For Day 5 NaPoWriMo, the Prompt is: “to write a poem beginning with a photo, and find a poem in a language you don’t know (here’s a good place to look!) Ignore any accompanying English and translate the poem into English, with the idea that the poem is “about” your photograph. Also, thanks to Sonya of Only 100 Words for hosting #3LineTales.
Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview withMicheleVecchitto. Michele is a friendly and kind woman who has a talent for writing wonderful poetry and engaging stories. I have been following her for a couple of years now, so I hope you will like her writing as much as I do. You can visit her blog here: Steps Times Two – Love and Life . . . The Second Time Around.
1. Hi Michele, Please Tell Us About Where You’re From?
I live in Niantic. It’s a lovely town on the Connecticut shoreline that somehow manages to hold on to the charm of days gone by while still offering all the conveniences I might need.
One of the many treasures in Niantic is a used bookstore calledThe Book Barn.It now has four or five satellite locations, but the main store is a complex which includes a large barn and several quirky, smaller buildings, each overflowing with books devoted to a particular genre. The few resident cats and some goats, add to its unique vibe. It’s a place to spend the day and get lost in books. Niantic also recently opened a new boardwalk along the beach that offers fantastic views and a place to meet neighbors.
2. Can You Tell Us More About Yourself, Your Everyday Life?
I’m the second of four sisters. My family is especially close and the fifteen children my sisters and I have between behave more like siblings than cousins. My parents are definitely the foundation of our lives. I love everything about belonging to a large family – the support, the laughter, the chaos, and the history we create.
My three children are young adults, busy finding their place in the world. In some ways, they could not be more different from one another, but they remain close. I’m enjoying watching them evolve into the adults they will become. I’m proud of the choices they’ve made and the direction each of them is following in life.
I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life.My husband and I have been married just over five years. Markis an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.
Our personalities are different but we complement each other well. We are each other’s top priority and do everything we can to support each other in our many endeavors. We’ve intertwined our families and I feel blessed to have his three strong, caring, and talented children in my life as well. They, along with their families, are a vital part of my life.
On a professional level, I teach middle school Literature and Language Arts. I love working with students of this age. It’s my favorite age group of kids. I’ve taught math and science and enjoy teaching each subject, but I’m most thrilled to spend my days sharing Literature with my classes. Preteens and teens this age are discovering their voice and it’s exciting to see the world through their eyes.
Additionally, I work as a freelance editor. I’m working with an audio book company and enjoy the exposure to books I might not otherwise read.
“I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.” – Michele Vecchitto
3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?
I started my blog in 2014 as a way of keeping myself disciplined about writing, but I’ve always been a writer. I kept journals as a teenager and still have poems I wrote for a memorable class in high school.
My teacher, Ms. Jordan, helped me discover my voice and probably inspired me to become a teacher. I was a stay at home mom for fifteen-years, and when my children were in school, I’d spend eight or more hours a day writing. I took writing classes and completed two novels and a few children’s books.
When I divorced in 2007 and returned to work full time, I lost some of my dedication to the craft. Steps Times Two is my blog and remedy to not being able to write all day anymore.
4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
I’ve always been a writer as mentioned earlier. I many of my stories and poems from younger days and used to write tales for my kids, nieces, and nephews.
I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.
Beyond these meanings, I love the way writing connects people. I am so excited to be able to talk with people from all over the world about subjects I have brought up or someone else has written about. It sounds sappy, but I believe people are more alike than different and we all have something to share. I am a big fan of the community writing fosters between writers and readers (etc).
“I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.” – Michelle Vecchitto
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
Sometimes motivation comes from pure emotion. I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of it’s own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.
Inspiration for me can come from anywhere:a look between two people; a snippet of conversation I overhear; the expression on someone’s face when they don’t notice I’m looking; and/or an unexpected situation or some mundane activity we all experience. Music also inspires me. My playlist has a bit of everything on it and I love to hit play and let my mind drift. Sometimes I’ll find something to write about immediately and other times, I have to file an idea away and let it resurface when it’s ready.
As well, I’m a huge fan of writing prompts and blogging events. It’s a terrific way to stay involved in the writing community and interact with other people. I love to follow and read what other people are writing because each piece leaves me with something to think about and offers a varied perspective to consider. Prompts for me are similar to a puzzle. Each of us figures out how to put the pieces together in a different way to create authentic images. It’s fun when someone has a completely unique take on the same prompt.
6. Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer to Write?
I prefer to write in the mornings, although, it’s not always possible. During the week, I will write when I come home from teaching school. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I’d write from the time the kids went to school until they came home. I miss those days! I’m hoping to stay home next year and write full time.
“I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of its own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.” – Michele Vecchitto
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have my blog which I try to work on each day. I also post on Poet’s Corner on WordPress and do my best to keep up. I am working on a historical fiction novel based on my husband’s grandfather who escaped from Poland in the early 1900’s. I’m enjoying the research portion of this novel greatly. In addition, I recently cleaned up a YA novel I wrote about ten-years ago. My romance novel also needs editing and I have two short stories to finish.
My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!
