For Real Time Event Response Management
By David Ash
With The Author
Why did you decide to write a book?
several different factors involved. One is that I'd worked in
artificial intelligence (AI) for a
number of years, and there were some technical ideas that I
wanted to put down in some sort of
semi-permanent form. When you work as a computer programmer
in industry, you begin to realize
that there is a lot of, to use a cliche, 're-inventing the wheel'
that goes on because technology
companies tend to have very poor long term institutional memories
when it comes to ideas. I had some
ideas that I believe will be used, and re-used, in artificial
intelligence over the years in different forms,
and so I wanted to record them in a form that is a bit more
permanent than a computer program.
Technologies come and go, but many of the same basic themes
repeat themselves over and over
again, and I wanted to make a record of what I think will be
important themes in artificial intelligence
over the coming years and even decades.
A second reason is that I wanted to continue to pursue the AI
line that Rama laid out for us. Rama
spent a lot of years focusing on AI--it was really a big part
of Rama's vision for the future of his
students and community. He pulled back a little bit from AI
towards the end because I think he
wanted to give most of his students a break from AI and a chance
to do different things, but I still
felt it was important to keep the AI fires burning, so to speak.
The final reason was that I simply wanted to learn about the
process of writing a book. At some point
in the future I may want to write a book that is much more overtly
spiritual, describing my experiences
studying with Rama, and having the experience of writing a technical
book under my belt will give me
a certain confidence in terms of being able to see the process
through to completion.
Apart from that, I'd never really intended to write a book--when
Rama gave a writing empowerment
back in 1994, I never connected that empowerment with myself.
Yet not long thereafter I had a
conversation with a colleague who was to become my co-author
about writing a book--I still never
really connected it with Rama's empowerment. We put the project
on the back burner for a long
time--then at a certain point, when the time seemed right, I
called up another colleague who had
written a book and asked to be put in touch with his publisher.
I approached the publisher, and
almost immediately the publisher said 'yes' to publishing the
book. It just seems like when the
time is right, it happens without too much effort.
do you inspire yourself to write?
quite inspired by something that Rama said with regard to writing
Surfing and Snowboarding.
He said that he never really had a large block of time available
to write but would need to write in
little five minute chunks of time whenever he got a chance.
I found that this was the easiest way
to approach things...if you have a chance to write a little,
and move the ideas forward a little, definitely
go for it. You will be amazed just writing in little bits and
pieces how much you are able to accomplish
over a period of time--but if you don't write anything while
waiting for the perfect opportunity to begin,
you will never get anywhere. I found the best way was simply
to write however much I could
whenever I had the chance.
Do you have any suggestions to help others publish their
Start by working out the general structure of the book and then
proceed to more specific concepts.
Figure out what you want to do with the book after it is published
before you even start to write. This
is not necessarily something that I did with this book but is
something that I would do if I were doing
it again or were writing another book. Begin marketing the book
before it is published. Talk to people
about the ideas in your book as you are in the process of writing.
Stay focused on what your goals
are for the book and work towards those goals in other ways
as well--don't put all your focus on just
the book. Think carefully about the decision as to whether to
publish or self-publish--there are
advantages to both.
Do you have any funny stories about things that happened
while you were writing the book?
Not so much funny, but I did go through a difficult time period
as a result of writing the book that
ultimately was resolved successfully. Perhaps unwisely, I told
my 'day' employer about my 'night
job' writing a book. As I say, this may have been unwise, but
it seemed like my 'day' job was more
and more encroaching into evening and weekend hours, and I was
beginning to think I might need to
respectfully offer my resignation to my employer and look for
a less demanding day job in order to
find the time needed to work on the book. I just felt I needed
to put my cards on the table. Things
seemed to be going from bad to worse with my employer--I was
threatening to quit, they were
threatening to fire me, and the energy was just awful.
Then, about two days before the Kalachakra empowerment--I had
Rama students coming in to stay
with me for the Kalachakra, my boss finally sat down with and
we had, for the first time, a
constructive conversation about this. I was able to move to
a different project at work that gave me
the time that I needed to work on the book. Not only that, but
the new project turned out to have
a far better vibe to it, so even though I needed to work fewer
hours on my 'day job', I found that I
was able to get a lot more done in my 'day job' on the new project.
Both my regular job and the
book became far more productive experiences for me as a result.
So just when it looked like everything was going to fall apart,
the Kalachakra came along and
everything seemed to fall into place.
What did you learn by writing a book?
Mainly how to stay focused on completing a really long term
project. If I were to do it again, though,
I'd be more disciplined in terms of sticking to a precise schedule.
That is easier said than done,
of course, but I think a better job could have been done. A
book needs to be managed like any
other project and I think I'd take more of a 'project management'
approach the next time around.
Do you have anything else that you would like to add?
time is right, if it is your Dharma to write a book, it will
happen. There is no need to try
to 'force' the issue to make it happen--Rama has empowered some
of his students to write books
and will no doubt empower more books in the future--but the
time needs to be right.