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, wonderfulperson, and wise woman:Rosema Gonzales from the Philippines. You can explore her blog at the following link: A Reading Writer .
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 newswriter someday; abonafide 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 bookreviews 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 WordPresscourse: 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 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 eatingcheesecake! 😀
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 thanexisting as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of myA 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 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 thebus. I think my brain churns more when I’m commuting. Reading and music alsoinspire andmotivate 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 darknessof 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 Julyhas been my focus. #WordHighJuly featured thirty beautiful Filipinowords as word prompts. Many poets and bloggers have written impeccable pieces inspired by these Filipino words such as halakhak, a noun which means loud uninhibitedlaughter, 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!
Below is also n example of an image and word prompt used in Rosema’s #WordHighJuly writing challenge last year
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 onlyfor 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 acrosssomeone 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 realisticfiction and about tragedy. My blog friend Mel, of In Media Reshas 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 peoplefollow 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 peoplereading 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 lessonI’m still trying to learn.
“[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 straightnews, 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 lovingwriters in the bloggingcommunity on WordPress. I would like to highlight the need for a friendly, honest, andinteractive 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 correctgrammar 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 ourfellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructivecriticism or disagree with what another writer wrote. What’s important is to let writersknow how their work affects you, how you feel about their work.This is helpful, to all writers.
Writers should be the first to realizecompletely, 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:
Thanks so much Rosema for filling out interview questions and writing themwith yourheart. It always comes through in your work, fiction, poetry, or talking about yourfavourite 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 blog: A Reading Writer. Many 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.
Before we go any further, I need to introduce Christine’s blog as a whole, it’s called: Brave and Reckless.
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself, Christine?
My name is Christine Ray and I’m from Havertown, Pennsylvania (outside of Philadelphia). I blog at Brave and Reckless. I feel as if sometimes I should call myself the ‘accidental blogger!’ I came to the WordPress blog site to do one piece of writing called: What Every Woman Knows. The piece is based on rape culture, sexual harassment, and sexual trauma and is, sadly, more relevant now more than ever.
Writing that one post literally changed my whole life. I rediscovered that I loved writing. I also love to write poetry and I’m thrilled to be part of an active writing community. My blogging goals include continuing to grow and strengthen Secret First Draft, the Go Dog Go Café and Blood Into Ink, all projects that are very near and dear to my heart.
2. Do You Have Any Particular Blogging Goals or Things You Want to Accomplish?
My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit. When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.
The idea was that I develop discipline and prioritize my writing. I am involved with a lot of other collaborative blogs. And sometimes my own personal writing keeps moving further down the priority list than it should be moving.
Additionally, I’m registered for a course about writing child and young adult literaturein the Fall that I’m really excited about. The thought of a low-residency program to earn a Masters in Fine Arts has crossed my mind a time or two (or maybe ten!!).
“My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit. When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.” – Christine Ray
3. When Did You Begin Writing or Blogging and Why? What Does Writing Mean to You?
I honestly can’t remember how old I was when I began writing but I was definitely scrawling short stories into dog-eared notebooks in middle school. As well, I started writing poetry as a teenager. I was also the editor of my high school newspaper and my senior yearbook.
Nevertheless, I have taken long breaks from writing when life has become busy but it has always been something I come back to when I’m in transition. I turned fifty-years-oldin 2016 which was a major life reassessment period for me. Writing became a primary method for me to work through my feelings.
Finding my voice again as a writer has been really powerful, though to be honest, I think other people took me seriously as a writer long before I did. There were most definitely several months where I transitioned from when I thought about myself as a middle-aged woman (who happened to write), to identifying myself as a writer and a poet, being who I am today.
Writing has become, and honest, always has been an essential part of my identity. As well, began my blog: Brave and Reckless on October 8, 2016.
4. Where do you Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing? Why is it Significant for you to Continue Writing and Blogging?
I find inspiration everywhere. Music is a big part of my writing process and song lyrics frequently inspire my workbut I’ve also been inspired by movies (Paterson is amazing);TV (you’d be amazed how much poetry there is in American Gods);beer menus, conversations with other people, and currently, a collaboration with Aurora Phoenix inspires and motivates me. The collaboration began in the comments section in one of my blog posts.
This sounds silly when I say it out loud, but when I started this particular blog in October, I had no idea that I had anything to say!The vast majority of my writing is inspired by exactly what is going on in my emotional life, in the moment.Sometimes I approach writing about those things obliquely, but often what you see is a direct reflection of my experiences during the day.
One of the most transformative experiences of blogging for me was realizing my writing resonates with other people.Every time someone writes to me and tells me that I captured exactly what they were feeling, but couldn’t articulate it, is an incentive for me to keep up with my writing.
Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing. Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself.
“Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing. Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself.” – Christine Ray
5. Do you have any Particular Writing or Blogging Habits? What do you Enjoy Most About Writing? Is there a Time of Day you Prefer to Write?
I have a busy life and have discovered that the only way to fit writing and blogging into my life is to awake at 4:00 a.m.From 4:00 a.m to 6: 00 a.m. I write, I answer blog related comments and emails, I record ‘Spoken Word’ versions of my writing, and see to editorial duties.
As well, I have been known to write whole pieces in the Google Docs app on my phone during my commute on the bus or train.I also eat lunch at my desk, at work, and try to catch up on reading other people’s blogs. At times, I’m still awake at 10:00 p.m. doing blog related activities and tending to my own writing.I must admit that I’m tired right now. However, I expect things to calm down a bit over the upcoming summer months.
6. Can you Tell us About your Most Current Writing Projects on your Blog or Outside of it?
In addition to writing and publishing daily, I’ve been running various writing challenges on my blog. This week I challenged readers to write about a life experience using ten objectsand will be publishing my favorites on my ‘Brave and Reckless’ blog. I’ve already committed to two Writing Prompt Challenges and have my third occurring now using the prompt: “I Am More Than Breath and Bones.”
I do publish some of my work, the pieces I call “the softer side of Christine”—on Poetry Corner. I’m also happily involved as a Barista at the Go Dog Go Café. It’s been fun to put the site together and to work with a lovely cadre of writers,some of whom I’ve met and some of whom are new to me. The Cafe has a wonderful community vibe and brings out the best in writers.
My most recent project was launching Blood Into Ink (with a group of writers from WordPress and off of it).’Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma.The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths.
It is open to men and women and already features some pretty fierce writing. I am proud of this project and hope that it encourages many writers to tell their stories and aids them in receiving the support and respect they deserve for their stories of survival and dealing with them after the fact.
Also, I’m working on a project called Whisper and the Roar, a feminist literary collective site. I am still an author for Whisper and the Roar. All of the writers on this site are feminist but the content is not overtly feminist.I piece I wrote for this particular site is called “Ode to a Black Eye.” Such as many of my pieces, this post is autobiographical (my childhood friend Wendy had the black eye and we finally talked about the incident when we reconnected on Facebook.
“Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma. The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths.” – Christine Ray
7. Have you Published any Writing or Poetry outside of your Blog? If not do you plan to in the Future?
I recently had a couple of pieces of poetry published in Felan Magazinewhich has lit a fire under me to publish more writing into print. Felan centers its issues around a particular feeling so it was easy to pull my best pieces about Anger (Issue 10) and Love (Issue 11).
8. Can you Briefly Describe to us Your Writing Process? Are there Certain Genres of Writing and Reading You Prefer?
The vast majority of my writing happens on my PC in the early morning hourswith music playing in the background. Some of my work happens on my phone on the train. Some it is sprawled into notebooks until I have time to typeit up. I’ve been known to write a poem or two during long and dull meetings at work (hopefully none of my co-workers are reading this).
Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy! I’m obsessed with Jane Austen (I’ve got a Jane Austen quote as a tattoo) and I’ve read the Harry Potter series a ridiculous amount of times. I love psychological British mysteries, Young Adult literature, as well as, science fiction, and fantasy. All in all, I’m a serious book nerd!
“Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy!” – Christine Ray
9. Do you have any Wisdom for Other Bloggers and Writers?
Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day.Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!
Also, don’t obsess about numbers. Fifteen extremely engaged followers are more rewarding than two-hundred disengaged writers.Be brave and leave thoughtful comments on other people’s writing. I have picked up a lot of followers this way. Most vitally, I have made excellent friends by commenting on the writing/blogs of other people.
In addition, I recommend subscribing and responding to the Daily Post. I want everyone who writes and/or blog to know that their voice matters and their truths matter too. Don’t worry about your audience, worry about what you need to say.
There are twelve million people on WordPress—your people (your followers) are out there.You may need to look for them, but there is someone out there who wants to read what you have to say.
10. Is there Anything Else you Want to Share, something you think is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?
Things have calmed down a little but I spent three days replying to all the comments I received! I still don’t know how the WordPress editors found me or that piece.However, I try to use my newfound readership for good and give lots of other really good writers exposure on Brave and Reckless(I feel like I should be quoting Spiderman or something here)!
“Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day. Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!” – Christine Ray
11. For fun, do you Have Any Especially Favorite Bloggers that you Love to Follow?
There are so many blogs that I love! My big writing crushes are:
The Feathered Sleep — Candice Louisa Daquin’s writing is elegant, exquisite, and emotionally resonant.
A Journal for Damned Lovers — Nicholas is gritty and dark and never glamorizes life, love or himself. He takes you on journeys into the human psyche that you didn’t even know you wanted to go one. He appeals to my darkness and I want to grow up and write like SK someday!
The Lithium Chronicles –Nicole Lyons and the other poets she highlights on her site are badass warriors! There is an electricity to Nicole’s work, a buzz that gets under my skin, and into my blood. Some of her writing is similar to what could be pulled from own diaries.
Additionally, all of the writers at the collectives I work with are amazing and deserving of a read.
12. Can You Please Share with us a few of Your Favorite Pieces from your Blogging?
Thank you so much to Christine Ray for being so detailed and open sharing her writing and poetry with us on my blog and on the Go Do Go Cafe.If you would like to be featured as a writer, blogger, or person who is blogging/writing about a causeplease reach out to me through my contact page. Next week`s interview will be a ‘Rewind Interview,’ a blogger I’ve interviewed in the past.
Welcome to another week of my interview series. Today I’m so excited to share with you an interview with my talented and caring friend, Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses) who has been writing many wonderful tales for adults and children on her blog with Colin Chappell of A Dog’s Life (Stories of Me and Him). I interviewed Colin earlier this year HERE.
Many of Carolyn’s tales and her new book with Colin are about a Cat named Dewey, a Jackalope named Jaxon, an owl named Odessa, and a human helper for them on Moonbeam farm they live, known as the ‘manservant.’ You can also find Carolyn’s interview on The Go Dog Go Cafe,where I will be posting a writer interview each Tuesday (the same one here and on there). It is a wonderful writer’s community on WordPress so please come and explore.
As well, all watercolor paintings illustrating the characters from Carolyn’s (and Colin’s) book Odessa’s Chronicles,are done by Jodi of The Creative Life In Between. She’s such a talented artist and I would recommend following her blog for her art, recipes, poetry, and blog posts narrated by her dog, Charlie. She also has an Etsy Shop, on break at the moment, but when it’s not, you can purchase cards, paintings, (etc.) of Jodi’s beautiful work.
My name is Carolyn Shelton and I live in Southern Pennsylvania. I am the Mother of two teenagers which explains why there are days that I feel like my brain is missing! I love having fun with my family and friends, whether we are just chatting or on an adventure together. I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.
Humor is a big part of my life! I have serious posts on my blog, but a lot of humorous ones as well. And there are days, where you may get more humor from the comment section. I have a good friend that likes to express his wit at times. I am always up for a battle of wits, do I win? Well…. onto the next question.
My biggest writing goal is to touch others with what I write. I want to make them smile, laugh and also ponder on deeper things at times. I am thankful for my gift of writing, but it doesn’t do a lot of good if I keep it to myself. This is why I share it on my blog with for everyone and anyone to read.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging and Why? What Does It Mean To You?
I began blogging in the Fall of 2014. It wasn’t something that I had planned on doing. I was browsing on the internet one day and I saw something that piqued my interest.WordPress was offering a free writing course. I loved to write and felt that this course would be fun to take and see what happened. I signed up for it and well, here I am. 🙂 I enjoyed the course a great deal and was excited seeing what I could do with a blog.
I enjoyed meeting other bloggers and interacting with them. I was still learning but felt as if I had found my niche in the wonderful world of blogging.My love of writing had been rekindled.
” I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.” – Carolyn Shelton
3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Blog and Write? Why is it Important to You to Keep Writing and Blogging? Do You Have Writing Habits? A Time of Day It’s Easier for You to Write?
My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me, through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy because it is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not writing. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogging and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.
Writing is me letting my heart speak and it can be so freeing expressing my emotions through writing. Late at night seems to be my best time to write. The house is all quiet, the phone is not ringing, and it’s just me and my Sheltie who lays at my feet.
4. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects, on your Blog or Otherwise? Have You Published Any Writing?
I am currently co-authoring a The Odessa Chronicles,with fellow blogger, Colin.I’m so excited about it! The process of writing it readying it for publication has been a true adventure! The front cover of the book has not yet be decided on and the book is not quite ready for publication and release to my readers but it will be available on Amazon when it is completed. Stay tuned to my blog for updates on Colin and mine’s book release!
” My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy. It is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not doing it. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I really wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogginh and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.” – Carolyn Shelton
5. Do You Prefer Certain Writing or Reading Genres? Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Writers or Bloggers Starting Out?
