Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for the Saturday Mix challenge. I chose the three words: collector, approach, and anchor for the Abecedary challenge. The NaPoWriMo prompt is “to write a poem that incorporates neologisms or a made-up word! Your neologisms could be portmanteaus (basically, a word made from combining two existing words, like “motel” coming from “motor” and “hotel”) or they could be words invented entirely for their sound. Probably the most famous example of a poem incorporating neologisms is Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, but neologisms don’t have to be funny or used in the service of humor.” For A to Z Challenge the letter P will be used for the GoodRead’s quote.
“When it comes to memories, the good and the bad never balance.” ― Jodi Picoult, Handle with Care
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!
It takes a great deal of pushing and a lot of poking to make me angry, but Yasmine knew which buttons to push. The neighbors never heard us fight, until that night in August.
“You always want to be together; I can’t be with you all the time. I’ve work and sometimes I need alone time, and occasionally, guy time.” I yelled.
Yasmine flicked back her long brown hair and laughed at my rage; she was far away inside her head again; I could tell.
“Look who’s upset,” she said softly. “It took me a long time to make you this angry, Logan. I thought you would never notice me. You’re always leaving me home alone.”
“Yasmine, I’m extremely upset at you, scared for your mental well being, and scared for our relationship. But you think my words are a joke.” I say.
She laughs and slids her arm around my shoulders. I shrug it off. Yasmine crosses her arms and says:”Calm down Logan. Stop being such an ass. Your married, you don’t get space anymore.”
“Being married doesn’t mean no space.You never used to be this way Yasmine. You did stuff with your friends and visited relatives. You also worked as a successful interior designer.” I told her.
“Now, you stay home all day and you lay in bed. I’m trying and I know you’re not well. But one of us has to work and support us financially. You need to look for ways to occupy your time. Read, write, watch TV, walk, or pretend you’re designing a new interior space.”
Yasmine gave a thin smile at my suggestions. “I suppose you want me to keep visiting the psychiatrist, the doctor who says I’m suffering from depression because I lost our baby.” Tears leaked out of Yasmine’s deep brown eyes. I wiped them away.
“I think it’s best for you Yasmine. The psychiatrist makes sense. You’re sad, tearful, and you can barely make it out of bed. You’re also anxious and you’ve terrible self-esteem right now. When I tell you you’re wonderful, talented, and beautiful, you don’t believe me. Yesterday, you said you believed you were a baby killer.” I said.
Yasmine smirked.”Before the baby died, I believed you. Now, I don’t believe you’re telling me the truth. I’m in awful shape and I think you’re placating me. I believe you’d rather by anywhere else and not with me.”
“Listen,” I told Yasmine. ” When I said I need space, all I meant was I need some time each week, where I can tye up loose ends from work. I also need a night away from you every week or two. For my own mental health, I need a few hours where I can forget and not deal with our issues.”
“I talked to your friends Becca and Lynn,” I told her. “They said they’d love to take turns hanging out with you one night a week if you’re okay with that? You guys could go see a movie or go shopping, something along those lines?”
Yasmine buried herself beneath the comforter on the couch.”I don’t want to see my friends, look at me? And I need you here Logan; I was thinking, we could have another baby?”
“It’s not that I don’t want another baby with you sweet heart, ” I say carefully. “I keep telling you, it’s not your fault Jacob died. It happens to many woman with their first pregnancy. It’s just right now, you’re still recovering from losing Jacob.” I told Yasmine.
She covered her ears, “I don’t want to hear it Logan. Stop talking. It’s my fault Jacob died; I didn’t take care of myself. Now, I’m sick and I feel I can’t do anything. Everything makes me tired and I’m so mad at myself.”
I sat down beside Yasmine and rubbed her back.” Relax. We have time. Work on feeling better. Try to take a short walk, even around the block. Be in the sun on the patio to get more vitamin D and sleep whenever you need. However, you have to promise to take your pill.” I said.
“I don’t want to! I hate my med. It makes me feel foggy.” Yasmine complained.
“The doctor says in a month or so, when you’re used to the medication, the fogginess will go away. But you have to let your body get used to the anti-depressant. I notice when you take them, you’re much happier. You get out of bed. You make conversation. You sketch out designs for rooms,” I tell her.
“But Logan . . .”
“Please, for two-weeks, try taking your pill. If you don’t, the Doctor says you’ll have to go back in hospital, Yasmine, ” I begged.
Suddenly, Yasmine flew into a rage. She pushed at me and screamed. She grabbed her car keys before I could catch her and snuck in the elevator. When I reached her parking space, it was empty. I’ve never seen Yasmine again.
Yasmine’s my wife and it hurts me to know she could be anywhere and I can’t help her. I don’t know if she’s well or still suffering from depression. No one’s been able to find her, not even a private detective.
I grieved for Yasmine. It took me two-years before I started writing my stories down in journals. I thought, when Yasmine came back, she could read about what happened in my life after she left. I tried to make my journal entertaining for her to read.
Then, they found her body. Parts of me ached which I never knew existed, when I learned Yasmine was dead. I’m not sure how they can find out how she died now. But I’ve convinced myself I caused her to commit suicide.
I tear the pages out of my journals; I had had them bound and printed into volumes for Yasmine to read. Now I know she will never be able to read what I wrote.
Broken and grieving, I destroyed all my journal volumes. All the typed pages scattered across the floor in my office. Broken journals, like my heart.
How does one heal after hurting so long, believing their other half, couldn’t be dead?