About Peter Falkenberg Brown
Visit Peter's LinkedIn Profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/peterfalkenbergbrown
This bio includes (at the bottom) an “About the Author” section, lifted from Peter’s books. It includes bits and pieces of his family history and more details about his life.
Peter Falkenberg Brown is an author, columnist, publisher and public speaker whose niche speaking topic is "Love, Freedom, & the World" (a video channel hosted at YouTube), and “The Culture of Kindness” (online essays).
Peter is also a Web Director, and a Perl, PHP and MySQL web database programmer.
Peter and his wife, Kimmy Sophia, both write columns which are published in The Significato Journal.
In 1994 he created, produced and edited The Richmond Republican, a tabloid newspaper distributed by the Richmond Republican Committee in Virginia. Peter was a member of the Richmond Republican Executive Committee for a number of years, until he and his family moved to Virginia Beach in 1995. Although short-lived, due to financial restrictions, the newspaper received wide-spread praise for its content and design. Peter also designed and hosted the original web site for the Republican Party of Virginia Beach until his family moved to Indian Neck, Virginia. In 2007, he and his family moved back to his home state of Maine.
While in Richmond, Peter helped launch Citizens for Safe Streets (as its Executive Director), a Richmond-based political action committee dedicated to reducing violent crime in Richmond by 50%. The PAC had a significant impact on the Richmond City Council, which adopted a number of the organization's proposals in 1994.
He and his wife, Kimmy Sophia (a fellow New Englander), were betrothed in 1979 and married in 1982. They are the proud parents of four lovely children: Tymon, Grace, Ranin, and Tadin; and one lovely puppy dog and feisty cat.
About the Author
(From the “About the Author” section in Peter’s books)
It’s common for “About the Author” sections to be very short bits of prose written in the third person. I’ve never seen one that included photos, as this one does. I’ve decided to break the rules and not only include photos but also write this section in the first person, and write more than a little snippet.
Although David Copperfield began his story with the chapter heading “I Am Born,” I shall refrain from telling you that I was born under a canoe on Miami Beach while the moon gazed sympathetically at my mother as she was pelted with coconuts by monkeys howling in the palm trees.
I cannot say that my birth happened that way, for it did not, since I was instead born in a hospital in Coral Gables, Florida, in 1954, two months premature. It was quite unexciting but not dull, at least from my mother’s point of view.
I arrived in life in the footsteps of my ancestors, starting with my parents. I owe them a profound debt for the goodness and merit that they left behind. In particular, my mother believed in my potential and gave me the vision, while I was still young, to try to think on a grand philosophical scale. (I am still attempting to do that.) Polly was an artist and art teacher, first at the Portland School of Fine and Applied Arts (the precursor to MECA, the Maine College of Art) and then at a school called “Concept” that she founded with some fellow artists, including the noted Maine artist Bill Manning. In 1982, a year before she died from lung cancer, she earned a graduate degree from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
She was also a writer, poet, and philosopher, perhaps inspired by her aunt, and my grandaunt, Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn, a Dutch spiritualist, theosophist, and scholar. Olga was the founder of the Eranos Foundation in Ascona, Switzerland, and was a friend of Carl Gustav Jung’s.
Olga was in turn inspired by her mother, and my great-grandmother, Geertruida Agneta Kapteyn-Muysken, a humanist and leading social activist in nineteenth-century London. She was influenced by the French poet and philosopher Jean-Marie Guyau and counted George Bernard Shaw and Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin among her large circle of friends. She was an influential writer in London for twenty years and then moved to Zurich, where she became the center of a group of artists and students. Many Polish and Russian student émigrés regarded her as their “spiritual mother.”1
This lineage of writers was unknown to me when I was a student. I believed that it was from my mother alone that I had inherited my passion for writing. I was thus quite fascinated when I learned more about the lives of Olga and Geertruida.
My confidence to follow a writing career was also bolstered in my high school days, when my senior-class English teacher at the Waynflete School in Portland, the late William Ackley, said to me, “Brownie, you’ve got it. Keep going!” (Or something to that effect.) I kept going, and am immensely grateful for his encouragement.
I am indeed fortunate to have met and married a wonderful lady who is also a writer and spiritualist, my dear bride, Kimmy Sophia. I affectionately call her “the Forest Queen.” For a number of years now, we have co-published The Significato Journal, an online magazine with the theme “nectar for the soul” and an emphasis on the arts, nature, spirituality, and service. The magazine is at significatojournal.com. We reside in my home state of Maine, and have four children, all in their twenties.
My father, Carl Falkenberg Brown, was the son of Norman Brown of Portland, Maine, and the Baroness Helen Dean Falkenberg, of Quebec City. “Granny” and her four siblings each inherited their titles from their father, Baron Fredrick Andreas Falkenberg, since their family received the title in 1733, starting with my seventh great-grandfather Baron Conrad von Falkenberg of Trystorp, Sweden, and thus by Swedish law did not follow the tradition of primogeniture.
