Interview with Sarah Whiley: Writer, Blogger, Teacher, & Future Author #interview #nonfiction #amwriting #nonfiction


Welcome to another writer/blogger interview. Today I’m interviewing the wonderful, talented, and gorgeous Sarah Whiley who I have come to know through the prompt website MindLoveMisery`s Menagerie (MLMM). Sarah`s personal blog is called: By Sarah. You can also look for her to do the Saturday Mix prompt on MLMM. Here`s the link to last week`s prompt: Same Same but Different December 30.


Sarah Whiley Interview Pic 1
Credit: Sarah Whiley

1. Sarah, Please Tell Us About Yourself? What Are Your Writing and Blogging Goals? What Do You Hope to Accomplish by Writing? 


My name is Sarah Whiley and I live in north-east Victoria, in Australia. My blog is: ‘By Sarah. I’m a primary school teacher of 17 years and have taught all ages from 5 to 12 years old. I have always loved writing since I could pick up a pencil and create. I am passionate about instilling this same love of writing in my students.

In order to do that, it is important that I see myself as a writer – as an author in my own right. This is what I am hoping to accomplish by writing and blogging. I am so fortunate to live where I do. They don’t call Australia the “lucky country” for nothing!


2. Tell Us About Where You Live and What You Love About It?


I’m originally a city girl from Canberra, and later, Melbourne. I have enjoyed the spoils of both cities’ such as the cosmopolitan cafes and restaurants, nightlife, and their unique cultures.

When I met my husband and moved to the country! I love the wide- open spaces, the varying landscapes and the bush. I am now an avid bushwalker and spend most weekends out and about, communing with nature.


“I am a primary school teacher of 17 years and have taught all ages from 5 to 12 years old. I have always loved writing since I could pick up a pencil and create. I am passionate about instilling this same love of writing in my students. In order to do that, it is important that I see myself as a writer – as an author in my own right.” – By Sarah Whiley 


Sarah Whiley Pic 2
Sarah Whiley

 


3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging and Why? What Does Writing Mean to You? 


My journey with blogging began five years ago, after a series of personal setbacks and issues. I commenced blogging primarily, as a cathartic experience to help me work through my thoughts and feelings. Once I no longer ‘needed’ my blog, I had a small break, however always felt something was ‘missing.’

After attending professional development for helping me teach writing, I realized, the hole that blogging and writing had left in my life!

I started my blog, ‘By Sarah,’ to explore my own creative writing, to explore myself, and my talent for writing. I have, particularly, enjoyed writing short stories and poetry. An unexpected bonus to continued blogging has been the great friendships I’ve gained in the WordPress community; I have established so many along the way.


4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing and Blogging? Why Is It Vital for you to Keep on Writing? 


I have some seeds of ideas stashed away in my writer’s notebook. I tend to work on these pieces over a long period of time. For other ideas, I rely on a range of prompts. I feel it’s important to write regularly in order to develop my skills and continue to write and maintain it as a habit. Also, I experience a great degree of stress relief from writing.

Moreover, as a teacher, it is easy to get stuck in a cycle of hyper-vigilance and not to give yourself enough ‘down time’. I find a variety of prompts extremely helpful for motivating and inspiring writing for myself and in my teaching.

As well, I have a schedule of sorts and I endeavor to write every day aside from Wednesdays (which is my ‘well-being-do-nothing’ night!


 

Sarah Whiley Group Pic 3
Credit: Sarah Wiley

 


“For other ideas, I rely on a range of prompts. I feel it is important to write regularly in order to develop my skills and continue to write and maintain it as a habit. Also, I experience a great degree of stress relief from writing.” – Sarah Whiley


5. What Are Your Writing and Blogging Habits? Do You Prefer Writing a Certain Time of Day? 


I set aside time each day to write. Usually, I can be found on the couch with a dog or two keeping me company, along with some background noise from the TV (I am one of these people who can’t concentrate when it’s quiet). I enjoy writing poetry most. I have a knack for rhyme and rhythm and find it easy to whip up a poem.

As well, I have been challenging myself to explore other types of writing and short stories to extend my skills. I don’t write in the mornings as I am in a rush for time once I wake up. I rush out the door to teach school, but I write after dinner, sometime between 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. at night. I find Tuesdays and Thursdays to be my busiest and most productive days.


6. What Are Your Most Current Writing or Blogging Projects? Do You Have Projects Outside of Your Blog Involving Writing? Do You Plan on Publishing Any Writing in the Future? 


Currently, I am undertaking Sammi Cox’s  ‘A Month of Mini Writing Challenges’ and have am the new host for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s ‘Saturday Mix’. Outside of my
blog, I keep a writer’s notebook and am busy maintaining a Class Dojo Story (similar to a blog) for my classroom.

I will soon be published as a feature writer in Linda J. Wolff’s upcoming eBook. Linda runs a fantastic Urban Poetry site and I was the winner of her Fibonacci poetry competition earlier this year. At the end of the year, I plan to convert my blog posts for 2017 into a self-published collection for family, friends, and anyone else interested.


Toa Hefitaba Sarah
Credit: Toa Hefitba via UnSplash

“I will soon be published as a feature writer in Linda J. Wolff’s upcoming eBook. Linda runs a fantastic Urban Poetry site and I was the winner of her Fibonacci poetry competition earlier this year. At the end of the year, I plan to convert my blog posts for 2017 into a self-published collection for family, friends, and anyone else interested.” – Sarah Whiley


7. Can you Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? What Do You Think Will Be Your Process of Self-Publishing Your Writing? 


Being a teacher, I find the writing process natural and not something I have to think too hard about. Storytelling and explaining my ideas is something I innately do. Upon analysis of my writing, though, I definitely follow six-traits in my writing process including ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions.

After I am happy with a final piece, I often bounce it off my husband or my mum, seeking their feedback. They are a tremendous help to me and improve the end result of my stories and poems and their overall flow. When I self-publish at the end of the year, I am investigating the use of the ‘Blook-Up Service.‘ (As Sarah gave me these answers super-quick back at the end of August or September, please ask her about the progress of her book and her published poem!!).


