In the movie Wander Boys, a character named Q emphatically proclaims in front of an amphitheater filled to the rim with students and faculty that, "I am a writer!" The audience erupts in applause for he is a successful writer with a house in the Hamptons and a new book coming out every eighteen months.
People tend to see proof of success in the number of books one has published, in the fact that he or she is a millionaire and lives in one of those neighborhoods only the rich and famous could afford. Most of the truly great writers, however, are not remembered for writing twelve books or for being the owners of a 6-bedroom 6-bathroom mansion with a heated swimming pool in the backyard. They are remembered and honored by the world for writing that one book that left an indelible mark on the humankind's consciousness.
All I did was to make a written record of my self-questioning and of the answers I came up with so that others too may self-question themselves in order to find their own answers. Why would be such a thing necessary for us as a civilization? Because we exist the way we understand reality, because we have been deliberately trapped into a false perception of reality, and because the truth will set us free.
At the beginning of each summer between 2,000 to 3,000 candidates from all over the country showed up to audition, with only 15 of them, 8 men and 7 women, being admitted in that year's acting class. I had the second best score but nothing went as expected during those four years I spent there.
My class was without an acting teacher for almost the entire freshman year, and before the junior year ended we had to evacuate the building after the most powerful earthquake in the history of the country hit the capital, a cataclysm that had devastating, tragic effects. The irony of it, the society itself was collapsing, economically and morally at the hands of a dictatorial regime.
You could not choose any topic you wanted to address in your writings and there were consequences for taking on certain themes. It always had to be about something the government would approve of, and truth and wisdom was seen as a challenge to the authority of the state. In other words, to be published you had to make significant compromises and be willing to sell your soul to the devil by regurgitating the fabricated news promoted as fact in the media, and some would pay the ultimate price from breaking that rule.
So I decided to leave the old country, at least for a while. I needed to take a breath of fresh air in the so-called free world on the other side of the iron curtain while getting to know that world. I left with the intent of returning in a few years to help change things over there. I was planning on retreating to a remote village in the foothills of my beloved mountains where I had spent a good part of my childhood and young adult life.
Change comes always from within. From there I would have sent out messages to my people, books meant to subtly ferment a movement that was to bring change. This was rather idealistic but under the circumstances I felt it was an ideal worth dedicating my life to and I was prepared to abandon my acting career.
Despite the terrible conditions, with roaches crawling all over the place and out of control noisy neighbors, it was in that room that I begun work on and then finished The Winner. It was the saga of a lost generation, my generation, and same as A Time of Change it was a three-volume book.
I could not wait to go back to the old country to have it published. Extremely homesick, the return happened much sooner than initially planned.
Back in my country government men immediately contacted me. I politely but firmly refused to write propagandistic anti-American articles, and the regime operatives black listed my name. As an actor, I was not allowed to appear on stage in the capital city, on TV, or to get a part in a movie production. Whatever I submitted for publication they would not publish. It would not be what they were looking for politically anyway.
They had no means in those days of tracking one's every activity, so I was able to publish a couple of articles on paranormal in magazines appearing in other cities outside the immediate reach of the central government's censors. The day the so-called Communist regime was overthrown, I was convinced the manuscript will finally be published and that other books will follow. New developing events would prevent that from happening.
Having The Winner published in my old country during the dictatorial regime was more than just idealistic. It was borderline suicidal. The regime would not only censor you, it would arrest and imprison you for writing prose or poetry describing a reality the government did not want it revealed.
Something I would find out years later, apparently as a way of protecting me and perhaps their own position within an institution that payed their salary, someone at the publishing house I submitted the manuscript with locked up the manuscript in a cabinet file to prevent anyone within the company secretly associated with the political police from finding out about it. It remained there for almost five years until the regime was finally overthrown. At that time I was able to retrieve both the manuscript and the reviewer's notes.
Most local and international media organizations were describing the events that led to end of the Communist regime as a glorious popular revolt. In reality, it was a power takeover organized with the help of a number of American and Russian intelligence agencies. A few weeks after the coup d'état happened, I realized some among the most corrupt members of the old regime and of the secret police were taking over the country, and I would free-lance as a journalist exposing that. I was soon hired to write full time for a newspaper with national distribution, and this was when my life took a completely new direction.
