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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review of Joey Avniel's One-Legged Seagull

I had the great pleasure of reading a review copy of The One-Legged Seagull, a Warrior's Journey to Inner Peace. Here is my “always honest” review of this work.

In a nutshell: A nuclear family is caught up in another round of routine bickering that is robbing them all of happiness and peace.  An extended family member is determined to help bring harmony back to the fold.  He tells a story about his own battle with failure and standing up to fear by relating a conversation he had as a youth with a mysterious, wise old man named Simon Master, whom he met in a park. 

In a personal way, I found it interesting that the story takes place in Israel, a land associated with that Granddaddy of so many religions and philosophical concepts – Judaism.  It felt weird at first to have a Yoda/Luke Skywalker - Miyagisan/Karate Kid type conversation going on in that background.  Maybe it wouldn’t affect others that way, but it messed with my own hard-wiring in a pleasantly convention-shaking way that let a little fresh air into a shut up room – numbers of established electrical synapses sent scattering into new arrangements.  I liked that, for starters. 

Mr. Avniel’s concepts appear to come from further East, though.  I thought I recognized some kinship to Taoism {wu wei (action through inaction)} in his new rules for staying peaceful through all the rigors and disappointments that life can throw your way.  They are useful rules, too.  After finishing only half of this book, I found myself applying his advice – or rather – Simon’s advice, to the little mental matters that came up.  A bit of “hands-on” experience later, I decided these ideas were indeed effective for calming mini storms at psychological sea. 

I’m not going to spoil it for you by telling you what those new widgets are; you’ll have to take a look for yourself.  For the cost of the smallest bottle of headache pills at Walmart, you can own all the gadgets in this Angst-reducing tool box. 

Artists, in particular, should not be without these methods for standing the stress dynamic on its head and possibly releasing creative flow in a new direction.

After all, tricks for staying sane in this crazy world are something you can’t have too many of.  I swear by self-hypnosis myself, but I’m never averse to having a few more torque drivers in my mind-bending kit.  I would definitely recommend this book.

 Well, that’s my take on the book.  I’m pleased to have Joey Avniel here today to tell us more about himself and his work. Joey, could you come out of the headstand just a moment and sit in a chair for us?  It's just a bit distracting talking to an upside down mouth.  

Sure, Georgia. (follows a light landing and Joey takes a seat)

Oh, much better.  Welcome, Joey.  Tell us, please, how you would convince someone to read your book in 140 characters or less?
Imagine life without stress; just pure peace and bliss. You don’t need to imagine. I can show you how to create it. It's gonna be fun!
That already sounds interesting!  If you want to help people why did you write fiction? Why not a self-help book?
I didn’t finish most of the self-help books I bought. They usually have too much information and it’s hard to remember anything once you’re done reading. Fiction is entertaining, you get emotionally invested in the story and it’s easier to remember and even feel what you read. My mother had a tough decision to make the other day, she told me: “Simon wouldn’t do that.” Simon is the wise person in the story. It’s easy to remember his insights since he feels so real.
So, can you tell us what the main lesson is in your book?
The main lesson is that you can’t find peace, you need to create it. And you better find your own unique way to do it. Of course there are many things we can all do to have more peace and I talk about them in the book. But, each one of us is unique and therefore needs to find his own unique way.
What can you tell me about your ideal reader?
My ideal reader is an open minded person. He’s fed up with the drama in his life and is ready to try new ways to get new outcomes. She is not looking for a new set of instructions, but willing to walk a new path and find her own way.
I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would like new outcomes.  Tell us, Joey, when did you know you were going to be an author?
I never thought I was going to be a writer, especially not in English. In fact literature and English were my worst grades in school. One night I woke up with a story and I couldn’t go back to sleep until I started to write it down.
That sounds like a pretty serious muse.   Joey, could you tell us one unique thing about yourself that no other author in the world (as far as you know) shares.
I’m dyslexic and writing in my second language (English). I think this is quite unique. I used many of the tools that I wrote about in my story, in order to overcome my One-Legged Seagull, which is my metaphor for the weaknesses we all have.
That’s incredible! You overcame quite a bit to turn out a well-written text.  You can be very proud of that accomplishment.  What was your happiest moment as an author?
When my dad asked me if he can buy a copy to gift a friend. Just a few years ago we almost didn’t talk. I never thought he would read my book. I could truly see at that moment, that when you work on your own inner peace you create peace and appreciation around you.
What a great story!  Re-establishing a relationship with an estranged family member is important to a lot of people.  If you could choose one super power, what would it be and why?
I would like to have the power to show people scenes from their past. I mean, be able to hold their hand and show them a vision of something that happened to them and they can see it as an observant. The past is the best teacher we have, especially if we look at it from a different perspective.
So true.  If you could talk to your readers while they are reading your book, what would you tell them?
I would tell them not to rush with the reading. The story feels light, but it gets very deep with the insights. They would make me happiest if they read it twice.
Which author influenced you the most?
There are too many. The first one I read was Richard Bach, so I guess he was the gate for me reading my genre. If I need to pick one, I would go with Donald Neal Walsh. I love how he arranges his insights and uses the conversation to show his point.
What’s the funniest line you ever wrote?
I think humor is the best way to entertain so my book is full of funny lines, it’s hard to choose. I think it’s funny how my wise character, who talks about peace, has a friend he refers to as “Evil Alfred.” They always fight about something. Finally, the kid in story asks him: “You explained that there’s no right or wrong. It’s all just a point of view. So how come you call Alfred evil?” I find it funny. Many times I see people preaching about something and then doing the opposite.
What’s next?
There is a second book that I’m working on. It’s about life after death. But before that I want many readers to be exposed to my book. I want them to use my book to find their own path to be at peace. I see so much drama around me; people fight with each other and seem to always be stressful. I want to help them find the path to change that.

I want to thank you for appearing on my blog with your enlightening book.  We’ll be looking forward to hearing more from you in the future. 

Joey Avniel’s One-Legged Seagull is available at Amazon

You can read Joey’s other interviews on the Orangeberry Book Tour here:

You can stalk Joey here:



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