I thought Something Would Happen and I would Magically Become a Writer.
Matt: You are joining us from Brussels today but you sound more American than European…
Carlton: I know if anybody has any secrets on how to get rid of this ridiculous accent, please let me know. I have lived in Europe for almost 30 years so you'd think it would be like on its way out by now but no!
Matt: So what do you love about Europe to stay here so long?
Carlton: I mean, everybody might say this, but the cultural diversity. You can get on a train, or a plane, or jump in your car and in an hour you can be in a completely different culture, different language, different food, different music. It's just such beautiful diversity. And yet, I would hope, you know, some degree of unity but maybe that’s aspirational.
Matt: You and I have a few common interests and one of them is Italy. I have a home in Noto and you in Roccalvecce?
Carlton: Yes, Roccalvecce is the name of a micro village. If it were fully occupied, it would host 1,000 people. Currently there are some 30 residents, including us!
Matt: So on to book talk - what first inspired you to think I'm going to write a book?
Carlton: I am one of those people that has always thought I would write a book. I like to write, I find that it's a way I like expressing myself. Sometimes I want to have the right words to say but I don't have them until I write them.
Matt: What were the biggest barriers for you in coming to write and writing a book?
Carlton: I imagined I would always get around to it. You know that one day I would be overcome on a Monday morning and write. Or I would discipline myself to write 30 minutes or one hour a day. Or that something would happen and I would magically become a writer. None of my imaginary constructs actually worked. So I found myself always hoping I would write a book but I never did until the ‘Writing My Book’ course.
Matt: What was it about the course that helped you so much?
Carlton: Accountability. I am the kind of person who, once I tell someone, I'm going to do something, I'm probably going to do it. So that that helped me a lot.
Matt: So what did you write about?
Carlton: I felt like I needed some new rhythms in my life and I on a whim I reached out to some friends to see if they wanted to join me on a 30 day spiritual journey. Thirty friends said yes. We didn't know what we were doing but we created a WhatsApp group and got started. My book follows that journey.
Matt: How do you lead people on a spiritual journey through a WhatsApp group? I mean, how does that work?
Carlton: What I like to do is invite some people who have familiarity with the Christian story, Bible or Gospels. We kick off with a video call with a cup of coffee or glass of wine, whatever works for them, getting to know one another. After that we focus on one thought or question and message each day as we explore this in our lives.
Matt: That sounds rather good and the sort of thing I’d like to do. What is your highest hope for the book?
Carlton: One reader said that they had read a bunch of spiritual books and this one is different. It’s real people on an authentic day by day journey with Jesus. So my hope is that this day-by-day journey thing in an online community takes off.