Carl was the great-grandson of William Wentworth Brown, who developed the Brown Paper Company in the late 1860s in Berlin, New Hampshire. Second great-grandfather William (known as “W.W.”) was the son of a farmer, Jonathan, born in 1776 in Hallowell, Maine.
Jonathan was a devout Christian and held Bible studies in the family home in Clinton, Maine, for forty years. Jonathan’s lineage started in America with the arrival in Boston of my seventh great-grandfather William Browne, where he married my seventh great-grandmother Elizabeth Ruggles in 1655.
William came from Dunfermline, Scotland, and may have emigrated to America to avoid Oliver Cromwell’s armies, which was ironic, considering that my seventh great-granduncle on my grandmother’s side was the ruthless and infamous Charles Fleetwood, commander in chief of Cromwell’s armies.
William Wentworth Brown built a company that thrived for almost seventy years, until the Great Depression and off-shore competition ended its run. At its height, the Brown Paper Company owned four million acres of timberland and had turned tiny Berlin into a thriving town.
W.W. and his sons built a company that was known for its honesty, and its kindness to its employees and the residents of Berlin. Although the family failed to surmount the challenges of the Depression, a family historian wrote that when they failed, they “failed honorably.”
By the time I was born, the Brown money was long gone, leaving my father to struggle and scrape and do his best to raise three children. Since we were poor, our family often returned to live in Granny’s house, a large brick manse at 135 Vaughan Street in Portland’s prosperous West End. Of all the many places in which I lived as a child, my grandmother’s house was the one that I counted as home.
I’ve often reflected that growing up “poor” might have been for the best, since who knows what kind of person I would have been if I had been raised in wealth? Life is full of mysteries like that, but I am truly happy that the “wealthy Browns” believed in kindness and honesty and honor. To my mother, most especially, I am grateful that I inherited a deep love for writing and art and nature and music and all things of beauty. I’ve discovered that being surrounded by those things throughout my life gave me the experiential knowledge that I was the very opposite of poor.
I inherited an adventurous spirit from my ancestors, and when I was eighteen, in 1973, I rode off into the sunset on a bicycle, headed for the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and then on to California. I spent two weeks traveling through the back roads of New England until I arrived at the Connecticut-New York border. Much to my surprise, after visiting my paternal aunt in New York City, I decided to stay, and live in Manhattan.
My bicycle trip had been contemplative and had heightened my sense that I was on a spiritual search. I had kept a picture of Jesus next to my bed since I was four years old, and had been inspired by books like The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas, about a Roman soldier who gambled for Jesus’ robe, converted to Christianity, and then died a martyr under Roman arrows. I had a strong desire to follow Jesus, and wished that I could have been alive when he preached in Israel. My mother had also introduced me to other religious avenues, and as I arrived in New York in my quest to “go west, young man,” I was busily reading books by Erich Fromm, J. Krishnamurti, and various Sufi authors.
I stayed in New York for a couple of years, and then began a long process of exploring the rest of the country. Along the way, I became a writer, a web database programmer, and a web director. After thirty-five years of gallivanting, I arrived back in Maine with a wife, four children, and two dogs and a cat. A lot happens when you ride away into the sunset.
For many years now, I’ve been exploring a path that has a great similarity to the one followed by my philosopher mother. I’ve studied many of the same ancient Christian mystics that she had read in her religious quest as an Episcopalian. As I delved into the writings of a broad range of mystics, I discovered what was to become one of my core beliefs—that no one can be closer to a person than the indwelling God. I can say with immense gratitude that I am passionately in love with God.
Partly through my own experience with God, I have developed a profound appreciation for the kind, gentle, compassionate, egalitarian, and respectful love that I feel that God has for each individual.
God is my Great Solace. Deepening my awareness of God’s presence and expressing God’s love to others are the central goals of my life, both here and in the spirit world. I am grateful that my faith in God and my vision about a world of love have been profoundly informed by the mystics who taught about the indwelling God.
My life now is a tremendously exciting adventure—the mystical search to become resonant with the indwelling God of love and kindness and compassion. It is a search imbued with daily enthusiasm and joy and the conviction that, as Deepak Chopra wrote in How to Know God: The Soul’s Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries:
God enfolds the whole creation,
Color images used here have been converted to grayscale and some images have been cropped or modified.
Photo of Author with Cup of Tea
Photo of Polly Kapteyn Brown
Photo of Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn
Photo of Geertruida Agneta Kapteyn-Muysken
Photo of Kimmy Sophia Brown
Photo of Carl Falkenberg Brown
Photo of Norman Brown and
Photo of Jonathan Brown
Painting of William Wentworth Brown
Photos of Family at Vaughan Street, Portland, Maine
Photo of Author on Bicycle at Vaughan Street, Portland, Maine
Photo of Author at Crescent Beach, Maine
1. MUYSKEN, Geertruida Agneta,
BWSA - Biografisch Woordenboek van het
Socialisme en de Arbeidersbeweging in Nederland
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