Day 10 – NaPoWriMo/A to Z Challenge/ Photo Challenge: Poem – Free Verse -“The Swan” #amwriting #poetry #AtoZchallenge #NaPoWriMo


Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to “write a poem that is a portrait of someone important to you. It doesn’t need to focus so much on what a person looks (or looked) like, as what they are or were.” The corresponding GoodRead’s Author’s Quote for the A to Z Challenge, begins with the letter I. Thanks to NEEKNERAJ of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie who provided the wonderfully creepy photograph.


Credit: saccstry.deviantart.com
———

If I’d been born a ghoul, I think I would’ve killed people. I just happened to be born a human. That’s the only reason why I’m allowed to live a moral life.” ― Sui Ishida

———

I knew her as a little girl,

Though others thought her odd.

She had that “something” about her,

People either loved or abhorred.

At first, I thought, she was enormously strange,

But her quirks endeared me to her.

She protected me from those cruel girls,

One smile from her, they stumbled away on their heels.

She had shocking violet hair on one side,

She was never quite a blond. 

Always experimenting with new looks,

Trying to glean from her appearance,

Who she was inside herself.

Her eyes a brilliant cornflower blue glimmered,

When some person made her enraged.

Her friends all knew some stupid student,

Would soon regret their actions;

She only had to smile.

And some bullies face turned violet, rouge, or primrose.

My friend was odd but lively,

Never afraid to do anything. 

Dragging me along, to be a part of her drama.

Of her wicked practical jokes,

Others whispered she was a bit ‘Tim Burton,’

Calling her the ‘corpse bride.’

But she would always smile,

In a way that scared many,

Who never knew the truth about her —

She was passionate, kind, and loyal.

If you could get past her walls, her insecurities,

She was most lovely and grew to be a beauty.

Her hair still half-purple — it was her thing.

How we knew her for her. 

Her terrifying smile gleamed, 

She could now afford braces,

For teeth that had scared everyone.

And when the braces disappeared,

Her teeth stood in straight white rows.

Her grim frown had turned forever upside down,

She was no longer that weird girl.

Though there was still ‘something’ about her;

Strange became a talent, something sought after,

When she transformed into a swan.

She became a cut diamond, no longer rough, she was —

Perfectly odd. 

——–



———

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

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Interview With Jackelyn Santana


Welcome back to another December issue of my biweekly interview series. Today I’m interviewing the gracious and beautiful Jackelyn Santana who was recently married. She has a faith based blog here: Faith Walking Hebrews 11:1. She describes her blog using the Hebrews 1:11 Bible Verse: “Now Faith Is The Assurance of Things Hoped For, The Conviction of things Not Seen.”


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Jackelyn Santana

1. Jackelyn, Please Tell Us About Yourself?

My name is Jackelyn Santana, I am from Miami, FL, and my family is of Cuban descent.I am a child of God and passionate about my faith. I LOVE reading, blogging, and spending time with my family.  I was married on November 11, 2016 and  I am a mother to an amazing six-year-old and a stepmother to two beautiful young ladies.

This year has been full of blessings. To emotionally prepare myself for our marriage, I spent the year analyzing myself and I’m finally at a place where I can embrace my authenticity. I spent a good portion of my life internalizing my pain, wearing masks to cope, and believing something was wrong because I didn’t have everything as it seemed everyone around me had.

Having this frame of mind enslaved me. There wasn’t anything wrong with what I was facing, but because there’s a stigma associated with imperfection and emotional struggle, I thought it was a ‘ME’ problem. I didn’t realize the truth, my problems were natural and universal.

As I began opening up and peeling off the layers I was hiding under, I discovered more and more people who hid there pain as I was doing. We strengthened each other, helped each other heal, celebrated our spiritual growth, and learned to love ourselves no matter where we are in life.

The most beautiful thing I’ve witnessed is a group of hopeless lost souls coming together and loving each other back to life. We found a reason to smile again. This world is in such need of healing. I would love nothing more than to help spread love and healing wherever I go in my life.


” As I began opening up and peeling off the layers I was hiding under, I discovered more and more  people who hid there pain as I was doing. We strengthened each other, helped each other heal, celebrated our spiritual growth, and learned to love ourselves no matter where we are in life.” – Jackelyn Santana


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

I started blogging about four months ago July 20, 2016 to be exact. Blogging means everything to me! It’s liberated me. I’m free!! The more I write about things, the less ashamed I am of what I’ve faced. With each post I’ve removed the chains of emotions and experiences I kept a secret. These emotions and experiences have lost power over me.

This has allowed me to acknowledge and celebrate my spiritual growth. I enjoy interacting with other bloggers. Blogging also gives me an inside view of my soul. Sometimes I’m shocked when I read older posts because when I wrote, I let the words flow from my soul and they expressed things I wouldn’t voice out loud.


3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation To Write?

I am inspired by my faith and other bloggers. I began blogging about one-year ago, but I didn’t think I could write posts people would want to read. I’m better at public speaking than I am at writing. A co-worker of mine kept pushing me to write. I would share advice with her and she would nudge me to put it on paper. I finally decided to test the waters by submitting a guest post on Proverbs 31 Women.

They approved my guest post one-month later and I was shocked and honored.  I started writing away on my blog often. My faith in God changed my life, it wasn’t until I understood my faith better that I was able to apply its principles to my life. In the past few years I’ve uncovered so much richness I was missing out on because I didn’t study my beliefs. It’s become a way of life for me and I want to help others learn about Jesus in practical terms.