I enjoy writing serious posts and posts written for fun. I enjoy reading both as well. Also, I like reading stories in the genre of fiction and some nonfiction stories as well when I am choosing novels to read.
As for advice for new writers or bloggers: I encourage them to be patient with their self and write what comes naturally. Don’t think that your blog has to be like another blogger’s blog. Your blog is unique just like you. Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog. Don’t push yourself to post every day if you cannot manage to do that. I didn’t post each day in the beginning and there is no rule that says you have to post every day. You need to write when it fits your schedule.
6. For Fun, Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs? Top Three? What Do You Like About Them?
Oh, my this is a hard question. There are a lot of blogs I enjoy! The blogs I have followed the longest though are Jodi’s, Ameena’s and Colin’s.
Jodi’s blog makes my taste buds tingle when I see pictures of the wonderful recipes she is cooking up. She is a wonderful cook and there are sometimes I attempt her recipes, though I am sure she does them better. She also does beautiful paintings and puts lovely poems to lovely photographs she takes together in a post. I enjoy reading her blog because of her cheery outlook on life.
Ameena (Randoms by A Random) is a gifted poet and her poems tug at my heartstrings. She has put me at a loss for words more than once. You can read the interview Mandibelle16 did of Ameena HERE
Colin writes about life with Ray, his wonderful Rescue Dog that he adopted. He also has “Just Thinking” posts that give you things to ponder. It is always interesting to read his perspective. He includes some poetry on his blog; in fact, he has a book of wonderful poetry coming out soon. His dry wit comes through in his posts as well. A blog that can make me laugh will be one I keep going back to.
Most importantly all these blogs do have something in common. Although they post about various topics, they all have become special friends of mine.That is what I feel is at the heart of blogging, the friendships that are formed from a mutual interest.
” Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog.” – Carolyn Shelton
7. Can You Share With Us Some of Your Favorite Blog Posts?
Here are some of Carolyn’s posts that she and I like a great deal. I hope you enjoy them too!
Written April 2013, by Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)
Good Morning! Today my husband and I will bid a final farewell to a dear friend of ours. His body was ravaged with cancer and now he is free from pain. Though we are happy that he is now at peace, there also is pain, as he will be dearly missed!
Pat always had a smile for you and could make you laugh with his wit. Even when his wit was at your expense, you couldn’t help but laugh. Shaking your head, trying not to smile, as your mind was racing for a comeback. No joke was ever old. We had met over 20 years ago, and there was something that had happened to me in that first year that Pat and Sherry were dating. Something that he still loved to throw out there whenever he would get the chance, and yes it still had a way of heating up my cheeks. His humor is something that stayed with him, even as his body grew sicker. He kept his spirits up and fought hard. He was an inspiration.
In yesterday’s post, Dewey and Jaxon Follow Their Hearts, I told about when we heard the news about cancer and how Dewey took over my pen. Took over my pen for my broken heart. Today I am sharing a poem that I shared before. A poem that seems fitting for today. It has been revised a little to help it flow more smoothly, thanks to a friend.
My heart poured it out on a night when it was breaking. Breaking because the prognosis was not looking good for my friend and the tears fell as I didn’t know what to say. What could I speak to my precious friend and his wife? How could I encourage her? I felt that I had no words.
Come Away With Me My Friend (Let Us Run To The Ocean)
Come away with me my friend
Let us run to the ocean,
Where you can let the pain in your heart
Be overpowered by the roar of the waves.
Let us go where you can shout ”Why?” to the sky,
And scream as loud as you need.
Where you can fall to your knees on the soft sand.
Thank you so much to Carolyn for allowing me to interview her for this week’s blogger/writer interview. She is a wonderful and kind hearted person and I’m so excited for the book she and Colin will be releasing on AMAZON soon. Here is the link to her blog one more time: Nuggets of Gold.
If you are a writer, blogger, author, or someone who blogs for a cause or special organization and would like to be featured in my interview series here and on the Go Dog Go Cafe please reach out to me through my CONTACT PAGE on my personal blog. Thank you and see you next week!
Since the beginning of the campaign in the US for the final Republican and Democratic nominees, I haven’t been able to get this poem out of my head. Perhaps I had such a wonderful professor for American Poetry that Robert Frost’s “The Mending Wall,” made such an impression on me.
Thirteen years after I’ve graduated, I still think about this poem and what wisdom Frost imparts to people in his own time and ours. Mainly he suggests his poem is less about literal walls or fences, but about how neighbors should treat each other. Whether you’ve read the poem or not, you may find certain correlations between Frost’s poem and the current political situation in the US.
