For NaPoWriMo Day 12, the Prompt is: to “write a haibun that takes in the natural landscape of the place you live. I have to my surprise, never written in this form, so here’s a definition from Haibun– Poets.org:
“Haibun is a poetic form that allows one to answer some of these questions while providing a fresh perspective through a lens that focuses on nature and landscape. Haibun combines a prose poem with a haiku. The haiku usually ends the poem as a sort of whispery and insightful postscript to the prose of the beginning of the poem. Another way of looking at the form is thinking of haibun as . . . a prose poem ending with a meaningful murmur of sorts: a haiku.”
To write about poetry is to believe that there are answers to some of the questions poets ask of their art, or at least that there are reasons for writing it, writes Michael Weigers, editor of the anthology This Art: Poems about Poetry (Copper Canyon Press, 2003).
Past the ravine, the North Saskatchewan flows; ice on her surface where Spring’s murmuring waters compose. The snow floats, sheets of ice crack, confused, the rivers pull bursts through. Amidst howling winds and bitter nights of chill, Spring waltzes in with lilacs. But old-man winter berates with frost, slippery roads, broken sidewalks. Spring blossoms and explodes, to weave the buds that summon bees. Springs drugged words ignored, no lush greenery bursts. Leaves rot, the ice, the snow, the muck, the refuse mushed, derelict without Spring’s blossoms. She hums her tune, an heals Winter’s hacking cough; she pleads her assurance of poppy fields. The old-man shakes his fist with cantankerous growl — another ‘last’ snowstorm grits. The poet composes in metaphorical bliss, avoiding morn’s beams. The question of, “Why?” No matter. The question of, “How can I not?” Words that enthral.
It was years ago that I found this litograph of Emma made from the words of the Jane Austen novel. Moreover, Jane Austen is arguably one of most loved Victorian authors. Additionally, Emma’s litograph poster was most appealing to me due to its colors. The poster I chose was in baby blue and light-gray and is a focal point on the picture wall of my bedroom.
When I thought about how I would design this picture wall, I knew I wanted the artwork to be authentic and not the average prints you find in many design stores: hence, I chose the lithograph poster and prints of artwork mainly from Etsy.com. On Etsy, the artists are not mainstream. As well, I used smaller prints, mostly 8.5″ x 11″ to go around the large Emma litograph to achieve balance in my design.
Furthermore, when I chose my Emma poster, I was able to choose the colors I wanted my lithograph to be from several options. There are a larger variety of color combinations available online for this specific style of Emma poster. As well, you can buy this litograph poster matted in the 12″ x 16″ size.
When I purchased the litograph years ago, matting was not an option. I decided to go with the poster that was the largest size, 42″ x 63″ because I was using the poster as my picture wall focal point. Also, only the largest size contains the full text of Emma on the litograph including all “157, 422 words” from the novel.
The litographs website has a variety of t-shirts, posters, totes, and scarves of your most beloved literary works. There are a plethora of options for posters for example. You can also choose literary items that aren’t litographs but are based off your favorite literary works.
To frame my poster I went to the craft store Michaels and bought the largest silver poster frame I could find. I use silver in my bedroom as it goes well with my light blue walls. I brought the poster with me to ensure it fit the frame. I loved the look of the poster with the silver as opposed to black or white poster frames. The silver and gray in the litograph matched.
As well, when I began to purchase smaller prints of artwork to surround my Emma litograph, I purchased frames of the 11″ x 14″ size to fit prints that were 8″ x 11″. I found these frames at Winners and/or HomeSense stores in Canada. What I love about both of these stores, is that you can find many decor items for your home at a reduced price that are still stylish and often brand names.
My goal was to have artwork and frames that were more eclectic so the frames and prints were not all the same. Shopping at Winners and HomeSense lent itself well to this as they have a variety of frames in all colors available.
Additionally, having diverse frames and artwork styles made my wall of artwork more interesting. Since my walls are painted a cool light blue, frames of white, black, and silver all matched the paint color well and were cohesive. Black frames on their own, even silver frames on their own, would have been too overpowering in a small bedroom.
The shop is on break right now, but I recommend checking out their excellent hand made prints. I love how the black frames make the sterling silver images pop, even though the inside of the frames are more of a white-ivory tint. Also, I was pleased to be able to find prints that were glamorous, stylish, and feminine.
Furthermore, one my favorite items on my picture wall, is not a picture at all; in fact, it is a spice rack purchased from Modcloth.com in their Vintage Inspired Home Decor and Gift section. The spice rack is a pretty place to store and display my perfume bottles. I’ve also been able to display a few of my favorite cuffs (bracelets). Instead of displaying bracelets or cuffs you could also hang necklaces.
Moreover, I have not seen this spice rack (perfume display), on Modcloth.com for awhile. But ModCloth does have other interesting decor items if you enjoy a Vintage Style. As well, you can find similar spice racks at Walmart and Amazon , but I wasn’t able to find the same one in white, with hooks on the bottom. Your best bet is to explore the web or a store such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond, to find a spice rack that works well to display perfume and jewelry.
In addition, I purchased a couple prints off of Etsy.com from an artist’a shop called Lauren Bolshakov Art . I was thrilled to find more feminine and stylish pieces that added brighter color to my picture wall.
