‘Rewind Interview’ of Blogger, Poet, Writer, & Author Rosema Gonzales #amwriting #interview #nonfiction


Welcome to almost September and a look back at some of past interviews in my ‘Rewind Interviews.’ On my own blog and on the Go Dog Go Cafe, a writer’s community! I anyone wants to be a regular member of the Cafe as a Barista once a week or even every two weeks, please let us know. Also, you can submit questions about this or your own writing to the Contact Page. 

I’m excited to share with you a ‘Rewind Interview‘ of my good friend, talented writer, wonderful person, and wise woman: Rosema Gonzales from the Philippines. You can explore her blog at the following link: A Reading Writer .


Rosema
Rosema Gonzales

1. Rosema, Please Share With Us Some Things About Yourself?

I am my blog’s nameA Reading Writer. I read and write and in-between, eat cake and/or drink coffee.

I currently work for a small Public Relations firm as a Public Relations Associate and also a Public Relations Writer. I have a degree in journalism and I dream of becoming a news writer someday; a bonafide journalist. Although, I feel this goal could be a bit impossible, realistically speaking, but who knows?

When I’m not working, I’m blogging and writing. My blog, A Reading Writer , is my fortress and it has changed my writing-self dramatically. I used to only write book reviews and thoughts on books I was reading (wanted to read). Now, I write both poetry and fiction. I never thought I could write poetry or fiction until I joined the WordPress courseWriting 101, last year. Writing 101 changed my perspective on my writing abilities.

When I’m not writing or blogging, I have a thirst for reading. Mitch Albom who is my favorite author. I love all the novels I have that Mitch Albom wrote, but it would take too long to name them all :D)

When I am not reading I am drinking a cuppa of dark coffee and wishing I could be eating cheesecake! 😀


2. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?

Technically, my first post was published on August 28, 2014, close to three-years-ago now. My first post was only the beginning of my ‘existence’ as a blogger. My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.


“My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.” – Rosema Gonzales


3. What Does Your Writing and Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write and Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation?

For me, writing is like breathing with wordsNo one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry arefor me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere. I had a writing piece which was inspired by a garbage truck once. Seriously! But the majority of my poetry and fiction are written while I’m riding the bus. I think my brain churns more when I’m commuting. Reading and music alsoinspire and motivate me, and have recently given birth to some unpublished poems, too. 🙂


4. Do You Find There Is A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Hmmm. As I said before, I usually write on a bus so it’s either early morning or at night when  I write. Although, I think there is something about the silence and darkness of night that inspiresmore creative pieces as compared to when it’s daytime.


“For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry are form me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere.” – Rosema Gonzales


5. Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects or Any Hopeful Writing Projects?

If hosting a writing challenge is a project then, I would say my most recent project called:  Word-High July has been my focus#WordHighJuly featured thirty beautiful Filipino words as word prompts. Many poets and bloggers have written impeccable pieces inspired by these Filipino words such as halakhak, a noun which means loud uninhibited laughter, or kaulayai, a noun which means a pleasant and intimate companion. In terms of future projects, I’m dreaming of publishing my own poetry book in the future.


Note: Rosema has done just that and published her first book on Amazon.com, earlier in the summer. It’s called Between My Bleeding Lines by R.C. Gonzales and is available as a Kindle ebook and in Paperback!


Between These Bleeding Lines 

by

R.C Gonzales

*****

Between My Bleeding Lines Poetry
Credit: Rosema Gonzales

Below is also n example of an image and word prompt used in Rosema’s #WordHighJuly writing challenge last year


Pleasant Compnanion


6. Have You Published Any Of Your Writing Or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing In The Future? Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing and Writing Process?

All my written works are published on WordPress only for the moment. It’s part of my future plan to publish them soon maybe on my own, because scouting for a publisher is a tough task. I’m still building up the courage to finally, begin writing my own book. 

Because I’m not even one step towards publishing my work beyond my blog, I think I’m not a good writer or blogger to describe the process of publishing my writing. HOWEVER, I have great blogging friends who have successfully published their books and I’m sure they will willingly help people who like me, will eventually need tips on the entire publishing process. I have been reading some online material about self-publishing. So, I have gathered a ton of information there.

(See above Rosema self-published her poetry book!)


7. What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly. There are times for instance, when I am just walking and I come across someone who I don’t know and a poem is born! It’s an unpredictable process so I always have my phone handy because it’s my stockroom for poetry and fiction.


“I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly.” – Rosema Gonzales


8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles and/or Genres?

I prefer reading in bed. I’m a certified librocubicularist. 🙂

When it comes to reading genres, I love Young-AdultMystery, ThrillersContemporary LiteratureHistorical FictionPoetry, and Faith related books.When it comes to writing, my most chosen genre is Romance; love, and more so, unrequited love. I also write realistic fiction and about tragedy. My blog friend Mel, of In Media Res has been joking about putting a death toll counterin my blog. HAHA. I’m close to considering it !


9. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?

First, I must say write for yourself not for anyone else. It is blissful to have many people follow and read your work, but it is unusual to have many followers and readers as a writer or blogger starting out. So, do not be discouraged by a lack of other people reading your writing; write for no one but yourself.

Second, I you cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprintseach author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.

Lastly, I believe you should always be the first person who believes in your characters, in your poems, in in all your writing. This advice, I often give myself, and is a lesson I’m still trying to learn.


 

Carlie Jean UnSplash Tea
Credit: Carli Jeen via UnSplash

 


“[Y]ou cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprints, each author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.” – Rosema Gonzales 


10. Do You Have Anything About Yourself You’d Like to Share With Fellow Writers? 

Honestly, I’ve only just found my true writer-self. I think this year is the first, I’ve finally embraced creative writing. My focus before this year, was on writing straight news, real-life nonfiction, becoming a genuine journalist. Now, I am loving what I’ve been discovering about myself through creative writing.

As well, it would not be possible for me to have had such personal growth through writing if I did not have a great bunch of supportive and loving writers in the blogging community on WordPress. I would like to highlight the need for a friendly, honest, and interactive writing community.


11. Any Advice for Other Writers or Bloggers Starting Out? 

Bloggers and writers (online and in general), need to be kind enough to read the work of the writers who read your own posts. Let’s be supportive enough to correct grammar mistakes or provide tips on how a writer can improve on his or her work. Leave thoughtful comments on other bloggers and writers posts.

I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writersHigh praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote. What’s important is to let writers know how their work affects youhow you feel about their work.This is helpful, to all writers.

Writers should be the first to realize completely, the power of their words. I hope we can agree to use words to create an encouraging community. Let’s not underestimate the power of our comments. Comments on a writer’s work can change livesI’m proof and I can testify to the truth of comments changing my own life and writing.


“I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote.” – Rosema Gonzales


11. Please Share With Us Some Pieces Of Your Fiction And Poetry:

“Writer’s Note”

by

Rosema Gonzales

*****

Guilia Bertelli UnSplash - Notes Rosema
Credit: Giulia Bertelli via Unsplash

*****

No one,
nothing,
can take
my words
away
from me.

Break me,
confine me,
curse me,
abandon me,
my lines will bleed more
surely.

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.


12. Here are some more Blog Posts from Rosema: 


Thanks so much Rosema for filling out interview questions and writing them with your heart. It always comes through in your work, fiction, poetry, or talking about your favourite books. I’m encouraged you will make wonderful strides in creative writing and in your career aspirations.


“Dreams are always possible, sometimes we only have to believe they can be a possibility!” – A.E. 


Once again, here is the link to Rosema’s blogA Reading WriterMany thanks for reading along. If you would like to be interviewed as a blogger, poet, writer, or blogger or a cause,  please let me know. You can reach-out to me through my Contact Page.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements

Interview with Writer, Blogger, and Author JoAnne Macco #amwriting #interview #nonfiction


Good Morning, and welcome to another writer and or blogger interview. I’m excited to share with you an interview with a newly published author, JoAnne Macco. I think you’ll love her blog and her book as much as I do.

As per usual, this interview will also be featured on the Go Dog Go Cafe, a blog for writers and lovers of writing, of all kinds. It’s a blogger and writer’s community so make sure you stop by there after reading this interview on my site. You can also submit writing of your own on the site such as poetry and short fiction through the Contact Page.

JoAnne’s blog site is JoAnne of the Forest: Anything is Possible with Faith, Hope, and Perseverance. 


JoAnne Silvia Picture
Credit: JoAnne Macco

1. JoAnne, Please Tell Us About Yourself? 

On WordPress, I’m best known as JoAnna of the Forest and I live in North Carolina on the east coast of the U.S.

In January, I took a leap of faith and retired from a 30-year career as a substance abuse counselor to spend more time writing and painting angels. My goal is to provide hope through my blog, and my book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.

My long-term goals are to continue to develop my storytelling skills, to write a novel based on my parents, and to travel more. As a military kid, my family moved around a great deal.