8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing and Reading Genres? And Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers and Bloggers Starting Out? 


Well, I’m definitely drawn to the dark, somewhat macabre styles of writing. My pieces often take a dark turn or have a twist at the end. I am not a fan of science-fiction or fantasy, at all, but I prefer supernatural, horror, thriller, crime, mystery, drama, historical, and biographical works.

My advice for new bloggers is:

  • Write what you know. Capturing a small moment in time can sometimes produce the best piece of writing! Also, go with the flow….literally! Don’t overthink it. Go with your ‘stream-of-consciousness’ and see where it leads.
  • Find like-minded people. Better to have fewer blog followers and likes, and better to have more feedback from those few who ‘get’ you and your writing, those who appreciate your efforts! Quality not quantity as they say.

Sarah Whiley Hiking 4
Credit: Sarah Whiley and Her Beautiful Photography!!

Find like-minded people. Better to have fewer blog followers and likes, and better to have more feedback from those few who ‘get’ you and your writing, those who appreciate your efforts! Quality not quantity as they say.” Sarah Whiley


9. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us About Writing Or Yourself? 


My experiences growing up in a large family and my relationships with my siblings have certainly shaped many of my ideas and stories! I am the eldest of six children (No, we are not Catholic!). My mum just wanted another son and kept trying until she got one! It’s ironic how she wanted four boys…she ended up with four girls! Despite the large age gaps between some of us, we are reasonably close and hang out together and, at times, travel together.

Also, I LOVE to travel. Whether it be exploring local gems, interstate expeditions or overseas adventures. I am curious and interested in the world around me. I soak up information and facts like a sponge (you never know when they’ll come in handy for a trivia night!) I enjoy nothing more than experiencing new things. I adore the outdoors and take every chance (money permitting of course!) to jump on a plane and go somewhere different.

As well, I love New Zealand and have holidayed there four times now – with plans to go back! I have also traveled to the US (including Hawaii), England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Indonesia. All of these factors have helped develop my writing.


10. Can You Briefly Tell Us About Some of Your Favorite Blogs? What Do You Like Most About Them? 


Gosh, it’s hard to name a few. There are a lot of my WordPress friends whose work I truly respect and enjoy. But, if I have to narrow it down, I would have to say:

  • Jane Dougherty Writes – Jane has a wonderful turn of phrase and is able to use colorful words to create great imagery in her poems and stories.
  • God’s Chair – Jael Sook is an engaging and diverse poet and writer and I thoroughly enjoy her work, anticipating each post she makes.
  • RedStuffDan – Dan is an incredibly artistic photographer. His subjects include Bordeaux vineyards, local village life, architecture, doors, mirrored
    images and digital photography as art.

11. Can You Please Share With Us a Few Links from Your Blogs:

TASI

By Sarah Whiley

*Inspired by “Whiskey In the Jar” Music Prompt

*****

 

Tasi Sarah
Credit: Sarah Whiley

 

*****

My summer holiday in Hobart, Tasmania had not begun quite as I had expected. A thunderstorm, a severely delayed flight, and an inaccessible hostel topped off with some bitterly cold weather that I had most definitely not packed for. Finding myself with a few hours to spare, I decided that a stroll around the CBD to orient myself was in order.

The gathering, dark clouds had other ideas.

I had no sooner ventured out onto the streets when the skies opened and a torrential downpour began. Cursing, I sought cover under the awnings of the few shops that had them.

And that’s when I saw it from across the street. ‘Lark Distillery’.

I have never been a whiskey drinker, but I could not resist the pull of the plume of smoke coming from the chimney, nor the cozy 1800’s building that housed it. I ran across to the front door and pushed it open.

Immediately, a warm, yeasty aroma hit me. Unsurprisingly, I was the only patron. The young man behind the ba took in my sodden, street-urchin appearance, and without a trace of disdain, offered me a tasting.

‘But I don’t really drink whisky,’ I protested. ‘Can I just stay in here until the rain passes?’

‘Sure,’ he replied. ‘But why not have a little taste, just to pass the time?’

He took a glass and bottle from the shelf behind him and sang a few lyrics of the Metallica song, ‘There’s whisky in the jar oh.’ He winked, and with that, I took a seat at the bar.  I felt somewhat lonely amongst the long row of empty bar stools. Clearly, they were used to a greater custom.

‘So what would you like to try?’ he asked.

‘I’m in your hands,’ I admitted. ‘What would you recommend?’

‘Let’s start with the single malt. It’s a classic,’ he advised.

He poured a sample into the glass. The glug-glug and almost syrupy quality of the liquid was mesmerising.

‘This whisky is double distilled in locally crafted copper-pot stills and aged in small, 100 litre oak casks. We store our spirits for 5-8 years in smaller barrels for faster maturation,’ he explained.

I took a sip and promptly spluttered. He laughed.

‘Try throwing it back in one go,’ he suggested.

So I did.

After the initial burning sensation and urge to cough, the most amazingly delicious warmth spread from my belly to my brow.

‘Mmmm,’ I approved. ‘Nice. Smooth.’

‘Well if you like that, you’ll love the cask strength. It’s got the same smoothness but is more full bodied due to a higher percentage of Tasmanian malt. It bursts across the palate with hints of maple syrup and sweet notes of highland peat.’

‘Right,’ I said, not having a clue what that meant. Irrespectively, I nudged my glass forward and said, ‘Hit me.’

And I threw that back too.

This bloke knows what he’s talking about, I thought. It was amazing. My palate was dancing and my whole body was alive. The rain outside had faded away, and I felt all toasty and warm and happy.

‘How much alcohol is in this?’ I demanded.

‘58%’ he replied, with a twinkle in his eye, as if he knew that I was feeling tipsy already. ‘How ’bout we mix it up a little? Wanna try some gin?’

‘Gin?’ I replied with enthusiasm. Now we were speaking my language! ‘Oh yes please! Definitely’.

Again, I pushed my glass forward.

‘Now, here at Lark, we do a gin each season,’ he explained, ‘that way we can capitalise on the unique flavours available at different times of the year. This one is our summer release.’ He poured a more than generous sample.