8. Can You Tell Us About What Your Publishing Process Has Been for Some of Your Writing?
I’ve had poems published in anthologies and in places like The Reverie Journal. I have self-published two volumes of poetry which can be found on Amazon. I’m considering adding a third volume but I think my next push will be seeking a publisher for a novel.
Years ago, when I had more time, I was organized about sending my work out. I had a contract with Blue Mountain Arts and several ‘good rejections’ from publishing houses. I took classes and attended conferences. I think networking is a huge part of the publishing process and hope to get back to it in the next year.
I’ve been invited to participate in the Austin International Poetry Festival next April. Eight of my poems will be included in their anthology and I plan to travel to the event to do some readings.
“My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!” – Michele Vecchitto
9. Are You Able to Describe Your Writing Process To Us?
My writing process varies, depending on the type of project I’m working on, but it always includes music. I have a million playlists and a great pair of headphones.
The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.If I’m working on a poem, I jot ideas or prompts on post-it notes and arrange them around my writing space.
If I’m working on a formal piece, I’ll have notes on rhyme schemes and various types of poetry. After I write, I’ll look for photos to accompany what I’ve written and then decide on a title. My titles always happen last.
If I’m working on a novel or short story, the music part is the same, but I’ll have notes on my bulletin board or in folders which I can flip through. I also send rough drafts to my sister Maureen. She’s read everything I’ve ever written and offers me honest feedback. She’ll tell me what works for her as a reader and what doesn’t, then I go back and edit.
I set my larger pieces aside, sometimes for days but often for months, and then return to them so I can see them with fresh eyes. My YA book has been through three major revisions already and I think it’s almost ready to send out.
11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading? Any Genres In Particular?
I’m not sure you can be a writer without being a reader. I love both equally and will read almost anything. I like to balance my writing with quick, light reads and books which require more concentration. I’m a big non-fiction reader. It must be the teacher in me, but there’s never too much knowledge to learn. I always want to discover new things.
My own writing style has surprised me at times. My YA book is a fantasy novel which is something I’ve never followed, however; a fantasy story was the tale waiting to be told when I tackled the YA book project.
I must confess, I do enjoy writing darker, more provocative pieces. There’s such power there. I enjoy inspirational pieces as well.Both of these kinds of writing have their place.
“The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.” – Michele Vecchitto
12. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers or Anything Else You Would Like To Add?
I find the more I write, the better I get. It’s a commitment and like any other craft, needs to be nurtured so, keep writing.
I’ve also started aFacebookpage and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitterhas been a great resource for finding writing communities and sharing information for me as well.
13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?
I’m not sure I have favorites. I love to read blogs of all styles and content. A friend of mine started a blog in which she combines book reviews and running calledBelle of the Book. It’s fun to follow a blog when you know the writer personally. If the writing is good I want to read it.
14. Here is A Piece of Michele’s Writing She Has Shared:
Michele says about “Deerfield’s Ghost:” “I love this one because it almost wrote itself. When I came to the point when I narrowed in on a subject, I googled “massacre” to find a specific date to use and came across a list of victims from the Deerfield massacre of 1704. The funny thing is, it included the names and ages of people I had included in my poem.”
More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:
Ray holds special meaning for me because it was written for a dear friend who passed away. Reading it at his funeral was the first time I’d read my poetry in public and I feel grateful I had a chance to honor him in this way.
Small Town Hens is an example of a poem I wrote after I witnessed a situation that made my blood boil. It makes me chuckle now because it captured my disgust at poor behavior.
Light of Love was written after the nightclub attack in Orlando. I will sometimes respond to current events in poetry. This incident demanded a response.
The Choice and Metamorphosis are two old ones that I wrote during very difficult times. I try to live my life as described in “The Choice”and “Metamorphosis” speaks to the ability to persevere in even the darkest of times.
Thanks to Michele for thoroughly and thoughtfully answering the interview questions. I wish her much luck with her writing and future endeavours. Here is the link to her blogone more time: Steps Times Two.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview. If you would like to share and answer interview questions on writing and blogging of any kind, feel free to reach-out to me on my contact page.See you in two-weeks!
“The [girl] who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the [girl] who went out. [She] will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging [her] ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend”
― Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception
“Where do those doors lead, the arches are beautiful. Is there groin-vaulting in between each arched doorway?”
The tour guide stared at sixteen-year-old Tina who was a surprise student of art history. “If you wish to discover the architectural features of the building, you must find them exploring, it’s how things are done here,” he said.
Tina watched as other students from her high school trip went exploring in pairs, while she ‘the know it all,’ was left on her own.
She walked through the first arched doorway and turned to see the tour guide watching her enter, “What is the purpose of these long hallways of arches. Do they end?”
The tour guide sighed, “Go see for yourself. Sometimes experience is the best kind of knowledge.”
Tina began following a series of arched doorways. She was filled with both trepidation and a strong urge to succeed, finding the exit.
At times she had to choose a direction to travel when four different archways presented themselves. She kept walking until she was frustrated, bored, and tired. Then Tina lay down, resting her head on her jacket to sleep.
In the morning she was relieved to find the exit. Last night she had thought she would never find a way out of this maze. She felt like a changed person today.
