BookLife Talks with Yvon Milien
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'The Rhythm of My Life'
Milien’s journey from Haiti, where he was born, to his current work as a teacher with multiple degrees is chronicled in his debut memoir, The Rhythm of My Life.
Why did you decide to write your memoir?I had no intention to write any memoirs, but providence forced me to do so. I have faced delays, denials, frustrations, isolation, failure, betrayals, affronts from friends, and the premature loss of loved ones many times. My experiences were a mix of the sad and the tragic. I had to develop values to survive and support myself in my everyday actions. Providence made me aware that the only way to escape was to develop my inner strength. My motive for writing my memoirs was simple. Since many are struggling with problems similar to mine and desire to solve their issues and achieve peace of mind, I have documented my sour, spicy life to share with others the methodology I used to deal with my dilemmas. Providence persuaded me to see writing my memoirs as a fantastic way to inspire others.
Who do you think is your ideal reader and why?
Barbara Bamberger Scott at the US Review of Books said that my book will be “especially interesting to fellow immigrants who have chosen America as their new home,” and Aaron Washington at Pacific Book Review said, “I recommend [Milien’s book] to readers who enjoy motivational and spiritual books.” I agree with both of them. I will add that my ideal reader would be anyone who is currently struggling with problems and who genuinely desires to make life an adventure rather than a sentence. My memoirs offer a perspective on dealing with difficulties and external malevolence.
Writing a memoir means a lot of reflecting on your life's journey. If you could give your past self one piece of advice, what would it be?Readers have noticed in The Rhythm of My Life that I always knew tomorrow had better opportunities than today, and so I was patient enough to witness what the future held when things became tough. I would advise myself to keep using adversity and external malevolence as opportunities to build up inner strength.
How did you determine what made it into the book? Did you cut anything that you would have liked to include?
My main goal was to demonstrate how providence taught me to tune into the rhythm of the fires that the winds of destiny blew into my life.
What is the one thing you most want to tell readers about you or The Rhythm of My Life?
Destiny created circumstances that required me to develop severe discipline and sacrifice to survive, which inspired me to write a book that champions perseverance and positivity. It was a challenging experience for me, especially when I was writing about the painful chapters in my life. During many nights, my mind recoiled in disgust from the weakness of the heart and tried to discourage me from continuing to write. But when I remembered that I was writing this book for my own highest good, as well as for the good of others, I overcame my depression.