About Peter Ferko
Peter Ferko is an author who draws on lifelong pursuits in yoga, art, and music. His novel Wally and Kali is a poignant, funny, sexy tale of love and family all set in the realm of New York City's vibrant yoga scene.
Peter lives and works with fellow yogiraj, Wendy Newton, their ever-amusing dog, Mica, and the cat formerly known as Prince. Their son Chris makes delicious food for the folks in Maine.
What’s going on…
JOIN ME On the yoga front:
- Come to class at ISHTA Yoga.
- Keep up to date by joining the mailing list at The Table.
- Come for a private lesson or tune-up. Email me at peter at peterferko.com.
- Peter is teaching in the 300-hr teacher ISHTA Yoga Training in Manhattan this fall! Training is a transformative way to deepen your understanding of yoga, whether or not you want to teach.
On the writing front:
- Wally and Kali is for sale at Amazon.com.
- Peter's next novel, Incarnation is underway.
- Peter's short story collection, Black Hole of the Heart is underway.
About Wally and Kali:
When Wally looks for the path to love, he finds a naked yogini, a smiling guru, and a ruthless goddess lighting the way. Wally can't figure out how to transcend his life-long string of not quite right relationships. His latest mismatch introduces him to yoga, and while she's soon gone, Wally is hooked and books a vacation at an ashram. There Molly, naked and 20 years old, befriends him, then confounds his fatherly inclination toward her with a profession of love. But it’s Molly’s mom, Jane who ends up taking Wally to the altar. Life is bliss for Jane and Wally; for Jane's teenage son Dink; and even for Molly, who is surprised by her attraction to another girl. Havoc ensues when Dink's girlfriend leaves him, and he falls under the torturous spell of unrequited desire, a torment reflected in an intertwined tale in the language of his job at the comic book store. Walt finds the challenge around this new kind of relationship — that with a son — the darkest he’s ever faced, and the whole family is pulled in. Enter Kali, goddess of transformation. A joyful guru gets Dink to yoga class, and a tantric yogini-- or is she a goddess?-- takes the entire family on an unexpected journey.
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This book was one of the most enjoyable reads ever, for me. I lean toward the classics when it comes to fiction. Wally and Kali is really brilliantly written. There is a beautiful rhythm and flow to Peter Ferko's writing. His characters are so fully constructed; the world he creates in this book completely enveloped me and I didn't want to leave it. I couldn't wait to return to it. I can't wait to read his future books.
—Commenter on Amazon.com
Latest Blog Posts
Promises or suggestions or affirmations that you’ll always have joy, you’ll get what you want, you’ll be famous, students will love you, bloggers will quote you, money will pour in, you’ll accomplish a yoga posture, or your prose will be poetry are so much wishful thinking. Don’t get me wrong, the opposite — to be defeated, to be gloomy, to give up, to speak pessimistically — is, of course, just as bad.
So if affirming and giving up are both bad, is there a third way? In sanskrit, it’s called samtosha, which could be translated as ‘contentment.’ English translations of sanskrit often fall short, so let’s add some nuance to this idea of ‘contentment’ as samtosha by looking from its two extremes.
- One extreme: Contentment could be seen as accepting that nothing’s going to change, so just resign yourself to what is. But that interpretation lets you off the hook from doing the hard work that is in front of you (there’s always hard work in front of everybody). To be content is to try to stay balanced while doing that. The hard work is sometimes physical, but more often, it’s emotional, like letting go of hurt feelings. Those might be feelings of not getting what you want or deserve; or being overlooked, under appreciated, or even misjudged. Contentment equals carrying on when you’d rather give up; and ultimately getting less worked up over everything.
- The other extreme: Contentment could be seen as altering your perception of the way things are. My teacher, Alan Finger, caricatures someone in this mode with palms together, bowing to ducks and butterflies and peace and love — in other words, living in a dream of a perfect world. When talking about people who imagine only blue skies, one of my favorite teachers, Mark Whitwell, once commented,” If you’re not mad [at what's going on in the world], you’re not paying attention.” Contentment is accepting a world that contains both dark and light — the world as it actually is.
Putting it all together, then, rather than affirm, give up, or delude, practice staying balanced and gracefully work on what is in your realm of possibility to do. You won’t believe what happens next: contentment.
We must confess that we cannot provide an unequivocal definition of those products from which the age takes its name, the feuilletons. They seem to have formed an uncommonly popular section of the daily newspapers, were produced by the millions, and were a major source of mental pabulum for the reader in want of culture. They reported on, or rather “chatted” about, a thousand-and-one items of knowledge.
- from Magister Ludi: the Glass Bead Game, 1943, by Hermann Hesse
I started re-reading this Nobel Prize-winning novel, because the idea of the Glass Bead Game keeps coming up in my inner conversations about the nature of creation itself — why is there a universe; is it a great game? When I read the above introductory section of Hesse’s utopian novel, I was struck with how much his feuilletons, which can be translated as ‘serial writings,’ had gone from the newspaper articles of his time to the blogosphere of today, where they are going strong.
In this 1943 book, the author of Siddhartha and Steppenwolf contemplates a move away from the cult of personality toward greater rationality, no doubt in response to World War II in Europe, which raged between 1938 and 1945. The quote above is from his background history of the fictional glass bead game, and in it, Hesse struggles to find a reason why both the public and the writers and scholars of the time participated in the “pabulum,” of what would now be called ‘blogging’ and could include all other social media expressions.
As an intellectual, whose book ultimately affirms the value of individuality tempered by rationality, Hesse doesn’t criticize writing; instead he wonders why this writing. He provides a couple guesses. One is that there’s some kind of hidden “irony and self-mockery”* that his age (era) doesn’t have the key for, the irony including the superficial nature of the information shared and appreciated. An alternative reason, he postulates, is that the people are so traumatized by their modern lives, that they need to escape, “to close their eyes and flee from unsolved problems and anxious forebodings of doom into an imaginary world as innocuous as possible.”*
I find this food for thought on so many fronts:
- why are we so content to have no quiet time;
- why do we spend time looking at selfies and videos of people doing yoga instead of practicing;
- why do we spend so many hours in front of non-fiction entertainment watching “all these grotesque things with credulous earnestness”;*
- am I of an age (generationally) that doesn’t have the key to appreciate the irony of current expression;
- will the cream of the blogs ultimately rise to the top or will they be buried under the sheer volume of well-marketed pabulum;
- should one be complicit with the trend (shout among the din) or buck it (trust in an alternate platform)?
I know so many brilliant people striving in the midst of this situation for an experience that transcends it. Hesse points out a stumbling block to trying to participate: “…citizens of the age (who were still deeply attached to the notion of culture, although it had long since been robbed of its former meaning)…”*
I’m looking forward to reading on and following the utopians on their pendulum swing back toward some middle ground; I’m trusting it will give me hope for a quieter, creamier, less pabulum-esque social discourse.
*Quotes are all excerpts from pages 11-13 of the Bantam paperback edition, 1986
ISHTA Yogiraj and founder Alan Finger likens the reality to more of a bargain: you get x% and the universe gets y%. In non-math terms, life is going to hand you circumstances — some overarching, some small — and your job is to use affirmation or whatever plan you have (hopefully yoga), to meet the circumstance with wisdom and grace.
So it’s not that you can’t have what you want or you can have what you want, but rather, as you’re giving it your best, you can see with clarity and act with an eye toward transcending the circumstances to find contentment. That’s independence.
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, you just might find
You get what you need
~ Mick Jagger & Keith Richards