And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Because today marks the halfway point in our 30-day sprint, today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates the idea of doubles. You could incorporate doubling into the form, for example, by writing a poem in couplets. Or you could make doubles the theme of the poem, by writing, for example, about mirrors or twins, or simply things that come in pairs. Or you could double your doublings by incorporating things-that-come-in-twos into both your subject and form. Happy writing!
Thank you to Sonya for hosting 3 Line Tales. I took the quote route this round:
1. ” Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex . . . it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction” – Albert Einstein
Going against ‘the heard mentality,’ is difficult. We learn from a young age to ‘conform’ to others, so we fit in and don’t get beat up. When we’re older I think our differences, the aspects of us that are special and unique, are vital to our success as adults. It is easy to maintain pace with the heard, to want to be like other people, forgetting your own talents and abilities. But as Einstein says, it takes courage and genius to take the direction, you’re meant to go in life, to go against what other people are doing or think you should be doing.
2. “Sometimes the greatest act of love is to walk away, so that the other person can find their true self and direction again.” – http://www.feelmylove.org
Sometimes you are with someone ‘romantically’ but you know in your heart you’re not meant to end up together, even though you are comfortable as a couple. Comfortable is not amazing, and you should want amazing for both your partner and yourself. I learned comfortable is not the best situation, even when the other person doesn’t see it. You have to be the one to leave and let them find their self and the direction they’re supposed to take in their life. You need to find that for yourself as well.
3. “I have learned that if one advances confidently in the direction of his (her) dreams, and endeavours to live the life he (she) has imagined, he (she) will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau
We all have dreams and things we want to accomplish in life. Sometimes it is a challenge to see those endeavours through because while you try to complete your goals, life happens. I think Thoreau has a point that we need to with confidence approach our dreams. Hopefully, what we’re meant to do in life includes our dreams or what we end up doing becomes our dreams. It is my hope we have success in life, that we can experience it in the the hours we are granted.
Tanka is a classic form of Japanese poetry related to the haiku with five unrhymed lines of five, seven, five, seven, and seven syllables. (5, 7, 5, 7, 7)
The 5/7/5/7/7 rule is rumored to have been made up for school children to understand and learn this type of poetry. For an in depth description of Tanka, please visit the Shadow Poetry Japanese Poetry Tanka section.
Please see Shadow Poetry for more information on this form of poetry.
Some blogs I write I have a purpose, most do I think. I like to teach by example or share an article, video, or poem. I am a creative person but today I have discovered something I detest. In the midst of life I’ve been cornered. I’ve been trapped by my own actions and the reality of my situation as a disabled person. I’m not sure how I feel about it, angry to say the least. It’s like I turned around and it was too late the train coming down the railroad of life just crushed me.
First, of all I was so stupid to waste all the money I had saved up in my bank account from when I was first Ill and had little expenses. I was also stupid enough to take on more credit card debt than I can handle. Almost $18 000 to be exact. Now for the next five years I must pay off $390.00 a month and live on a tight budget.
But that is not the worst of things, the worst of things is that tiny little extra $400 some dollars I had I could have used to go to university and get my Master’s in Creative Writing. Instead I cannot even apply; the debt weighed on my mind so much that I did not put a portfolio together. Also, I could have paid for school one course at a time with my extra $400 and scholarships because I am only in one course and a disabled person. Now I cannot. Point number one, I am cornered at.
Point number two, I cannot afford to move out and pay rent even in low income housing because I have to pay that $400 in debt. It would have been hard if not impossible with that amount but now for sure it is out of the question. I will be 33 years old before I can move out and because of my disabilities and inability to work and the fact that disability will just steal back whatever I make from work unless I can make more than $1900 which is doubtful in my condition, it will probably not be somewhere safe and nice. It’s not a standard of living I want to consider. I always thought I would have this ability to work hard and take care of myself. That has been taken away from me and I don’t know why? Again I am cornered, to live at home when I really desperately want to be
independent and make a life for myself. Also cornered, because even if I work, what is the chance the income will be decent, that I can handle more than 6 hours if that a week?!
Every door seems to be closing. The only future I can see is to stay at home and take art courses in drawing for the next 4 years?! Perhaps, that will prepare me for something? It goes with the interior design and writing. I so desperately want to be taken seriously as a writer but it seems every time I try outside the magazine I’m at I do not have the experience? How can I gain experience if I cannot get it! Which leads me back to the master’s that I cannot get. Cornered. Where’s my window?
If I live on my own I cannot afford school. Because I cannot pay student loans back I cannot get those because who knows if I could ever handle work. And if I work will the insurance company forever bother me with can you increase your hours?! No, I’m still sick, never healed fully!
It’s all such a mess and I’m so confused and depressed about it I don’t know what to do.
Usually I have this sense of direction in life. I can accomplish many things with a goal in mind. Now I feel aimless like the breeze going back and forth in the sand, you know no matter what the sea will come in soak you or the sand will come at you and sting your skin and eyes.
So no purpose today, just cathartic writing. Praying for direction because I don’t function well being cornered or without direction. How about you?