Many times when we think of the Bible we think of a standard which is too high for most of us to reach. The Bible comes across as something only ‘Holy’ people read. Or, we become intimidated by it because we find it unrelatable since The Bible was written many moons ago and times have changed.

These ideas of Christianity couldn’t be further from the truth. We need to find the right tools to break down barriers from reading God’s Word, The Bible, and help others understand faith in simpler terms. Believing in Jesus can guide us towards love and happiness. Once we understand the basics, our soul will keep searching for more – our hearts will be “homing our Heavenly home,” if you will, and we will grow spiritually.

By identifying with examples from the stories in The Bible, we can understand our obstacles are not too much, our lives can be molded in a way which allows us to serve both God, our families, and friends because they’re all related.

God acknowledges our need for connection and sent his son Jesus not only so that we could be saved, but so we could identify with Jesus and strive to imitate His way of life. As a woman, fiancee, and mother, I have been able to love more purely and unconditionally through The Bible’s teachings, making them a way of life.

Reflecting on the dark moments I’ve faced, I see how fine the line between good and evil can be — being saved or being lost; I want to help others be saved as I am saved through Jesus’s death and resurrection. 


“My faith in God changed my life, it wasn’t until I understood my faith better that I was able to apply its principles to my life. In the past few years I’ve uncovered so much richness I was missing out on because I didn’t study my beliefs.’ – Jackelyn Santana


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Jackelyn Santana

4. When Do You Like to Write and Do You Have Any Current Special Writing Projects?

There isn’t a time of day that inspires me the most. I write whenever my heart moves me to write. As of today I’m only blogging. My passion and dream is to help others. Perhaps join /create a traveling retreat group, or participate in spiritual workshops. This is a concept similar to a ‘Women of Faith’ tour, but on a smaller more personal level.

There would be one to one interaction, healing exercises, and honest group talk. I would love to help others come out of their shells and be saved through faith in Jesus and God as I was. My healing is made possible through God and meeting an amazing group of women in my Emmaus Ministry who were transparent about their struggles and shared tips on overcoming the obstacles of life.


5. Are You Planning on Publishing Any Written Work in The Future?

I have not published anything. Perhaps later in life I will be presented the opportunity to do so, or I will submit writing drafts. With only four-months of blogging under my belt I’m focusing on identifying my writing voice, interacting with others through my writing, and improving my writing skills which are at a novice level. I would also like to study theology and I think it would further advance my writing.


“My healing is made possible through God and meeting an amazing group of women in my Emmaus Ministry who were transparent about their struggles and shared tips on overcoming the obstacles of life.”


6. What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I sit in front of my laptop or a notepad and I pray, relax, and set my soul free to express itself. When an idea pops into my mind I write it down either on my phone’s notepad, or sticky notes. I may begin draft posts that I revisit at a later time when I can give my writing undivided attention. I have about fourteen draft posts which I’ve begun and I’m saving for the future blog posts.

When I first started blogging I would write and post instantly. I’ve learned to slow down and process topics, allowing my mind to continue digging for information. I will officially post my writing after I have looked at every angle.


7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers Starting Out?

Write about topics you are passionate about. It feels great to do what you love. I love what I write about and it’s how I live my life. If you’re on the fence about writing I would suggest you take a leap of faith and see what comes from this desire.

WordPress has a wonderful community of bloggers and this community helps you grow as a writer. Don’t write posts for the sake of increasing traffic and followers, write on topics you enjoy writing about.  


8. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Your Writing?

I am God’s creation, I am human, I am imperfect, and I am meant to depend on God. Read this post to learn more about me.


9. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Favorite Blog Posts:

Slogging Through The Tears

By Jackelyn Santana

*****

“Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won’t tell you about themselves if they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they become the worse type of person. Unfortunately, they end up hurting themselves in the long run. They don’t want to hurt other people. It is against their very nature.  They want to make amends and undo the wrong they did. Their life is a wave of  highs and lows. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings.  They are tortured souls that are not able to live with hatred or being hated. This type of person needs  the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing, and the ones that often become activists for the broken hearted, forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved.” –Shannon L. Alder

 *****

I am on an emotional roller coaster ride.

rollercoaster

I will not try to deny it, this is who I am, sensitivity and all. I wear my sensitivity as a badge of honor, although throughout life I have been ridiculed or further wounded because of it. I cannot control the sensitive nature of my heart. I may pretend something has not stabbed or wounded me, but more likely than not this is not the case.

For many years I have tried to harden myself, hoping that I would become immune to the blows of life, and the harsh words received from those I hold with high esteem. Despite my efforts, my sensitive nature is unchanged.

My sensitive nature is misunderstood.

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Those closest to me believe they understand me and my motives. They believe they can read between the lines. Many dare to correct me when I express my intentions and motives, determined their interpretation of my position is correct. My hard and serious exterior denies me the right to ever be recognized as a victim, although, my heart tells me otherwise. Many times I find myself confused, doubting my heart, thinking that there is something severely wrong because I’m always wrong and never right about my own feelings. Maybe I am bad at the core?