I think the biggest issue Frost’s poem highlights is why we build walls in the first place. The line at the beginning of the poem: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” implies not all of us enjoy having walls between us and our neighbors (1). Frost isn’t merely talking about physical walls or fences but about the walls that exist in relationships between people.
It’s practical and helpful for to us to avoid petty arguments by having physical fences around our yards. But Frost suggests in “The Mending Wall,” it is not helpful at all, to have walls and distance between people and their relationships with one another. This can cause large rifts between people when they don’t agree or share a similar opinion. Communication and negotiation need to be encouraged, instead of building bigger walls. We forget many other people in this world are the same as us, going through similar trials. It doesn’t matter their religion or ethnicity, we’re all human.
Open communication and friendly communication is a necessary key to life. While physically we may have to “set the wall between us once again,” or have certain boundaries, I don’t recall stone walls every setting to right differences of opinion or thought (14). We can’t stop talking because we don’t agree, reaching for the best compromise available is vital.
Erecting a wall between the US and Mexico will affect US relationships with other nations, not only Mexico. It also makes the US government appear isolationist. Moreover, it affects other countries who would think it was okay to support their own selfish ideologies which are not democratic.
Isolationist countries and governments do not prosper in themselves or in helping their citizens prosper. In today’s world it is critical for us all to have open communication and at times compromise and not always get ‘our own way’ with other countries for the good of all; the current US government goes against this globalized view. Trump stands for himself and if you’re a lucky American who supports a view he does, he might stand for you too. But it’s not something I would count on in a person who is extremely unpredictable.
In Frost’s poem, the lines: “There where it is we do not need the wall: / He is all pine and I am apple orchard. / My apple trees will never get across / [and] eat the cones under his pines, I tell him,” show the utter absurdity of having such a thick solid wall between the narrator and his neighbor (23-27). Frost’s point in these lines is if the speaker and his neighbor acted neighborly, they wouldn’t require a fence between them. It’s absurd to have a wall between them because the narrator’s apples don’t eat his neighbor’s pine cones and vice versa. The neighbor lacks insight into the situation.
He is similar to Trump who wants a wall between the US and Mexico beyond the border which already exists. Trump is akin to the neighbor insisting ” . . . good fences make good neighbors.” Truly walls break down relations between people and invite people to spew hatred and feel they are entitled to act badly and Trump’s actions are encouraging this behavior (27). People have choices to act how their conscience tells them, but when the government decides on input-less actions that destroy relations with other parts of the world and with US citizens, this government is self-serving.
Frost’s speaker also wonders about this wall he and his neighbor always fix in spring. He asks “. . . why do [fences] make good neighbors . . . ” commenting that “[before] I built a wall I’d ask to know / [what] I was walling in or walling out, / [and] to whom I was like to offense” (32-34). For me, these lines are shockingly apt in current US politics.
In Robert Frost’s poem “The Mending Wall,” the wall is not only a physical wall/fence it’s symbolic of relations between neighbors and metaphorical walls between people, in a broader sense, all sovereign nations. Trump insists on building a wall because it will wall out drugs from entering the US. He also believes he is keeping out illegal immigrates as well as crime. I think Frost would say, Trump is missing the bigger picture.
To my knowledge, Obama never had outstanding issues with Mexico. Most of us are aware of the drugs going back and forth across the border from Mexico and the people who want to leave Mexico for a better life. I would argue as many have, one way or another, the immigrants who want to get through are going to find a way through.
We also know for a fact, there are already tunnels to bring drugs into the US. If Trump wants to stop drug cartels from selling drugs, maybe he should focus on his own citizens involved in the purchase and selling of drugs. If you take away the market, perhaps you stop drug trafficking; however, my hunch is if Mexico sells fewer drugs, those who want or need drugs, will find another source.
Additionally, Frost’s line about giving “offense” is relatable to Trump not caring what Mexico thinks about the wall (34). He wants to make them pay for it and he doesn’t care that their President refused. He offended Mexico and its citizens; hopefully, he doesn’t plan on vacationing there anytime soon as many US citizens like to do. He’s going to make it difficult for US citizens wanting to vacation in Mexico and other places around the world in general. I’ve meant many wonderful American citizens on vacations but I know there are places where they still have to wear a Canadain flag on their outfit, so they are not thought be Americans. I would hate for this to be worse because of current affairs.
He’s going to make it difficult for US citizens wanting to vacation in Mexico and other places around the world in general. I’ve met many wonderful American citizens on vacations but I know there are places where they still have to wear a Canadain flag on their outfit, so they are not thought be Americans because it would be dangerous to them or their cash supply. I would hate for this to be worse because of current affairs in the US.
