Tom Igou (USA)
“Having enjoyed four Sunday sessions with AZIMVTH, I felt that this (the AZIMVTH virtual writing residency) is the right place for me to find the guidance I need. I greatly enjoyed the writing residency, the meditation, structure, constructive guidance, and feedback. I write six days a week now and review my progress weekly with Tarun. I liked (about AZIMVTH residency) two things the most; the meditation that unleashed my creativity and the structured process that is helping me achieve my goal.”
Tom was born in the foothills of Appalachia, in a mill town in northwest Alabama and grew up in the small town of Athens, outside of Huntsville where Dr. von Braun was starting NASA. It was small town, middle class, southern life where they rode Stingray bikes to the drugstore for snow cones, and everybody had a garden in their back yards. Testing of Saturn Five rocket boosters 20 miles away would rattle the windows and dishes in his house. He lived in a unique microcosm of rural Alabama where family and neighbours were working to put man on the moon.
School / college
Tom started school at the age of five and spent the first months terrified until he settled into the routine. It was 1963, hot with air conditioning a rare treat. He attended the one local high school and was an A B student and the schoolwork came easy to him. Ms. Catlett, his 9th grade English teacher, taught him to write and he remains in her debt. He worked to earn money, throughout high school days and after a year of junior college matriculated to Auburn University. Education at Auburn, opened his eyes to literature, philosophy, music, and political science and most importantly, critical thinking.
During college Tom worked summers for McDonnell Douglas on a NASA contract. Post-graduation, he tried several different jobs and eventually turned down a more lucrative offer to return to McDonnell Douglas because international travel was required. He was hungry to experience the world. From there he joined a computer company, Intergraph, that was busy inventing computer graphics. At the age of 27, he and his wife lived in the Netherlands for a two-year assignment and by the time he was in early thirties, he was a Vice President running sales and marketing for the Public Safety division. He spent the rest of my career leading national engineering software sales teams for Bentley Systems and Autodesk.
Writing was always an important part of Tom’s job as clarity in proposals, correspondence and contracts was required. He managed multiple marketing teams including marketing communications where determining and articulating competitive advantages was part of his responsibilities.
Tom has occasionally journaled about vacation experiences.
Tom learned about AZIMVTH Ashram, when his wife participated in a month-long virtual art-residency of AZIMVTH and he joined, as an invited guest, on weekend mornings when each artist presented and discussed their work.
RIGOUR & SPIRITUAL
Even though he only wrote professionally until now, Tom was intrigued by the rigour and spiritual component of the art residency. He had taken a long journey earlier in the year and kept a journal. He was struggling with writing about this journey and observations and needed structure and guidance to create a book worth reading.
Impact and Follow ups
After the residency, Tom’s resolve to write a memoir became firmer. Its been more than a month after the residency and he has written over 30,000 words of his memoir/travelogue. He plans to have a completed first draft six weeks hence.
“I would absolutely recommend others to join AZIMVTH residency. I was never a professional writer and have a degree in Public Administration, yet I am well on my way to completing my first novel. I believe we all seek to understand the universe around us and reflecting upon our life experiences provides us a window into understanding.”