This time, before I drank, I lifted the glass to my nose. The aromas were incredible. Bold and beautifully sweet, I inhaled a balance of citrus and rosewater with undertones of juniper and coriander. It made me think of the warmth of the summer sun. It was almost as if I could feel it on my skin.

I drank and closed my eyes with satisfaction.

‘That was good.‘ I could hear my voice starting to lilt and slur with the effects of the high alcohol content. I sat with the gin in my hand and sipped from the glass again and again. As if wanting to savour it but devour it at the same time, until every drop was gone. I couldn’t wait to see what was next.

‘This is slainte,’ he declared. ‘This is very, very special. It was developed by one of our owners in response to the strong demand for a unique Australian whisky liqueur. Slainte is the marriage of our single malt whisky and a distilled spirit of herbs and spices. The two are carefully combined to give a complexity of character, spiciness and sweetness, while maintaining the overtones of the whisky.’

I could listen to this guy talk all day! I thought. Such passion for the product.

My head was swirling, and I though I still didn’t fully understand what this whisky was all about, I had decided I liked it. Very much. I slid my glass towards him.

‘Now, Tasi,’ he began, as he pulled out a new bottle from behind the counter, ‘Tasi is something different altogether.’

‘What is it?’ I asked, my curiosity getting the better of me.

‘Tasi is a unique herbal liqueur derived from a single native Tasmanian berry.’

‘I know about the Tasi berry!’ I interjected, surprisingly myself. ‘It’s actually called a Myrtus berry isn’t it?’

‘Yes, that’s right. It’s unique to Tasmania. So this really is something you can’t find anywhere else,’ he was speaking almost reverently. ‘Pass me your glass.’

Unlike any of the other tastings, he first scooped up some ice cubes and placed then delicately in the bottom of my glass.  Intrigued, I leant forward as he carefully poured. Tasi was a glorious deep yellow in colour and looked like liquid gold, flowing over iridescent rocks.

I will never forget that first mouthful. It was as if the liqueur curled around every inch of my teeth and gums. It stuck to my tongue and was like treacle down my throat. That liquid gold coated every surface it touched within my body and I felt like royalty. I smacked my lips approvingly and even moaned out loud. I appreciated every last golden drop and licked the ice cubes once my glass was drained.

He smiled.

He knew.

It was THAT good.

I bought three bottles and thanked him for his time, his advice and his expertise. The bottles clinked as I pulled the door open and reentered the world outside.

I did not notice if it was still raining.

And I did not care.

****

Sarah 2017©


12. Here Are Some More of Sarah’s Link’s to Explore!

Some of her favorite Short pieces:

Some of Sarah’s Poetry:


Thank you so much to Sarah for filling out the interview questions and providing such honest and thoughtful answers. I’m so sorry it took so long to put the interview together. This last past year has been crazy. Make sure to check out Sarah’s Blog: By Sarah.


I should have another interview out in the next couple of weeks, with no promises. If you would like to be interviewed and are a writer or blogger or if you blog for a cause, please reach out to me through my Contact Page. If you’re a regular, you’ll notice I’m playing around with my blog to update my theme. The Contact Page info also needs to be updated eventually.

Have a fantastic week!


©Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

#November Notes Day 15/100 Word Wednesday: Poem – Quadrille – “Headlights” #100WordWednesday #poetry #dVerse


For November Notes Day 15 the prompt song is “Headlights” by Dave Barnes. I’m combining the prompt with Bikurgurl’s Week 48 #100WordWednesday Photo Prompt. Also combining with Lillian from #dVerse Poet’s Pub Quadrille Prompt including the word visit in some form.

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Credit: Trevor Cole via Unsplash

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“Headlights” by Dave Barnes

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White orb in the sky,

I’m alive,

As it rises between,

Cascading pines.

Oaks, sheltering our time.

Taffy leaves —

Autumn’s promise.

Each moment,

You fill my aching thoughts.

As we waited,

Excitement unknown.

Magnolia kisses,

Doors swinging wide.

I still remember,

Headlights flashing;

Love growing,

Each visit;

Not knowing,

Forevers context.

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Notable Quotes: November 2017 Part One #quotes #pinterest


Another half of month gone by, wasn’t it just Halloween? I think between projects, family, friends, other stuff, and my growing pile of stories and poetry I want to work on, it’s easy to become lost in everything. It’s important to stay grounded In life and to understand that your stressors and issues are yours to bear with help and that others too are going through life events and problems that are overwhelming for them.

I miss being younger and carefree and having the ability to eventually finish my To – Do lists. I miss doing more creative fiction and blogging more but with project writing, other things going on, and my creative writing projects that require off-blog work, lately it’s been hard to keep up. Frankly, those off-blog pieces are met with little energy at the end of the day but I’m trying to keep up with a poem or two every couple of days and hopefully will return to some semblance of a blog schedule in December.

Nevertheless, there is power in words to lift us up, find balance, and find healing too. Enjoy!

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Interview with Sascha Darlington Writer Extrodinair and Poet #interview #nonfiction


Welcome to another writer/blogger interview. Today I’m interviewing the wonderful poet, blogger, and writer Sascha Darlington. Here blog is called: Sascha Darlington Microcosm Explored. 


 

Sascha Darlington Image 1
Credit: Sascha Darlington

1. Hi Sascha, Please Tell Us About Yourself? What Are Your Writing and Blogging Goals? 

I’m Sascha Darlington and Scout of Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored. (Lately, I’ve
been wanting to write “Exposed,” is that Freudian or what?). I live near Washington, DC in the U.S.

My writing goals feel as if they are ever-changing. First, my blog started out to be a book
blog and maybe a bit of a photo journal. Then, I started doing daily prompts and found
myself participating in flash fiction and microfiction groups, writing the very form that I
had been playing with in online workshops for a few years. However,  I’d stopped after
getting more rejection than acceptance letters.

Rekindling my passion for writing via my blog was a tremendous accomplishment for me. I now try to write every day. I’ve also attempted to write poetry again. As for my goals, my next one is to write a book and try to get it published. I’ve written books for
NaNoWriMo, but have never tried to get one published.