As well, Trump offended the Mexican President who refused to visit the US after Trump announced the wall. He’s set back relations with his physical and symbolic wall with Mexico. I believe US dealings with other countries will suffer setbacks as well because I think other nations will see US actions and be less inclined to trust their government and Trump.
The most curious part to me is how one man can destroy relations with other countries around the word so quickly through his lack of diplomacy and unwillingness to cooperate. I don’t want the US, Canada, or anywhere to be larger targets for radical terrorists or desperate criminals because Trump is blocking people from migrating to the US from the Middle East. Many people there are like us, regular people who don’t deserve to be labeled terrorists due to their religion. Some of those people require help due to actual terrorists such as ISIS, who are making it difficult for them to meet their basic needs.
Frost also writes in his poem about those who don’t love walls and would like them down. His narrator sees no need for the wall and thinks he could tell his neighbor, “‘I could say “Elves” to him, / [but] it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather / [he] said it for himself (35 – 38). Frost implies the neighbor needs to recognize for himself and ‘say’ for himself, that the physical and metaphorical wall between them is absurd.
I think the same principles apply to Trump and his wall. The wall is a thoughtless law as well as the symbolic breaking down of US relations with other countries such as Mexico and realistically, several others. The current US President won’t ever admit he is wrong.
In the end, I find the situation with Trump and the US government much the same as Frost describes the neighbour in his poem: “In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed./ He moves in darkness as it seems to me, / [not] of woods only and the shade of trees (40 – 42). To the narrator of Frost’s poem, rebuilding the wall between his neighbour and him is a game.
He even wonders if he could put “a notion” in his neighbours head and say “[elves]” made the stones fall out of place (29,37). But to the neighbour such as the US government, this is no game. While the rest of us mock Trump and have “mischief” in us as we read daily what Trump’s decided to do now, we are also somewhat afraid.
Trump walks around as Frost’s speaker’s neighbor, “an old-stone savage armed . . . [moving] in darkness . . . (40-41). This darkness is as an ignorance and not only of “woods . . . and the shade of trees (42).” I cannot imagine all the duties a President has; however, I do know about starting a new job as I’m sure many people can relate to.
Often, it is best to let things be done the way they have been done, to learn the experience and the wisdom behind the methods people use currently, before implementing massive change. At times, we think our own way of doing something is better. Then one day it hits us why something was done a certain way, how much easier it is to keep doing it that particular way. Once you learn how things are done, then changes can be implemented with reason and with experience behind that reasoning.
With US relations with its own citizens and the citizens of the world, we can only hope Trump ends his walk in darkness and ignorance. Perhaps one day he will step into the light and see why past Presidents acted how they did in certain matters? That he was elected by citizens and speaks and acts for them.
It’s my hope he searches beyond his own experience, what he’s been able to do freely as wealthy and powerful man. I hope he listens to the people who elected him and acts with discernment, that he learns to think before he acts. One encouraging thing about Trump I did hear was his admiration of Winston Churchill.
In conclusion, Frost calls his poem “The Mending Wall” because he hopes each year relations with his neighbour will improve, that eventually they won’t need a wall between them. Can we hope this much of the new US government? That they will not build walls to isolate their country? That they will not only think about themselves in this diverse, multicultural, and globalized world? I hope so. I’d hope Trump eventually learns to mend relations with his neighbours and not to snub them or God forbid, cause war. I hope he learns to see beyond the saying, ” . . . [good] fences make good neighbours” (45).
Today’s prompt song is “Paradise Circus” by Massive Attack.
“Paradise Circus” – Massive Attack
You feel the stone beneath your back, it’s hard.
Fall apart, lie ontop of it, and groan.
Felt in your deep bones, the cold wind it mares,
The tension starts drifting in and out, moans.
Unfortunate we’re far apart.
Our minds impart, shattered haste.
Playing games wait, we sin for heart.
Love in us cannotsate.
While time flies by, you wonder berate.
Have some patience, rumours arise.
Do not despise, our love it waits,
Us to but lose; we’ll surprise.
Lazily we move, we’ll time again prove .
Block demon’s soft soothe, a lie of ourgroove.
No demon guards love; God, love, he approves.
The kind that’s grown, realized with heart.
Love that is smart, patient, kind, never departs.
Where your whole heart is honest, though hard.
Dreams alight us both; we’re a work of art.
The LaJemme is a 5 stanza form created by poets Laura Lamarca and Jem Farmer. Meter: consistently iambic
1. Stanza 1, 10 syllables per line, Rhyme scheme abab, 4th syllable of each line is to rhyme with the end rhyme of the preceding line.