Everything I had predicted in my articles came to pass and the country plunged into what would be decades of wanton corruption, something that is still going on. I was not there though to witness that. Before it happened, dramatic events, government organized acts of violence targeting, among others, the headquarters of my newspaper forced me to leave the country at the end of 1990, for the second time, this time for good. I did not get to see The Winner in print, and the manuscript remains to this day in a box stored in the basement of my home.
When I arrived to America I made a vow: within five years I would publish something, anything in English. My life would take though a totally unexpected turn for the worse. In disregard of the known truth about what was going on in my country, the State Department decided to change its country report. The intent was to put the new and corrupted government in my old country, a "democratic" government that had taken power by the way of blatantly rigged elections in a more favorable light. As I would find out later during the investigation I conducted on my own in an attempt to figure out what was going on, that was done to serve the interests of the United States at the time of the Gulf War, and, basically, the State Department changed the country report while I was flying to New York.
I left the country knowing I had a very strong immigration case and, as a result, I was counting on being able to get proper documents, a job and be reunite with my children in a matter of weeks. A very serious consequence of that sudden and historically unjustified change of policy in terms of my personal life, though, I would not see my children for nine years.
This is not the place to discuss in detail what happened. All I am going to say, for now, is during that trying time, something worst than everything that happened to me in my old country under the dictatorial regime, I came very close to reaching a breaking point. I survived because I realized the only way I could be of any help to my children was by staying alive. I had to live though aware every second of my life I was missing on the most beautiful years of their childhood, and, most importantly, that I could not make a contribution to their upbringing during the most significant formative years.
On the other hand I would live through very unusual, very interesting and in many instances enlightening experiences, including the people I met, the books I read and the places I would end up in. In retrospective, that and a number of other similar experiences I had lived in the old country became the foundation for the A Time of Change project.
Before I reached the juncture in my life where I would make the decision to take on that project I wrote extensively for a number of newspapers serving the Romanian-American community in US, Canada, France and Israel. I would write on various topics, from current affairs, political commentary, ancient and modern history, to religion and science. That went on for a number of years and it continued for a while after the Immigration and Naturalization Services finally allowed my family to join me in America.
One of those interesting happenings I would experience in America while waiting to be granted political asylum, five years almost to the date after my second coming I would be compelled to write an essay in English, and that essay was published in the Berkshires Weekly. This used to be a cultural supplement issued by The Berkshires Eagle, and, yes, there is a story behind that too. Some would find this strange but I would not write anything else in English for the next ten years.
Symbolically titled Finding My Way Home, more so in its non-edited form the obvious theme of the essay was the rediscovery of my life's purpose. That was to be a subject-wise vague but certainly significant book while the essay was a sixth sense revelation. Deep down inside me I felt one day I would take on some kind of grandiose project, and that heart warming, energizing notion was triggered by the encounter with the Berkshires, one of the most culture saturated rural areas in America. Eleven years later, that mysterious project would manifest as A Time of Change.
The truth will set you free. We live in a world where deception is the rule of the game and truth is often a threat to the status quo, reason why revealing the hidden truth is a dangerous enterprise. Because of that the pursuit of truth and wisdom is not a profitable business in a materialistic sense. It never was since we live in a world where materialistic gains are the society's main focus. That has to change if we care about surviving as a civilization. We have to stop living this huge, all encompassing lie.
That said there is another kind of profit to be made from the writing and the reading of this book, which would be a collective one. Knowing the hidden truth and understanding better what we already know has the potential of highly enhancing the chances that we finally achieve the long sought after peace on Earth. That could only happen, though, when we become aware of the true essence and significance of being a human.
There are many layers of truth to every aspect of reality. Our existence is a complex, intricate mosaic of meaningful facts and personal experiences. Because of that my life's story is the story behind how A Time of Change came to be. Most everything in the book is there because of what it is not in the book, something only partially revealed here.