In 1990 Naomi Epel began interviewing writers for Dreamtalk, a radio program broadcast on KALX, Berkeley. Out of those interviews emerged her first book, Writers Dreaming (Vintage, 1993), an in-depth look into the unconscious minds of twenty seven major contemporary authors. The book explores how writers transform their dreams and nightmares into powerful prose.
In 1998 Naomi published The Observation Deck: A Tool Kit For Writers (Chronicle, 1998) a further exploration of the creative process, organized to help writers at every skill level move from vague idea to finished product.
Naomi was able to gather much of the information for both books because of her unique position as a San Francisco literary escort. For ten years she has spent several hours a day conversing with successful writers as she drove them to radio and TV shows throughout the Bay Area.
As co-host of Booktalk on San Francisco radio station KALW, Naomi interviewed scientists, writers, politicians, and artists in search of the secrets of their success.
Naomi's interviewing skills were honed in the field of market research, working for Lester & Partners and Taylor Research. She has asked farmers about potato diseases, chefs about mushrooms, dentists about alloys, and heart surgeons about catheters.
Naomi employed these same skills during the time she spent as a private investigator with the firm of Ermachild and Simon. Working in criminal defense, she learned to track down powerful people and to ask sensitive questions. Her cases ranged from attempted murder to conspiracy to defraud.
In 1979, after working at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UCSD and The San Diego Zoo, Naomi left a career in research genetics to pursue her fascination with the human mind. She joined the staff of St. George Homes, a residential treatment center for schizophrenic adolescents and one of the country's leading dreamwork institutions. There she worked with Jeremy Taylor and Strephon Williams who were pioneering in the use of art, drama and ritual for the treatment of mental illness.
After leaving St. George, Naomi opened a private practice as a hypnotherapist and dreamwork facilitator helping healthy adults achieve their fullest potential.
In 1989, Naomi began working as a literary escort. Since that time, hundreds of contemporary writers, artists, scientists, and musicians have spent hours sharing the secrets of their profession in the privacy of her red convertible.
In August of 1990 Naomi had a dream which led to the creation of Writers Dreaming. The image of an artist working in a basement room helped Naomi see the value of the interviews she had been collecting and gave her permission to take the time to turn these interviews into a book.
A conversation with publisher Helene Silver led to the idea of The Observation Deck. In trying to create a workbook/dream journal Naomi realized that she could not ask people to do what she couldn't do herself - she could never write in bound journals or workbooks for fear of making a mess. Naomi realized she needed a way to give assignments that people would actually do instead of just reading about them. As an old Jungian, she understood the power of synchronicity, and so, came up with the notion of cards.
Naomi created a deck of 3X5 cards to help jump start her own writing. She then began organizing what she'd learned through interviews and research, placing her notes in manila folders. Fifty cards and fifty chapters were the result.
Naomi spends much of her time traveling around the country, giving talks and workshops on writing, dreams, and creativity.
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