2. Stanza 2, syllable count: 8/8/8/6, Rhyme scheme cdef, with cross rhymes in each couplet on 4th syllable
3. Stanza 3, syllable count 8/8/8/6, Rhyme scheme gfdf, 4th syllable of each line follows the same rule as stanza 1.
4. Stanza 4, 10 syllables per line, Rhyme scheme hihi, 4th syllable of each line is to rhyme with the end rhyme of the preceding line. 5. Stanza 5, 10 syllables per line, Rhyme scheme abab, 4th syllable of each line is to rhyme with the end rhyme of the preceding line.
Please see Shadow Poetry for more information.
Welcome to another edition of my bi-weekly interview series. I’m excited to share with you a talented and beautiful poet, writer, and interviewee — my friend of many years on WordPress — blogger Ameena K.G. The way her poems flow and the lessons they teach, often amaze me. You can visit Ameena’s blog here: Randoms by a Random.
1.Please Tell Us About Yourself Ameena:
My name is Ameena and I am from Nigeria, although for the past five-years, Sudan has been my home. I am currently studying there.
I am a medical student in my fifth-year. When I’m not busy studying, I love to write poetry and stories. I enjoy watching videos of poetry read out-loud on YouTube and watching documentaries on YouTube as well. Comedy is one of myfavourite genres to watch. Anything which makes me laugh is welcome. My day begins with prayer, then I drink a cup of black coffee to help me make it through the day.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
I began writing when I was in high school, mostly poetry and short stories, but I didn’t write on a regular basis. My poems are and were, a reflection of how I feel.
Eventually I started a blog here on WordPress, it lasted only a bit before I deleted it. Let’s just say, my state of mind when I wrote on my first blog and on my blog now, are polar opposites. One great thing to come out of my initial short blogging stint was making friends in the WordPress community who motivated me to keep on writing.
My current blog is my second go at blogging. I had no intention of making my second blog a poetry blog (I thought I was done with poetry) but I guess, just because one leaves poetry, doesn’t mean poetry leaves you. On my second try at blogging I found myself writing again and loving it.
“I had no intention of making my second blog a poetry blog . . . but I guess, just because one leaves poetry, doesn’t mean poetry leaves you. On my second try at blogging I found myself writing again and loving it.” – Ameena
3. What Does Writing and Poetry Mean to you? Where Do You Find Your Inspiration For Writing?
Poetry for me is a way of introspection and it’s also the way I deal with life’s curve balls. I feel, I hurt, I write…
My inspiration comes from human beings. We are emotional creatures and I love to channel those feelings into words.Failure, successes, dreams, love, sadness, pain, heartbreak, all of these experiences are part of being human;writing helps me deal with these emotions. Almost all of my poems are inspired by life experiences and those don’t necessarily have to be my experiences.
4. Do You Find There Is a Time of Day You Prefer to Write?
I am a morning person. I love to wake up at dawn, pray, watch the sun rise with a cup of coffee at hand, and write. A lot of people don’t understand how I can wake-up in the morning with a huge smile in my face, but really, my best days are dayswhen I wake up early.
” My inspiration comes from human beings. We are emotional creatures and I love to channel those feelings into words. Failure, successes, dreams, love, sadness, pain, heartbreak, all of these experiences are part of being human; writing helps me deal with these emotions.” – Ameena K.G.
5. Do You Have Any Current or Future Writing Projects?
Right now, unfortunately, blogging has taken a back seat in my life. It wouldn’t be fair to say I am busy; it’s solely a matter of priority. I love blogging and writing but my education comes first for me, and my life over recent months has been stressful.
Still, I’m hoping to revive my Mental Health Friday series on my blog, which even though I’ve shelved it for months now, receives visits and views; I’d like to continue the series. Additionally, I recently ventured into Flash Fiction writing. I enjoy it, and would like to write more Flash Fiction and improve my fiction writing.
6. Have You Published Any Poetry or Writing or Would You Like To?
I only found out a week ago that a poem I submitted was chosen to appear in a poetry anthology.The poem is called, “Imperfect Paths” which will be published on the 30th of September. I would love to publish more poetry and writing someday. Right now my goal is to write as much as I’m able and to improve my writing with every piece.
“I only found out a week ago that a poem I submitted was chosen to appear in a poetry anthology. The poem is called, “Imperfect Paths” which will be published on the 30th of September.” – Ameena K.G.
7. Do You Have A Publishing Process When You Write? What Is Your Writing Process Like?
Currently, I don’t have a process. I have only started submitting some of my works to online magazines. It’s pretty easy to do actually. But I have no experience in the publishing world.
