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Interview: Selwyn Mills, Author of Confessions of a Color-Blind House Painter

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Selwyn Mills served an apprenticeship in decorative painting before starting his own business in 1956, which lasted until his retirement in 1992. Dr. Mills worked as a craftsman painter, wrote for the National Paint Journal, served as President of the National Painting Contractor Association in Nassau County, New York, and taught faux painting. While painting professionally, Dr. Mills earned his doctorate in psychology and operated a successful private psychotherapy practice.

Dr. Mills practiced psychotherapy in Great Neck N.Y. for 25 years, specializing in couples therapy, family reconciliation and Men in Transition groups. His psychotherapy practice overlapped his 40-year career as a decorative painting contractor. He painted in the mornings and counseled patients in the afternoon and evenings. His research into the left/right brain phenomenon, and its impact of personality development, led to a unique discovery of why opposites attract. Active in theater, he wrote and produced a musical comedy called Love Torment and Lollipops. An accomplished photographer, his black and white prints are part of the permanent collection of the Bibliotech Nationale in Paris. He currently works at the Sugden Theater in Naples, Florida as director of faux painting. Mills married in 1949 at the age of 19 and has four children and four grandchildren.

Selwyn Mills’ latest book is the autobiography, Confessions of a Color-Blind House Painter.

Readers can learn more about Dr. Mills and his work by visiting his website

Please tell us a bit about your book and what you hope readers take away from reading it.

Each chapter  deals with some special personal experience in my life that I believe at some level is shared by many. The issues portrayed deal intimately with my feelings of doubt and challenge and the way I attempt to resolve them through acknowledgement and pursuit of solutions. The old proverb , Change the things you can change, accept the things you cannot change and develop the wisdom to know the difference, a phrase never used in the book but never-the-less is an underlying theme of the book. As simple as this is, it is very profound when applied with true precision. The trump card is the word “Wisdom” which cannot be taught but can be acquired by persistent vigilance to moral choices. It is in fact a tool to establish sane balance in life.

What are your favorite aspects of writing?

Expressing meaningful ideas in concise form.

Your least favorite aspects of writing?

The time it takes to find just the right word.

Who are some of your favorite authors/books?

Vince Flynn, Allen Wheelis, Sheldon Kopp, Mark Steyn

What are you reading right now?

The Cold War, by John Lewis Gaddis, Treason of the Heart, David Pryce Jones

If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors – dead or alive – who would they be and what would you serve them?

Erich Fromm, Dennis Prager, Shelby Steele, Sheldon Kopp, Carl Rogers.

Grilled Grouper with Pesto, Stuffed cabbage with Balsamic Rice, served with coconut garlic sauce….Desert: Keylime pie with whipped low calorie cream.

What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?

Staring at the Sun…Overcoming the terror of Death by Irvin D. Yalom

This book is a dissertation on the denial of death by a brilliant psychiatrist written with unusual candor and compassion.

What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?

Adversity and disappointment are opportunities to reset the clock, make good choices.

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