Good Morning and welcome to another bi-weekly edition of my interview series. Today, I’m interviewing the talented, inspiring, seventeen-year-old, poetess, and writerNelly Mgendi who prefers to be called Nelly Cherry from the blog Nelly Cherry. Please take time to visit her site, she has many gems of poetry to be read.
1. Nelly, Please Tell Us About Yourself:
My birth name is Nelly Mgendi but I have adopted the name Nelly Cherry and that is the name I prefer to go by. I am Tanzanian by birth and currently living in Kenya.
In a nutshell, I am adventurous and I like to discover new things. I’m funny and as some would say, I am quite the drama queen. I was also raised in a humble religious home.
When I was younger, I never liked poetry or writing whatsoever, even though, I was a huge fan of reading books. Back at home, people didn’t think of me as anyone extraordinary, as someone who had hidden talents. All of that changed when I came to Kenya where I am treated with love and have support. People don’t see me as the plain and uninteresting “Nelly Mgendi” but “Nelly Cherry,”a girl who is full of surprises.
Moving to Kenya made me realize there is more to who I am as person than I or other people thought back home. I found a passion for writing in Kenya. At first, I hated it, but I grew to appreciate writing and learn about writing and creativity in-depth. Today, I love writing and cannot live without it; writing has made me a better person.
As the saying goes: “ Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This was extremely applicable for me and how I judged writing before I fell in love with it.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
I considered going into writing when I was about to finish my O levels in school. I bought a journal to express my thoughts and started writing. Through social media I saw various different blogs, and decided blogging my writing would be a great idea. Before WordPress I joined Blogspot, a blogging platform I didn’t enjoy. So, I signed up for WordPress where I felt welcomed by a wonderful and warm community and my dear friend Vester Miles.
I decided to permanently, use WordPress for my social media platformfor writing.
“Today, I love writing and cannot live without it; writing has made me a better person. As the say goes: ” Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This was extremely applicable for and how I judged writing before I fell in love with it.” – Nelly Cherry
3.What Does Poetry Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
Poetry is my comfort zone because it is where I get to express myself. I’m not an open person so poetry is where I can show who I actually am. I write because there is more to who I am than what people label me as being. Writing gives me comfort and it helps me forget about my own problems. Also, it gives me some sense of hope and purpose in life. Writing aids me in dealing with any situation which comes my way. It helps me express and cope with emotions, issues, and situations, as well as use my imagination.
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
All of my writing begins as I perceive the people around me. I look at and dig deeper into my surroundings and the events that are currently, happening around me and in my life. I also find inspiration in music of different genres. I search for the ‘storyline’ in a piece of music and the bigger picture behind the song I’m writing about. I find motivation to write as I read about and read the works of other writers and poets who are not afraid to write what’s genuinely on their mind.
“Writing give me comfort and it helps me forget about my own problems. Also, it gives me some sense of hope and purpose in life. Writing aids me in dealing with any situation which comes my way.” – Nelly Cherry
5. What Time of Day do You Most Like to Write and What Are Your Current Writing Projects? Do You Plan on Publishing Your Writing?
I love writing in the morning when I have a clear fresh mind, but sometimes I write anytime, whenever I’m inspired to write.
My current writing projects include the poems: “Summer,” “Happy Father’s day,” “In Misery,” “Faded,” and “Abandoned Soul.” Also, I am working towards writing a book. I am planning to publish some of my writing in the future. But right now, I’m going to continue blogging on WordPress as a way of publishing my writing.
6. Can You Describe the Process You Go Through to Publish Your Writing? What Is Your Writing Process Like?
It is a long process for me to publish my work. I am still trying to get an editor which is why my work is currently on hold; however, I do have a writing process.
First, I write my ideas on a piece of paper or on my phone. Then, I look around for more inspiration and write the ideas I have on my Mac so far. If I don’t have a complete idea, I listen to music. Then, I go back to my Mac and write what the music has inspired in me.
After I am done, I ask my friend Ashley to provide me with further suggestions or tell me what she thinks of what I already have written down. Opinion from a ‘first reader’ matters a great deal as their opinion helps me decide on what I will continue to write. The first reader may have her own ideas or thoughts on my writing. I often, combine her ideas and my own when I’m writing.
7. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing and/or Reading styles and/or Genres?
I prefer fantasy and science fiction genres. I love science fiction because it can includespecial effectsin film. You are able to visualizeideas and live in your head with creative ideas in science fiction. Also, I love reading the science fiction genre as it has imaginative concepts such as futuristic science and technology, space travel, and time travel. One of my favourite books on fantasy is called: Crossed Borders. In science fiction, my favourite books are the Divergent Series and Hunger Games.
