- Guest Author -
Welcome to an interview conducted with an aspiring author and US Marine.
Welcome, Kevin ...
1. Tell us about you and what you do.
My name is Kevin Klein, I am from Long Island, New York and I am a United States Marine and aspiring author/journalist.
2. What was the happiest moment of your life?
I’d have to say playing a game that my father named “Onco Bronco” when we were small children which consisted of my two older brothers and I, wrestling him to his back. We’d get carried away every time guaranteed, but being playful with my siblings seeing how happy it made my dad, that nostalgic feeling thinking back to playing Onco Bronco wraps up the feeling of my childhood. The good times.
3. What was the saddest moment?
The saddest moment, which was also a happy moment, was humping to the field on Boot Camp for our last training event before we were handed our Eagle, Globe and Anchor. On the hike, it was very quiet. We weren’t allowed to talk, and were carrying a lot of weight. It made me think of how close I was to coming home, and the lyric “got some things to talk about, here beside the rising tide” which is a Grateful Dead lyric that my father would always say to me. I was so excited to finish boot camp, because I knew me and my father had ‘some things to talk about’.
4. What surprised you most?
One huge surprise in my life, was the resilience of friendship. While in Tokyo with a close buddy of mine, we were out late as the sun was rising. We ended up getting into a scuffle over something very trivial and I thought then our friendship was over. I woke up three hours later to meet up with my local friends, and woke him up as well to come with me. We laughed about our fight as soon as we got to the subway and were more excited to hang out together in that moment than we were with our local friends. True friendship never wades, but only grows.
Me and my brothers as kids
5. What was your greatest disappointment?
Being a child with adult ideas, and being underestimated because of my age at the time. The lack of faith in younger adults and children to be inspiring is one function of our worldview is something I’d love to see evolve. Having to wait to be older to voice the same opinions and ideas I had years earlier was very disheartening to me.
6. Who did you misjudge? Why?
I misjudged myself, in terms of what I could accomplish during my late teens. I always compared myself to those around me, and not those I did not know. I didn’t know how else to gauge myself. By growing up in such a diverse area, it was hard to feel that I stood out, or how to. But by leaving my home, I realized how blessed I was from school and my environment that nurtured my character and inhibitions.
7. What or who was your biggest challenge?
My own temper. I normally had bouts with a bad temper, and with my pride. Especially by being in the military and being tested for years straight by people completely unlike me, and the challenge to overcome pride and anger was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do.
8. What has been your biggest regret?
Not taking school more seriously at a young age. Due to the thought of graduating high school being so far away when my attention started going in other directions, I didn’t realize how my efforts would slowball into the next year, and the one after that. By the time I took school seriously in 11th grade, it was too late to make a turn-around. I made up for this by joining the military, and taking college classes online and on base to revitalize my GPA so that I can attend a respectable University once I leave Active Duty.
9. What would be your dying comment? Why?
I’d say to be happy when times are tough, because whether you’re happy or sad in those times, the environment in which you suffer through those times won’t change. But your perspective can open new doors, whereas a poor attitude cannot change something that already happened. So, people might as well be happy, because it’s between that and feeling sorry for themselves which is no fun.
10. Who or what stunned you the most?
I was stunned to realize how easy Boot Camp was. I joined the Marine Corps partially to prove to myself that I could do it. My first day I realized how easy it was going to be, which made the rest of it easier because I knew that I’d be okay.
My sister with Malala Yousafzai
11. What would you like written on your tombstone? Why?
“Died a person”, because I believe being alive doesn’t constitute for being a person. Some people are disappointing, hateful, and unhelpful. It takes a lot of courage to be a person, and a lot of effort to be cruel.
12. Who would you rather have not met? Why?
There is no one that I wish that I had not have met, because life is a series of circumstances that lead us ultimately to where we need to be, or where we end up whether good or bad. And it’s on us to manipulate our situations to our benefit, because we’re our own biggest supporter. Had I not met the terrible people in my life, I would not have realized how strong my will to survive and succeed is. I’m rather thankful to everyone, whether good or bad.
13. Who were you most envious of? Why?
My cousin Zach. He was good at everything. He played the drums, bass, electric guitar, ran fast, got ‘the girl’, and was excelled in any sport, in music, he was strong and people respected him right off the bat. I envied those things in him and learned most of who I am now from having him in my life as a child.
14. Who did you forgive – for doing something you never thought you’d forgive?
Myself, for being an awful child to my parents when I was 14-16. I was evil, and caused my mother the greatest pain. But by knowing that I have the rest of her years to repay her, I learned to forgive myself because I had a lifetime to show gratefulness to her.
15. What was your greatest moment in your life?
When my sister got back from college her first summer. I drew a calendar on my wall with a crayon and made an X for every day that passed until she got home. It marked the day that my family returned to being complete. I will always hold on to that feeling, of being complete.
16. What is your greatest achievement?
Beating my dad in one match of tennis. Boot Camp and finishing my first novel by the age of 15 was easy compared to that. I haven’t beaten him since. It’s been 5 years.
17. What personal traits would you like to have in your next life?
To be a slick-talker. My opinions and convictions don’t allow me most often to smooth over people to get them to do what I wish them to do without sounding demanding or rude. I always envied that business man that could sway an opponent to something without them realizing what they were actually agreeing to.