The first print is in the same color family of blues and greens as much of my bedroom. It’s an 8″ x 10″ size and called Vintage Dress Painting. It’s not available anymore but she has some other beautiful pieces of watercolor work.
The second print I purchased from Lauren was called Red Red Wine (see below) and the bright color of the red wine and the movement within the watercolor print drew me to it. Both prints I chose went well with slightly different white frames I found at Winners, in an 11″ x 14″ size because they had to be big enough for 8.5″ x 11″ prints. The red wine print is also a bright pop of color on my picture wall, which I adore.
As well, I did purchase a print (and later a frame) of a lovely print from a blogger I follow, Kelly Van from Le Zoe Musings, which is a “creative lifestyle blog.” Kelly no longer has an Etsy shop but her printing sayinging to ‘Just Breathe and Drink Tea’ was relaxing and cute. Also it’s in a reddish-pink shade.
One last painting (or a copy of a painting) I bought because I loved the impressionist feel to it, was from a shop called Prebrulee.com. The pop of pinkish-red in the painting, ties in with the red wine and tea prints. They all share an accent color on an otherwise serene picture wall and waveguide bedroom in general.
Prebrulee is a neat store that has a great deal of fun jewelry, clothing, stationary, and sometimes, home decor. Their Home and Office Section often has need collectibles, however, I’ve not seen paintings on the website in a long while.
My final framed work around my Emma litograph is my university diploma which I am extremely proud of; nevertheless, I’m searching for the right picture to replace it with, and move my diploma to my home office space.
Finally, I do have a few items on my dresser. As well, I painted both dressers in my room seal gray to match the Emma Litograph. The dresser items, however, are from HomeSense, Winners, and a variety of other decor stores. I find it’s a matter of knowing what you want to display in areas of your home, such as your bedroom, and waiting until you come across the perfect items that are both practical and beautiful.
In addition, if you’re searching for some help in designing your own house or a particular room in your home, such as your bedroom, I encourage you to take a look a theHavenly website for actual Interior Design expertise.
Take their design quiz to determine the decor styles you like best, then choose an interior designer who best matches the decor style for a specific room.
You can receive interior designer aid through a Design Quickie option for free. This provides you a small amount of help in designing a space in your home. It includes a 30 minutes chat session with an interior designer, product recommendations, style advice, and a concierge buying service.
As well you can consider A Havely Mini including 3 initial designs, 1 design concept, 1 design revision, a curated design list, 1-2 weeks of design time, a concierge buying service, and 2-weeks of post design support.
Your third option is the Havenly Full adding on 4-weeks of design support (instead of 2-weeks), 3D Room Visualisation, and a Floor plan, along with everything you receive in the Havely mini.
I would recommend the third option as it provides you with the best value for your money. 3D Room Visualisation and floor plans are incredibly helpful in decorating a room in your home as ‘visuals’ always give a person a better idea of what their decor scheme will look like in the end.
Nonetheless, if you’ve knowledge of how to design a floor plan and can easily visualize how your final design will appear, the second option is also great.
See you next time and thanks for stopping by today’s special post!
Welcome to my regularly scheduled bi-weekly interview series. I am pleased to share with you the blog of a talented writer, photographer, and world traveler. I have blogged with Yinglan for a while and am pleased to call her a good friend in the blogging world. Please visit her blog here: This is Another Story – About Life, Fantasy, and Everything In Between.
1. Hi Yinglan, Please tell us About Yourself?
Hi, my name is Yinglan Z. and the name of my blog is This is Another Story because isn’t every day in life another story?
I recently completed my second academic degree in Accounting and am currently spending a brief four months in my hometown of Zhongshan, China to get reacquainted with my relatives as well as the place I lived during the first decade of my life. When I am not in China having an adventure, I lead a pretty boring life in the suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah.
At the moment, I am a self-employed translator, working with my mom to update the Chinese version for a software guide widely used by schools around the world. However, my personal goal is to either become a full-time writer or find a job where I’m applying what I’ve learned from my two degrees because isn’t that why I got two degrees?
2. Please Tell Us About Your Writing and Blogging? What do You Hope to Accomplish in Writing?
I began writing in 2013 and the purpose of my blog (at first) was to post the speeches I’d written for Toastmasters, an international club for public speaking. Then, I fell in love with storytelling; thus, my blog for fictional stories began. I wrote fiction and participated in flash fiction challenges during summer of 2014 and discovered fiction writing was a way for me to relax.
Once I began participating in challenges the readership for my blog grew and in 2015, I made the decision to make my blog both a fiction and lifestyle blog to add more variety and so I could write what about whatever I wanted to write about. In late 2015, I made another decision — to change the name to something more fitting: This is Another Story.
“Then, I fell in love with storytelling and, thus, my blog for fictional stories began. I wrote fiction and participated in flash fiction challenges during summer of 2014 and discovered fiction writing was a way for me to relax.” – Yinglan Z
3. When did you really begin writing and blogging? Why is Writing Meaningful for you? Do You Find You Are Able to Help Others Through Your Blogging?
I began writing after I joined Toastmasters in 2011. That’s when I discovered my love for storytelling. Before that, the task of sitting in front of a computer typing and writing an essay or a story seemed daunting to me, although, I don’t know why.
Although I wasn’t diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) until early 2016, I’ve always known I have anxiety issues. I’ve tried various methods to relax – yoga, meditation, music – but none is more relaxing than writing stories.
