Stunned, I defaulted from my game and blurted out the truth. That was that I have been floundering after a collapsed academic career path (they weren't hiring humanities college professors) and decided to become a circus clown. I researched the matter and found that the best training was at Ringling Brothers Clown College. I also found out that I lacked the athletic skills necessary for circus clowning.
The "trauma" was intense enough to need healing. For the first time in my life, I went to a typewriter to do that. I wrote an article about Clown College and that was published by McCall's. Soon enough I had about 10 other articles published on some aspect of clowning, including the last man in America who hand-crafted clown shoes. I was on my way.
Then the interview veered in another atypical direction. The man asked me how practicing zen has affected my writing. His father had also practiced zen. "Surrender," I answered. "In the eight months I have been doing zen meditations, I have allowed the story to emerge. Before I superimposed on whatever what I pre-determined the storyline should be."
Letting go of conventional notions of how a narrative should proceed might account for the genius of the Beatles' song lyrics. They had investigated Eastern philosophy. Also, musician Leonard Cohen has done some hard time in Buddhist monasteries.