I longed to settle in one place, so I’ve stayed near the Carolina coast for most of my adult life. It’s comfortable here, most of the year, although summers can become hot and humid. It helps that my little urban cottage is 15 minutes from the ocean and surrounded by trees that provide a lot of shade.


2. When Did you Begin Writing and Blogging? For What Reason and What Does Writing Mean To You? 

I wrote poems and songs in high school and I’ve journaled, off and on, for most of my life. Writing has always been therapeutic for me, which is probably why I wrote more when I approached menopause as a single mom with a 13-year-old daughter.

Writing helped me find perspective and meaning during those rollercoaster years. When I wrote my book in 2012, someone told me I needed to blog as well. Blogging has broadened my world tremendously, and I’m thankful to be part of this supportive community on WordPress. I believe that when we all share our experience, thoughts, and feelings, we discover that we have more in common than we might have realized.


“In January, I took a leap of faith and retired from a 30-year career as a substance abuse counselor to spend more time writing and painting angels. My goal is to provide hope through my blog, “Anything is Possible,” and my book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.” – JoAnne Macco


3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write and Blog? Why Is Writing Significant to You? 

I’ve learned a lot in my 60 years of life and I’m still learning a ton. I hope to share my experience and give people hope that even when your world seems to be falling apart, things are going to work out if you hang in there and work on you. Plus, writing helps me organize my thoughts and process my feelings. It helps me explore what I want to understand better about myself and the world.


4. Do You Have Particular Writing and/or Blogging Habits? What Do You Enjoy Most About Writing? 

Since I’m a night owl, my natural tendency is to write more in the afternoon and evening. But when I was working on my book, I found I had to write in the morning to keep from being distracted and staying up too late.

I’d force myself write in the morning for at least two hours before looking at any social media or email. Then, after checking those, I’d return to writing a couple of more hours in the afternoon.

I loved those long stretches of working on my book and becoming absorbed in the process. I look forward to doing that again with my next book. For now, I’m writing most of my blog posts at night.


“I hope to share my experience and give people hope that even when your world seems to be falling apart, things are going to work out if you hang in there and work on you. Plus, writing helps me organize my thoughts and process my feelings.” – JoAnne Macco 


5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects with Your Blog and Outside of Your Blog?

On my blog, I’m searching for positive and inspiring experiences to share with others, whether these experiences are global, local, or personal stories about overcoming challenges and also about meaningful coincidences.

I want to engage readers about relationship issues and personal growth topics that come up a lot in Trust the Timing, my book on Amazon.com. Outside of blogging, I’m beginning to research and collect material for future books I want to write.


6. Have You Published Your First Book? Do You Plan To Publish More in the Future?

I’ve just published my first book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again which is told from the alternating perspectives of two high school sweethearts. It became available on Amazon.com in July 2017.

As well, I’m planning to write and publish at least two more books, one about Doodle, the problem step-dog (who makes an appearance in my first book). Also, I’m writing a novel based on the lives of my extraordinary parents. At some time, I would also like to publish a book of poetry.


“On my blog, I’m searching for positive and inspiring experiences to share with others, whether these experiences are global, local, or personal, stories about overcoming challenges and about meaningful coincidences.’ – JoAnne Macco


Trust the Timing: A Memoir of Finding Love Again

by

JoAnne Macco

(Available for Purchase one Amazon.com)

*****

Book Cover JoAnne Macco Amazon.com
Credit: JoAnne Macco (Amazon.com)

*****


7. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? Did You Self-Publish or Go Through and Agent or Publishing Company? 

When I first started writing, I edited too much as I went along. Now, I think about a story or blog post in my head for a while first. When it comes to the writing, I’ve learned that a stream-ofaconsciousness style, without editing, makes my writing more interesting and fun.

I try to draft a chapter or a blog post without editing as if I’m talking to a friend. Then I’ll go back and edit the chapter or post later. Although, I don’t know if I’d want to write an another entire book like that. As I mentioned earlier, it’s better if I write before I peruse social media. I have to keep reminding myself of that!

Moreover, after considerable research and weighing the pros and cons, I decided to self-publish with Create Space for my memoir. I enjoyed the control this provided me. I think my next book maybe done with a small publishing company.


“When I first started writing, I edited too much as I went along. Now, I think about a story or blog post in my head for a while first. When it comes to the writing, I’ve learned that a stream of consciousness style, without editing, makes my writing more interesting and fun.” – JoAnne Macco


8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Genres? 

In college, I took journalism and technical writing and my previous career required a lot of factual reporting and clinical notes. As a result when I began writing my book I had a strong nonfiction framework. Also, I’ve enjoyed learning more about creative nonfiction over the past five years, working on my memoir.

Moreover, I’ve always been talented at making up stories in my head and I look forward to writing more fiction. However, my reading habits lean toward inspirational nonfiction, by authors like Anne Lamott and Elizabeth Gilbert, with an occasional sci-fi novel thrown in for fun.


9. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Bloggers and Writers Starting Out? 

I think I started writing and blogging, being too serious. Maybe it was my journalism and technical writing background? I thought I knew how to write, but creative writing is a whole different process than what I had been used to writing. To begin, I took online classes and engaged with supportive critique groups. 

Moreover, I learned that it’s vital to be conscientious and caring, when you’re writing, but not to forget to have fun. Also, it’s a good idea not to make your blog posts too long. About ‘five hundred’ words are plenty for a post (unless of course, you’re doing an interview). As well, I’ve learned to use photograps in every blog post I publish. 

My creative writing experience outside of blogging is primarily with my memoir. What I’ve learned from it is to write from your heart and not to be afraid to delve into those feelings if you’re in an emotionally stable place. It can be difficult and you’ll need to take breaks. Also, I’m sure writing fiction can bring up emotional baggage too. If you’re not ready for that, write for fun. Write poetry to yourself or write in a journal.

You can also keep a notebook handy for ideas that pop-up in your head so you can jot them down and allow these ideas to flow and transform into some kind writing later on.


“I’m sure writing fiction can bring up baggage, too. If you’re not ready for that yet, just write for fun. Write poetry to yourself. Keep a journal. Keep a notebook handy for ideas that” – JoAnne Macco


Writing Notebook Thought Catalogue UnSplash
Credit: Thought Catalogue via UnSplash

10. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share About Yourself or Your Writing? 

In my short biography, I describe myself as an open-minded, tree-hugging Christian. Like Madeleine L’Engle, I don’t consider myself a “Christian writer” but a writer who happens to be a Christian. I like to explore spirituality and connections between things that don’t seem to be connected.


11. Just for Fun. What Are Your Top Three Favorite Blogs? What Do You Enjoy About Them? 

It’s so difficult to name only three! I could easily name 10 favorites or more! But here it goes:

  • Sacred Touches –  Natalie Scarberry always has something to comfort or inspire me with vibrant colors and natural delights.
  • SmileCalm Home – David’s gentle, loving wisdom comes through in each post and makes me smile deep down in my heart.
  • Behind the White CoatBehind the White Coat is written by a smart doctor with a big heart. Her posts can be informative, entertaining, hilarious or heartbreaking. Her honesty makes me feel like I am not alone.

“In my short biography, I describe myself as an open-minded, tree-hugging Christian. Like Madeleine L’Engle, I don’t consider myself a “Christian writer” but a writer who happens to be a Christian. I like to explore spirituality and connections between things that don’t seem to be connected.” – JoAnne Macco 


Jo Anne Silvia Book Cover 2
Credit: Provided by JoAnne Macco

12. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Blog Writing. 

“If We Lose Electricity” 

By

JoAnne Macco

*****

JoAnne Macco
Credit: JoAnne Macco – http://www.joanneoftheforest.wordpress.com

*****

If we lose electricity

in the storm,

We will still have power.

We have the power

To check on our neighbors,

To ask for help,

To move to higher ground.

The power to tell stories,

To laugh,

To sing lullabies.

The power to write a poem,

To mend what’s torn,

To read by candlelight.

The power to hope and pray,

To reminisce,

To hold hands in the dark.

The power to clear a path,

To rise from ash,

 and rebuild.

_____________________________

When we say we’ve lost power, it minimizes the power we still have. If we lose electricity, let’s say we lost electricity. We still have power, at least over our thoughts, words, and actions.

I send prayers for safety and comfort to all those in the path of the storm.

13. Here are Some More Blog Links to JoAnne’s Writing:


Thank you so much to JoAnne for her patience with this interview. I loved learning about her writing and her background as a writer. I also think it’s neat how she is, particularly, a nonfiction writer. I also loved her quote about being a Christian writer who doesn’t, necessarily, do Christian writing.

If you’re a blogger or writer, or someone who blogs about a cause, please feel to contact me if you would like to be interviewed. My contact page is HERE. See you when I see you :).


