Howdy, Peeps! Welcome to the third interview in this blog series. Thank you all so much for following and getting to know these authors through their interviews. Today, our special guest is Kyle Ferlemann.
I have to tell you all that Kyle fascinated me. I’m somewhat of a conspiracy theorist so when Kyle told me he a Freemason, I got a little itchy. Then our conversation went down several different roads… mostly because I’m nosey. I can’t even post the entire interview because it would make the blog too long. Now here I am taking up more space explaining all this.
Welcome, Kyle. Thanks for your willingness to be interviewed.
K: Thanks for the invitation to connect.
Tell me about your Kansas ties. Did you grow up here?
K: I was raised in the Flint Hills of Kansas and forests of Missouri. I traveled a lot as a child but the years I spent in the mid-west kept calling me back. I moved here in 1973 and despite a life of travel, I have never been able to stay away very long.
Ah! The Flint Hills. You definitely lived in one of the most beautiful areas the states has to offer. At what point did you know you wanted to write?
K: I was a professional technical writer for the US Army for years and enjoyed the work. I began writing on my own subjects in 2009. I am a relatively new author of seven years or so.
Interesting! What is the title of the first book you published?
K: My first formally published work was the Bridge Builder’s Guide. It is a description of the lessons and lesson plans of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. It focuses on personal ethics and the traditional and ritualistic forms of self-development found in the Masonic traditions of the 17th through the 19th centuries.
Doubly interesting. There is much speculation of Freemasonry. I’ve done some reading on it myself. Are the Freemasons as scary as what many people believe they are?
K: People are scary, some people are Masons.
The Masons are not as scary as the media makes us out to be. In fact, many men that come to Masonry, to learn about the “scary stuff”, are sorely disappointed.
Religiously speaking, what do Masons believe?
Masons believe in God. We come from all denominations and do not require a member to be of any one denomination. Masonry is not a religion or even a belief system; that is the role of the church. We are a fraternity that teaches morality, equality, and social justice. Specifically, Masonry provides time-honored mental tools for thinking clearly, independently, and without social bias.
When did your interest with Freemasonry begin?
K: I joined Masonry about 25 years ago and have enjoyed it immensely. The lessons of ethics and wisdom are timeless and completely applicable to the modern world. I have spent years in study and have discovered fantastic truths so incredible I no longer even speak of them. No one believes me as the truth is too strange for most people to accept.
Sounds enthralling. Truly. The old saying ~Truth is stranger than fiction ~ became a cliché for a reason.
It appears you prefer non-fiction above all.
K: I work mostly in non-fiction teaching books. I concentrate on real world information
because I prefer to write about ways of subduing fear and achieving self-mastery through self-recognition, knowledge, and empowerment. Many authors place the reader in the situation of a fictional character. I prefer to place the reader in their own situation. It is not nearly as popular but it is more effective when leading people to themselves.
Well, many professionals in the self-help field certainly support the idea of a person imagining their success… playing it out in their mind. Are you working on something now? A new project or book?
K: My current project is a description of the National Response Framework. It is part of a series on disaster response. One book is about the federal government’s role and the methods they play in disaster response. A second is on the role of regions, States, and local responders concentrating on the Incident Command System. The third book in the series is about how individuals can make effective and affordable plans for themselves and their family.
May I ask what national disasters you used as an example in your work? Did you mention Katrina?
K: There are many that are referenced in my work. I was present at Katrina, the 1993 Mississippi floods in Kansas, as well as numerous tornados and snowstorms. Some of the more significant ones I have studied are the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, the Watts Riots and the Rodney King riots, Wounded Knee, Three Mile Island, and the attack on the Bonus Marchers in Washington DC during the Hoover administration, just to name a few.
Where were you specifically during Katrina? What did you witness?
K: I was at Belle Chase Naval Air Station and served as the lead administrative officer (G-1) of the Division HQ that oversaw the coordination of 24 thousand National Guard Soldiers and Airmen who responded to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I was also the lead military liaison for the US Postal Services in the effort to stand up postal operations for the public and the relief effort. I witnessed incredible devastation over hundreds of square miles. I also witnessed heroic efforts on the part of people to do the right thing and help in any way they could. I saw a few mean and graphic things but they were exceptions to the rule.