One Of My Favorite Bible Verses:

“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”  Romans 7:15

broken-heartIn my case, I do not understand why I continue to love and care the way I do. I know better, yet I cannot help it. I continue to express my vulnerabilities to those I care about in hopes that I will be understood. The more I explain myself, the further away I get from MY truth, and the closer I get to shedding unfavorable light on myself. I allow the fighter in me to get the best of me when I feel taken advantage of. This without a doubt, is used against me as I fail to be consistent, giving in to my human frailty. I can only be silent for so long without jumping into protective mode. I can only shed so many tears without lashing out. The cruelty I spew is the cruelty I have learned through life, it is not the natural nature of my heart. I would never purposely provoke tears from anyone, not even those who have hurt me profoundly. Yet sometimes acting in this manner is the only way I can get someone to listen to my voice and believe my truth. I am neither too proud to extend an apology when deserved and make amends with those I’ve offended. My truest desire is to maintain peace.

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I am not taken seriously in my tender moments; my tenderness is taken for granted. The world demands yet resents my tenderness. Should a loved one offend me, my tenderness is an inconvenience because my tears take away from focusing on the “root” of the problem, and I am forced to slog against the tears. Should I act sternly with others, not allowing my emotions to flinch, I’m accused of being cold and harsh. The combination of my emotions is never seen as right.

It seems my sensitivity is to be used at the convenience of others. I can never be me. I’m never entitled to the beauty of my emotions. My view of my emotions is brushed off because I am overly sensitive. Yet, I cannot label the world as overly cruel, overly angry, or overly unforgiving.

I read once that instead of numbing our pain we need to identify the source of our pain and work on the problem instead of the symptom. For example, we may have a headache because we are dehydrated, hungry, or stressed. We should work on fixing those issues rather than silencing the headache calling out for attention.

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The same goes for my tears. My tears, the ‘water works’ as they’ve been called, are not crocodile tears. It’s not an act or an attempt to manipulate; these statements couldn’t be further from the truth. My tears are indicators that my soul is experiencing pain, something is hurting me. To stop my pain at it’s root I need to either freeze my heart (which I have failed to accomplish) or excuse myself from the undesirable situation until I’m emotionally ready. This I can rarely accomplish without ridicule that I cannot work through a topic, without being accused of being overly dramatic.

I am always apologizing, but rarely entitled to an apology when hurt because my over-sensitivity is what causes the pain, not the actions or words of others.

When is my sensitive nature ever right for me!?

People say my tears and sensitive nature take away from the moment. I have slogged away for a good portion of my life to hide these parts of myself. I keep my tears a secret and am ashamed of my weakness.

As an adult, I find that my sensitive nature and heart are not the problem. The problem is the lack of sensitivity in the world. It’s not the compassionate who are the problem; a lack of empathy is the problem!  I will continue to embrace my sensitivity, tears and all. I do not lose hope there are more sensitive people out there. I won’t (and truthfully can’t) harden myself and lose hope because I find the world to be cruel and unloving. I am who I am. I am transparent.My anger is pain masked with anger. It’s sadness for being the recipient of a pain I would never wish to inflict on others. It’s a betrayal I never foresaw. It’s the second opportunity no one else would’ve extended, yet I’ve already extended a third to my offender while knowing how the situation will likely end. It’s fighting the urge to assume the worst in others. It’s the unconditional love I am willing to give which is rarely cashed in.

It’s the product of a broken heart living in a broken world that is trying to break the best in me.

  “Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a “hot mess” or having “too many issues” are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.” – Anthon St. Maarten

Slog

*****


Here Are More of Jackelyn’s Posts:


Thank you so much Jackelyn for agreeing to be interviewed. I am thrilled to find out so much about you and hope your struggles in life have become easier to handle through your faith. I hope you have more peaceful moments, than times which stress you out. Here is one more link to Jackelyn’s BlogFaith Walking Hebrews 11:1


Thanks for reading! If you would like to answer some interview questions about writing/blogging/poetry and your unique perspective and process on writing, I would encourage you to reach-out to me on my Contact Page. I would love to have you featured as a biweekly interviewee. See you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview With David Pebbles


Welcome back to my bi-weekly interview series. I’m not sure where you are in the world, but here it’s November and winter has set in –well not quite but it’s coming. Last year we were lucky to have such a warm winter but it doesn’t seem nature is going to be so kind to Alberta this year.

I’m pleased to introduce you this week, to the wonderful, talented, and forthright David Pebbles or Olaleye Abyomi Immanuel. He is a thoughtful guy with a passion for his faith in God and Christianity. You can visit his blog here: David Pebbles Blog: Faith, Musings, Inspiration Towards a God Centred Lifestyle.


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David Pebbles

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David Pebbles

1 . Please Tell Us About Yourself?

My name is Olaleye Abayomi Immanuel (David Pebbles). I’m a Nigerian from the south western part of Nigeria and I’m a proud son of the state that had an anthem before Nigeria – Ogun State. I am not someone given to taking pictures, as I find it awkward and too strenuous. But for the sake of the interview I will let you have a picture (above). 

I am a Christian that is extremely passionate about God, life, and the intriguing delight which comes from pursuing one’s vision and calling in life. I am a graduate of Building Construction Technology and also a tech and gadget enthusiast.

I am also a multi-pod with a positive mental posture and outlook on life, a voracious reader, and lover of people. I can be quiet or talkative depending on the situation and the people around me but mostly, I consider myself an introvert. I am also a hard worker especially with beliefs, activities, and hobbies I am passionate about.


3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?

I never knew I would become a blogger someday. I have always been a scribbler and voracious reader since I can remember. I would save my lunch money to buy novels. While I was growing up, if you were looking for any missing books, magazines, or anything readable, they could all be found in my room.