The group of people following my blog have been truly encouraging and inspiring. I
wouldn’t be talking about any of this without them.


2. Where Are You From Sascha? Tell us about it. 

The first thing I’ll share with you about where I live is spiritual, but not of the pleasant
kind. Washington D.C. and its suburbs are politics 24/7. I find that I’m almost jealous of
other places in the U.S. where there’s another focus.

Physically the area is pretty great. Within a couple of hours east or west you have the
ocean or the mountains so there is always nature. I love the green spaces, although they
seem to be dwindling. Closer by there are a number of parks that are dog-friendly, which
Scout appreciates. There is also lots to do in the form of museums, galleries, dining,
shopping, or gambling with the new MGM Hotel at National Harbor.


“Rekindling my passion for writing via my blog was a tremendous accomplishment for me. I now try to write every day. I’ve also attempted to write poetry again. As for my goals, my next one is to write a book and try to get it published.” – Sascha Darlington


Glen Carstens Peters Unsplash
Credit: Glen Carstens-Peters Via Unsplash

3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging? What Does It Mean to You? 

As I mentioned, the writing occurred before the blogging. I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. My dad used to read my writing (when I was about nine or so) and tell me that I probably shouldn’t have every piece of dialogue tag –  ‘a she did’ or ‘he did’ this or that. (Funny the things that stick in your memory!)

I can’t say enough about my blogging experience. Initially, I treated it with some
trepidation because you’re putting yourself out there and never know how the
reception will be.

But I’ve found the WordPress community to be welcoming and encouraging. There are a lot of writers on this planet who read and encourage and you do the same for them. It’s a giving community. And there is so much talent and you find yourself in equal amounts awed and open to learning as well as feeling inspired.


4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing and Blogging? Why is it Significant to You?

For me, as a writer, I need to continuously explore through words. I love words. I love
looking at synonyms and feeling words and trying to place them just so in order to create
a rhythm or sound. I think that once that’s inside of you, that’s your inspiration or
motivation.

You want to see what else you can do. You want to dig deep inside to create
stories or poems. You want to see if your work can mean something to someone else.
Also, if I’m writing one of my serials, I love to involve my readers. I like to know
whether they are laughing or what their reaction is. So my readers and their feedback are a huge part of why I continue blogging.


“For me, as a writer, I need to continuously explore through words. I love words. I love looking at synonyms and feeling words and trying to place them just so in order to create a rhythm or sound. I think that once that’s inside of you, that’s your inspiration or motivation.” – Sascha Darlington


5. Do You Have Particular Writing/Blogging Habits? When Do You Write? Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects on Your Blog or Otherwise? 

I mainly write in the evening or when I can eek out time here or there. There are
several Photo Prompts that I try to always participate in, Friday Fictioneers, for instance.
It’s a lot of fun to see how many different writing pieces come out of a single prompt!

Right participated in OctPoWriMo, writing a poem for each day of October. It actually became ‘catching up’,’ writing a poem every day. I am also preparing a subject for next month’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which I’ve participated in for
years.


6. Have You Published Any Writing or Do You Plan to Publish in the Future? What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I’ve had some short fiction published in print journals and online, but not in recent years
because I stopped trying.

As for my writing process, it’s different than it used to be. I used to write and write. Now, I write and stop if I hit a roadblock and get up do something mundane like washing dishes while brainstorming. Then, I go back and finish what I was writing. It sounds like it’s not that creative, but I’ve found that I don’t beat myself up if I brainstorm away from the keyboard. It’s amazing the amount of frustration that builds up watching the blinking cursor.


“I used to write and write. Now, I write and stop if I hit a roadblock and get up do something mundane like washing dishes while brainstorming. Then, I go back and finish what I was writing. It sounds like it’s not that creative, but I’ve found that I don’t beat myself up if I brainstorm away from the keyboard.” – Sascha Darlington


Cathryn Lavery Unsplash writing
Credit: Cathryn Lavery via Unsplash

7. Do You Have a Process for Publishing Your Work? Do You Prefer Certain Writing or Reading Genres? 

I sent out masses of simultaneous submissions. And, I will be the first to admit that a lot
of it went out before its time. I wouldn’t make those mistakes again. But I do read a wide variety of genres and have tried to write in quite a few of them.

The first book I have in mind to write will be a romantic comedy, but after that, I’d like to try a paranormal book, a romantic suspense, and a young adult book. Although I’m intimidated by mysteries. I think you have to do some intricate plotting to make them work, but who knows. Never say never.


8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for New Writers or Bloggers? Do You Have Any Top Favorite Blogs You Follow? 

Make your blog your own. Do what you want to do as long as you find it interesting. I
think for most blogs you will find an audience of like-minded people who will be
interested too. As long as you’re doing what you want, you’ll continue and make your blog and whatever kind of writing you do thrive.

I have a lot of favorite blogs that I like to follow either for the recipes, the humor, the
photography, the writing, the daily observations, the music—it’s really hard to think of just three!


“Make your blog your own. Do what you want to do as long as you find it interesting. I think for most blogs you will find an audience of like-minded people who will be interested too. As long as you’re doing what you want, you’ll continue and make your blog and whatever kind of writing you do thrive.” – Sascha Darlington


Sascha Darlington Image 2 Dog
Credit: Sascha Darlington – Sascha’s Dog

9. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Links from Your Blog?

This is my most popular piece:

Spell For True Love

By

Sascha Darlington

*****

Sascha Darlington Janet Webb Friday Fictioneers Spell For True Love
Credit: Janet Web – Friday Fictioneers

 

*****

June flashed by on the sparkles of fireflies as he promised to do.

To make him stay, I conjured a potion like warm snow in a magic globe, my clear cauldron a whimsy of adoration. Murmured recitations over a bejeweled candle welcomed true love.

Saturday’s fuchsia dawn portended success.

Our meeting at noon comprised laughter. I’d never felt so happy as I fell in love, the soft breeze a pashmina caress.

Then Bella, my cousin, appeared, soft-spoken, quietly beautiful in gauzy white that floated around her, cloudlike. An angel.

His eyes met hers.

And never strayed.