I honestly can’t even imagine. We drove through Joplin weeks after the tornado hit there and I’ll never forget it. As awful as it was, I know it’s impossible for it to compare to the aftermath of Katrina. With that said, I know the tragedy is the same for the victims who’ve lost everything.
Where else have your travels carried you?
K: I have traveled the world, Central America and the jungles and rivers of Guatemala, Belize, and “points south”, most of Europe including Germany, England, France, and much of southern Europe (Balkans), all across the Pacific Rim, Thailand, Japan, and other posts, and of course northern Asia, Iraq, Turkey, Israel, the Greek Islands and Crete, (and some other interesting destinations). I have a lifetime of interesting tales of both humor and woe.
Okay, you can’t stop there! Though I’m growing more envious by the second. I realize the mere fact you’ve been to all of these places is amazing. What kind of stories did you come away with?
K: I have lived a life of travel and adventure (really, Mayan ruins and all). Low flights under watchful radar with only the light of the moon to guide us, secret missions, diplomatic runs, and even a sword fight (which are not fun and really terrifying and unpleasant even when you win). I have been knighted (much to my surprise) and have even been a guest of a Vatican supper (in a far off mission away from Rome). Looking back on it, it all seemed like a day’s work at the time, but relating it now my travels sound so much more exotic. I don’t delude myself, many a soul have traveled the world to great adventure. I’m no different than any of them, but so grateful to have been one of them.
Wow! Your modesty runs deep! Please put those experiences out into the world! It would be a tragedy to not tell your story to the fullest. I know I need to get back to the basics… but, were these travels done through the military or the Masonry?
K: Here is where things get hard for me. Much of what I have seen and done is not fodder for the telling of tales. I have channeled that experience into lessons learned for people to use in the case of future disasters. But for the curious out there what I can say is this, after training and preparation is complete, after orders are issued and ammo is distributed there is a small window of time when you are moving to the assignment.
Aha! Military. Keep going.
K: I should note that this is not true of patrols and convoys where battle mind is set prior to departure from your Start Point. But when you have to cover a great distance, across the water or over mountains and you have to travel to get there. Then there is a moment.
This movement time gives you a chance to stop thinking and just feel. You don’t fret over details because at that point you’re either ready or you’re not. You pull your straps tight and feel the wind rush through the doors of the helicopter; you listen to the engines of the air craft and let the vibrations hum through your chest, or let your body find the rhythm of the road as your vehicle lopes towards God knows what. You know at a certain point the situation will tell you it’s time to set your battle mind, but before you go there you just feel the moment. Anxiety lets go and you let the calm in. That place in your mind that lets you see everything at once and the confidence in your training takes over. You know what to do. The certainty of it defines your existence. It is not turning into a machine, far from it, it is being fully alive. Then you are ready to meet whatever comes before you. A person could go their entire life and never be as sure of anything as you are in that moment of clarity. Once you have known it you crave it; to be alive and without doubt. That is the difference between an adrenaline junky and a warrior. Where the adrenaline junky lives for the moments during and after to feel alive, the warrior IS alive in the moments before.
It is a similar experience in seeking the mysteries. Let me assure you, the mysteries do exist. In my Masonic and esoteric travels, I have seen many things of wonder. I had to go far to find them for myself as you will not discover them at the local Lodge. But this is for certain; the world is full of wonders that are beyond belief. When I say beyond belief I do not mean that are not to be believed but rather that the certainty of them is indisputable. Again, that certainty is empowering.
There is another thing that is certain. This kind of knowledge, from the feeling of entering battle mind to the discovery of Divine truth, cannot be given, it must be found. There are things that cannot be taught, they can only be learned. You will not believe this until you know a feeling or a truth that cannot be spoken.
And that is a wonderful note to end on.
Thank you for your time, Kyle. It was a pleasure speaking with you!
K: Thank you!