I always write things down anywhere I’m able. Most of my scribbling is actually anecdotes, words of wisdom, and thoughts that I had earlier thinking about reading something. Sometimes novels but most often verses found in The Bible. Being a quiet person gives me ample time to read The Bible alongside a dictionary while I jot down thoughts or insights I gain while reading God’s Word.

I think began blogging intensely, commenting on blogs I read for a start. The first time I commented on a blog, I was skeptical if what I wrote was intelligible. Then, I wished I could erase my comment but unfortunately, I had clicked the send button. I prayed quietly in my mind that the writer of the blog wouldn’t approve my comment.

I declined to view the post again, until late at night three-days later. It took all the mountainous courage to look at the comment I had made. My comment had five likes! I was on cloud nine. 

That was in 2014. Proceeding the comment, I opened up a blogger account on WordPress which didn’t get used at first as I was too scared of figuring out the whole blogging thing; however, I returned to my blog and began blogging often in November 2015. It has been an awesome experience. WordPress bloggers are so nice, supportive, and great bloggers all around.


“I never knew I would become a blogger someday. I have always been a scribbler and voracious reader since I can remember. I would save my lunch money to buy novels. While I was growing up, if you were looking for any missing books, magazines, or anything readable, they could all be found in my room.” – David Pebbles


4. What Does Writing and Poetry Mean To You And Why Do You Write?

Originally I wrote because I was bored and as a medium of escape from my solitary lifestyle. However, as time goes on, writing to me has become an extension of the intricacies that lie in the depth of my soul.

Writing to me means being receptive and bringing to materialization the billions of universal clues, images, sounds, and thoughts floating around the universe; these things can elude an unperceptive person.Writing is about demonstrating values, being encouraging, motivating people, and inspiring others to make positive changes to themselves and their environment.

Poems come naturally to me, even more than long form. I didn’t realize I could write poems at first. The first poem I wrote titled: “Unwanted,” was borne out of beliefs on abortion. I cried while writing the poem because it came from deep within me. It was as if I was an aborted baby.


“Writing to me means being receptive and bringing to materialization the billions of universal clues, images, sounds, and thoughts floating around the universe; these things can elude a unperceptive person.Writing is about demonstrating values, being encouraging, motivating people, and inspiring others to make positive changes to themselves and their environment.” – David Pebbles


5. Where Do You Find Inspiration and Motivation to Write?

Mostly my inspiration to write comes during my private worship time. Also inspiration for me comes from the Holy Spirit after reading a good book. Sometimes I don’t have any inspiration but immediately I place my hand on my computer keyboard or made up my mind to post something (of which I have no premeditation about) and inspiration flows through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes I find inspiration while walking down the street, while eating, or on a public bus; honestly, inspiration could be anywhere. When such inspiration comes, I immediately stop what I am doing to safeguard those line of inspired thoughts


6. Is There A Time Of Day You Most Enjoy Writing? Do You Have Any Future Projects You’re Considering?

My writing time is flexible; I for one don’t fancy regimented writing. Sometimes I write early in the morning, in the middle of the day, and sometimes late at night.

I have few writing projects I’m currently working on. Among them is the launching of an online magazine that focuses on Christian youths in general. I am passionate about self-development in youth. There are other projects of which I am thinking about how to express.


“Sometimes I don’t have any inspiration but immediately I place my hand on my computer keyboard or made up my mind to post something (of which I have no premeditation about) and inspiration flows through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” – David Pebbles


8. Do You Have Any Published Works or Are You Working On Publishing Anything?

I have about four unpublished books and two finished drafts.One manuscript is currently being reviewed by an editor. Hopefully by December, my one book should be published. The other books will follow suit in time.


9. Can You Briefly Describe the Process You Are Experiencing While Publishing?

The first task after you have a final manuscript you’re happy with is to to send it to an editor and also to send some copies of your manuscript to trusted writing friends for review. From what I learnt from someone who had his book published, marketing is always the hardest part of publishing, especially for those that self-publish.

I am still considering the many platforms where I can make my books available. I do fancy an e-format before a hard copy book. I believe that when the times comes, it will go well with me and I will find the right platforms and ways to market my book. I want the book available to as many people as possible because probably, it will be free.


” I am still considering the many platforms where I can make my books available. I do fancy an e-format before a hard copy book. I believe that when the times comes, it will go well with me and I will find the right platforms and ways to market my book.” – David Pebbles


10. What is Your Writing Process Like?

The process can be as easy as slicing bread or sleety as making a Chapman. If I already have an idea to post, I will build on my writing making corrections along the way. Personally, writing and posting doesn’t take me more than a few hours even when I don’t have a  lead on what to write.

Often, as ideas or inspirations occur, I will write, edit, and post, a piece within a few hours. I hate the torment of unpublished ideas or inspired thoughts and not being able to express them. Basically, I write as I think and thankfully enough I usually don’t need much editing on my posts.


11. Do You Prefer Certain Genres of Literature?

I am mostly into Christian literature which could be about relationships or motivational writings and poems; a quick view of my blog will reveal this. I believe in maximizing your strong point. This is my base in writing. So much of my writing tends to be nonfiction and more personal.

I struggle with any other types of writing especially fictional. I’ve becoming much better at sharing nonfiction stories. I have no favorites but based on the number of views I have shared some below.


“Often, as ideas or inspirations occur, I will write, edit, and post, a piece within a few hours. I hate the torment of unpublished ideas or inspired thoughts and not being able to express them. Basically, I write as I think and thankfully enough I usually don’t need much editing on my posts.” – David Pebbles


12. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers and Bloggers?