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer Interview of Shivangi from ‘Stories by Shivangi’ #interview #nonfiction #author #childrensbooks


Hi, welcome to another interview for my biweekly interview series. I have been behind due to other projects so I’m having a special edition of my interview series featuring the lovely and talented Shivangi Singh from Minnesota in the United States, on a Sunday. Her blog’s link is here: Stories by Shivangi – Once Upon A Time . . .


Shivangi - Self
Credit: Shivangi Singh

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself? 

I am Shivangi Singh from ‘Stories by Shivangi’ from Minnesota in the Unites States. I am a stay at home mom and I love to weave stories inspired by my surroundings. If you enjoy stories, films, and kids stuff, visit my blog, you will most definitely enjoy it.

As a child, I aways dreamt of writing books but with the development of technology, I have learned how easy it is to self-publish, now more than ever. I have managed to write, do some illustrating, and be the author of two children’s books that are available on Apple Itunes. They include the books below.


The Princess with Brown Teeth 

By Shivangi Singh

Shivangi - The Princess With Brown Teeth
Credit: Shivangi Singh – ‘The Princess with Brown Teeth’

Find it at on Itunes here: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-princess-with-brown-teeth/id1146112226?mt=11)


Who Ate The Moon

By Shivangi Singh

Shivangi - Who Ate The Moon
Credit: Shivangi Singh ‘Who Ate The Moon’

Find it on Itunes here: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/who-ate-the-moon/id1206671343?mt=11).

 


 2. Please Tell Us About Your Recent Book? When Did You Begin Blogging and Writing?

My recent book Who Ate The Moon is about two naughty brothers Aala and Uja, who adore the moon. They steal the moon and through stealing it learn about the different phases of the moon. The book is educational as well as entertaining. Through my children’s books, I’m trying to make learning fun for kids.

I began blogging in January 2015 soon after my first little one was born. I have been a copywriter, journalist, and have won several awards in creative writing. The purpose of ‘Stories by Shivangi’ was to maintain my flair for writing. I was also feeling a little disconnected after moving to the USA from India, so I chose to start my blog to establish a connection with fellow bloggers, writers, and friends. Ultimately, my blog showed me the way to my dream of being a published author.


3. How is Writing and Blogging Meaningful for You? Where Do You Find Your Motivation and Inspiration to Write? Why Is Writing Important to You?

My blog and writing my books provide me with a much-needed creative outlet. It is my voice! I use this voice to entertain, advocate, and teach little ones such as my own. 

My inspirations are my surroundings, my kids, and the latest news or current events. As a child, I loved story books and I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Mothers are the first teachers’ of their children so it’s my endeavor to instill the love of reading and writing in them. If I write blogs and books, they too will understand the joy of knowledge. This is one of my primary motivations to continue my blog as well as having that creative outlet for myself to write what I would like.


 “As a child, I loved story books and I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Mothers are the first teachers’ of their children so it’s my endeavor to instill the love of reading and writing in them. If I write blogs and books, they too will understand the joy of knowledge.” – Shivangi Singh


4. Do You Have Any Particular Blog or Writing Habits? 

I write on the go and on my smartphone. A sentence here and a word there. With two demanding little ones around, it is harrowing to write sometimes and that is why I try not to commit to too much writing at this time. As my kids grow up and depend on me less, I will devote more time to writing books and to blogging.


5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects On Your Blog or Otherwise? 

As of now, I have not planned anything. I will just keep writing one blog a week! My projects have been my two kids books which you can access above. As I said, I try to not commit to too much with my little ones and their demands at the moment.

My book did get reviewed by Ritu of But I Smile Anyway, and I wrote a guest post for the site. I was interviewed by Ranjeeta of atrangizindagieksafar as well but have no future plans as of right now beyond blogging.


 ” [I]t is harrowing to write sometimes and that is why I try not to commit to too much writing at this time. As my kids grow up and depend on me less, I will devote more time to writing books and to blogging.” -Shivangi Singh


6. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process You Went Through Writing Your Books? 

It was quite challenging! I wrote the children’s books and created illustrations using inspiration by reading other books here and there. I had no professional help whatsoever while publishing and am proud to say I figured it out on my own. I kept reading DIY  blog posts and forums and through them, I managed to publish my children’s stories.

Time was a challenge and so were the illustrations, but I did have an illustrator paint my cartoons in the first book (The Princess with Brown Teeth). But in my second book, I illustrated with the help of Pixton.com. My challenged of obtaining a visa was also a challenge so I couldn’t publish my books on Kindle. I was thrilled when my books were published on Apple, but then, I know many people with Android readers don’t have access to my books.

I did, however, put together a video on YouTube and did a voiceover of my books for readers who could not obtain my books through Apple. It did not come out as I had expected and I struggled on each step. I learned an enormous amount of information about putting together a video of my books in the process. 


7. What Keeps You Going As a Writer? Do You Prefer Any Writing or Reading Genres? 

Persistence and a love for writing are key, a person just has to keep writing no matter what. As well, I am absolutely crazy about fiction! I like to read poetry too!


“I wrote the children’s books and created illustrations using inspiration by reading other books here and there. I had no professional help whatsoever while publishing and am proud to say I figured it out on my own. I kept reading DIY  blog posts and forums and through them, I managed to publish my children’s stories.” – Shivangi Singh


8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Bloggers? Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us Pertinent to Yourself or Your Writing? 

All my blog friends are doing great! I would advise them to be persistent and be better than their last post! As for having anything else to say, well,  I think I have said it all😀


9. For Fun, What Are You Three Favorite Blogs You Follow, of Any Kind? 

When I first entered the blog world, these were my favourite people. I continue to enjoy reading them.

  • Priceless Joy  — Her stories are awesome and her Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer Challenge is great for those who love writing and working on telling a story in only 150 to 175 words.
  • Ritu of But I Smile anyway — She blogs about day to day activities but the way she presents these activities, the way she writes, is awesome. Also, Ritu is such a positive and inspiring person!
  • Ali of Draliman On Life — (Because Sometimes Life Just Makes You Stop and Think) —  If you love a good laugh, visit Ali’s blog. I am a big fan of his humorous works.
  • I would also like to mention Millie Thom from Bringing History To Life — she is a writer par excellence.

10. Can You Please Share With Us Some of Your Favorite Blog Posts?

Anecdote – Lesson By My Grandma!

By Shivangi Singh

May 9, 2016

******

*****

My grandma is a grand old lady nearing a century. If you look at her, she may appear formidable in the beginning and then a ringing laughter would ensue, dismantling the image you had conjured up in your mind. The fact is, she is both formidable as well as light hearted. A unique, delightful combination!

Born and brought up in a royal family ( Kharsawan, Jharkhand), she has always had that regal bearing. She believes in maintaining distance from her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids as well as recently added a great-great-grand kid. And we are all supposed to behave in her presence. We rise when she enters the room and remain respectful in her presence.

During my childhood years, we lived with her, so, we had the opportunity to observe her from the closest quarters. I discovered her lighter side later in life. Initially, I was apprehensive of her. She commanded and the household ran according to her. But as I grew up, I discovered the lighter, fun side of her personality. There have been many instances when she would have us in splits.

Here is one such incident. One of our cousins was going to meet a prospective bridegroom. In arranged marriages in India, girls and guys are introduced by their families, they meet up, chat and then a decision is taken unanimously.

So, this cousin was both excited as well as scared before her first meeting. Our granny called her and said, “If you like this man, try to do little something to make him fall for you.”

We were seeing another aspect of our grandma. We all asked, “what?”. She immediately showed us how to woo a husband – “Look sideways at him and then look down… blush… look up again at him… look down and blush again. And then smile juuust a little.” We doubled up with laughter!

I don’t know whether my cousin looked sideways at the prospective groom or not but they ended up getting married!

*****

(Sharing a picture of my grandparents)

*****

I look up to my grand old lady because she always had the audacity to laugh at all challenges that came in her life. In her almost 100 years of life, she has seen many ups and downs. All her peers are long gone now, times have changed but she has remained strong.

I adore her because she is quite broad-minded, childlike and her booming laughter lightens the most serious of situations. A great devotee of Krishna, she follows what the playful God says – to celebrate life as it is!

Long live my grandma!

*****


Here Are Additional Posts Written By Shivangi:


Thanks so much to Shivangi for filling out my interview questions! I even gave Shivangi the wrong interview questions (the one’s for blogs that are causes) and she still did a brilliant job. She is an inspiration as a writer and a mother and I wish her good luck in the future with her family and writing. Here is the link to here homepage one last time: Stories By Shivangi


Thanks for reading this interview and if you are interested in being interviewed as a writer/blogger or you a blogger writing for a specific cause (or both), you can reach out to me on my Contact Page. See you on Monday for my regularly scheduled interview 🙂


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Update Fall/Winter: All Is Well, Though Never Easy #amwriting #nonfiction 


It’s been a long while since I’ve given an sort of personal update. Part of the reason is there are somethings I can’t talk about at the moment. The other part has been life has felt incredibly busy and trying to keep up with everything on the reduced schedule I have has been a bit challenging. 