“Opinion from a ‘first reader’ matters a great deal as their opinion helps me decide on what I will continue to write. The first reader may have her own ideas or thoughts on my writing. I often, combine her ideas and my when I’m writing.” – Nelly Cherry
8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers? Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us Which Is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?
My advice is to never stop dreaming and never give up. Also, never be afraid to voice your ideas and write what’s in your soul. If writing is what you love, you need to put your time and dedication towards it.
As well, learning to listen to other people’s ideas is extremely helpful to you as a writer. If you’ve a problem, don’t be afraid to ask because learning never stops. Don’t be afraid to show your work because you’re afraid of other people’s opinions. Write and show the world who you are. Write what you feel but while you are writing, consider other people’s feelings.
I love when people express their thoughts and ideas on writing and it brings new thoughts and ideas to your own writing. Also, having people critique my work is valuable. Listening to what people want to say in regards to my writing, and what they think I should improve on helps me write. One of the most significant values I have learned in life is:“Learning never stops.”
“Don’t be afraid to show your work because you’re afraid of other people’s opinions. Write and show the world who you are. Write what you feel but while you are writing, consider other people’s feelings.” – Nelly Cherry
9. Please Share With One of Your Favourite Pieces of Poetry.
Hidden in the closet like playing a game of hide and seek,
I lock myself inside afraid of getting out.
Am locked in, afraid of releasing myself in the wild,
Afraid of breaking out as fear takes over my mind.
Embracing, exploring, discovering who I really am,
I finally go out of my way and show the world,
Breaking the walls I have built inside me,
Coming out and showing my true colours.
(By Nelly Cherry)
10. Here Are Some Links To Some Of Nelly’s Other Pieces of Poetry:
Thank You so much Nelly, for sharing with us your journey to becoming a writer. It is exciting and inspiring to see you put so much of yourself into your work. I can see how passionate you are about writing and your poetry, it’s wonderful to see. Thank you as well, for your wise and motivational advice to other writers. Nelly’s blog can be visited here: Nelly Cherry.
Would you like to share your writing and writing process with otherwriters and bloggers? Would you like to be interviewed such as Nelly? Drop me a note on my contact page and I will send you some interview questions. Thanks for reading 🙂
My week has slowed down considerably since my course is done. I was happy with the way the course went even though it was frustrating to get notes throughout the course. The frustration was worth it in the end. I have taken basic Creative Writing or fiction courses before so I was looking for maybe an art course I could take in the afternoon but all the courses I’m interested in are at night and like with academic courses, it is even more difficult to draw or paint at night. I’m not sure why because it use to be so relaxing but I end up doing most of the work in the day because I’m not able to do art for long at night. Thus, I have opted for a writing course, a general course on fiction online through Simon Frasier University. There is a course in spring about finishing your works of fiction when you have your manuscript, which looks informative too. I don’t have a full manuscript though it has been a long time since I have felt like I could work on my book. I have some revisions to do first on the chapters I have, due to some critiques from a course I submitted it for. As well, I have been stuck at this one section where my main character is going to her boyfriend’s office party. I have to work out some aspects about setting too. I was picturing a Vancouver like place but I have never been to Vancouver besides in the airport. I am building up some Airmiles so maybe I will have to take a week trip there this year. Perhaps, one of my brothers would come with me or my Mom. Anyways, I am getting ideas for my book so Christmas maybe a good time to begin work on the revisions to start.
Yesterday, I met my brother and his girlfriend for a movie. We went to see Mockingjay 2 from the Hunger Games movie series. I had seen part 1 with both my brother and his girlfriend and she immediately went home and read the books and saw the earlier movies.
SPOILER ALERT: if you haven’t seen the last movie or read the last book don’t read on.
I loved Mockingjay Part 1 and I was anxious to see how in the movies they would complete the process of war against President Snow and the Capitol. I think Katniss is aware that she is being used by President Coin, District 13’s leader. But I don’t think she realizes to what degree until it is too late. Katniss is the figurehead, the face the citizens of each district rally for. She is the Mockingjay and Coin effectively uses her to distract President Snow, Katniss, citizens from each district, and any other people supporting the districts emancipation from the Capitol. Coin uses Katniss, and swoops in to be President of the Capitol, saying she will hold elections later, when the state of Panem has calmed down.
Ironically, President Snow knows he is facing defeat when he calls all the people of the Capitol city to come and be safe at his home where he will provide shelter and food. The worst part of the movie is when you think President Snow directs the peacekeepers to put all the children ahead of everyone else seeking shelter, in barricaded areas. Then little packages come floating down. The children think they are presents but they are much worse. They are bombs and it appears as if in a last act of tyranny, Snow has blown the children of the Capitol to pieces.