Only two people I know, know I blog and they are random people I met in church. Nobody knows I blog from my immediate family. It’s a personal decision which has helped me a lot. I might plan to tell my family in future or they could find out themselves.

When I started blogging, I received no advice from anyone because I knew no one to look to for advice. But being a fast learner and playing around WordPress helped me a great deal initially.

Also when you write I would encourage writers to be their unique self. Don’t write to impress anybody even when you don’t have a single like or comment on your posts. Also, interact with other bloggers and don’t be a loner. Consistently writing is also a useful habit to take up.


13. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share About Yourself?

You can read more about me here on my blog: About David Pebbles


14. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Writing From Your Blog:

I find it difficult to pick a favourite piece from my writing as I could picture all of them with their hands raised up because they might feel hurt if not chosen. But all the same, l will pick some pieces randomly:

Musings #23 – When You Worship

By David Pebbles

When you worship
Deep relief seared your souls
Tears respond in snaky path
Washing down the earnest
Of the yearnings wrap up
A squeeze from the dailies
Twisted and tumultuous origin
Sunken deep
As if all once, warm presence embrace
Wrap up in such blessedness
You only response is tears


15. Here I Some More Links To Work On David’s Blog:


Thank you to David for the interview. I appreciate his willingness to be interviewed and answer so candidly and honestly each question. Once again, here is the link to David’s blog: David Pebbles Blog.


If you would be like to be interviewed about blogging or writing and would like to share with other writers, bloggers, and readers your unique writing process, please reach-out to me through my Contact Page. See You in Two -Weeks 🙂


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Interview With Tosha Michelle


Happy Monday! Welcome to my bi-weekly interview series. I am happy to share with you September’s second interview: the fascinating, beautiful, and gifted poet, Tosha Michelle from the blog — Everything I Never Told You: Lucidly In Shadows, Poetry From A Hand That Writes Misty. 

Please take a look at her blog here: Everything I Never Told You


Tosha Michelle

1. Tell Us About Yourself Tosha? 

My name is Tosha Michelle and I hail from the land of grits and sweet tea. I’m a poet and author of two books — Confessions of a Reformed Southern Belle and Self Help to Self Harm. The first is a chapbook and contains some of my earlier poems. The latter is my silly take on the self help genre. I’ve written things since I was a child but I didn’t take up blogging until about five-years-ago. I’m also an abolitionist and Academia addict. I’m the Radio Host of -Chit Chat Chicks Live and La Literati. I’m a book worm and perpetual nerd and dreamer.

 


 

2.  What Does Writing and Poetry Mean to You Personally? 

Poetry  — reading it, writing it — is one of my greatest forms of pleasure. There’s so much life and emotion which can be found in poetic verse. I write poetry to release my own demons, to make sense of my feelings, and for the sheer pleasure of self-expression. My poetry, usually, stems from strong emotions either good emotions or emotions which feel bad. I find it easier to write when my senses are heightened and I’m in tune with my internal angst or joy.


“I write poetry to release my own demons, to make sense of my feelings, and for the sheer pleasure of self-expression. My poetry, usually, stems from strong emotions either good emotions or emotions which feel bad. I find it easier to writ when my senses are heightened . . .” – Tosha Michelle


3. Why Do You Write and Where Do You Find Your Motivation and Inspiration to Write?

I’m a woman-child in a state of grace, struggling to find my voice and place in this world through introspection, self-reflection, and most importantly by social activism and advocacy. I firmly believe in these words: “Be the change you want to see.” It is only through love, tolerance, humility and the understanding of our own fragility that we can begin to find our humanity and, in turn, extend that humanity to others. I hope this comes through in my writing.


4. Are There Personal Causes Behind Your Writing and Values In Life? 

Love combined with action can and will make an impact on the world. It takes heart and guts to take on the seemly insurmountable, and we must. We must take a stand against injustices such as human trafficking, child abuse, and poverty.

Can one person change the world? Absolutely! Picture a world without Martin Luther King, without Gandhi, without Mother Teresa, and the countless other men and women who fought injustices in their culture, challenged the unchallengeable, and helped change society for the better.

Changing the world, making a difference where you can, and taking a stand, these are issues I often write about. Writing is a fantastic way to make a difference in the world.


” ‘Be the change you want to see.'” It is only through love, tolerance, humility and the understanding of our own fragility that we can begin to find our humanity and, in turn, extend that humanity to others. I hope this comes through in my writing.” – Tosha Michelle


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Tosha Michelle

5. Do You Find There Is a Time Of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?  Have You Published Any Writing? What Is Your Most Current Writing Projects? 

Mornings are the best time to write, there’s something inspiring about the promise of a new day. As I stated earlier, I wrote Confessions of A Warm Southern Belle and the book, Self Help To Harm. As for projects, I’m working on putting together a collection of my  more recent poems. I also have a project with a fellow poet. We are working on a book together.


Confessions of A Warm Southern Belle: A Poet’s Collection of Love, Loss, and Renewal

By Tosha Michelle

Confessions of A Warm Southern Belle Tosha
http://www.amazon.com

You Can Purchase Tosha’s Poetry Book Here on Amazon.


Self Help to Self Harm: The Dubious Guide To Life, Love, and Relationships

By Tosha Michelle

Self Help Tosha
http://www.amazon.com

Purchase Tosha’s Self Help to Self Harm Book here on Amazon.


