By Jessica Steindorff
Author of The Art of War: As Featured on the Sopranos
Similar to "Dear Abby," "Ask Jessica" will be known for its "uncommon common sense and youthful Sun Tzu perspective." Now you can ask a Sun Tzu author your own questions about The Art of War and life's many issues.
Jessica Steindorff is an actress and author of The Art of War: As Featured on the Sopranos. At a very young age, she became executive in charge of development for New Millennium Entertainment. She is also co-author with Michael Viner of "George Schlater's Big Book of Showbiz Bloopers and Blunders." She has done audio abridgments for Patricia Cornwell's "Cause of Death" and "Unnatural Exposure," and has been a contributing writer for the Malibu Times.
Currently, Jessica is attending UCLA Film School and working at William Morris Agency, one of the leading talent agencies. She can be seen on the hit NBC show "Las Vegas."
If you have a question for Jessica, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gabrielle asks: Life can pull us in so many directions. We all (well most all) believe we have a divine path, laid out for us many, many moons ago. But we control this path to our destiny. There are many roads we can unwittingly take to the end of our journey. Do they all lead to the same conclusion? In the big scheme of things, do the small/big choices we make lead us to the very same end?
Jessica answers: This is an awesome question. In my opinion, we are the creators of our own destiny. But I am also a believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason. Life is like an ocean, there is a low tide, and there is a high tide, you cannot control who enters your ocean, and you cannot control who leaves, life floats in all different directions.
Jinny asks: How did you get into writing? Who are your influences?
Jessica answers: When I was around eight years old my parents and I were at the beach in Malibu, where I grew up. I remember seeing this gentle blonde haired man, and he had a girl, facing the same direction as he, but she was walking on his feet. She must have been around six. I remember in that instant my head racing with ideas on why she was walking on his feet, as it was usually something very young children did. That night when I got home, I wrote down all five of my conclusions, turned it into one solid essay and turned it in at school. There was a writing contest for some Woman's club and my teacher entered my essay without even telling me. I won 2nd place.
Some of my influences are Hubert Selby Jr., John Fante, Bradley Allenstein, Katayoun Marciano, Astrid Lindgren.
Tim asks: How did you became involved with the art of war philosophies? I am also curious if you have a martial arts background.
Jessica answers: I myself do not have a martial arts background, but my younger brother studies Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, so I grew up watching him study the philosophies. I find it to be quiet a beautiful art, though.
I grew accustomed to The Art of War at a very young age, as my father was constantly using quotes from the book to 'control' my young adult life. It stuck. I began reading the Cleary translation and a few years later was offered an opportunity to work on the actual book myself. I have the utmost respect for this book, as it is so important to the way I live almost every angle of my life.
Iva asks: I find in the market of successful, attractive women it is much harder to hold on to a man or just find one that isn't intimidated by either your intellect or beauty. What are your thoughts on this?
Jessica answers: You have to have balance in life, in every aspect, in order to maintain a career and relationship, as well as a social life. It is very difficult as women are shunned in today's world. It is hard to find a secure successful male companionship, but they do exist.
Amardeep asks: How can I balance my time between family and work?
Jessica answers: Like they say, everything in moderation. Try to work hours, if possible, that can evolve around your family's schedule, without being too overbearing. But also remember to do one nice thing for yourself everyday. You can't work and spend time with your family, without taking care of yourself.
Kirk asks: What's your favorite movie and why?
Jessica answers: BIG FISH. To me, it is everything that a movie should embody: fairy tales, real life characters, magic, adventure, beauty, love....everything about it was whimsical with and undertone of innocence. It was beautifully made and I wish more movies were similar.
Rafael asks: I work for a demanding boss. What can I do?
Jessica answers: Quit.
William asks: What are your thoughts on Bush and company?
Jessica answers: I respect the man for taking on such a grave and demanding responsibility. What he does with it is completely up to him, and in all honesty, if our voices were heard - would it really be a good thing? I did not vote for him, and who I did vote for is not important, and I don't always agree with the decisions that he has made. But then again, in today's society, we don't really know all that much about the truth.
Ricardo asks: What is it like working with James Caan? Any actors or actresses you worked with you thought were cool?
Jessica answers: Jimmy is a great man with an untamable spirit. It's an honor to stand in his presence. I worked with this wonderfully crazed woman named Milli Sheridan. There was something about her wonderfully wild personality, yet focused and driven on screen talent that really motivated me to stick with it.
Bobby Jean asks: Could you give me some suggestions to give support to my family to alleviate the pain and suffering some experience?
Jessica answers: When faced with difficulties, pain and suffering are just that - something painful, injurious, or unpleasant. But when removed from the situation, you come out taller and stronger than before. Those who lack experience, are void of imagination and inner strength. There is nothing that you can do to assist others in pain, except standing strong and experiencing the occurrences with them. In the end, you will learn and embrace a depth that those who do not experience hard times in life do not have.