But Katniss discovers something when she talks to Snow in his rose garden after Coin and the Districts have taken over. Snow reminds Katniss even though he has few morals he wouldn’t kill all those children because it would be unnecessary. He was already defeated. It was Coin who bombed all the children, killing Katniss’s sister and making President Snow appear supremely tyrannical even to his own guards and citizens of the Capitol. What is more painful for Katniss is the fact Gale was apart of Coin’s plan, on purpose? I don’t know. Gale apologizes to Katniss for not taking care of Katniss’s family as he promised he would. But it is too late, the idea of bombing civilians who were powerless had been his idea to begin with.
I liked Gale and wanted him to end up with Katniss. But once Gale saw how the Capitol treated the people of District 12 and destroyed the District, he developed a kill or be killed view Katniss didn’t agree with. He believes it is okay to have civilian casualities if they are the enemy. But he sees how terrible his thinking is when he looses Katniss, his bestfriend and the girl he loves. Not to mention, the relationship between Katniss and Peta becomes apparent as Katniss and her military team fight their way to Snow so Katniss can kill Snow.
When Katniss finds out what President Coin has done she waits for her moment to strike. When Coin calls for a meeting of all the remaining Hunger Game participants to have one last Hunger Games with children of the Capitol’s citizens, instead of executing everyone involved with Snow’s government, Katniss agrees. Her and Haymitch sway the vote. But Katniss only agrees because she is allowed the honour of killing Snow.
Katniss is particularly brilliant in her actions. But little does she find out that she and even Coin are being used by the second Game maker of the Hunger Games, Plutarch. Plutarch is aware of the moves people will make even before they will make them; he is the ultimate game maker. So, everything goes according to plan when Katiness directs her arrow at Coin instead of Snow. Snow is dying anyways, and a mob of people finish the job. Coin lies dead, no better then Snow.
But as Plutarch planned the 75th Hunger Games, he directs Katniss and Coin in their actions, as if he is directing a larger Hunger Games, the freedom of Panem. Katiness’s killing of Coin is pardoned by a new elected leader of Panem, one of the other District leaders. Her death makes elections a definite event that will continue to occur in Panem for the future. With Katniss, Plutarch directs the forming of a new government for Panem and a better life for all its citizens. He writes Katniss a letter admitting to using her, and not regretting it.
In the end, Katniss having lost Gale — her bestfriend, her little sister Prim, and a great part of herself, goes home to live in the victor’s houses with Haymitch in District 12. She is overjoyed to find Peta there one day planting prime roses in honour of Prim. The end of this series is wonderful because we see two people broken by the awful Hunger Games, war, and lost loved ones, be at peace in Disrict 12.
Katiness hunts again. She lives with Peta and they have two children together. How does she sort through all the tragedy she’s experienced? She makes lists of all the good things people have done in her head and these lists get her through her nightmares. The good in people make her journey worth all the people who have died in the Hunger Games. It makes it worth the people she killed, were killed for her, and because of her, all since she volunteered for The Hunger Games. Lists about the good things people do make Katiness able to live with herself and create a life for her family.
I loved the whole series. It was one of my favourite book to film adaptations I have seen. And I loved the vivid and creative costumes worn by the people in the Capitol. They were indeed lavish and vein, as they were beautiful. If you haven’t seen or read the series, I urge you to check out The Hunger Games. The first time I received the intial novel I thought what weird book did my friend give me. But I was hooked once I started reading and you will be too. Whether or not you read, or watch, or do both.
Mockingjay Part 2 Trailer:
Christmas is close, I’m looking forward to our family traditions of snacks and church on Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day. I’m trying to visit and talk to many friends who have some time off. I have lots planned. I am looking forward to getting my haircut and nails done next week and to getting my final shopping items. I am hoping everyone likes their presents and I’m looking to getting myself a nice tablet. My old one has had it! I want to do baking still and I would like to see a couple more movies. There are some good ones that are out besides Mockingjay 2 and Spectre which I wrote about in an earlier post. Joy with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert Deniro looks great. Reminds me I have to watch a couple old Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper movies that came after Silver Lining’s Playbook. There is a great sequal to the Tim Burton directed Alice in Wonderland. If you’ve read the book you’ll know that the sequal is Alice Through The Looking Glass. Johnny Depp returns as the mad-hatter and Sasha Baron- Cohan an actor I never would have thought would go much of anywhere, shows his versatility by playing ‘time’ in this movie.
