Today on Journey of a Frontman, I give to you my interview with author, creative mastermind, and metalhead, Kenneth Suna!
Describe the experience of going after your wrestling dream.
I was three years old when I saw Hogan body slam Andre “The Giant.” I knew I wanted to be a pro wrestler from that moment. Flash forward fifteen years and I’m off to a wrestling training center in Andover, MA to realize my dream. After several training sessions I realized that for many reasons, including a shattered vertebrae after slamming onto a cement floor, becoming a pro wrestler wasn’t in my cards. Heartbroken, I packed my bags and headed home.
For nearly fifteen years that dream had occupied my thoughts. But in an odd way, the sciatica I intermittently experience is a reminder that you should go after your dream. My injury is empowering rather than a negative reminder of my failure, because at least I tried. Most people only fantasize about pursuing their dreams.
What made you want to write a book?
I thought it’d take me a few months to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. After four months of sitting on my ass, I realized I wouldn’t get anywhere sitting around. I went into every retail establishment in my neighborhood until I found a job.
My experience in the restaurant business was life changing. I learned about people from different walks of life—people who shared studio apartments with five or six people. I learned about management— good and bad. I learned how to stand up for myself and how to read people.
Initially, I emailed my mom each evening’s crazy restaurant story. I wondered if these stories were worth sharing with a larger audience. Blogs weren’t as big as they are now. A book seemed like the logical way to share my experience.
What is the most important lesson that you learned from the entire book writing and releasing process?
Be patient. There is always a way to get things done, even if it’s not the traditional route. I wanted my book released through a publishing house but after sending hundreds of query letters and receiving hundreds of rejections, I decided to explore other options instead of becoming discouraged and giving up.
I self-published, which was a trial. But we learn from every experience, good or bad. The best thing about failing or having a challenging experience is that you figure out how to fix it the next time.
For those who have yet to read it, describe what your book is about.
It’s a Miracle They Ain’t Dead Yet is an exposé that chronicles my three years in the restaurant industry. It’s funny, upsetting, frustrating, and gross. The biggest takeaway, I think, is managements’s abusive treatment of their employees.
Since creativity flows like the air there and since you have been there, what does New York City mean to you?
New York City is the greatest city in the world. The first thing I do when I step off Amtrak is stop and inhale. That place is empowering—there’s something about the vibrancy of that city that makes one feel indestructible. I’ll take in a dramatic play,
visit interesting exhibits, and walk the neighborhoods. The Central Park Lake near 72nd St is my place. I get an iced coffee and just sit and people watch. You can be around several hundred people and still disappear and be alone at the same damn time.
Which bands/musicians have you seen live?
I’m not a live music guy. I’ve been to a few of those radio station shows where every band in the world performs. I’ve seen Rage Against the Machine, Green Day, The Offspring, Slipknot, Our Lady Peace, and others. But the truth is, they were all at this one show spread out over three days.
Which bands/musicians do you often recommend to friends?
Metallica. Greatest band in the history of the world. I listen to all sorts of music, though. Recently, I’m into a band I stumbled upon on Spotify called Little Man Tate. I like Langhorne Slim and The Law. My go to, though, is metal. Black Label Society, Motorhead. That sort of stuff.
What do you have to say to those who want to go after their dreams?
Do it. You don’t want to turn fifty and look back and say, “Oh man. I could have been a professional wrestler.” Wondering if you could have done it will kill you. But don’t push yourself before you’re ready. Sometimes we need to mature a bit. But here’s the other side to that — sometimes you can wait too long; you need a kick in the ass to get moving before it’s too late.
What is your advice to those who want to get into the restaurant business?
I’d ask: Why? Is it something you’re passionate about? If you say you just want money, I’d be worried that you won’t get everything you can out of the experience. There’s a lot you can learn about yourself and others in this business, but you have to keep your ears and eyes open and see who is being taken advantage of and why. You have to internalize that there is something inherently wrong with the way certain people are treated. And then you have to do something about it. Empower people to stand up for themselves or stand up for them. Be the voice of the voiceless if you can. It will teach you a lot.
You will also learn to multi-task, a trait that will serve you well in any industry.
Are you working on any new books?
My usual response is, “Nothing in the works right now, I’m just writing for Primer Magazine.” But I am working on a new book. I just wanted to make sure it didn’t suck before I got ahead of myself and told everyone about it. Now that I’ve hired an editor who seems to like it, I can tell you that I am, in fact, working on a new book.
The book is about a man who suffers from a visual disorder which causes hallucinations. It puts a strain on his family, causing his wife to leave him. As he begins to lose his grip on reality, the reader is left to discern between real or imaginary events.