I’ve gotten to know many sides of Joe Hefferon—author, news junkie, pithy commenter, wine connoisseur, and ex-cigar smoker.
He also has a self-deprecating sense of humor, which borders on the bizarre at times, but at the heart of it — the man is smart, very smart. And I have a thing for smart men.
Joe writes a terrific column for About.com called the Inspiring Women Series. He wrote a wonderful piece on me earlier this year. He’s interviewed many incredible women and offers a thoughtful perspective on each one. His articles are generous and well written.
If you get the feeling he likes women, you’d be right. Read his series and you’ll know what I mean.
I imagine Joe’s life experiences have shaped the man he is today. His responses to my questions reflect some world weariness, a bit of old-fashioned wisdom, and lastly—wonderment—a quality I greatly admire.
For these reasons, I think you’re going to enjoy learning more about Mr. Hefferon. I know I did.
Not Your Average Joe
Joe was in law enforcement for 25 years before he retired as captain, and is a single dad and father of two. He keeps his hand in law enforcement, teaching classes in Personal Safety and Recognizing Signs of Danger for corporate clients.
He is the author of the noir crime novel, The Sixth Session and a personal development book inspired by the principles of architecture called The Seventh Level.
Joe is currently working on a noir crime novel set in L.A. in 1965.
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In The Seventh Level, Joe breaks down the architectural process into seven fundamental steps from creativity to planning and best practices:
“I teach you how to follow the steps to reorganize your life or design that big project you’ve been putting off – to write a book, become a chef or open a small business. The premise is that you conceive of you and your mission in terms of a place – to be designed, built and maintained. I have peppered the book with dozens of quotes from interviews and the writings of architects. I ‘cross-apply’ their wisdom from the built world to personal growth. It’s a unique take on the subject matter and I’ve already gotten the attention of a few well-known architects who are curious to read how I portray their profession. It’s not a book about architecture but about how architects work.”
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Inside Joe’s Mind
[eden] Welcome Hef, and this is the only time I will call you that. Please tell readers what turns you on creatively.
[Joe] Good writing, old poetry, personal stories of triumph and sadness, black & white photography, classical music (sweeping romantic-era symphonies and adagios). I think writers see the bizarre or comic within that which is officious, but we also feel tragedy more deeply – it lingers in us. Oh and dark, red, chewy wine.
[eden] All wonderful, and because you’ve given me permission to share this … you are also smitten and inspired by the beautiful songstress, Lara Fabian. Afterall, you told me you’d crawl through broken glass just to do her laundry.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? From a writer’s perspective? Walking by someone in an airport who is reading my book and wiping away a tear. Otherwise, happiness is not perfect; it’s too subjective and so dictated by context it’s maddening. To come as close to perfection as possible would be to have many more happy times than unhappy ones, relatively speaking. This question made my cerebellum hurt.
[eden] This is a great answer. Your pain was worth it for me.
Do you overuse any words or phrases? Lately I’ve been saying ‘afflicted’ a lot. She’s afflicted with melodrama and he’s afflicted with yellow fever. I suppose I like the idea that too much of something you love can be debilitating or that sometimes emotions are something we are stricken with, as if it’s beyond our immediate control. I also say, “You betcha!” (I really don’t say that.)
What quality do you most admire in a man? humility
In a woman? serenity
What is your greatest regret? That I lacked the conviction to see things through when I was younger so I could understand accomplishment and fuel a desire to build upon it. I was always changing my mind about what I wanted to do or be, so I never accomplished anything.
[eden] 25 years in law enforcement? You’re too hard on yourself, Captain.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Fantasy? Be 15 years younger with the same brain. Reality? I’m finally happy with myself, so I wouldn’t change much right now, but I’d definitely work harder. Writing is a great job for lazy people.
[eden] I love your honesty, even if I disagree with you on the last part. ;)
What is your greatest fear? That my children will die before me.
Which living person do you most admire? It was my mother until she died last year. I haven’t found a suitable replacement. Although I could admire a man like Senator John McCain who was offered early release from a Vietnamese prison during the war but declined out of an obligation to a code of honor. Commander McCain just couldn’t allow himself to go home while men who were captured before him were still captive. That’s real balls. I also recently came to admire Diana Nyad, the 64-year-old who swam from Cuba to Florida. “Old Guys Rule” t-shirt sales must have spiked after that.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Late-night talk-show host, like Craig Ferguson.
[eden] I’d love to see this.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? “What”? You mean it doesn’t have to be a person? Or did you mean profession? I would come back as Catherine Deneuve’s personal masseur.
What is your greatest achievement? I’m still waiting to have a great one. Finishing two books was a great personal achievement in terms of seeing projects thru, so it’s given me a better perspective on ideas and ambitions going forward.
What trait do you most deplore in others? narcissism (he said, while writing about himself)
Your greatest extravagance? restaurants
What is one thing you want to do before you die? get an extension
[eden] Ha! Great answer.
Who is your favorite writer/musician/film director? Cormac McCarthy, with Joan Didion sliding in for the silver medal, but McCarthy is astonishing. Musician? Chet Atkins. Film director? I don’t have that movies category in my brain, but off the top of my head, whoever directed The Bourne Identity, Shakespeare in Love and/or North by Northwest.
What is your motto? Write drunk – edit sober.
[eden] I think your motto must be working for you, Joe. Thanks for answering my questions. I really enjoyed reading them.
Readers, please say “hi” to Joe, and connect to him on all his networks.
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