When I was attending school full-time, working multiple jobs, I would come home to write because it would mean I was able to let my mind drift to another reality even if it was only for a few minutes.
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Why is Writing and Blogging Significant to You?
A lot of the inspiration for my stories comes from around me – television shows, movies, current events, (etc). There’s always a story going on in my head and if I let it stay in my head, it’ll drive me insane. Maybe it goes with my stubborn personality? Also, it’s important to record my thoughts and feelings because bottling them up won’t help me or anyone.
“Although I wasn’t diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) until early 2016, I’ve always known I have anxiety issues. I’ve tried various methods to relax – yoga, meditation, music – but none is more relaxing than writing stories.” – Yinglan Z
5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? Have You Ever Had Any Writing Published?
I am currently finishing a few short stories for my collection called: A Light in the Dark. I am also in the process of expanding a short story into a novel. Both of those things are progressing slowly due to the number of events I am attending in China but they are coming along.
I published a story in an online newsletter for NLSC – National Language Service Corp – a few years ago about the Mid-Autumn Festival and that was the only piece I have ever published other than blog posts. My future are noted above, to publish a collection of short stories and a novel. Who knows, maybe I’ll submit a piece to a magazine or something when I have time.
6. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? Do You Prefer Certain Areas if Writing and Reading Genres?
I’m still trying to figure out my writing process. I write whenever a story pops into my head which is usually night time. I’m not sure why, but my imagination feels blank during the day. Maybe it’s the fact I’m tired and my mind is getting ready to dream?
I am also a huge fan of the suspense and thriller genres because those are the stories that keep me at the edge of my seat. I also enjoy investigative and crime-solving stories. I used to like to read Young Adult fiction and the supernatural genre but lately, not so much. Maybe I’m growing up?
“I am currently finishing a few short stories for my collection called: A Light in the Dark. I am also in the process of expanding a short story into a novel.” – Yinglan Z.
7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Bloggers and Writers?
My advice for new writers and bloggers would be to don’t give up. Keep writing! Most people do not become famous with their first story. Keep trying. Also I encourage you to visit other blogs and comment on other bloggers’ posts. Participate in challenges and sooner or later, other bloggers will pay you a visit and almost always this starts a chain reaction. You discover new blogs and bloggers and their followers may also follow you in return. As well, leave your link and some information at blogging parties and learn to network through and with other bloggers. Be willing to look at other blogs and learn from them as well.
8. For fun, do you have any particular blogs you follow? What Do You Like About Them?
Oh wow, that is difficult to choose since I follow thousands of blogs. I will say my favorite kinds of blogs are photography, travel, and flash fiction. I like these kinds of blogs because I can often learn a thing or two from them.
“My advice for new writers would be to don’t give up. Keep writing! Most people do not become famous with their first story. Keep trying.” – Yinglan Z
9. Can You Please Share With us a Few Favorite Links from Your Blog?
I wrote this poem a long time ago (about 14 or 15 years old) and decided to share it about two years ago. It was written during the phase when I wanted to be a singer-songwriter.
By Yinglan Z.
Your yesterday is gone But your today is here sooner than you think You wish you haven’t gotten everything wrong And you wish you can make all the bad go away And you say
Tomorrow Things are going to be okay Tomorrow It will all change
Your today is gone And you have made no commitment To bring changes Oh and you just kept on saying that
Tomorrow Things are going be all right Tomorrow It will all be bright
Day and day went by You just sat behind your table Waiting for changes to come to you You say, “It’ll be okay” And I say “it’ll be okay when you start making changes for yourself” And you say starting tomorrow
Things are going to be all right Tomorrow It will all be right It will all be bright It will be the day when I set thing right
Thank you to Yinglan for agreeing to be interviewed and for sharing about her writing and her life.
Just to note: Yinglan has returned from her relatives in China and has been visiting my home country of Canada in Alberta checking out The Rocky Mountains in Banff and around Lake Louise. She was recently in Yellow Stone National Park in the U.S. and if you follow her blog, Yinglan’s photographs of her travels are also a huge highlight when you read her posts. She is talented at taking beautiful shots of scenery while traveling and finding interesting places abroad and from around her home.
If you would like to be a part of my bi-weekly interview series please let me know via my Contact Page. See you in two weeks with another exciting interview 🙂
Since the beginning of the campaign in the US for the final Republican and Democratic nominees, I haven’t been able to get this poem out of my head. Perhaps I had such a wonderful professor for American Poetry that Robert Frost’s “The Mending Wall,” made such an impression on me.
Thirteen years after I’ve graduated, I still think about this poem and what wisdom Frost imparts to people in his own time and ours. Mainly he suggests his poem is less about literal walls or fences, but about how neighbors should treat each other. Whether you’ve read the poem or not, you may find certain correlations between Frost’s poem and the current political situation in the US.
I think the biggest issue Frost’s poem highlights is why we build walls in the first place. The line at the beginning of the poem: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” implies not all of us enjoy having walls between us and our neighbors (1). Frost isn’t merely talking about physical walls or fences but about the walls that exist in relationships between people.
It’s practical and helpful for to us to avoid petty arguments by having physical fences around our yards. But Frost suggests in “The Mending Wall,” it is not helpful at all, to have walls and distance between people and their relationships with one another. This can cause large rifts between people when they don’t agree or share a similar opinion. Communication and negotiation need to be encouraged, instead of building bigger walls. We forget many other people in this world are the same as us, going through similar trials. It doesn’t matter their religion or ethnicity, we’re all human.