*****

End 7/12/2017  (97 words)


Some More of Sascha’s Pieces:

  • Memwa’s Law  by Sascha Darlington, one of her most popular pieces.
  • They Call Me ‘Mouse’ by Sascha Darlington — The First Story in Sascha’s Mouse Serial and one of her favorite protagonists.
  • Waiting by Sascha Darlington – A Recent Piece from Friday Fictioneer Flash Fiction Prompts
  • It’s Tough Being A Squirrel  – A fun piece on Sascha’s reoccurring Squirrel friend.

Thanks to Sascha for being a great interviewee. Her blog homepage again is Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored.  See you next time and if you would like to be interviewed you can reach me via my Contact Page.


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Published Poem Spillwords: Free Verse – “Rare and Precious” #poetry #spillwords #amwriting 


Lucky to have another poem published collaborating with SpillWords literary site. The poem is called “Rare and Precious.” Make sure you check out their website! They have been so good to me. 

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Credit: Spillwords.com

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Interview with Writer, Poet, Blogger Michelle Navajas #interview #nonfiction #poetry


Welcome to another blogger/writer interview. Life has been truly busy for me and I do not always have it in me to do these interviews every week, but I do want to do them so I will try for three times every couple months or one more if I can handle it.

Today I’m so excited to share with an interview with a fabulous writer and poet I have blogged with for many years. Her name is Michelle (Mich) Navajas or Michnvas as I know her on WordPress.

You can visit her blog: Michnavs – Poetry in Motion.


Michnavs 1
Credit: Mich Navajas

1.Mich, Please Tell Us About Yourself? 


Hello, I haven’t been really open with regard to my identity. But I’d like to be called Mich as this is the first syllable of my blog name. I am a Filipina and I don’t have any additional social media accounts, only my WordPress Blog.

I was born and raised in the Philippines, a tropical country. We only have two
seasons. Our country is currently at war. One major city in Mindanao is under
a state of martial law after it has been attacked by some terrorists three months ago.

As well, I live a little farther from the battle zone and it’s quite safe. The daily news of the number of casualties and fatalities among our civilians and government troops is heartbreaking. I wish one day soon the war would end.

Also, I graduated with a degree in Mass Communication with a Major in Journalism. When I became married, a career in media seemed to be not feasible anymore so I decided to become a teacher. I studied units in Education and at the same time, had my local board exams to become a teacher.

Thus, my career in education was born. I enjoyed my education studies so much that I pursued my Masters and eventually went on to finish my Ph.D.


2. How Did You Find Teaching? Tell Us About Why You Decided To Stop Teaching and What Are Is Your Family Like? 


I began teaching as a career as a preschool teacher, then moved on to teach elementary and high school students. Later,  I was hired as a College professor. I taught in college for
five years until I realized that I was becoming so busy that I didn’t have enough time for my children as they grew up. After 15 years of teaching, I decided to resign and

After 15 years of teaching, I decided to resign and be a full-time mom to my four lovely girls. My family loves to travel a lot and create memories together. My kids are now grown. Also, my family loves to travel and create memories together and my children are now grown.

I have a 21-year-old daughter who’s graduating University and soon will be a
Chemical Engineer. My second daughter is in Senior High School and my third (and
youngest child are both in Junior High School. They are all doing well in school and
they have been behaving well too.

Also, my kids are down to earth and trust their parents. They are also each other’s best friends, despite having friends their own. They ensure that the friends they
make outside the home are the kind of friends who share the same values they have learned.

As well, my husband works as an Engineer in another country. He comes every two
months for a least 20 days. Life is good, actually the best. I probably have everything every woman could want in life and I am thankful for all I have. 


“I probably have everything every woman could want in life and I am thankful for all I have.” – Mich Navajas 


Marco Ceschi Unsplash
Credit: Marco Ceschi Unsplash

3. Tell Us About Some of Your Favorite Past Times? Where Does Writing Fit Into Your Family Life? 


I will be turning 41 years old in June and I have learned life’s lessons the hard way over the years but it has never toppled down my spirit because after all, I am still blessed. As well, I love to do yoga and exercise daily because it keeps me sane. 

Why? Well, because sometimes mommy duties are overwhelming especially if
you’re hands-on on mom. Raising four intelligent girls is not a joke. My only
consolation is that I have managed to keep their feet grounded while they excel and endeavor in life.

Also, I love coffee. It has been my constant companion except for my pen and paper and my smartphone which I blog on. I don’t have any social media accounts because I still believe in keeping my private life private.

But I blog because it makes me exercise my creative mind and at the same time, it’s fun to have a virtual self. I enjoy the company of my WordPress friends too. I love that blogging permits me to have intellectual and sometimes, poetic discourse with others.


3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging? What does it mean too you?


I began blogging after resigning from work. I didn’t know what to do with
my creative mind. So one day while we were traveling, I happened to see an article
about WordPress. That’s when I began writing. At first, I didn’t know what to do or how to do it  I didn’t even know what my blog’s focus would be. My initial months on WordPress were shaky.

More than the idea of sharing my thoughts to all of my readers, I enjoy the intellectual and poetic conversations I have with other bloggers. I have many brilliant bloggers friends and the best part of blogging is learning new and fascinating ideas from other bloggers. Ideas are endless in the blogging world and that’s amazing to me!


“More than the idea of sharing my thoughts to all of my readers, I enjoy the intellectual and poetic conversations I have with other bloggers . . . Ideas are endless in the blogging world and that’s amazing to me!” – Mich Navajas


Michelle Navajas Having Coffee
Credit: Mich Navajas – Having Coffee

4. Mich, Where do You Find your Inspiration and Motivation to Blog and Write? Why is Important For You to Keep Writing?


I write mostly poetry and my poems are by-products my imagination and eaves-dropping (lol) in cafes and restaurants while I wait for my daughters who are shopping or roaming around the mall. I recently

As well, I recently opened a convenience store. I actually thought then that I’d say goodbye to blogging because the store is taking so much of my time. However, I realized that my day to day dealings with people going to and from the shop has given me a plethora to write on. In between inventory and accounting, I still manage to write.