4. What Is Your Writing Process Like? How Did You Publish Your Books?
I self-published on Amazon, the process was fairly easy. The hard part is marketing yourself and your writing. I’m not sure if I would take the self-publishing route again. I tend to write obsessively and in spurts. I need a quiet place to create, with no music, TV, or other distractions.


5. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Genres? Any Helpful Advice For Other Writers?

 I love poetry and I am a huge fiction fan. I also read a lot of non-fiction as well. I’m a history buff and adore anything related to history and the past.
Writing is such a personal thing and I can only speak to what helps me. Writing every day is something I practice. I also read a great deal. I do think writing and reading go together like biscuits and gravy or cornbread and milk. My Southern roots are showing 🙂
I think you need to just be yourself. There’s something lovely about being authentic and real in writing and in life.


” . . .[Writing] and reading go together like biscuits and gravy or cornbread and milk . . . I think you need to just be yourself. There’s something lovely about being authentic and real in writing and in life.” – Tosha Michelle. 


6. Can You Please Share A Few Links From Your Blog With Your Favorite Or Most Loved Pieces?

“And Everything”

He makes my heart leap

But i’m so very careful of the rocks

In the distance I see the lush

greenness of the vineyard.

The roots true. The vines ripe

Do I have faith in the landscape?

It still looks abstract from here.

I walk on with my shoes of hope

wearing clear blue skies and a

thawed out soul.

Still I worry about a change in

the weather, falling into a ravine

My spirit like a sacred dare

challenges me to forget my fears,

to journey on deeper into what

could become less or more.

His voice in the distance

permeates my darker self until

all I see is sunlight.

Who can say what dust will bring?

Wine or a cloud spun our of

misguided fate?.

For now the light glimmers

How freeing it is branching

it’s way out into the unknowns.

July 29, 2016 -Tosha Michelle


Here Are Two Additional Poetry Pieces From Tosha’s Blog:


Tosha Word Quote
Tosha Michelle (Unknown)

Thank you Tosha Michelle, for answering my interview questions. I enjoyed reading your answers and the books you have written both seem as if they’ll be great reads. I know the poetry will be awesome, but I think you perspective on dating, love etc. would be an interesting read as well. I hope everyone will check them out on Amazon. Also, love that you are an advocate for change for the terrible things happening in our world.


Would you like to share about yourself, your writing, and your writing process? Please reach-out to my through my Contact Page and I will send you some interview questions. I would love to feature you on my bi-weekly interview series, whatever kind of writing you adore. Thanks for reading 🙂


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Poem: Free Verse (Quatrains) – “Slow Sweet Burn of Life” #amwriting #poetry


Thanks to The Daily Prompt for the words Burn and Pleasure.

——–

http://www.pinterest.com

——-

Pleasure it awakes in swirls of dreams, 

Our thoughts hold the key to a slow sweet burn.

To our wildest and most tempestuous scenes.

Seductive and entralling time, causing rug burn.

——–

Who plays the Queen of hearts, the lady prestine? 

As our hearts smoke, cinder and ash burn.

Or wish we only for, human contact; no pipe dreams,

One hand holds another with compassionate concern.

——-

A tiny fist squeezes back, dressed in winter white cream.

The pleasure in the laughter of baby’s unreserved.

The precocious and precious delights of a child us appease.

Giggling with exuberance, gurgles for future ice cream.

——

Of love and light and fascinating swirls gleaned.

Pleasure seeking knowledge, conversation purred.

Inspiration; genuflection to God, alter the flaws, appease.

Right the wrongs, make what’s true everyone’s concern.

——-

Ambiant light; the truth in fog, bliss in dreams.

Lovers kiss, and delight in beloved’s eternal burn.

With desire and, touch, and scent, all streamed.

Only for a deep, true love, do some lucky, yearn.

——-

Embrace, scintillate soulmate; live in love’s esteem.

 Imperfections, what makes us human? To aid, serve.

Endorphins, serotonin, results in passionate beings.

But the true-love is rare; seeing life’s wheel turning.

——–

Adoration of fractures in each other; lost words breathing.

Pleasure in such imperfect cracks of others learned.

Pleasure in memories; in night’s hectic moonbeam.

Yourself, thinking back; ignoring anxious concerns.

——–

Of Pleasure indulge; of moments in life, redeeming.

Treasure seconds; breezy, blowing freedom unreserved.

As the light shines on, linger in pleasurable daydreams.

Feel yourself lost in thought, of life’s slow sweet burn.

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Literary Lion: Fierce


http://www.pinterest.com

There was no girls volleyball team in high school after grade ten. Jenna went to the couch of the boy’s team and asked if she could practice volleyball with them. The couch reminded her it might be difficult but Jenna was fierce. She ran every set of lines the boys team did and she learned to take passes which left dark purple bruises on her forearms. She learned to do a jumping serve, with the ball landing over the net and neatly down the line. Jenna was passionate about volleyball and improving her skills. Despite her lack of reach, she passed or set every ball in her zone. Jenna’s hitting was powerful and her knowledge of plays and positions detailed. Finally, Jenna went to University and played with a girls team which went on to win Nationals four-years in a row — each year Jenna was a force on the team. They boys in high school had called her a panther: “Though she be little she was fierce.”

—–

Thanks to Laura from I Smith Words for the prompt panther in a story of 150 words or less.

——

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

14. How Was Last Night For You: A Conversation with Nina’s Mother and Nina’s Recovery


Chapter 13 can be read here.