18. What advice would you give to world leaders?
To do away with pride. It is the strongest ill of mankind. The ability to reason enables the capability to progress. Once we understand that facts, compassion, and reason integrated into a single conviction, we can do away with greed, inequality, and misrepresentation because we will have evolved into greater leaders.
Me and my oldest brother
19. What advice would you give to parents today?
To always know that their kid loves them, no matter the circumstance. Even if they lost contact with their kid, above all, they are still loved even if they do not know how to or refuse to show it. Because of this, never lose hope in your children by losing hope in yourself if you think you have failed.
20. Who would you choose to be stuck on a desert island with?
Regina Spektor. She’s an incredible artist, and seems like she is very fun and uplifting. I can tell through her music what kind of person she is, and she’s hilarious. I’d cross my fingers out of fear of the possibility that she’s not very cool at all. Then I’d probably wish to hang out with my buddy Josh instead and make fun of each other until we run out of fish and coconuts.
21. Have any heroes? Why? Who?
My sister. She’s always been a role model to me and has never wavered. By always bettering herself, it pushes me further to better myself to keep up and to impress her. I’m the youngest and she’s the oldest, (wisest) between us four siblings, so there’s always a gap to catch up with. She keeps me motivated to always do better and to strive for more.
22. What are the greatest legacies you will leave behind?
Hopefully my imprint on media and journalism one day. I want to do so many things, I also don’t want to limit myself to just that. Like my sister was to me, I wish for my legacy to inspire others to lead in their own ways through my example. I suppose that would be swell.
23. What’s lacking in the world today?
Manors and education. Call me old-fashioned, but these two together can get a person far in life. It seems every generation people lose manors or respect for others. This is terrible, because it rolls into our leaders’ values and character. If we can respect each other, and be educated, we can build a better cohesive society.
24. Any pearls of wisdom for the rest of us?
To never second guess yourself. If you feel passionate about something, pursue it- because it’s probably something you’re meant to do. Never waver, and always continue to move forward. Never back.
25. What would be the last sentence you ever write?
“And it all continues”. Because life after my last piece of literature will definitely continue after, and everything in life is certain in the fact that “it goes on”. – Robert Frost.
26. What inspired you most?
Experiencing how friendly and kind Okinawans are. Though they live with little, they have such big hearts. This inspired me to think on a more worldly scale, and how our attitudes effect people’s actions.
27. Who or what made you laugh the most?
My oldest brother. Every time I see him, I end up crying from laughing so hard to that point that I can’t breathe. He’s the funniest person I know. Sorry to my buddies, my other brother and sister, it was a close call.
28. What would be your top three chosen careers in your next life?
Astronomy, Law, and Physics.
29. What is your prime focus in life today?
Finishing my book, getting out of the military and moving to Europe to study abroad.
30. Do you have any fear of doing something wrong?
No, because the only way we are able to grow is by doing the wrong thing. If we succeed every time, we will never attain our true potential.
31. If or when you reflect on your past, can you identify any world events that you believe had a significant impact on you?
Not an event in my lifetime, but learning about the monks that burned themselves in Tiananmen Square out of protest of Communist rule in Beijing. To believe so much in something to sacrifice your life out of activism is something that I hold dear going into journalism. I think that if you’re not ready to give your life to a cause that you wholeheartedly believe in, than it might not be worth fighting for.
32. Do you think one can live a purposeful life without knowing the meaning of life?
Yes. I think the meaning of life is irrelevant in terms of relative success and happiness. We are already here, so there shouldn’t be a reason to discredit our significance within our own world out of ignorance of what made us or why we’re here. I think because we’re here, nothing else matters. Since our world exists, we have a responsibility to our planet and to our communities.
33. From your perspective - what is the way forward for the world?
Doing away with greed, because that is truly the cause of a deteriorating world. Man made pollution is harming our environments, along with keeping practices or businesses afloat for the sake of profit even though they may very well be causing inequality and suffrage. We need to find purpose again in leadership and revitalize the say of the people and listen more closely to what scholars and scientists advise.
34. Imagine that you were given a chance to live again, what will you do first and what will you do differently?
Jump straight into reading more, and taking more academic opportunities. I would take school more seriously, and I would also live more freely in my personal life and loosen up earlier on. I learned recently that life isn’t all that serious, and people tend to make things a bigger deal than they need to be. Go for the first kiss, sing when you want to, and go for your goals. Be bold. That’s what I’d tell myself to do differently.
35. Do you have a bucket list? Tell us more.
Visit Machu Picchu, hike Mt. Everest, see all my favorite artists in concert, become an Oxford man, and to have made a great example to my kids I will have in the future.
36. Any great claims to fame?
It’s my unrelenting determination and hopeless will to change the world one day.
37. Anything you’d like to add?
I’d like to add how grateful I am to Clancy Tucker for giving me this opportunity to reach his following and share my insight. This even helped me better appreciate how far I’ve come by looking back and looking to the future. I’m always interested in further getting in touch with the writing community, and welcome any networking from other writers and feedback from readers. Thank you for having me, and please, follow your goals!
Clancy's comment: Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed in your busy schedule, Kevin. Keep writing. Finish that book and keep going.