Well it’s American Thanksgiving already, so soon. It means that Christmas is upon us in full swing. I have my list items I want to purchase Black Friday. Some of it is presents and some of it’s personal. I like to do most of my would be ‘Boxing Day’ shopping now because the deals and selection of items is better. Items tend to be picked over at times after Christmas. So, I have an order for Indigo, with some cozy throws and Christmas gift bags. I have to send two more boxed gift sets from Lush to two of my close friends. I need to do an order to Purdy’s online for chocolates for everyone. I need to purchase a gift card for my Mom. I was hoping Loft, but I can’t get the gift card buying option to work online. So, I’ll have to see about what I buy for her. Maybe, Cleo’s ? And quite importantly, I need stamps for Christmas cards. Then for me, there are a few items of clothing I would like from BananaRepublic.
In Residential Interiors, I am half-way through the furnishing slides I need to know for my Final on Modern Furniture. Starting with Frank Lloyd Wright in 1909 up to a few prolific modern designers in 2013. I need the notes from tonight’s class fast. Then once I have those, I can transfer that information onto the paper copies I am using to study the exam slides. Some of the slides I will have to go look up more information on as the note taker didn’t provide good notes for some pieces of furniture. Then I have to read the remainder of the textbook, three or four chapters I think. Followed by me going through all the modern day slides and comparing them with the notes so I know about those slides incase they are on the Final. Then I need to memorize the information on the final exam slides. So, that is going to be a lot of work. Thank goodness I write in the afternoon next Tuesday. I am looking for a course to take next semester, but so far no such luck. I would like to do something in Winter because it gets so dark outside and you feel stuck inside so it is great to keep busy. I applied for graduation so I will receive my Residential Furnishings Certificate in June 2017.
I read a book called Wallbanger a chick -lit book by Alice Clayton, last year. Clayton wrote a sequel to this book called Rusty Nailed and a short novella sequal to that called Last Call. In the same series, there are also some other books about different couples. But the three books I have fallen for are about Simon, Carolyn, and Carolyn’s cat Clide. They are hilarious books especially the first one concerning how Simon and Carolyn and their friends meet and end up coupled off. The next two books are about Simon and Carolyn getting together despite the issues of the past, the issues of their friends (who are also in each book), career issues, and cat issues. I’m not a cat person but when Clayton writes at the end of each book from Clides view point it is so funny. So, if you are into literature for women that makes you laugh and you like love stories, check out this triplet from Alice Clayton. If you’ve read her books before, what did you think?
So, starting to plan into December already. I am meeting my friend for coffee Thursday and going on a date Saturday. After my exam, I will be going to lunch with a friend and later to see Mockingjay Part II with my youngest brother and his girlfriend. I also want to see the new Starwars: The Force Awakens it seems more interesting then the last set of movies they made about Starwars. Need to make it to a wine store sometime in there too. Going to get my haircut in December too, so it’s nice for Christmas and all the festivities involved in that. Also, who can forget holiday baking. There is just my parents at home and I now so I’ve cut down a lot but I’m thinking shortbread, spice cookies, turtle squares, and some chocolate chip cookies. We’ll see how much I get made.
Last night, such as many of you did this week, I went to see The Hunger Games at the movie theatres. I had read the book by Suzanne Collins, and was pleasantly surprised to see the movie quite closely resembled the book. My aunt had commented after see the movie that she was:
Having a love/hate relationship with “The Hunger Games”. Just loving the depth and interest of the story, but hating the kids dying. I guess that’s the sign of a great book; literature that arouses strong emotions in the reader. Doesn’t help being a parent of kids in that age group either.
And I would tend to think her reaction to The Hunger Games is a common one whether you are a parent or not – what kind of country sends teenagers, still children really, to die as tribute for their ancestors rebellion? In the Hunger Games a corrupt society in Panem, and its capitel city ‘the Capitol,’ has control over 12 districts. Each of these districts has some type of industry that the Capitol needs in order to maintain a lavish lifestyle for their citizens. Every year one male and one female from each district are chosen at the ‘reaping’ to compete against each other to the death in an arena controlled by the Capitol, its president (President Snow), and the ‘gamemakers.’ There are several themes that are predominate in The Hunger Games including the theme of a love triangle, a lavish and fake society, and most importantly the theme of rebellion and subsequent oppression. These themes stir up emotion and create strong feelings in the readers and viewers of The Hunger Games.
