Delaware moves through the rituals of each day, he is unaware that this week will be different. He goes to work, just as he would any other day. Then he sees the new face of a man seated on a bench. Focused on himself and his own troubles, Delaware ignores the subtle curiosity resting beneath the surface until Friday arrives and that enigmatic gentleman, Felix, introduces himself. But how does Felix know so much about Delaware and the significance of this Friday? What does he want from Delaware? The answers to these questions will help lead Delaware from the man he is to the man he hopes he can be, all while attempting to understand Felix and the universe in which they both reside.