After an initial and yearly week or two dealing with SAD and becoming used to less light, I feel more energy again. Often I find when it comes to blogging, I have so many blogs to follow now, commenting daily is difficult. So you’ve probably noticed I do this less. I’m sorry I can’t keep up, but I’ve found in the last while, I need to maintain a balance in life or become overwhelmed. 

So I’ve been trying to keep up with my usual prompts and also for a couple of months in October and November I was doing daily poetry prompts for OctPoWriMo and November Notes. But I felt at least in poetry, my writing has been improving as has my knowledge of poetry forms. I’ve been so happy to be a guest blogger on Look Around, being able to continually collaborate with Spill Words Magazine Online, having work published on SickLit Magazine and have the possibility of poetry or short fiction pieces being published on a few other sites and/or magazines. 

Credit: http://www.spillwords.com – image used for my poem by this name!

Fiction is something I continue working on through flash fiction and other prompts. A larger story has developed from a piece called Teegan’s Potion. I have an idea this might develop into something much bigger, a longer short story or a novel. I would like to begin planning it out more. 

However, the other part of me is still working on my original novel on WattPad, doing a second draft. Lately, I’ve done about three more chapters and am hoping to put serious work into the novel throughout the winter semester. You can find my completed second draft chapters for How Was Last Night on Wattpad HERE. Events have changed and moved around from the first draft. Lately, I’ve only been able to do about three chapters, but I’m hoping to go through the remaining chapters, rewrite, and edit, and have one up each week. 

Sorry, I cannot promise this but I’m going to try to do this. Please let me know on this post or on Wattpad what you like and don’t like, or if you have any suggestions or thoughts. I’ve completed up to new chapter 12 in second draft. Also playing around with potential covers for this point in my writing. It’s a paranormal romance, so I’m unsure whether I want the cover more mysterious or more of a typical romance cover. What do you think? 

I was most disappointed not to have made it into the online MFA in Creative Writing I applied for for September 2017. My plan is to try applying one more time and to continue publishing pieces of poetry and short fiction until I’m in or not.

 I’m also looking at taking a couple of courses in the certificate program at U if Toronto. This way, I have more writing courses and hopefully more recent great marks, for my Academic CV. I’ll be able to see how my second application for the MFA goes next October. If I don’t get in then, I can work on completing the certificate. I’m not sure if I would try three-years. I’m just taking it day by day right now.


The other part of my life has been dealing with not having money from my disability company anymore. I’m coping with this, but it could take a year to come to a mind of resolution. In between if I could make the $300.00 a month I can make having AISH and CPP disability in Alberta, Canada, I would be most happy. I’m applying for different writing and blogging jobs on a freelance sight called www.upwork.com. They do take a small percentage, but it’s worth it if you can connect with good clients. 

I’ve had job offers so far but had to refuse because I cannot write and research full time. Not to mention, some of the people posting jobs have little clue how long writing up an article or blog from 300 to 1000 words takes, especially with research. They want articles fast and yet they want them to be perfect, free of errors. Some of them want this for only $10.00 an article – not even minimum wage per hour where I’m from. I’m hoping to find some good jobs on Upwork to earn extra money and gain some job experience part time and/or casually. I’m leaning more to the casual end I think, part time would honestly be too much. 

It would help me pay for a course in spring and fall and maybe a vacation. One of my bestest of best friend’s wedding is in Cuba. I was planning to before my insurance revoked my disability. But this is a long ways away, so I’m praying it might work out that I could be there and have a little vacation too. As of now, it’s not appearing hopeful.

Credit: http://www.melia.com

My Christmas shopping is finished. I’ve been baking cookies and squares. The best cookies are from this Neiman Marcus oatmeal cookie recipe. You grind the oats into flour in your blender. The cookie is soft and chewy and uses both white flour and the oat flour. I put in lots of chocolate chips and crushed pecans. I’ve become an expert at baking these and my whole family is addicted to them.

Apparently, I haven’t baked them in a while. One batch is about five dozen cookies. One dozen I gave to my brother, and the other four dozen have been disappearing from the freezer at an alarming rate. Let me know if you want the recipe, I can send it to you. I will be making another batch when I replenish the chocolate chip supply. 

Credit: Brown Eyed Baker

I’ve been trying to keep busy, seeing friends whenever I’m able. My one BFF and I went to a Paint Nite event, painting penguins on wine glasses. At home you bake them in your stove so they are useable. It’s a cute craft, but I think the wine glasses themselves would have been nice with some wine in them 🙂 Hanging out with S again this Saturday for drinks a the Art Gallery restaurant and a naughty Christmas show at the Citadel Theatre. Also, always planning for the future.
Credit: Amanda Eifert

I finally found my perfect tattoo and am trying to arrange a consultation with the artist my hairdresser and friend Tess, suggested. It’s a peacock feather but very beautiful. Bold enough in black but also with shades of blue and maybe purple. So excited for this, even though it will hurt! It’s not this whole tattoo, just the peacock feather part. See below:

Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

Have a blessed Christmas everyone! Remember the true meaning of Christmas and the hope a babe in a manger named Jesus became for all mankind. 
Credit: Lamb and Lion Ministries – Prophetic Facts – About the Nativity

——

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Interview With Rosema Gonzales


Welcome to September and the third month of my bi-weekly interview series. I’m excited to share with you an interview of my good friend, talented writer, wonderful person, and wise woman: Rosema Gonzales from the Philippines. You can explore her blog at the following link: A Reading Writer .


Rosema
Rosema Gonzales

1. Rosema, Please Share With Us Some Things About Yourself?

I am my blog’s name: A Reading Writer. I read and write and in-between, eat cake and/or drink coffee.

I currently work for a small Public Relations firm as a Public Relations Associate and also a Public Relations Writer. I have a degree in journalism and I dream of becoming a news writer someday; a bonafide journalist. Although, I feel this goal could be a bit impossible, realistically speaking, but who knows?

When I’m not working, I’m blogging and writing. My blog, A Reading Writer , is my fortress and it has changed my writing-self dramatically. I used to only write book reviews and thoughts on books I was reading (wanted to read). Now, I write both poetry and fiction. I never thought I could write poetry or fiction until I joined the WordPress course: Writing 101, last year. Writing 101 changed my perspective on my writing abilities.

When I’m not writing or blogging, I have a thirst for reading. Mitch Albom is my  favorite author. I love all the novels I have, which Mitch Albom wrote, but it would take too long to name them all :D)

When I am not reading I am drinking a cuppa of dark coffee and wishing I could be eating cheesecake! 😀


2. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?

Technically, my first post was published on August 28, 2014, close to two-years-ago now. My first post was only the beginning of my ‘existence’ as a blogger. My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.


“My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.” – Rosema Gonzales


3. What Does Your Writing and Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write and Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation?

For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry are for me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere. I had a writing piece which was inspired by a garbage truck once. Seriously! But the majority of my poetry and fiction are written while I’m riding the bus. I think my brain churns more when I’m commuting. Reading and music also inspire and motivate me, and have recently given birth to some unpublished poems, too. 🙂


4. Do You Find There Is A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Hmmm. As I said before, I usually write on a bus so it’s either early morning or at night when  I write. Although, I think there is something about the silence and darkness of night that inspires more creative pieces as compared to when it’s daytime.


“For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry are form me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere.” – Rosema Gonzales


5. Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects or Any Hopeful Writing Projects?

If hosting a writing challenge is a project then, I would say my most recent project called:  Word-High July has been my focus. #WordHighJuly featured thirty beautiful Filipino words as word prompts. Many poets and bloggers have written impeccable pieces inspired by these Filipino words such as halakhak, a noun which means loud uninhibited laughter, or kaulayai, a noun which means a pleasant and intimate companion. In terms of future projects, I’m dreaming of publishing my own poetry book in the future.


Below is an example of an image and word prompt used in Rosema’s #WordHighJuly writing challenge:


Pleasant Compnanion


6. Have You Published Any Of Your Writing Or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing In The Future? Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing and Writing Process?

All my written works are published on WordPress only for the moment. It’s part of my future plan to publish them soon maybe on my own, because scouting for a publisher is a tough task. I’m still building up the courage to finally, begin writing my own book. 

Because I’m not even one step towards publishing my work beyond my blog, I think I’m not a good writer or blogger to describe the process of publishing my writing. HOWEVER, I have great blogging friends who have successfully published their books and I’m sure they will willingly help people who like me, will eventually need tips on the entire publishing process. I have been reading some online material about self-publishing. So, I have gathered a ton of information there.