Chapter 14:  A Conversation with Nina’s Mother and Nina’s Recovery

While Nina slept, John called Nina’s Mother Heather Avlon. Heather was worried about Nina, but she tried to be polite talking to John on the phone.

“Oh, you’re Nina’s friend John Eric. Was she with you when she received her concussion? I heard about that storm on the News. They said it only took place near the Sirene downtown. I can come and take care of Nina in the morning John. I’ll let you get back to your life, you must have work Monday.” Heather said.

John cleared his throat. “Actually Ms. Avlon I will be staying close to Nina while she heals. If you can spell me off around 9:00 am I could use some sleep. I’ll be back around 5:00 pm. You should know, Nina is special to me and as long as she is okay with it, I’m  going to have her stay with at my house while she heals.”

“And who are you mister?” Asked Heather warily. “Nina didn’t tell me you are her boyfriend. She told me you guys were only dating right now.”

“Well I am her boyfriend. It’s only been over a week I know but it’s been an amazing experience.I want her to come stay with me. I need to keep her safe. I have this crazy ex who’s after me and I’d feel better if Nina was where I could keep an eye on her. I own my own company so it’s no problem for me to work from home.”

” I don’t know John. She’s barely mentioned you before. And I don’t know  I want my daughter involved with your ex if she is not well. Nina will have to decide as long as the concussion hasn’t effects her decision making skills.”

“I promise I’ll take good care of Nina. I have a housekeeper and she cooks and cleans. Nina won’t have to worry about any of that. She can be comfortable at my place while she recovers. And she’ll be safe…”

” Okay John. We will see in a few days.”

” Thank you Ms. Avlon.”

” Truthfully John , I own a salon and I can’t leave work long. So many of my estheticians and hair dressers have the flu currently. All at the same time so I’m a bit understaffed.”

“Sorry to hear that. You’re okay coming in the day tomorrow?”

” Yes, it will be okay for Sunday. I hope your ex doesn’t cause to many problems John. Nina deserves the best. My girl, she’s a sweetheart. Don’t take advantage of her. She sees the best in everyone and sometimes she doesn’t see a problem until it’s too late.” Heather warned John. ” I hope your not a problem in her life John.”

“I will give Nina nothing less then my absolute best. I care for her a great deal, even though we’ve only been together a short time. Nina’s my girl too.” John assured Heather.


 

John sat by Nina’s bed and watched her sleep the rest of the night. Sometime later he fell asleep. He remembered the nurses taking Nina to receive her CT and an X-Ray in the early morning. Doctor Kenner told him as suspected, Nina’s concussion was minor. The head wound looked worse then it was.

John felt uneasy with life right now. Not only was he worried about the usual terrible events which always occurred his life, but he was frightened about what Tia was going to do to Nina and him. Nina would be in the hospital a few days and then John would take her home while Nina recovered. Both to ensure Nina didn’t have a worse concussion than Doctor Kenner thought and because John was the best defense Nina had against Tia.

John wasn’t sure if Tia meant she wanted John to love her or whether she wanted to stab him in the heart. He deduced Tia literally wanted Nina’s heart out of her chest. What a crazy Bitch. How could Tia have ever been the girl he loved as a young man. When would she strike? How was John supposed to protect Nina from not only the horrid events that occurred in his life and the powers of a wrathful Sea Witch?

For now, John watched Nina sleep. She was entrancing and beautiful as she slept. Even though John new Nina wouldn’t agree him. He was glad the concussion hadn’t been worse. John’s Nina was a strong girl — one of the many reasons he was attracted to her so deeply. If any woman could survive John’s curse and a witch such as Tia, it would be Nina.

John stroked Nina’s cheek gently when she began to mutter in her sleep. He hoped she wasn’t having nightmares.


 

Two days later with Heather’s permission, John brought Nina home with him to his house on the beach of Sirene Lake. He asked Heather to gather more clothes, toiletries, and items Nina had asked for. John asked Rianne who Nina’s boss was at work and looked up his number on Nina’s phone. Nina’s boss in marketing was understanding and wished her a speedy recovery. Later, Wilus’  marketing department sent an arrangement of Gerber Daisies for Nina. There was some forms Nina would have to fill out for short-term disability. John also filled a prescription for Nina for Tylenol 3.

He knew  Nina was strong but she appeared so fragile to him as he helped her in the door. Despite insisting she was feeling fine, Nina was dizzy and still felt a bit nauseous. She rested in John’s bed

—–

After three weeks, Nina had her boss at Wilus, send her some work so she could start catching up in order to return to work soon. Nina had become bored and restless even though Nina and John constantly shared ideas, talked about things they had in common, and shared their personal likes. They talked about the things couples talk about when they are first together. Favourite colours, movies, books, their friends, and John learned about Nina’s family.

Heather Avlon had raised Nina a single mother, and opened up her own salon in Adare. Neither Nina nor Heather had heard from Nina’s Dad in years. He was a lawyer on Wall Street. The last time they had seen him was when Nina was about six-years-old. John already wasn’t a fan of Nina’s Dad.

Some of the time John had to do work from his office and have meetings through conference calls. Nina grew sick of watching movies and social networking with old friends. Rianne came to visit her some nights and John was relieved Rianne’s arm was healing well. John felt guilty about the injury. Four weeks passed and Nina began to insist that she needed to return home and get organized to return to work. She was feeling better.

