|Mark Flagel, Author|
PRICE OF GOLD
Mark Flagel offers PEACH MOMENTS, his new short piece to inspire readers to realize that recalling their “peach moments” can help guide them through tough times. He believes that these special moments of happiness and exhilaration can help overcome some of life’s hardships.
In a previous interview here, Flagel discussed his novel PRICE OF GOLD based on the East German secret doping of its female athletes in the 1976 Olympics—an occurrence that he believes needs to be better understood.
He is currently considering setting up a web page for people to describe their “peach moments” and writing a new book with the working title “A Millennial Handbook”. Flagel is a retired lawyer, who has always wanted to write.
Q: What drove you to write PEACH MOMENTS? Why reach out to people to get them to savor their best moments?
Mark Flagel: We live in a complex, mysterious, painful, unjust, yet magnificent and wondrous world. When I was 18 years old, I was a bit pissed off at the world, at what I perceived to be the unfairness of having to work 30 hours a week to help support myself through college, at the fact that so many people had so much more than I had. Then I bit into that peach and dissolved into a state of pure euphoria.
When I emerged from that moment, I felt maybe, just maybe, my and anyone else’s relative disadvantages didn’t matter so much, because I knew no one on earth, no matter how advantaged they were, could experience more bliss than I just had in that moment, and everyone is capable of having similar moments. Disadvantage and injustice and hardship abound. We see it everywhere. It can be debilitating.
So I felt it important to reach out and write a very short piece that will (I hope) be inspirational, motivational and contemplative, and suggest to everyone that peach moments are one of life’s great equalizers, and that a reflection on the peach moments of your life can lift you up through difficult times.
Q: One of your reviewers says PEACH MOMENTS is “an inspirational book for all ages.” Did you intend for it to be for a specific age group? Or do you believe that even the “youth” should take the time to relish their special moments? Who can benefit most from your book?
Mark Flagel: I didn’t intend to be limiting. Peach moments are blind to age. They're for everyone, and the idea of taking time to relish special moments is a universal one. It’s my hope that everyone who reads PEACH MOMENTS will benefit in some way, either by focusing on, remembering, and looking forward to their own peach moments, or just by thinking about some of the complexities of life addressed in the book. Of course, some parts of the book are intended for mature audiences, as peach moments can involve physical intimacy and other adult oriented situations, so parents might want to exercise some discretion with children.
Q: What is there in your story to make people cherish their best moments? How do you make readers care about your “character” or comprehend your message?
Mark Flagel: The goal of PEACH MOMENTS is to have readers focus, not on me or my character, but on themselves. The articulation of some of my own peach moments is intended to evoke reactions like: “Wow, I remember a moment like that;” or: “I felt the same way when [fill in the blank]”. Jumping back and forth between some of life’s complexities, injustices and mysteries, on the one hand, and peach moments, on the other, is intended to get readers to think about their own views on these issues, but to end up back within the realm of blissful remembrances of their peach moments.
Q: Do you believe that your message is relevant universally?
Mark Flagel: I do. Mysteries and complexities and ups and downs follow everyone through life. Everyone should be reminded that, no matter their circumstances in life, they can experience moments that take them to the highest of heights, and that eliminate or at least lessen some of the disparities they feel and injustices they see around them.
Q: Can you provide 3-5 tips to help us cherish our special moments?
Mark Flagel: Take a moment, every day, to reflect on the positive. If you feel sad or angry or stressed out, pull out a photo album of your last family gathering or vacation. Then think about the next time you’ll be seeing family or good friends or celebrating a special occasion. Put your favorite music on, turn it up, and let it envelop you. Dance. Call someone close to hear the sound of their voice. Think about some of the simple things that add joy to your life.
Q: What do you believe prevents people from appreciating their special moments?
Mark Flagel: I don’t think of anything as preventing people from appreciating special moments. That said, life has a habit of knocking people down. The world is full of hardship and injustice. Difficulties can be suffocating, and the swirl of life can cause anyone to feel angst and sadness and stress. PEACH MOMENTS is really just a simple way for me to suggest a path to rise above and know that each and every one of us, despite the difficulties of life, can pull ourselves up to the highest heights of bliss, happiness and serenity.
Q: You’ve also written PRICE OF GOLD, a novel about the East German secret doping of its female athletes in the 1976 Olympics. Did you enjoy writing one more than the other? Do you prefer fiction over inspirational writing?
Mark Flagel: The books are very different, and I greatly enjoyed writing both. PRICE OF GOLD allowed me to fictionalize a very real and troubling doping story that I still feel has been largely and unfortunately overlooked. PEACH MOMENTS, on the other hand, allowed me to express a message of hope, optimism and egalitarianism, with emphasis on this last notion – that peach moments are great equalizers; they are for everyone, and allow everyone, regardless of circumstance, to reach the highest heights imaginable.
Q: You spent most of your life as a lawyer. What caused you to want to write?
Mark Flagel: Ever since I can remember wanting to be anything, I wanted to be a writer. I decided, though, early on, to focus on making a living first, so I chose law. It was a good choice for me, as I greatly enjoyed my 31 years as a practicing attorney. But the yearning to write things (other than legal stuff) never left, so I decided to pull the trigger and indulge that yearning.
Q: What’s next?
Mark Flagel: I’m considering building a website to allow people to post their own peach moments and comment on the peach moments of others. I’m also working on a book that’s tentatively titled “A Millennial Handbook”. Stay tuned on both fronts.
Q: Tell us about Mark Flagel. In a previous interview you said you like to play poker, walk and think, and spend time with your family. What special moments have you had recently that you’d like to share?
Mark Flagel: All those things are still true! I’ve been very blessed this past year to have taken some fun trips with family, to Galway and London and Paris and Berlin and good old Big Bear, California. There were many special moments, and I’ll share one. My older son is in the Army. My wife and I took him, three of his Army and one of his Navy buddies up to Big Bear just before Christmas. One evening we all sat around the dinner table, and I asked them if they were happy having chosen a path that will likely call on each of them to put their lives at risk defending our country. To a man, they didn’t blink, they didn’t flinch, and they each, with gleams in their eyes, said they couldn’t be happier or more proud and they couldn’t conceive of doing anything else. There were many reasons for the tears in my eyes at that moment. We are the free; they are the brave. I, too, could not have been more proud. It was a very special moment.
About Mark Flagel
Mark Flagel was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1958. Westminster, the neighborhood he was raised in, was a blue-collar, middle-class environment that did much to shape his future values. Flagel moved to Long Beach in 1974 before attending UCLA to study political science. He graduated magna cum laude in 1980 and went on to law school at UC Berkeley. He practiced law for thirty-one years before retiring in 2014 to pursue his lifelong passion of writing.
Peach Moments are the great equalizers. They’re the blissful, euphoric moments that can arise from love, achievement, beauty, a spiritual experience, and so many other, simple sources (including, for example, biting into a juicy, succulent peach on a hot summer day). No matter who we are or how much money we have, our Peach Moments can take us to the highest heights imaginable. No one—not your boss, not the millionaires or billionaires of the world, not the royal families or politicians of the world—has ever experienced a higher level of bliss than you did in your Peach Moments.
PEACH MOMENTS describes author Mark Flagel’s original “peach moment,” then alternates between observations regarding some of life’s mysteries and other Peach Moments from Mark’s life, as food for thought and to remind you of Peach Moments from your own life—those moments, there for every single one of us, that take us to a blissful, euphoric, serene state of mind.
Author Twitter: @peachmoments