7. What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly. There are times for instance, when I am just walking and I come across someone who I don’t know and a poem is born! It’s an unpredictable process so I always have my phone handy because it’s my stockroom for poetry and fiction.


” I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly.” – Rosema Gonzales


8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles and/or Genres?

I prefer reading in bed. I’m a certified librocubicularist. 🙂

When it comes to reading genres, I love Young-Adult, Mystery, Thrillers, Contemporary Literature, Historical Fiction, Poetry, and Faith related books.When it comes to writing, my most chosen genre is Romance; love, and more so, unrequited love. I also write realistic fiction and about tragedy. My blog friend Mel, of In Media Res has been joking about putting a death toll counter in my blog. HAHA. I’m close to considering it !


9. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?

First, I must say write for yourself not for anyone else. It is blissful to have many people follow and read your work, but it is unusual to have many followers and readers as a writer or blogger starting out. So, do not be discouraged by a lack of other people reading your writing; write for no one but yourself.

Second, I you cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprints, each author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.

Lastly, I believe you should always be the first person who believes in your characters, in your poems, in in all your writing. This advice, I often give myself, and is a lesson I’m still trying to learn.


10. Is There Anything Else You Want To Share With Us, Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?

Honestly, I’ve only just found my true writer-self. I think, this year is the first, I’ve finally embraced creative writing. My focus before this year, was on writing straight news, real-life nonfiction, becoming a genuine journalist. Now, I am loving what I’ve been discovering about myself through creative writing.

As well, it would not be possible for me to have had such personal growth through writing, if I did not have a great bunch of supportive and loving writers in the blogging community on WordPress. I would like to highlight the need for a friendly, honest, and interactive writing community.

Bloggers and writers (online and in general), need to be kind enough to read the work of the writers who read your own posts. Let’s be supportive enough to correct grammar mistakes or provide tips on how a writer can improve on his or her work. Leave thoughtful comments on other bloggers and writers posts.

I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote. What’s important is to let writers know how their work affects you, how you feel about their work.This is helpful, to all writers.

Writers should be the first to realize completely, the power of their words. I hope we can agree to use words to create an encouraging community. Let’s not underestimate the power of our comments. Comments on a writer’s work can change lives; I’m proof and I can testify to the truth of comments changing my own life and writing.


“I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote.” – Rosema Gonzales


11. Please Share With Us Some Pieces Of Your Fiction And Poetry:

“Writer’s Note”

No one,
nothing,
can take
my words
away
from me.

Break me,
confine me,
curse me,
abandon me,
my lines will bleed more
surely.

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.


I would also like to share my first-ever fictional piece from Writing 101:


Thanks so much Rosema for filling out interview questions and writing them with your heart. It always comes through in your work, fiction, poetry, or talking about your favourite books. I’m encouraged you will make wonderful strides in creative writing and in your career aspirations.

Dreams are always possible, sometimes we only have to believe they can be a possibility!

Once again, here is the link to Rosema’s blog: A Reading Writer.


Many thanks for reading along in this bi-weekly interview series. If you would like to be interviewed and share about yourself and your writing aspirations, please let me know. You can reach-out to me through my Contact Page.


 

 

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

Summer Words: The Latest 


Usually, I attempt to update you guys in the blogging world, every month but I’m sure I haven’t actually done that in a few months. So, it’s summer words because well, summer is almost over and I never updated until today.

I kind of dread the end of summer as much as I love it. There is a freedom and carelessness to summer, no other season has. People relax in the deck, on the patio; they go to beaches and sometimes house boating; they visit and explore foreign places; and those who never relax stay home and sleep in, get a few things taken care of around the house, or not.

IMG_2348
http://www.thedailyroxette.com

Typically, I take a summer vacation somewhere, but I found out this year I had waited much to long to book flights using my airmiles. And the Canadian dollar was down as compared to the US dollar, so the dollar was too low to consider a trip there.

I wanted to go somewhere fresh this year. Somewhere I haven’t visited or haven’t been in a while. I have never actually visited around Vancouver and it’s been ten-years since I visited Quebec City. I feel as if those are both great options for a fall vacation.

If the dollar improved, Las Vegas is always an option, but sticking with the theme of visiting new places, I would like to go to San Francisco or Seattle. There are a few different places I’ve read blogs on or heard about, which I would enjoy seeing in those cities. Not to mention, pretty much anywhere you go, unique food and shopping are always worth the trip.

SanFran Shopping
http://www.youtube.com

I’m day dreaming of a European trip. I’ve narrowed it down to the country of Italy for now. I know the cities I wish to see. I only have to arrange everything, decide where I’m going to stay, and arrange when and which attractions I want to see — oh and there’s always the money issue too. But minor detail lol.

Because of my health, I think it would be a good idea to spend a week in each city, maybe a bit more so I have days to use to do nothing in case I need them. So, a month to two-months for a trip to Italy, and who to take with me?

Anyways, that’s future dreams. Lately, not feeling as well. All around, I feel drained. Maybe, I’m doing too much? But I don’t think so. Maybe, it’s another slump in my health? Or perhaps, I’m only having a bad week or two? The humidity in the air often makes me tired, almost sick at times. But I didn’t think it was so bad in Edmonton this summer as compared to other summers. However, I get through it because, I always do.

Venice1
http://www.aroundtheworld.com (Venice)

Summer has been spent doing a bit of shopping in July as it was my birthday month. I looked at my finances and have been trying to better arrange them, considering retirement, life insurance, and accidental death insurance. Not that I think anything bad will occur to me soon, but we don’t always know so I’m trying to be prepared as best as I can for my future and my family.

I’m into this application on my IPad called Wattpad. It’s a great way to see what other writers are writing and see the quality or lack there of, for different genres of books. I’m doing the second draft of How Was Last Night For You? on Wattpad. I’m happy with it so far and have had Yinglan’s helpful support as she also has some work on there I’m helping her proof. The newly arranged chapters of my book and the sequence of events so far is available in chapters one through nine, and you can check it out at the above link.

I had to completely redo chapter nine, so it might be a bit sketchy yet, but things are coming. The novel is developing slowly, even though I never even conceived it would get this far when I started writing a couple of years ago.

But due to the novel, and doing a being proofread of my Uncle’s historical book on his family, I’ve been hugely busy. #WordhighJuly was great and well done by our hosts Rosema and Maria; but it was also time consuming.

Moon
Unknown Source (Current Cover for my Novel)

So, I have to apologize, I haven’t been able to read and comment on as many posts as I like. In order to not overwhelm myself, I think I will have to consciously, only comment on a few of your posts, each week. I’m ecstatic to have more followers, but I don’t want to forget old friends. I feel it is necessary to comment but it takes time. I’ll work it out.

Don’t worry. But if you don’t see me, I’m off trying to get more poems and fiction published. And I’m probably, working on putting my novel together so I have a manuscript worthy of a good editor. Lately, as I mentioned, not feeling so well, prevents me from completing tasks, I would like to do as well.

Also, as I’ve mentioned before there’s a masters program I want to apply for. Lately, I’m not sure about it. It’s been a dream for the past few years, but I’m not sure about it. I like to learn, and to build my knowledge of writing. I’m not sure if that’s best done in the classroom or through real-life experience. But just the same, I’ve always wanted a Masters in English or Writing. I think creative writing most of all. Perhaps, I feel, a certificate program such as at University of Toronto online, might be less stressful?

Creative Writing Typewriter
http://www.proessaywriter.net

Fitness is a bust. Sometimes I walk, other times I don’t have it in me. I try to stretch and do a bit of yoga. But it makes me angry and upset I cannot do the cardio I need to do. I complain about this too much, I’m sorry. But I loved the adrenaline rush of exercise, like I love art, and writing. And I miss it so much. I’ve never been able to get it back even wearing myself out. And I know it’s what I need to lose weight. I’m completely confused as what to do for diet right now, probably I will go back on the herbal magic diet, as it seemed to be the diet plan which worked the best for me and the amount of exercise I could do. I’m not signing up again, only following the meal plans.

I’ve been reading a lot on Wattpad. But, it’s frustrating because the authors only update once a week if that. So, I’m reading other books again, with middles and endings, by more well known and accomplished writers. I’m excited to read: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Also, I have some favourite writers, who  I would like to read up on their latest novels.

Pretty Little Liars
http://www.celebuzz.com (Main Characters of Pretty Little Liars – Hanna, Emily, Aria, and Spencer.)

I’m addicted to Prett Little Liars on Netflix right now. It’s a better series than I anticipated. Secrets can be big and convoluted as I’m learning through each season of the show. I’ve only started season three and there are four more to go. Season seven which is on TV now I believe, or just was, is the last season. I’d be happy for Madmen Season 8 to be available on Netflix too. Also, I watch a show based of the Scream Movies once a week, but I think it’s almost done. I watch the Summer Olympics and my Eskimos playing CFL football as well.