Open communication and friendly communication is a necessary key to life. While physically we may have to “set the wall between us once again,” or have certain boundaries, I don’t recall stone walls every setting to right differences of opinion or thought (14). We can’t stop talking because we don’t agree, reaching for the best compromise available is vital.
Erecting a wall between the US and Mexico will affect US relationships with other nations, not only Mexico. It also makes the US government appear isolationist. Moreover, it affects other countries who would think it was okay to support their own selfish ideologies which are not democratic.
Isolationist countries and governments do not prosper in themselves or in helping their citizens prosper. In today’s world it is critical for us all to have open communication and at times compromise and not always get ‘our own way’ with other countries for the good of all; the current US government goes against this globalized view. Trump stands for himself and if you’re a lucky American who supports a view he does, he might stand for you too. But it’s not something I would count on in a person who is extremely unpredictable.
In Frost’s poem, the lines: “There where it is we do not need the wall: / He is all pine and I am apple orchard. / My apple trees will never get across / [and] eat the cones under his pines, I tell him,” show the utter absurdity of having such a thick solid wall between the narrator and his neighbor (23-27). Frost’s point in these lines is if the speaker and his neighbor acted neighborly, they wouldn’t require a fence between them. It’s absurd to have a wall between them because the narrator’s apples don’t eat his neighbor’s pine cones and vice versa. The neighbor lacks insight into the situation.
He is similar to Trump who wants a wall between the US and Mexico beyond the border which already exists. Trump is akin to the neighbor insisting ” . . . good fences make good neighbors.” Truly walls break down relations between people and invite people to spew hatred and feel they are entitled to act badly and Trump’s actions are encouraging this behavior (27). People have choices to act how their conscience tells them, but when the government decides on input-less actions that destroy relations with other parts of the world and with US citizens, this government is self-serving.
Frost’s speaker also wonders about this wall he and his neighbor always fix in spring. He asks “. . . why do [fences] make good neighbors . . . ” commenting that “[before] I built a wall I’d ask to know / [what] I was walling in or walling out, / [and] to whom I was like to offense” (32-34). For me, these lines are shockingly apt in current US politics.
In Robert Frost’s poem “The Mending Wall,” the wall is not only a physical wall/fence it’s symbolic of relations between neighbors and metaphorical walls between people, in a broader sense, all sovereign nations. Trump insists on building a wall because it will wall out drugs from entering the US. He also believes he is keeping out illegal immigrates as well as crime. I think Frost would say, Trump is missing the bigger picture.
To my knowledge, Obama never had outstanding issues with Mexico. Most of us are aware of the drugs going back and forth across the border from Mexico and the people who want to leave Mexico for a better life. I would argue as many have, one way or another, the immigrants who want to get through are going to find a way through.
We also know for a fact, there are already tunnels to bring drugs into the US. If Trump wants to stop drug cartels from selling drugs, maybe he should focus on his own citizens involved in the purchase and selling of drugs. If you take away the market, perhaps you stop drug trafficking; however, my hunch is if Mexico sells fewer drugs, those who want or need drugs, will find another source.
Additionally, Frost’s line about giving “offense” is relatable to Trump not caring what Mexico thinks about the wall (34). He wants to make them pay for it and he doesn’t care that their President refused. He offended Mexico and its citizens; hopefully, he doesn’t plan on vacationing there anytime soon as many US citizens like to do. He’s going to make it difficult for US citizens wanting to vacation in Mexico and other places around the world in general. I’ve meant many wonderful American citizens on vacations but I know there are places where they still have to wear a Canadain flag on their outfit, so they are not thought be Americans. I would hate for this to be worse because of current affairs.
He’s going to make it difficult for US citizens wanting to vacation in Mexico and other places around the world in general. I’ve met many wonderful American citizens on vacations but I know there are places where they still have to wear a Canadain flag on their outfit, so they are not thought be Americans because it would be dangerous to them or their cash supply. I would hate for this to be worse because of current affairs in the US.
As well, Trump offended the Mexican President who refused to visit the US after Trump announced the wall. He’s set back relations with his physical and symbolic wall with Mexico. I believe US dealings with other countries will suffer setbacks as well because I think other nations will see US actions and be less inclined to trust their government and Trump.
The most curious part to me is how one man can destroy relations with other countries around the word so quickly through his lack of diplomacy and unwillingness to cooperate. I don’t want the US, Canada, or anywhere to be larger targets for radical terrorists or desperate criminals because Trump is blocking people from migrating to the US from the Middle East. Many people there are like us, regular people who don’t deserve to be labeled terrorists due to their religion. Some of those people require help due to actual terrorists such as ISIS, who are making it difficult for them to meet their basic needs.
Frost also writes in his poem about those who don’t love walls and would like them down. His narrator sees no need for the wall and thinks he could tell his neighbor, “‘I could say “Elves” to him, / [but] it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather / [he] said it for himself (35 – 38). Frost implies the neighbor needs to recognize for himself and ‘say’ for himself, that the physical and metaphorical wall between them is absurd.
I think the same principles apply to Trump and his wall. The wall is a thoughtless law as well as the symbolic breaking down of US relations with other countries such as Mexico and realistically, several others. The current US President won’t ever admit he is wrong.