There’s nothing to my writing process. I sit and write even on the days when I don’t feel like it — I still write.When I’m in need of inspiration, I read other poems or Google search images or photographs to help provide me with something to focus on for writing, a kind of writing prompt.
8. Do You Prefer to Read Certain Writing Genres? Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
As a reader, I love a bit of mystery. I am a huge crime fiction fan and I also love stories which make me laugh out loud. When it comes to reading poetry, I’m not big on metaphors. I enjoy emotions and description in simple words.
As for advice for other writers: Write no matter what –rainy days, sunny days, even days when your writing muse is AWOL. The best way to get better at writing is to simply do it –write.
Always remember — you’re a writer, so embrace it, hug it, love it. If it is your passion, then nobody has the right to tell you to tame it.
“Write no matter what –rainy days, sunny days, even days when your writing muse is AWOL. The best way to get better at writing is to simply do it –write. Always remember — you’re a writer, so embrace it, hug it, love it. If it is your passion, then nobody has the right to tell you to tame it.” – Ameena K.G.
9. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share Which You Believe is Pertinent to Your Writing or Yourself?
When it comes to my writing, I’d say this: Don’t try to interpret what I wrote from my perspective. I believe to different people poetry has different meanings. I remember writing a poem about a father who never stood up for his daughter. The poem was inspired by someone who I’d say broke my trust.
Things aren’t always black and white in poetry and writing. All that matters is that the reader can understand and relate to what you write; it doesn’t matter if the poem is true for the writer, as long as it rings true for the reader.
10. Please Share With Us Some of Your Writing and/or Poetry:
And I told it,
Have a seat,
It wasn’t even dawn,
At least let me have a cup of coffee,
In peace, at least-
I said to my depression.
Depression knocked on my door,
And I welcomed it
With open arms,
We’ve been together
For so long now,
We might as well be friends,
Depression knocked and I welcomed it.
Depression knocked on my door,
And we had a one sided-
While the sky turned golden behind us,
You’ve had your stay
And I have entertained you,
Now- it’s time to take your leave,
I said to my depression.
Depression knocked on my door,
Like an unwanted guest,
Which tends to overstay it’s welcome.
But the birds sung a melodious,
Tune In the background,
And I turned the door knob
To a lock,
With a passion I didn’t think,
Existed within me,
I said to my depression- We are done!
Check-Out Some Links to Some of Ameena’s Other Writing and Poetry Here:
Thank you so much to Ameena for agreeing to be interviewed and sharing with other bloggers and readers your point of view on writing and poetry. Your perspective is inspiring, candid, and honest, that’s a vital aspect to have in writing and in life in general.
If you enjoyed this interview and would like to share with other writers and bloggers your perspective, process on writing, and something unique about yourself and your writing, please reach-out to me on myContact Page here.
Caden wasn’t sure how he arrived at the park; his feet had walked themselves there. He sat on a park bench feeling empty and worthless. In front of him sat an old Chinese stove, but he gave it little thought.
He’d lost Caroline for real this times and Caden didn’t know how to get her back. Lyrics from the song playing in the pub as she walked away from him, were on a continuel loop in his mind; she loved that song. He sighed, begging his mind to forget the painful lyrics.
“She’s imperfect but she tries, she is good but she lies. She is hard on herself, she is broken and won’t ask for help. She is messy but she’s kind, she’s is lonely –most of the time. She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie; she is gone but she used to be mine.”
Caden hadn’t ever felt so low. What did a man do when the woman he thought he’d stay with forever disappeared and wouldn’t talk to him?
No one seemed to know where Caroline was. He had almost cried in front of her Dad saying he only wanted to apologize and win her back. Caroline’s Dad patted Caden on the back saying,”Things will get better soon.”
Caden stared at the odd Chinese Stove wondering what its purpose was. He attempted to distract himself with the stove as the lyrics from that damn song floated back to him:
“If I’m honest I know I would give it all back for a chance to start over and rewrite an ending or two. For the girl that I knew who’ll be reckless just enough, who’ll get hurt but, who learns how to toughen up when she’s bruised . . . she is gone but she used to be mine.”
Caden pressed his hands against his ears, trying to block the words out.
Suddenly, Caroline was standing in front of him, “How did you get here?” He asked her.
She gazed at him, “You look horrible Caden. Did I do that to you?”
He gasped shocked at seeing her, truly there now sitting beside him. Caden couldn’t hold back, he cried into Caroline’s neck as she stroked his hair; he held onto her tightly.
“I thought you would never forgive me,” he said.
“It’s alright,” she crooned to him, “I’m not leaving you ever again.”