Dory
http://www.taormina.it

There are some great festivals in Edmonton during summer. As well, it’s relaxing and fun to be put on a patio with friends and have a few drinks. I’m having a birthday brunch downtown on Sunday, as everyone was busy in July. Also, I’m hoping to get to a farmer’s market in August and to a couple of movies as I have passes. I’m thinking Finding Dory and some kind of action type film?

I’m not entirely sure of my blogging schedule come fall. But tentatively, here is what it looks like:


Sunday – Sunday Photo Fiction

Monday – Moral Monday’s Flash Fiction

Tuesday- Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer

Wednesday – Photo Prompt Fiction\Poetry (Mind Loves Misery’s Menagerie)

Thursday – Three Line Tales (Once A Month – Tale Weaver’s Fairy Tale Prompt)

Friday – Music Prompt (Mind Love’s Misery’s Menagerie)/ Poet’s United Poetry Prompt

Also, Monthly – 15 quotes twice a month, and Writer Interviews every 2 weeks.


wine image
http://www.medicaldaily.com

Also, wanted to let you all know I read: Drinking a glass of red wine a day is equal to an hour of exercise. It could be false, but who am I to say so? It sounds true to me. Cheers!

 

 

 


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Interview With Christopher Leo Couch


Hey everyone. I’m thrilled to share with you an interview on a wonderful writer, teacher, and blogger this first week of July. His name is Christopher Leo Couch of Clcouch123. Please check-out his blog, he’s a fascinating, kind, and learned writer.


Christopher Leo Couch
Christoper Leo Couch
  1. Please Tell Us About Yourself.

My name is Christopher Leo Couch. Christopher because my mother liked the Winnie-the-Pooh stories and Leo because it’s my father’s first name and his father’s and so on back. My last name is Couch because centuries ago, members of my clan made cushions for medieval furniture, furniture otherwise made of only hard stone and brick.

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky; much of my family is from and in the Southern USA.  My immediate family moved to Pittsburgh when I was young, then to Cincinnati. I moved back to Pennsylvania to work. I live in Mechanicsburg, a small town (borough) near Harrisburg (the state capital).

I grew up with four siblings, three brothers and my sister. I am the middle child. As such, I had to be an older child or a younger child, depending on the nature of the situation. The nature of the situation was rarely made clear to me. I never knew which child I was supposed to be and when. As a child, I had a busy imagination. I enjoyed stories and writing them. I made little worlds out of my train set and other toys such as models of spaceships or Lincoln Logs.


2. What Type of Profession Did You End Up Going Into?

I went into teaching, which became the substance of my work. I taught college while in college. Later, I taught my way through Graduate School and teaching paid the bills. I discovered I had great concerns for the accomplishments and growth of my students. In my initial studies and since, I developed a learner-centered approach to teaching that has evolved by experience and further training.

As an educator, I’ve worked in schools and churches. I’ve worked with all ages of students. I find it appealing to teach a range of all ages. I enjoy working  with babies, children, youth, and adults. I have degrees in Communications, and English, and I’ve studied religion. I’ve also, taught both public speaking and writing.

I am Christian though probably a lousy evangelist. I enjoy meeting those from other religious traditions and learning about their faith. I spend time with agnostics and atheists as well. I can articulate my faith well and I’m a devotee of the apologist C. S. Lewis; however, I believe if we’re all going to last in this world, we’re going to have to respect each other first. Rather than attempting to talk someone into my way of thinking and believing, I prefer to listen and respond. Then, I’m able to learn and relate to where others are in their spiritual beliefs.


” . . .I believe if we’re going to last in this world, we’re going to have to respect each other first. Rather than attempting to talk someone into my way of thinking and believing, I prefer to listen and respond. Then, I’m able to learn and relate to where others are in their spiritual beliefs.” – Christopher Leo Couch


3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?

About a year ago, I had heart surgery. My recovery was slow and I couldn’t do much of anything. One activity I could do was write, so journaling became a daily practice. My spiritual director (once) had recommended I keep a blog. Why he suggested this, I’m not sure. I had already found WordPress, but I began to write on my blog more often after his suggestion. I enrolled in Blogging University (the WordPress offered courses). I also participated in a WordPress poetry writing class. I built a basic blog, giving myself enough options so that I could write blog posts, read the blog posts of others, and respond to other WordPress blogger’s comments.

I haven’t done much in a sophisticated fashion with my blog concerning graphics and other technical aspects, but I’ve been posting and corresponding daily for several months now and am learning as I go.


4. What Does Writing Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write?

Poetry is an impulse for me. I write poetry because I have to. It’s the reason I write, I think. Poetry is the way I meet the world. Maybe someone else somewhere, said this more profoundly, but for me this is how I can explain it. I write poetry to explore, as I imagine many do with this form. Poetry can be an exercise—a way to play with words—which is fine. I play that way. Usually, there’s more at work behind the poetry, even in the playful parts. I write to speak, to say something to the world, and to engage the world.


“Poetry is an impulse for me. I write poetry because I have to. It’s the reason I write . . .I write poetry to to explore, as I imagine many do with this form. Poetry can be an exercise -a way to play with words . . . I write to speak, to say something to the world, and to engage the world.” – Christopher Leo Couch.


5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration to Write? Do You Find There Is a Time of Day You Most Like to Write?

Many things inspire me to write such as current events, a moment of beauty, and the concerns of myself and other people. I’m inspired to write when words come to mind or heart which I cannot let go of.

Currently, I most like to write in the early evening and revise in the afternoon the next day. I often enjoy writing first thing in the morning, when my mind is new and I encounter the world in an open way (or as open as the day and I are going to get).


6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Poetry Projects? Any Hopeful Projects You Are Working On?

I’m working on composing a series of psalms. I’m not the first person to express psalms in a new way. I’m not sure how I began working on this project. A psalm, simply put, is a song to God. Perhaps, I was writing out a prayer and thought there might be something lyrical about it. At any rate, I continue working on writing a series if psalms.

It’s also been a dream of mine to study and train for an MFA in Creative Writing. I’ve applied to various programs, though have not worked out a method to afford taking courses in a Creative Writing Program, which is why it’s a dream. But I do have an active, waking dream to lead a creative writing class.

While recovering from my surgery (I must have had more time than I recall), I drafted  a verse novel for a young-adult audience. I have great fondness for the genre and have been delighted to teach it, study it, and simply read it. I’ve written works, often in dramatic voice, for groups and special events; I’d be glad to continue writing works such as this.

I’d love to publish my work, of course. I have mentioned in my blog a dream of mine, to have a collection of my poems published in hardback form. I want my poetry to be a book as the kind of works I look for in bookstores and come upon as treasures abstracted from the mortal—or divine—aspects of earth.


“I want my poetry to be a book just as the kind of works I look for in bookstores and come upon as treasures abstracted from the mortal — or divine — aspects of earth.” – Christopher Leo Couch


7. Have You Published Written Works or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing in the Future?

I published numerous works while in graduate school and in my scholarly life. Most of my work, even poetry, has been published in journals. My favorite of these works is an article about ancient riddles and their use in The Hobbit.

For the last church in which I worked, I wrote a devotional series and for a Lenten observance. I wrote The Way of the Cross—a kind of liturgical writing which has been composed over centuries. If you go to the The Trinity Camp Hill Website, you’ll find my Way of the Cross and the entire experience rendered on line.


8. Can You Briefly Describe the Process You Went Through to Publish or Are Going Through to Have Your Writing Published?

I imagine if I seriously wanted to publish widely, I would need to have a literary agent, if not an advanced (terminal) degree. What I often do, is send my writing to a group which might be interested in printing it. Sometimes I’ve been commissioned to write certain pieces. Sometimes sending your writing to interested parties works and sometimes it doesn’t.

On a side note, I’ve heard there maybe a new planet discovered in our solar system. If so, it’s going to need a name. I posted a poem about my choice of Minerva (Roman god of wisdom), which many of you (thank you) like as well. I also sent my suggestion to NASA. Maybe, they will like my name choice as well?


“Most of my work, even poetry, has been published in journals. My favorite of these works is an article about ancient riddles and their use in The Hobbit.” – Christopher Leo Couch


9. What is Your Writing Process Like?

I’ve described something of my writing process above; I write. It’s not usually so hard, because I know I’ll write stuff that I won’t keep. But I’m still writing. The computer is especially (truly, really) helpful with my writing. I can draft, move things around, and create new saved versions and files. It’s so easy now with the a computer. Sometimes, I wonder how I made it through my Master’s Degree using a typewriter. (A mechanical word-calculating device networked to nothing but the typist).

I usually write in response to something—even if it’s only in wondering why or how. Sometimes, I write something and then put it away. (Again, wonderful computer)  I have many pieces of writing saved and stored on my computer (without proper back-up, I’m sure). At times, writing is difficult, because I am writing about something difficult. The recent death of my close friend is hard to write about. Sometimes writing is more straightforward and other times, writing is like playing. The act of writing is a chore (physically speaking) but I’m fine with it’s physical demands.


10. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles or Genres?

I read poetry, young-adult literature, and regular mysteries. Sometimes I read varied genres for fun and sometimes for work. For work, I read about pedagogy and religion. My favorite mystery works are by Aaron Elkins who sometimes writes with his wife Charlotte Elkins. Charlotte also writes on her own. My sister and I share mystery titles and our reviews of the books we both read. But, young-adult literature crosses pleasure and work, as does poetry.


“Sometimes, I wonder how I made it through my Master’s Degree using a typewriter. (A mechanical word-calculating device networked to nothing but the typist).” – Christopher Leo Couch


11. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?

Write! Don’t wait. Write. Share. Get reader response and write more!

When sharing your writing before revising (and after, since writing is an organic process and not artificially linear), choose those whose opinions about your writing, you generally respect. These opinions do not have to be from folks who are writers.

If you would like to know how to increase your vocabulary when writing — read. You can read anything. I suggest reading writing you like. Rosema from the blog: A Reading Writer writes about wonderful books to read along with meaningful poetry. Please check-out her blog in the link above.


12. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share With Which Is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?

I’d like to thank you, Amanda, for arranging this interview. I’d also like to thank everyone who reads my work. I’d like to thank those with whom I interact with online, because your work invites response.Thank you! Don’t let writing be a mystery which stultifies.  Writing is a mystery—but the good kind. When it’s fair and correct, give credit where credit’s due. Identify sources and inspirations.


“Don’t let writing be a mystery which stultifies. Writing is a mystery –but the good kind. When it’s fair and correct, give credit where credit’s due. Identify sources and inspirations.” – Christopher Leo Couch


  1. Can You Share With Us a Few Links From Your Blog With Some of Your Favorite or Most Loved Pieces? 

The first poem is playfulGrandmama used two words in “Collecting Words,” which I especially like. I use these two-words here:

“Pie Outside Can’t Hide”

By Christopher Leo Couch

Crimp pie crust,

Not too hard, ‘cause,’

Dust to dust.

Enjoy the crimp,

With elf and imp.

Like will-o-the-wisp,

When fall is crisp.

We bake our wares,

To cool on stairs.

Steam sprite-rises,

No surprises.

Wafting dessert:

Magic food alert!


My second poem is more soberly reflective:

“Failing Night”

By Christopher Leo Couch

 Just after five,

I have not been asleep.

Pain shoots through,

My leg, a single line,

Of nerve.

As if a wire was pushed,

Through inside.

Then something threw,

A supernatural switch,

And a low current of too-

Warm electric sting,

Without cessation.

Courses through tired,

Muscle.

Having surrendered the,

Day’s labors into,

Aspiration’s night of,

Negligent awareness.

Barely keeping guard,

Letting go of awake,

To turn into dream.

In hope to re-knit and,

Repair stretched.

Measures in the body,

And the mind.

It’s a cycle that’s supposed,

To work.

Why then is pain,

Ruining what I’ve made?

Not fair.

I want to rest then rise,

With normal consciousness,

Beneath the skin.


More of Christopher’s poetry can be found on his blog here.

Thank you so much Christopher for doing this interview for me. I enjoyed learning about you, your past, and your future aspirations. I wish the best for you in life, completing your MFA in Creative Writing, your psalms, and a hardcover book of poetry.


Thanks for reading this bi-weekly interview series. I have another fantastic interview lined up in the next couple of weeks. If you wished to be interviewed on writing and/or blogging, please reach me on my contact page on the top of my blog.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award


  

——
Thanks to Joy Pixley of Tales from Eneana for nominating me for the award.

——-

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the giver and link their blog to your post.
  • Answer the 10 questions given to you.
  • Pass the award on to ‘N’ (as many as you want) other bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated.
  • Give your nominees 10 of your own questions to answer.
  • Include the logo of the award in a post or on your blog.

———-

Questions:

1. What are you trying to accomplish with your blog? Or put another way, what are you hoping others will get out of it, or that you will get out of it?

The original purpose of my blog was to improve my writing skills. I still think that is an important goal in my blog but I’m also trying to develop writing pieces – even just ideas or beginnings of — writing pieces to submit to literary magazines/contests and for a masters in Creative Writing in 2017. I also think a purpose of my blog is to share writing other people can read and enjoy and to be a community thing where people read my writing and I’m able to read there’s and we can share insights. We develope a lot from what we learn from other people and their ideas and that has certainly been the case with me. I have had many great mentors on WordPress.

How do you deal with the inevitable frustrations of blogging, like posting something you worked really hard on and getting little response? (It’s okay to admit if crying is involved; we’d understand.)

Honestly, it is difficult to predict why people like certain pieces and not others. I’m always surprised when a piece I spent five minutes on and because it was only an emotional outpouring, I receive a lot of likes and comments. I think you have to hook the reader, you also have to be willing to put yourself out there emotionally because people respond to that. Also, commenting on other blogs and reading other’s work opens up new doors and helps you to connect with other people who maybe interested in pieces other bloggers aren’t. It really just depends on the day too. Sometimes people don’t have time to read a long piece but a short piece only takes a few minutes to read.

What is one way that someone has been especially supportive about your blog and/or your writing more generally?

– My parents are pretty supportive of my writing in general and my wanting to get a MFA in Creative writing. I don’t know how much of my blog they read. My friends are good and often read a post every now and then. A great deal of support comes from the blogger community, especially when someone says they like my blog and my writing and are happy to have found it. Also, I have had great mentors as I’ve said in the blogging community – Joyroses, PJ, Clcouch, Jacqueline, to name a few.

What is one thing you wish you had known when you first started your blog?

I wish I knew how important it was to read and respond to other people’s blogs. I have actually been going at this for four-years and the more time I’m into it, the better response from others I receive. Two-days ago I had the most likes ever. Even though it is a long process somedays, I firmly believe that giving people positive support in their blogging and networking, using social media makes a huge difference. 

How do you find or make or schedule time to write for your blog? How well is that working for you?

Honestly, I probably spend too much time blogging between writing pieces and commenting but I’m on disability, I have time. I’m building myself as a writer and trying to get my name and work out there, so it is somewhat like a career a I do half-time. Writing is what I want to do with my life, so you have to put in the work and effort.

Everyone procrastinates at least once in a while. What’s a guilty pleasure that you indulge in when you’re supposed to be working?

Shopping sometimes. Or just watching movies or TV shows I like that I’m not caught up on. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working or writing? Do any of your hobbies, or your occupation, feed back into your writing?

I enjoy reading a lot. I can spend days just reading if I let myself. I go for walks. The weather has been nice so it’s been great getting down into the park by my home. I do yoga, go on Netflix, watch TV episodes I missed, adult colouring, and drawing in general. I love fashion/makeup so I spend time looking at Magazines, on Pinterest,, YouTube watching how to videos etc. Love watching hockey and going out with some friends. I often take courses too, not at the moment though. All this helps my blog. It is new experiences to write about and new ideas etc…

Which holiday or celebration (annual or otherwise) in the country where you live do you enjoy the most?

Christmas without a doubt. I love finding the perfect gift for everyone and I like our family traditions and the delicious food. I like being able to celebrate with friends too and seeing people I don’t always see often. I enjoy wine and friends this time of year especially.

Since I love food, I have to include it here: Tell us a story about one of your favorite foods, like a special time that you made it, or when you first had it, or just describe what you love about it.

My Dad, before he had to become Gluton free, he used to make the most delicious homemade apple pies. They were so scrumpious. Probably bad for you but oh well. At the time I could work out lots so it wasn’t an issue.

Tell us a story about someone who told you (or implied) that you couldn’t do something because you were a girl/woman, and how you responded.

i can’t think of one off hand. Except if you are a girl, their is a lot of pressure around my age to meet a guy and get married and have kids. It’s a societal thing. Because of my health issues I don’t know if I can handle kids. People don’t get that. And guys can be really dumb these days, they think because you chatted with them a bit or went for a coffee, now you should naturally sleep with them. 

——

Nominations

Sonya at 100 Words or Less.

Marie at Doodles and Scribbles

SWritings

Wandering Soul

Jennifer Terry at The Things I Yell
——

Questions:

Same as the ones asked to me above

——–

A New Season Of Life


 

http://www.galmeetsglam.com
 
As I look at my past few blogs throughout December, it seems as if it has been awhile since I have given a general update of my life and where it is headed. I think I have talked about it in pieces in various works but I haven’t sat down and told the entire story.

The house feels empty after having everyone home during the holidays. It bothered me on Monday but now I’m feeling more relaxed and fitting myself into a routein again each day. I have spent a great deal of time blogging and reading other blogger’s posts. I’m at the point where blogging is taking a lot of time. I’m not complaining I like to do it and it’s part of the whole blogging experience, but I know if I want to do some of the other things I need to I might have to cutback in certain days. I’m especially thinking for university courses.