In the end, I find the situation with Trump and the US government much the same as Frost describes the neighbour in his poem: “In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed./ He moves in darkness as it seems to me, / [not] of woods only and the shade of trees (40 – 42). To the narrator of Frost’s poem, rebuilding the wall between his neighbour and him is a game.
He even wonders if he could put “a notion” in his neighbours head and say “[elves]” made the stones fall out of place (29,37). But to the neighbour such as the US government, this is no game. While the rest of us mock Trump and have “mischief” in us as we read daily what Trump’s decided to do now, we are also somewhat afraid.
Trump walks around as Frost’s speaker’s neighbor, “an old-stone savage armed . . . [moving] in darkness . . . (40-41). This darkness is as an ignorance and not only of “woods . . . and the shade of trees (42).” I cannot imagine all the duties a President has; however, I do know about starting a new job as I’m sure many people can relate to.
Often, it is best to let things be done the way they have been done, to learn the experience and the wisdom behind the methods people use currently, before implementing massive change. At times, we think our own way of doing something is better. Then one day it hits us why something was done a certain way, how much easier it is to keep doing it that particular way. Once you learn how things are done, then changes can be implemented with reason and with experience behind that reasoning.
With US relations with its own citizens and the citizens of the world, we can only hope Trump ends his walk in darkness and ignorance. Perhaps one day he will step into the light and see why past Presidents acted how they did in certain matters? That he was elected by citizens and speaks and acts for them.
It’s my hope he searches beyond his own experience, what he’s been able to do freely as wealthy and powerful man. I hope he listens to the people who elected him and acts with discernment, that he learns to think before he acts. One encouraging thing about Trump I did hear was his admiration of Winston Churchill.
In conclusion, Frost calls his poem “The Mending Wall” because he hopes each year relations with his neighbour will improve, that eventually they won’t need a wall between them. Can we hope this much of the new US government? That they will not build walls to isolate their country? That they will not only think about themselves in this diverse, multicultural, and globalized world? I hope so. I’d hope Trump eventually learns to mend relations with his neighbours and not to snub them or God forbid, cause war. I hope he learns to see beyond the saying, ” . . . [good] fences make good neighbours” (45).
Welcome to my bi-weekly interview series. I’m pleased to introduce to you today an interview with dog enthusiast, thoughtful, and entertaining writer,Colin Chappell. He is often accompanied by his friendly and energetic dogRay. In fact, Ray is one of Colin’sfavorite topics. You can visit Colin on his blog: A Dogs Life? (Stories of Me and Him).
1. Please Tell Us A Bit About Yourself?
My name is Colin Chappell. When I was born, my parents were expecting a girl so, when I arrived, they showed great initiative by thumbing through the BBC Radio Times looking for male names. If Colin Yearsley (a classical pianist) had a second name, I would have probably had a second name also; my older sister did. I am originally from Peterborough (U.K.), and now live in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (on the outskirts of Toronto).
I was born immediately after WWII and moved around the U.K. a lot when I was young because both my parents were in the theater. My Dad designed and painted scenery, while my Mum worked in the costumes area.
The introduction of television decimated the demand for theater and my parents had to make some major decisions. Growing up, my Mum held down multiple jobs and my Dad came home only on weekends. He was working approximately one-hundred-miles away from where we lived. My Dad eventually decided to build his own house. He learned how to do this successfully from library books, visiting construction sites, and asking a ton of questions.
2. What Kind of Affect Has Your Childhood Had On You?
I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.
I wanted to be a locomotive driver, but was told that I couldn’t do this job by my Dad. I went to college to pursue a career as ‘Master’ of a cargo ship. I achieved a 2nd Class Honors Certificate and was welcomed into the Blue Star Line. I was ready to join ‘Scottish Star’ in Glasgow; however, I failed a medical exam which blocked my first chosen career path. This was my welcome to the world of adulthood and the realities of the world.
“I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.” – Collin Chappell
3. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging?
I have always enjoyed writing short pieces and songs, but they were always private and I rarely shared my work. I cannot recall how I discovered blogging. But I had already been adopted by my dog Ray and wanted to share our experiences. It was also an opportunity to write publicly which was appealing to me. My blog was officially launched in October, 2014.
Later, my desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray.He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!
4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You? Why Do You Write?
Writing is rewarding for many reasons. It allows me to express myself, to be as creative as I can, and to have some tangible evidence of my creativity and expression. No doubt there are psychological benefits to writing also. Poetry is a natural extension of writing because of my earlier days song writing; however, my blog is also my vehicle to present my poetry to the world.
Blogging is the corner stone of my literary endeavors because not only can I now share with the world, but I can receive feedback. I have access to links to bloggers and writers with similar interests and concepts. As well, I am generally able to create a worldwide network of wonderful people. Over time I have developed friends around the world of all ages, cultures, religious beliefs (etc.) Now I have the pleasure of knowing many details about friends which go well beyond mere blogging.
” . . . [M]y desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!” – Colin Chappell
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?
Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.
Ray is also hugely inspiring.He is unlike any dog I have ever known. Just by watching him (which I do a lot) I’m invariably provided with the basis for a blog post. I also inspire and motivate myself.I am retired so have the luxury of as much time as I wish to allocate to blogging and writing but I do have many other interests.