John and Nina had been close the entire time Nina was on sick-leave. John was always watching Nina as he did business by her, ate with her, watched a movie, or played video games with her. They went for walks and Nina came with him to the gym after healing for four weeks. Nina insisted she needed to workout again and that she was putting on weight. John disagreed but she came with him so he didn’t felt sure nothing bad would happen to her. His usual feelings of awful events occurring had been absent lately and so had the events themselves. Doctor Kenner said the wound on Nina’s head had healed well and since Nina felt no concussion symptoms he declared her healthy.

When Nina was first at his home healing, John had to leave her at times to run an important errand or handle the odd emergency at Mergers. Jasper and Jordan had been helping him with his work load. He left Nina home with the housekeeper or Rianne. When he left Nina, it was always in the back of John’s mind that Tia could show up at his front door. John knew the situation with Tia had to be resolved eventually. He dreaded when that day came.


 

Three months passed and Nina was back to work full time and living in her condo downtown sporadically. John and Nina were back and fourth at each other’s homes for several days at a time.

John was driving himself crazy thinking about Tia and what plans she had. Nothing terrible  had happened since Nina’s concussion. John had told his younger brother Jordan about Tia’s return. Jasper had somehow been able to communicate the entire Grimm fairy tale to Rianne (what Nina had not told her.) Rianne had had a lot of questions for Nina and John when she and Jasper came over for supper to Nina’s one Friday night.


 

Watching TV with John the next afternoon,  Nina decide they should all go out for dinner and dancing the following Saturday, including Jordan and his latest girl.

“Please let’s go out John?” Nina begged. “It’s been so long since I’ve danced and Rianne’s arm is better too. I haven’t even had a chance to talk with your brother Jordan since the fundraiser.I think he might have a lot of juicy details on you,” Nina half joked with John.

“I think we could all use a night on the town.” Nina proclaimed. ” Not to mention we all need to figure out this situation with Tia. She hasn’t shown her face in months. But she must be up to something. She doesn’t have you, your heart, or mine.”

” I feel like it’s love with you . . .I know it’s going to be John. Well it probably is already,” Nina admitted blushing. “But will it be enough to break Tia’s spell? Does the curse mean you have to sacrifice your life? You can’t die on me.”

John sighed and kissed Nina’s bared shoulder. He was worried about his curse and Tia’s plans enough for the both of them. He also knew he needed the help of family and friends to solve this dilemma. His Dad was a professor in folklore he wondered if he might be able to help John and Nina with the crux of the curse.

The problem was it takes time to fall in love with someone. John was absolutely sure by this point Nina was the one who would break through his curse.  He felt for her the way he did about no other woman ever, not even Tia. Nina was his light in a world which was often dark and depraved. John was afraid of the sacrifice his curse meant —  John’s life. John grimaced. He would give it if meant keeping Nina alive and well. He couldn’t imagine life without her after three months of dating her.

“Yeah. Let’s go out next Saturday if you want Nina, of course.” John said mildly.” You check with Rianne and Jasper and I’ll talk to Jordan tomorrow at work. I’m the best brother to talk to anyways, your missing nothing with my younger sibling,” John told Nina about Jordan. “I have no more secrets to hide from you.”

Nina smiled and snuggled into John. John played nervously with the silver chain around his neck.” I don’t know about Tia, Nina.” He pushed his hands through his own hair.” It’s been weeks since something awful has happened around me. You dropped and shattered my wine glasses and wasted a good bottle of wine, but I don’t think it counts compared to what usually happens around me.”

” I guess we’ll see this week and next Saturday. I haven’t felt as if any terrible event was going to occur. That’s a new feeling. Oddly, it worries me. But I haven’t had another nightmare about Tia either. Life has been the best I can remember it being.”John admitted, “I’m afraid for it to end.” Nina combed his hair back in place with her fingers and kissed the top of John’s head in agreement.

John felt Nina relax again under his arm and against his side on the couch as they watched Vancouver play hockey against Phoenix. After the second period ended, Nina lifted her head and kissed John’s lips softly.

“I’m going to bed John, to take a shower first. Are you going to join me when the games finished?” Nina whispered silkily in John’s ear.

She smiled seductively at John as she brushed passed him on her way to his bedroom. Nina must be the girl for him, John thought. She was sexy in her sweatpants and his favourite soft T-shirt. He wondered for a moment why woman had such an inclination for wearing their boyfriend’s clothes. He had wanted to wear his cherished T-shirt today but then John thought about Nina wearing no bra under his thin shirt and his perspective on the subject had changed.

He heard the shower running and thought about Nina taking off her clothes. John’s breathing increased. He saw Vancouver was still in the lead. Five minutes to go and they held a healthy four-point lead. John prayed to God, Vancouver did not suddenly, start losing because he stopped watching. He rushed to join Nina, hockey forgotten.

John pulled off his clothes and joined Nina in the double shower. He pressed her against him feeling her slick soft curves. He growled and began touching Nina anywhere h could reach. John had stayed away from Nina while she was healing the first four weeks before they had started having sex again. John had been trying to be gentle with Nina ever since. John was still afraid (despite the fact Doctor Kenner assured Nina she was well) he might hurt Nina’s head wound, all to Nina’s frustration.

John’s desire for Nina was stronger then his desire to be careful of her head that night. John was fierce and passionate as he loved Nina in the shower and in his bed; Nina was overjoyed. The rush of the maddening attraction between John and Nina was as powerful as ever. When John was almost asleep, he inched his leg over Nina’s leg. The tiny movement and touch of his skin on Nina’s petal soft skin, gave John comfort.

Please Read Chapter 15 here.


 

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.