5. What Are Your Writing Habits? When Do You Prefer to Write? Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects on the Blog or on Your Own? 


I write whenever an inspiration hits me. I write anytime, no particular time of the day. My poems are not that magical (I must say). They are written mostly in the afternoon- in an “unpoetic time” without stars or a full moon.

I love to create random poems about the people around me, or about conversations I heard from other people seated close to me in the café. I’m currently venturing into short story writing. I did my first story in three parts, all written in.

As well, I did my first story in three parts, all written in my native language as part of our National Language month celebration in August. I used to be part of our school paper back in high and in my University days. And some of my poems were published in our school paper then. did not pursue a career in writing. We all

But I did not pursue a career in writing. We all know that writing doesn’t pay the bills. So,  I have had to figure out how to make writing a part of life. Add to the fact that I have children career oriented in communication, doing much more than writing on my blog was not part of my current career plan.

However, after four years blogging on WordPress, I have realized that it’s never too late to take up writing again. I have made several submissions to some of our local papers. And someday, I want to write a book too.

It would be a collection of my poems or it could be a collection of short stories. Stories of people I have met, stories of people who sat near me in a café. It could consist of stories of people who I may have not known but am to infer about while they quietly sip a cup of coffee.


6. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? What Is Your Preferred Writing Genre? Any Advice for Newbie Bloggers or Writers? 

As I mentioned earlier, I write whenever I feel inspired. And oh, did I mention that I am an old school writer? I carry with me a small notepad or notebook along with a pen. I 
scribble all my thoughts down there and later develop them into a  full-blown poem or story. I am most comfortable with free verse poetry.

For new writers, I would say that writing ideas and inspiration are out there. You only need to go out and meet people. You can also listen in on people’s conversations and
stories. Most importantly, be keen about what is happening around you because, even the quietest man or woman, seated at the far end of the room, has a story to tell.


“I love to create random poems about the people around me, or about conversations I heard from other people seated close to me in the café.am currently venturing into short story writing. I did my first story in three parts, all written in.” – Mich Navajas


Mike Tinnion Unsplash writing
Credit: Mike Tinnion via Unsplash

7. Anything Else You Would Like to Say Concerning Writing or Yourself?


Yes! I would like to say that I get frustrated seeing women in their 30’s and 40’s looking
miserable because forget to take care of themselves due to motherhood and/or a busy career. 

I am a mother of four and modesty aside, at 41 years old, I do my best to keep fit and eat right. Doing these two things keeps me appearing younger.  To take care of your family and/or career, you need to have ‘self-care’ too. 

As well, I want to advocate that women can be moms or busy at doing whatever they do in life, while gracefully growing old. Older women can still be beautiful and fit. Also, ‘self-care’ helps women to improve their life because it helps them to feel better about themselves. 

My advice does not have much to do with writing but I want my writing to be an avenue to reach out to women. I believe that women can have a full and happy life after childbearing or having gained weight with age.

There is hope to be fit again and it’s not easy but also not impossible to be a healthier person through exercise, eating well, and other self-care methods. 


8. Just for Fun, What Are Your Top Three Blogs? What Do You Like About Them?


After five years of blogging, I have come across brilliant bloggers/writers and I can’t
even manage to name only three. I love your poems on Mandibelle16, David D’s poems, Rosema’s poem’s, Maria’s poems, NMY’s poems, Calmkate’s poems, and NJ’s poems.

Moreover, I love Yassy’s poem’s, Gina (singledust’s) writing, Rose of Poet Rummager’s writing, Kim of Anotetohugette’s writing, Ivor’s poems, the guys from Slasher Monster’s writing, and many other bloggers and writers who I cannot think of at the moment.

I also adore Osyth’s long narrative reflections of her experiences and I love the travels of Mirriam. The spirituality in the blog of Sue and Di is also amazing.


“As well, I want to advocate that women can be moms or busy at doing whatever they do in life, while gracefully growing old. Older women can still be beautiful and fit. Also, ‘self-care’ helps women to improve their life because it helps them to feel better about themselves.” Mich Navajas


9. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Of Your Favorite Blog Pieces? 


Summer Rain

March 29, 2017

By Michnavs

*****

Michelle Navajas Rain
Credit: Michnavs – Michelle Navajas

*****

You held my hand tight
As you bid goodbye
It was hard
It was insane…

*****

You kissed me softly
with a whimpering cry
It froze my mind
It broke my heart…

*****

You strained me in your embrace
clasped me in your arms
It pricked me
It stung me…

*****

Then it rained on a summer afternoon.

*****

P.S.

I was driving home when it rained so hard..really??? raining on a summer day??? It freaked me out..ahh maybe this is what global warming is all about…or, maybe just maybe, this is how it feels to leave a beloved behind…feels like rain on a summer afternoon…


Here Is Some More Poetry from Mich:


She writes: “My favorite post is my “Summer Rain” post (above) as this poem gave birth to a series of summer rain themed poems which boosted my blog statistics and gained me, new followers. Please go check out these series of summer rain poems. You will be surprised of its ending or how I ended it… I too was surprised!!!”


Thank you so much to Mich. Here is a link to her blog once more: Michnavs – Poetry In Motion in more time. I will try to have another interview out this week or the next as I am playing catch up. You can reach me through my Contact Page. 


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

#OctPoWriMo – Day 4 – Wrapped Refrein (1) – “How Words and Poetry Hide” #poetry #amwriting   


The Day 4 OctPoWriMo theme is based on the prompt between the clouds and water and where poetry hides

——

Credit: Patrick Fore via Unsplash
——

You’ll not find it in cotton clouds,

Words don’t linger much to astound. 

You’ll not find poetry in socks, 

The drawer where secrets remain lost.

You’ll never find it in your locker, 

Or in any safe, secret box. 

The poetic muse she’s a tricky one and you’ll not —

Discover the secrets of words never caught. 

Sure, search my shoeboxes your —

To discover old love letters torn; 

As if their archaic paper had —

Poetic words; handwritten glad, 

Yet these lost words are so barren, 

You’ll not find poetry here glaring. 

You can wish hard for the words to flow and burn within, 

Spark inspiration, fulfill writing dreams, whims.   