There isn’t a particular time of day I enjoy writing more. Although, mornings and late evenings tend to be my most productive times. This is due more to convenience relative to other day to day activities. It’s not that I feel more particularly creative during these times.
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have two active projects at the moment:
My first priority is promoting my book: Who Said I was up for Adoption?All profits from this book go to theHumane Societywhom rescued my beloved Ray. It’s hard to make the whole world aware of a book without investing large sums of money to market it.Self-promoting is more financially feasible, but a difficult and time consuming job.
My second priority is publishing a book of my poems. It is tentatively titled: Tina andOtherStories and could be available Spring 2017. My poetry book is ready to be published but some financial decisions have to be made.
I am uncomfortable making these choices until I have a better grasp of how Ray’s book is selling. Hopefully, I can make a decision within the next six to eight-weeks. I also have various other similar projects ‘on the back burner,’ but they will have to wait.
“Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.” – Colin Chappell
You can purchase Colin’s book from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Indigo, Google Play, Nook, and IBooks. Here’s another link to Colin’s page where you can find links to all book sellers noted: HERE.
9. Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing Process? Will You Continue With the Same Process in the Future?
I researched a number of leads before publishing and just as life in general — you get what you pay for. The inexpensive route (a relative term) dictated I take responsibility for areas of publishing I knew nothing about.
If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world becausedog loversexistin every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’sHumane Society.
My compromise was to have a contract with FriesenPress. They provided their expertise in cover design, book layout, proofreading, overall suggestions, legalities, and ensuring Ray’s book was available to all major book retailers. Regrets? I have none, although, what I learned during this publishing process will reduce the cost of publishing my poetry book!
10. Do You Have A Particular Writing Process?
Blogging – I write from heart to keyboard, and then read, re-read, re-read, fine tuning the piece. Sometimes I will leave a post for a few hours and then read it again to get a fresh perspective. I like to plan to create ahead of time, but more often I end up creating immediately prior to posting. I will not hit the ‘Publish’ button unless I am absolutely happy with my post.
Book Writing– I use exactly the same process, especially with poetry.Reading a poem can often draw attention to a bad line or difficult rhythm. My intended book of poetry is being reviewed, although, it was completed well over six-months ago.Who Said I was up forAdoption? was completed over a nine-month period, but took an additional eighteen-months to polish well enough to publish.
“If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world becausedog loversexist in everycountry. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’sHumane Society.” – Colin Chappell
11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas or Genres of Reading and Writing?
I have little time for reading fiction — JRR Tolkein being the exception. It’s not that I don’t enjoy fiction, but more that I want to understand more about people and the real world. I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need torelate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with fiction.
12. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
Write… write… write.
Be honest to yourself.
Write… write… write.
Use blogging as much as you can because there is so much support out there in the blogging world for novice writers.
Write… write… write.
If you are pleased with what you write, then what other people think of it is secondary.
Write… write… write.
If you are not pleased with what you write, you need to spend time finding why you are unhappy with it. Once you have identified the problem, you can start working on the solution — Very logical!
“I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with a fictional piece of writing.” – Colin Chappell
13. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Writing?
I have volunteered in numerous diverse places over the years, and every position I held was valuable education for me. It was valuable both because of the work involved and in the learning it provided me.
I support a number of charitable organizations which help people regain their self-respect and of course, I support animal rescue organizations.Life has been and still is, a wonderful education; however, one must always participate in life to see any results.
14. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like to Follow? What Do You Like About Them?
I really do not have favorite blogs, but I do enjoy more philosophical blogs as they are thought provoking.Dog related blogs are interesting simply because I can relate to the topics presented. Any post I read that promotes a positive mental attitude maintains my attention. In a world which seems to celebrate negativity, we need as many positive vibes as possible!
15. Here is a Piece From Colin’s Blog, One of His Favorite Poetic Verse Posts:
Thanks so much to Colin for sharing with us his book, poetry, love for Ray, and his experience in life and writing. I loved discovering he both searches inside himself to find the right answers and also engages with the world to learn and discover the things he needs to know. His love of learning and passion for volunteering is something we can all aspire to.
If you would like to be featured as a writer and blogger in my bi-weekly interview series please reach-out to me on my contact page. Thanks for reading and see you in two-weeks!
Hi. Here’s an impromptu beauty post for those of you interested. I usually stick with my Luxebox beauty box which comes quartlerly each year but I notice the same company has started doing a monthly box in Canada. This means the beauty box (or bag if you choose) is a great price and equal to a monthly beauty bag from the US, but not with the price of the US dollar. It cost me $12.60 Canadian for the first bag. Even though they were products I’d received or tried before, I like the little bag and was satisfied with how much you get in products for one month, verses quarterly. So here’s what I received:
“Yeah, I guess. This is it.” Carter murmured. He was holding Melanie’s hands in his and couldn’t seem to let go of them.
“I can’t believe it,” she said.”We’ve traveled all over the world together since Amsterdam. Now I’m probably never going to see you again.” Tears slipped down Melanie’s soft white cheeks.
She had promised herself she wouldn’t cry.
“I’ll visit.” Carter promised.”I’m sure I’ll end up in Montreal sometime in the future.”
“But that’s just it Carter. You can’t promise that.” Melanie said wiping her cheeks. “You travel the world for your job. You take wild and fantastic pictures for National Geographic.”