My main goal right now is to do an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of BC starting in May 2017. This gives me almost a year to prepare a portfolio on two to three types of creative writing; write up a five-hundred word essay about why I want to take creative writing; as well as submit university marks and three letters/forms of recommendation. 

But I also feel I could use some more background in creative writing. I have taken a few courses here and there but most of what I have learned about creative writing has come through being self-taught or learning from other bloggers and writers. To fill the time until I can apply for my Masters I’m going to start work on a Certificate for Creative Writing online through the University of Toronto. 

It is only six courses and it has many options I can look at taking for creative writing courses and the online courses go throughout the year. So, I’m going to do one course in February and one course in March or April. They courses are ten sessions and go for two months each. The first course is an introduction to fiction. And I haven’t decided on the second course as of yet. But I’m excited to do writing courses. 

Not only because it keeps me busy and working towards a goal but also because it is difficult to get into the Masters Program at UBC. Since this Masters Degree is online and highly sought after, UBC only take twenty-five percent of their applicants. A certificate is some consolation if I can’t get into the Masters or if it takes me a couple of years to be accepted.

As for New Years Resolutions, I took a typical route and decided I needed to work on my health and fitness. So, New Years Eve I signed up for Weight Watchers online. It is reasonable at only $23.00 a month and it restricts your diet to a certain amount of points foods are worth. Fruits and vegetables are unlimited and worth no points. Weight Watchers is trying to encourage people to eat them this way. Also, you have a certain amount of fitness points each week and exercise does’t have to be hard or for long periods. I have done yoga for twenty minutes, gone on the elliptical all out for ten minutes, walked for 2o minutes at a brisk pace, and done seven minute intervals, and they are all great easy ways to get your fitness in.

 I felt after gaining weight again off a new medication and then not giving much thought to the way I ate over the holidays, weight watchers program promotes excellent habits to achieve. All through an application on my phone I track what I ate and how much exercise I’ve gotten. I track my weight and I’m also taking waist and hip measurements myself. The program is starting off well so I hope it continues that way. 

I was also inspired by Rosema from A Reading Writer to try POPSUGARS 2016 Reading Challenge. There are boxes for forty books to check off on this list.  And I invite anyone who wants to join me to simply print out the list below. I have tried to start doing the list but as Rosema tried to tell me, it requires a bit of research on your part. 

I do not want to commit to any book I have chosen so far except the book I am reading. I started with the easiest one #30. Read a book with a blue cover. My book I chose is called New Uses for Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick. I read on my IPad but it has been giving me real problems lately so until I can replace it (hopefully soon) I have been reading in paperback again. It feels weird actually having to flip pages and use a receipt as a book mark. I hope to do a semi-regular post or part of a post on my progress on this list. 

 

http://www.goodreads.com New Uses for Old Boyfriends (Black Dog #2) – Beth Kendrick
 
Here is the basics of New Uses for Old Boyfriends. Lila is twenty-nine or thirty -years old. She grew up in a life of privilege and married a wealthy guy named Carl. At the beginning of the book Lila is moving out from her house having been divorced by her cheating husband (Carl). She has everything stuffed in her vehicle and she is going back to her home town haven and doesn’t have much money or a job. She was fired from her job as a late night sales woman on the shopping channel and Hawks her engagement ring for money. 

When Lila returns to Black Dog Bay she finds her mother is not in a good state either. When her father died he left her mother in debt due to his construction business. Lila’s mom thinks Lila will fix everything and has ran up her credit cards. They have to sell the house her Dad built for her Mom. The family fortune is gone and Lila’s mother is in denial. Lila can barely take care of herself. 

Lila decides to open up a Vintage Clothing Boutique. She tries to find new uses for old dresses and attempts to reunite with her high school sweet heart, Ben Collier. But she also discovers it’s too late for some of her old dreams. “She’s lost everything she thought she needed but found something — someone — she desperatly wants. A boy she hardly noticed has grown up into a man she can’t forget,” and a second chance at love.

Yes, it’s a chick book I know. But I think you know from some other books I’ve posted about, I like a good romance book at times. So far, I like it and find Beth Kendrick to be a funny and engaging writer. Thanks to my BFF Tara for the book. I’ll let you know what I think of it in the end.  

http://www.pinterest.com
 
Also, I would like to continue exploring new forms of poetry with you each day from Shadow Poetry. It’s a self study thing. I am hoping to be able to write with different kinds of poetry more easily and to learn about forms of poetry I’ve never studied before in a poetry course in school or WordPress courses on poetry. 

Additionally, I have been finding some of the products I received in Luxebox and some additional beauty items I received over the holiday are quite good. There is also some products I received I don’t like. I have a post idea for guys about shaving and what you need to take care of your skin. I did a Clinique Men and Women’s skincare but I think I will search around for some cheaper more common products you can find in any drugstore for this post. Additional ideas for posts pop up at will in my mind. 

Enjoy your days. I hope it’s not cold and snowing where you live. 

——

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

Quitting Bad Health


Prompt: 

Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?——

  
Have you ever been at a point in your life where you know your body isn’t healthy and in shape; more often then not you are snacking and eating food not good for you; and you are not even remotely trying to be physically active? 

For those of you that dont know I suffer from a depression (mood) illness that has made be chronically fatigued. I don’t have chronic fatigue the syndrome, but I have it due to my mood disorder and many of my symptoms are the same. I also have a sleep disorder probably more of you can relate to, insomnia. 

I have been on many psychiatric drugs since I first became ill about eight-years-ago now. Most of the time I can feel if a drug is helping me within the first couple weeks. Most drugs I cannot tolerate or I am allergic to. I was on a large cocktail of drugs especially because of my insomnia. Drugs that made me sleepy would effect the amount of energy I had in the day which isn’t much. So, my Doctor had me come into the hospital voluntarily for three weeks to start on a new drug called Clozapine. 

I was scared about this as I tried it once before and felt horrible for a day or two. But my doctor told me that because Clozapine can cause your heart rate to increase, cause dizziness at first, and create problems with blood pressure, I needed to be in hospital to give it a proper try. I went off my sleeping pills Gabepentine which were interfering with my ability to think and concentrate. I split the amount of my antidepressant in half and came off some other pills. I started Clozapine and it wasn’t an easy drug to work my way up to the right dose. I am pretty sensitive with medication so it only took about 37.5 mg. But I felt awful the second day after we would increase the drug each time. And it took months, even when I was out of hospital to get used to Clozapine. It acts as an anti-psychotic medication, an antidepressant, and as sleeping pill. 

The problen is I became used to the dose I was on and require another medication to make me fall asleep right now. Despite the fact that 50 mg of Clozapine was too much for me when I first went on the drug; I am going to up the dose at the end of January so I can sleep without another medication aiding me. It will take some time getting used to the new dose. It’s particularly difficult getting up in the mornings. I mostly sleep to 11:00 am or noon some days. But I do find I don’t sleep until 11:00 pm to 12:00 am. 

Something that is great about Clozapine is that I’m actually feeling better a bit more every month I take it. It helped with my concentration and ability to read and memorize notes for my last class in Reseidential Interiors. I have more energy in a normal day at home. For the first time in two and a half years I have the energy to exercise for anywhere from ten to thirty minutes depending on the exercise. I have been doing 7 minute circuit-training with an application on my phone. It’s hard to do each exercise with only ten seconds rest inbetween but I’m doing it. Before, I never could have dreamed about doing a high intensity workout. I can do longer yoga workouts now, from twenty to thirty minutes and I don’t feel tired afterward; I feel relaxed. I did 10 minutes of intense cardio on the elliptical today and it was good. Maybe, not much for someone else but for me it’s great.

So, I guess you can say I was granted  more energy and the ability to concentrate this year, so I could take better care of my body. I have stopped over-eating and am slowly working the portion sizes of my meals down through weight watchers as I would like to lose some weight. 

The bad thing about psychiatric drugs is that you often gain about 10 lbs from starting a new drug. I had hoped it wouldn’t happen this time but it did. I’m trying to loose about 25 lbs to start. Weight watchers is great because they have an application you can manage everything from and plan your eating day. There are even extra points for treats and points for working out.I drank too much pop such as Pepsi before. When you only have thirty some points to work with in a day, rarely, do you waste ten points on a can of Pepsi that is worth ten points of other things you could be eating more of to fill you up. Veggies and fruit are encouraged as you can eat as many as you want. 

So, I’m trying to stop not being healthy and to make my body the best it can be both physically and mentally. I’m taking some courses in creative writing online at U of Toronto starting in February. So, I am excited for those too. Things are working out as time goes by and I’m able to stop being a person who can’t help herself take better care of her body.