——

As the words can be impossible, 

Leave you feeling epically lost. 

Choosing words is hard, improving —

Their form, their shape, tone soothing. 

Poetry hides, clashes wickedly, 

Now, I’ve no liking for such tricks. 

You can wish for words to form melodious speeches, 

But you’ll not find poetry it’s a falcon screeching. 

Gaze inside marshmallow white puffs, 

Clouds or into caverns dark, rough. 

You can explore the ocean’s depth,  

Or rest upon a beach breathless, 

While poetry’s playing games taunting, 

You’ll not discover the words lost. 

You’ll only find poetry in locals that are mystical —

Where sun, moon, clouds ethereal rise, poetry still sits. 

——

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

‘Rewind Interview’ of Blogger, Poet, Writer, & Author Rosema Gonzales #amwriting #interview #nonfiction


Welcome to almost September and a look back at some of past interviews in my ‘Rewind Interviews.’ On my own blog and on the Go Dog Go Cafe, a writer’s community! I anyone wants to be a regular member of the Cafe as a Barista once a week or even every two weeks, please let us know. Also, you can submit questions about this or your own writing to the Contact Page. 

I’m excited to share with you a ‘Rewind Interview‘ of my good friend, talented writer, wonderful person, and wise woman: Rosema Gonzales from the Philippines. You can explore her blog at the following link: A Reading Writer .


Rosema
Rosema Gonzales

1. Rosema, Please Share With Us Some Things About Yourself?

I am my blog’s nameA Reading Writer. I read and write and in-between, eat cake and/or drink coffee.

I currently work for a small Public Relations firm as a Public Relations Associate and also a Public Relations Writer. I have a degree in journalism and I dream of becoming a news writer someday; a bonafide journalist. Although, I feel this goal could be a bit impossible, realistically speaking, but who knows?

When I’m not working, I’m blogging and writing. My blog, A Reading Writer , is my fortress and it has changed my writing-self dramatically. I used to only write book reviews and thoughts on books I was reading (wanted to read). Now, I write both poetry and fiction. I never thought I could write poetry or fiction until I joined the WordPress courseWriting 101, last year. Writing 101 changed my perspective on my writing abilities.

When I’m not writing or blogging, I have a thirst for reading. Mitch Albom who is my favorite author. I love all the novels I have that Mitch Albom wrote, but it would take too long to name them all :D)

When I am not reading I am drinking a cuppa of dark coffee and wishing I could be eating cheesecake! 😀


2. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?

Technically, my first post was published on August 28, 2014, close to three-years-ago now. My first post was only the beginning of my ‘existence’ as a blogger. My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.


“My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.” – Rosema Gonzales


3. What Does Your Writing and Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write and Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation?

For me, writing is like breathing with wordsNo one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry arefor me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere. I had a writing piece which was inspired by a garbage truck once. Seriously! But the majority of my poetry and fiction are written while I’m riding the bus. I think my brain churns more when I’m commuting. Reading and music alsoinspire and motivate me, and have recently given birth to some unpublished poems, too. 🙂


4. Do You Find There Is A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Hmmm. As I said before, I usually write on a bus so it’s either early morning or at night when  I write. Although, I think there is something about the silence and darkness of night that inspiresmore creative pieces as compared to when it’s daytime.


“For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry are form me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere.” – Rosema Gonzales


5. Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects or Any Hopeful Writing Projects?

If hosting a writing challenge is a project then, I would say my most recent project called:  Word-High July has been my focus#WordHighJuly featured thirty beautiful Filipino words as word prompts. Many poets and bloggers have written impeccable pieces inspired by these Filipino words such as halakhak, a noun which means loud uninhibited laughter, or kaulayai, a noun which means a pleasant and intimate companion. In terms of future projects, I’m dreaming of publishing my own poetry book in the future.


Note: Rosema has done just that and published her first book on Amazon.com, earlier in the summer. It’s called Between My Bleeding Lines by R.C. Gonzales and is available as a Kindle ebook and in Paperback!


Between These Bleeding Lines 

by

R.C Gonzales

*****

Between My Bleeding Lines Poetry
Credit: Rosema Gonzales

Below is also n example of an image and word prompt used in Rosema’s #WordHighJuly writing challenge last year


Pleasant Compnanion


6. Have You Published Any Of Your Writing Or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing In The Future? Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing and Writing Process?

All my written works are published on WordPress only for the moment. It’s part of my future plan to publish them soon maybe on my own, because scouting for a publisher is a tough task. I’m still building up the courage to finally, begin writing my own book. 

Because I’m not even one step towards publishing my work beyond my blog, I think I’m not a good writer or blogger to describe the process of publishing my writing. HOWEVER, I have great blogging friends who have successfully published their books and I’m sure they will willingly help people who like me, will eventually need tips on the entire publishing process. I have been reading some online material about self-publishing. So, I have gathered a ton of information there.

(See above Rosema self-published her poetry book!)


7. What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly. There are times for instance, when I am just walking and I come across someone who I don’t know and a poem is born! It’s an unpredictable process so I always have my phone handy because it’s my stockroom for poetry and fiction.


“I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly.” – Rosema Gonzales


8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles and/or Genres?

I prefer reading in bed. I’m a certified librocubicularist. 🙂

When it comes to reading genres, I love Young-AdultMystery, ThrillersContemporary LiteratureHistorical FictionPoetry, and Faith related books.When it comes to writing, my most chosen genre is Romance; love, and more so, unrequited love. I also write realistic fiction and about tragedy. My blog friend Mel, of In Media Res has been joking about putting a death toll counterin my blog. HAHA. I’m close to considering it !


9. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?

First, I must say write for yourself not for anyone else. It is blissful to have many people follow and read your work, but it is unusual to have many followers and readers as a writer or blogger starting out. So, do not be discouraged by a lack of other people reading your writing; write for no one but yourself.

Second, I you cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprintseach author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.

Lastly, I believe you should always be the first person who believes in your characters, in your poems, in in all your writing. This advice, I often give myself, and is a lesson I’m still trying to learn.