“I’m an accountant trying to finish her CA. I want to start my own business and I want to stay in Montreal. I grew-up there and my parents and other family live there. I can’t imagine leaving them for longer than I already have, travelling the last two-years.”
“I could settle in Montreal someday . . .” Carter mused.
“Don’t say that.”
“Make promises you can’t keep.You grew up in Tuscany, in Italy. Your family maybe American but you live on this beautiful land where you make wine, as your ancestors did for generations.” Melanie said.
“Your home in Tuscany, it’s your anchor and it’s where you love to go when you’re off.” Melanie said squeezing Carter’s hands tighter.
“You’re not Canadian. It’s beautiful but I know for you, it’s not home.”
“Perhaps, you’re my new home?” Carter said gazing in Melanie’s sad green eyes.
“Don’t lie to my like that, Carter.” She chastised, “If you say something like that you have to mean it. If we were to maintain our relationship, you’ d have to see me more than every once in a while. Can you do that with your work and family?”
Carter was frustrated and unhappy. “No I can’t. I can’t make promises to you right now. There’s too much of the world I wan’t to see still. I can’t see myself settling down for years and if I did . . .No not in your beautiful Canada.” A tear escaped Carter’s milk-chocolate eyes; he was embarrassed.
Melanie was outright crying now.
Carter took her in his arms and held her. After a while her cries turned to sniffles. She turned her face up to him and he kissed her for what he knew would be the last time. He drew the kiss out, knowing he would need to remember it for a lifetime.
“You have to go soon. You have to get through customs before your flight leaves.” Melanie remarked he voice hoarse.
“I know,” Carter said depressed.”This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done Mel.If it’s meant to work out, maybe one day it will?”
Melanie smiled. “No more promises you can’t keep. I’ll miss you Carter, so much.”
She had such strength; Carter always admired Melanie’s strength of character.
He stared back at his beautiful Mel as she waved to him and he walked away. Her auburn hair was braided and her beautiful green eyes full of unshed tears.
Carter somehow knew, he’d never see Mel again. They might chat over Facebook or he might see her pictures on Instagram. But he doubted in person, they’d ever meet.
He’d never forget his last image of her, attempting to smile while hiding her sadness. Carter waved to Mel and tried to look forward to his next photo shoot in Copenhagen.
Welcome to the third edition of my interview series. For this week, I interviewed the creative and talented Marquessa Matthews. Her sexy, romantic, thrilling, and relatable weekly fiction stories, always leave me wanting more! She has excellent taste in music as well. Please check-out her blog Simply Marquessa here.
Please Tell Us About Yourself
My name is Marquessa Matthews and I’m from Montreal, QC, Canada.My day job is as a consultant but in the little free time that I have, you’ll find me elbow deep in dirt in my vegetable garden in the summer, travelling in the spring, and probably shoveling myself out of six- foot snow drift in the winter. As with other writers with whom I’ve exchanged conversation with, I consider myself an introvert and an “observer.” I lovemusic and you’ll always find me listening to something such as talk radio, my favorite tunes, or an audio-book.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
I taught myself to read at an early age and I think my love of words led me to want towrite them. I would write little poems and short stories. Being in a French language program in primary school, I was lucky enough to have a great English teacher. She not only took an interest in my writing, but she frequently encouraged me with my writingprojects. I continued to write, on and off, until university. Then, I had to put my pen downto tackle life’s responsibilities.
I started ‘blogging’ as an experiment last year, when I decided it was time to pick my pen up again. I was researching creative writing courses and stumbled on a WordPressWriting 101 Course. I took it as a sign and I registered. I decided to tackle each day’s assignment from a ‘fictional’ perspective and to see if ‘blogging’ and ‘fiction writing’could be blended. Needless to say, the Writing 101 course, reignited my passion for playing with words.
“I decided to tackle each day’s assignment from a ‘fictional’ perspective and to see if ‘blogging’ and ‘fiction writing’ could be blended. Needles to say, the Writing 101 course, reignited my passion for playing with words” – Marquessa Matthews
3. What Does Writing Mean to You? Why Do You Write?
Writing is extremely important to me and without it, I would feel like a fish out of water. Now that I’ve started writing again, I’m not sure how I went so long without writing. I write because I love to spin tales and be a puppet-master to the characters I create. There is also the fact that I’ve had certain ‘characters’ living rent-free in my head for a long time and they need to start paying rent in the form of novels!
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
I find inspiration in the day-to-day happenings of life. For me, inspiration can strike from a conversation I’ve had or overheard, from something I’ve seen, and from a place to which I have traveled – inspiration can come from about anywhere.
Creating a character, having them take on a life of their own and run away in a direction I never planned, motivates me. Jotting down an idea, crafting it, and then developing it into something beyond a flash fiction piecesmotivates me.
Also, the readership that I have acquired inspires me. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the number of ‘follows’ I receive. What I do pay attention, however, is the comments readers leave me. I love it when someone asks for more ‘Ella,’ for instance, or ‘Alejandro.’ I enjoy when readers give their reaction to what a character should have done on some of my #TeaserTuesdays. Also, I have always wanted to have my name on a cover of a book, I’m working on it!