The love triangle (between Peeta, Katniss, and Gale in The Hunger Games ) is one of the most common plot lines, found in many movies and books; yet every time the love triangle theme is introduced people seem to become entranced by it, such is the case in The Hunger Games. While Katniss has grown up with with Gale and knows there is love of some kind between them, she must also consider Peeta as a potential partner when he announces his love for her at the interview before the Hunger Game’s competition. She also realizes that in order for her and Peeta to survive in the games she must act las if she loves Peeta even if she does not. I tend to think that Katniss herself, is not sure whether she does or does not love Peeta. The reality of her situation, fighting for her and Peeta’s life in the game, is influenced by the fact that she discovers, Peeta has always loved her, since he wasy a small boy. Still, a part of Katniss is always thinking about Gale her best friend, the guy who takes care of her family so they will not starve, and the guy she is more than friends with. I have not finished all three books yet so I do not know who Katniss eventually chooses – Peeta or Gale, but I think Katniss does find there are two important differences between the boys. While Peeta only wants for Katniss and him to survive the hunger games and not become a part of the Capitol’s decadent, wasteful, and violent lifestyle, Gale (we later learn) has no qualms about fighting back against the capitol’s evil. The same violent and oppressive way the Capitol treats District Twelve and other districts, Gale would act that same way against the capitol; an ‘eye’ for and ‘eye,’ so to speak, even at the cost of other Panemian’s lives. (Though I do agree more with Peeta’s way of seeing the situation, Gale is in my view “hotter” than Peeta so I hope Gale learns some morals before it becomes too late for him, and he loses Katniss).
Another important theme found in The Hunger Games is the theme the of the lavish lifestyle and narrow-minded views taken by the people who live in the Capitol. The people in the Capitol are characterized by Collins as having, colorful costume like clothing, artfully done makeup, and surgically altered bodies, to demonstrate their fakeness. They are empty shells without morals only wanting to be entertained. As long as they can live their expensive lives supplied by goods and services from Panem’s districts, they choose not to acknowledge the violence and inhumanity of sending twenty-four teenagers out to fight to a bloody and horrific death out in the hunger games. The Capitol’s citizens give up their right to govern justly or democratically by overindulging and letting President Snow do as he likes. In fact, the people of the Capital have a hunger for violence and drama at the expense of human lives. They do not understand that Katniss, and Rue, and even Cato, are people just like they are -still human beings. Just because the district citizens toil for resources for the Capitol they are still no different, and should not be treated any differently than the Capitol’s people. Although, I did enjoy the interesting costumes and grooming habits of the people in the Capitol, it made me angry that they would turn a blind eye to the injustice going on around them, particularly, at the hunger games.
Additionally, a life of luxury blinds the citizens of the Capitol to the evil of President Snow, who would stop at nothing to have control over all of Panem, and prevent the districts from standing up for their right to live and do as they please, to have their children survive and not be led to slaughter or overworked in their districts industry. The theme of a lavish lifestyle in the Capitol has a lot to do with the theme of oppression. The playing of the hunger games tapes over and over again for everyone each year, and the promo put together about how Panem was formed, all frighten the districts into following President Snow. Snow also tries to have Katniss killed in the hunger games, since he predicts, she could become a symbol for rebellion early on. Snow’s totalitarian form of governance comes at the cost of people in all the districts, and even in the Capitol. For instance, he has the head gamekeeper forced too kill himself with poisonous berries when both Katniss and Peeta pretend to do the same in the hunger games to survive. Snow also come’s up with the whole idea of the hunger games in the first place, killing teenagers – children – to die so no one will question the firm control he holds over Panem; so no person will try to rebel. Although, Snow thinks he has absolute power, he is wrong; Snow does not count on the voice of some citizens demonstrated by the people who rally around, Katniss and Peeta. So much so, that Katniss becomes the ‘The Mockingjay,” a point of hope and leadership for the districts who eventually try to take back Panem from Snow and his hunger for oppression. As I read the books and the watched the movie The Hunger Games I became more and more disgusted with President Snow. What kind of person could be so corrupt. As my highschool social studies told me, ‘Absolute power, corrupts absolutely.’
So that is my take on The Hunger Games and its major themes – the themes of a love triangle, a lavish society, and a oppressive government. I hope seeing the movie and reading the books helps everyone to consider why we must make sure that we to do not become blind to what is happening in our own government and the effects that oppression can have on people everywhere. Everyone here in Canada and United States at least, have the right to choose are governments and have the responsibility to stay involved in how our country is run. The Hunger Games may only be fiction, but it encourages us to not focus on the pursuits of power or luxury, but to put our faith in and to help, and spend time with ‘people,’ who always matter. We have the moral obligation to care about each other, to not discriminate, and to take off our ‘blinders’ so we know what is going on around us, and have the courage to stop a practice when it is wrong.