Arthur Turfa Interview

Although I have traveled far and wide, I am never far from the Monongahela Valley. I am a second-generation American; the Old Countries are never far from me. The wood, and hills, rivers and “cricks” have given me an appreciation for nature.

What inspired you to write?
To a certain extent it was the authors I read and admired. Mann, Updike, Huxley, Faulkner and others. Additionally, there were some things I wanted to share with anyone who wanted to read. Every so often sometime would tell me, "You have to write that down."

Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
It came and went, then returned. There was about a 30-year period that I was writing for work or school, and I simply did not have the time. A print a friend gave me inspired me to write poetry again; that poem is in my first book, and the print became the cover.

How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
Poetry is different from prose. Some poems and concepts came to me in a dream. Other times I think about an idea for a few days, and then write it. I usually edit a little bit.

Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
They know I write, and they are supportive when I finish. Essentially though, I write alone.

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?

What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
As I put it together, I realized what a life; varied, and wonderful life I have had much more than I deserved.

Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
I perceived things differently and began to create a new persona.

What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?

What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
I always try to find something positive in it, and I also realize that the criticism may be more about the person giving it than me.

Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory?
The Monongahela Valley, south of Pittsburgh. When I was 11 we moved to suburban Philadelphia. Favorite memory comes from the weekly family dinners with three generations. I loved to listen to the stories they told. The worst was a 5th grad teacher who these days would have been fired.

Do you have a favorite quote?
Without deviation, no progress is possible. - Frank Zappa

What is your favorite show on TV?
Designated Survivor

Favorite movie?
The Godfather

Favorite book?
A Prayer for Owen Meany. A tale of friendship, struggle, and faith.

Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
Martin Luther. I would even buy the beer.

Is there a talent you wish you had?
Playing the guitar

What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I love baseball, especially the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Describe yourself in 3 words!
Humorous, loyal, compassionate