“Creating a character, having them take on a life of their own and run away in a direction I never planned, motivates me.” – Marquessa Matthews
5. Do You Find There Is a Time Of Day You Most Like to Write?
I’m a night owl so I always write at night, after dinner with music in the background. In the evening is when I receive my best ideas and the creative juices flow. On the weekends, I could easily break-out my moleskin notebook, my favorite pen, and write until after midnight, but I limit myself to a nightly one hour ‘write.’ If I’m editing a writing piece, I may give myself an hour and a half.
6. What Are Your most Current Writing projects? Any Hopeful Projects If You Aren’t Working on Any?
I’ve been developing scenes around my characters of Delaney, Tyler and Alejandro and wrote many more scenes with them during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2015. My plan is to fill in the gaps during NaNoWriMo in 2016 so I can create a novella or novel.
The next project I have planned is an ongoing online story beginning in 2017 called We Can’t Be Friends.I’ll be introducing two new characters, Isabella and Peter, who will be totally different than the characters I’m writing about now. For We Can’t Be Friends, I’m going tolet the story develop organically.
I think it will be an excellent way to continue my nightly write when I need a change ofpace from my main work-in-progress (WIP). I’m not technology savvy, but I’m thinking about having interested readers sign-up. Hopefully, I can do short weekly installments which readers will look forward to reading. Depending on how the installments go and the feedback I receive, the project could turn into a short story or a novella. If readers are interested, they can check-out the following link to receive a littlebackstory on Isabella and Peter.
” I’ll be introducing two new characters, Isabelle and Peter, who will be totally different than the characters I’m writing about now. For We Can Be Friends, I’m going to let the story develop organically.” – Marquessa Matthews
7. Have You Published Written Works or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing?
Hopefully, 2017 will be my year to become a published author. Who knows what will happen with the We Can’t Be Friends online story!
8. Describe Your Writing Process?
I’m not sure I even have a ‘writing process,’ but I can tell you how I develop my stories. I usually get a spark (an idea) from a lyric or a phrase I’ve heard, or something funny which has happened. I jot the idea down on a Post-It and stick it to my ‘writing wall;’ I leave it there to marinate for a while. Then, when I sit down for my nightly write, I lookat the ‘writing wall’ and write whatever comes to mind or I write the exact opposite of my idea to see what will happen when I do.
If I’m working on a fiction piece, I always write all the dialogue which comes to mind first, and then fill in the gaps when I’m editing. For me, editing usually means readingmy writing aloud a few times, tying up loose ends, and removing inconsistencies.
If I’m writing a non-fiction piece, I decide on the message I want the reader to walk away with, then go back to the beginning and start writing and editing.
9. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading and Styles or Genres?
I’ve always enjoyed women’s fiction with a little romance thrown in for good measure, mainly the kind of fiction which could possibly happen in real life. Being of South American heritage, I’ve always leaned towards books with multicultural flavor. In university, a Caribbean literature courseopened up my eyes to the world of anecdotalgenres and culturally diverse characters. I enjoy novels that provide the perspective ofmore than one character, whether it’s in first or third person. I will always prefer a paperback novel that I can take with me to the beach or pool, but also read on my tablet.
” . . .[W]hen I sit down for my nightly write, I look at the ‘writing wall’ and write whatever comes to mind or I write the exact opposite of my idea to see what will happen when I do.” – Marquessa Matthews
10. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
I’m no expert but I think that I can make three suggestions:
Develop a Daily Writing Habit(either in minutes or in word count):Fifteen minutes beforegoing to bed or five-hundred words per day. You don’t have to write a masterpiece. Practice the BIC method (butt in chair). Jot down an idea and free-write fora set amount of minutes or words, to your daily goal with no editing. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with in your writing.
Try@NaNoWordSprints: I discovered word sprints last year and they are amazing to help ideas flow. If you can’t join a live sprint, do an old sprint from on theirYouTube channel. Pretend it’s a live sprint and try the method out. I wonNaNoWriMo in 2015 by achieving the fifty-thousand word word count, it was mainly due to word sprints.
Read your work aloud, more than once: You’ll catch all your grammar mistakes and wooden dialogue. Fix your issues before posting.
11. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us You Think is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?
I would say, prioritizing your writing goals is vital. I recently realized, though I lovejoining in on and participating in various writing and blogging prompts such as #MusicMonday, #WordlessWednesday and #TBT, the time spent working on and preparing for these prompts was time spent away from my work-in-progress. In 2017, I plan on taking a different approach to my blog space, especially by taking a hiatus for NaNoWriMo in November and re-blogging fiction from my archives.
12. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Links From Your Blog With Some of Your Favourite Pieces?
One of my favorite fiction pieces so far is “San Juan” because it was the first one I wrote concerning Delaney and Alejandro.
“Woman to Woman,” shines a light on the toxicity of abusive relationships.
A Note From Marquessa:
Since I’ll be taking a hiatus in November for NaNoWriMo, I have scheduled re-posts of a number of my fiction pieces so unfortunately, if readers are searching for a specific post,they won’t find it at the moment (until November 2016).
Thank you Marquessa for agreeing to be interviewed and providing such interesting andhelpful information concerning yourself and your writing. I look forward to reading more of your fiction, especially with Delaney (she’s my favourite) as well as reading your installments about Isabelle and Peter in your new project. Best of luck having your work published and with your writing goals.
If you liked this interview and would like to be interviewed as well about your writing, please reach me through my contact page.