 

Carlie Jean UnSplash Tea
Credit: Carli Jeen via UnSplash

 


“[Y]ou cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprints, each author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.” – Rosema Gonzales 


10. Do You Have Anything About Yourself You’d Like to Share With Fellow Writers? 

Honestly, I’ve only just found my true writer-self. I think this year is the first, I’ve finally embraced creative writing. My focus before this year, was on writing straight news, real-life nonfiction, becoming a genuine journalist. Now, I am loving what I’ve been discovering about myself through creative writing.

As well, it would not be possible for me to have had such personal growth through writing if I did not have a great bunch of supportive and loving writers in the blogging community on WordPress. I would like to highlight the need for a friendly, honest, and interactive writing community.


11. Any Advice for Other Writers or Bloggers Starting Out? 

Bloggers and writers (online and in general), need to be kind enough to read the work of the writers who read your own posts. Let’s be supportive enough to correct grammar mistakes or provide tips on how a writer can improve on his or her work. Leave thoughtful comments on other bloggers and writers posts.

I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writersHigh praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote. What’s important is to let writers know how their work affects youhow you feel about their work.This is helpful, to all writers.

Writers should be the first to realize completely, the power of their words. I hope we can agree to use words to create an encouraging community. Let’s not underestimate the power of our comments. Comments on a writer’s work can change livesI’m proof and I can testify to the truth of comments changing my own life and writing.


“I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote.” – Rosema Gonzales


11. Please Share With Us Some Pieces Of Your Fiction And Poetry:

“Writer’s Note”

by

Rosema Gonzales

*****

Guilia Bertelli UnSplash - Notes Rosema
Credit: Giulia Bertelli via Unsplash

*****

No one,
nothing,
can take
my words
away
from me.

Break me,
confine me,
curse me,
abandon me,
my lines will bleed more
surely.

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.


12. Here are some more Blog Posts from Rosema: 


Thanks so much Rosema for filling out interview questions and writing them with your heart. It always comes through in your work, fiction, poetry, or talking about your favourite books. I’m encouraged you will make wonderful strides in creative writing and in your career aspirations.


“Dreams are always possible, sometimes we only have to believe they can be a possibility!” – A.E. 


Once again, here is the link to Rosema’s blogA Reading WriterMany thanks for reading along. If you would like to be interviewed as a blogger, poet, writer, or blogger or a cause,  please let me know. You can reach-out to me through my Contact Page.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Published: Poem – Free Verse – Spillwords.com – “Cold Space” 


Sharing a new poem published by the wonderful http://www.spillwords.com. Hope you enjoy and consider submitting your poetry and/or other work as well to their website. Checkout their submissions page. 

Cold Space by Amanda Eifert
———


——–

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Interview with Christine Ray: Writer, Blogger, Poet, and Barista from the Go Dog Go Cafe #amwriting #interview #nonfiction


Welcome to another Tuesday edition of my interviews series. Today I have another new interview for you, a talented writer, poet and a Go Do Go Cafe  Barista, Christine Ray. 

I hope you love her blog I have found it fascinating. You can check out some of Christine’s wonderful writing on the topics of Poetry, Erotica, Spoken Word,  and for you newbies out there, B & R Advice for New Bloggers.

Before we go any further, I need to introduce Christine’s blog as a whole, it’s called: Brave and Reckless.


Christine Ray
Credit: Christine Ray

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself, Christine? 

My name is Christine Ray and I’m from Havertown, Pennsylvania (outside of Philadelphia). I blog at Brave and Reckless. I feel as if sometimes I should call myself the ‘accidental blogger!’ I came to the WordPress blog site to do one piece of writing called: What Every Woman Knows. The piece is based on rape culture, sexual harassment, and sexual trauma and is, sadly, more relevant now more than ever.

Writing that one post literally changed my whole life. I rediscovered that I loved writing. I also love to write poetry and I’m thrilled to be part of an active writing community. My blogging goals include continuing to grow and strengthen Secret First Draft, the Go Dog Go Café and Blood Into Ink, all projects that are very near and dear to my heart.


2. Do You Have Any Particular Blogging Goals or Things You Want to Accomplish? 

My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit.  When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.

The idea was that I develop discipline and prioritize my writing. I am involved with a lot of other collaborative blogs. And sometimes my own personal writing keeps moving further down the priority list than it should be moving.

Additionally, I’m registered for a course about writing child and young adult literature in the Fall that I’m really excited about.  The thought of a low-residency program to earn a Masters in Fine Arts has crossed my mind a time or two (or maybe ten!!).


“My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit.  When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.” – Christine Ray


3. When Did You Begin Writing or Blogging and Why? What Does Writing Mean to You? 

I honestly can’t remember how old I was when I began writing but I was definitely scrawling short stories into dog-eared notebooks in middle school. As well, I started writing poetry as a teenager.  I was also the editor of my high school newspaper and my senior yearbook.

Nevertheless, I have taken long breaks from writing when life has become busy but it has always been something I come back to when I’m in transition. I turned fifty-years-old in 2016 which was a major life reassessment period for me. Writing became a primary method for me to work through my feelings. 

Finding my voice again as a writer has been really powerful, though to be honest, I think other people took me seriously as a writer long before I did.  There were most definitely several months where I transitioned from when I thought about myself as a middle-aged woman (who happened to write), to identifying myself as a writer and a poet, being who I am today.

Writing has become, and honest, always has been an essential part of my identity. As well, began my blog: Brave and Reckless on October 8, 2016.


4. Where do you Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing? Why is it Significant for you to Continue Writing and Blogging? 

I find inspiration everywhere. Music is a big part of my writing process and song lyrics frequently inspire my work but I’ve also been inspired by movies (Paterson is amazing); TV (you’d be amazed how much poetry there is in American Gods); beer menus, conversations with other people, and currently, a collaboration with Aurora Phoenix inspires and motivates me. The collaboration began in the comments section in one of my blog posts.

This sounds silly when I say it out loud, but when I started this particular blog in October, I had no idea that I had anything to say! The vast majority of my writing is inspired by exactly what is going on in my emotional life, in the moment. Sometimes I approach writing about those things obliquely, but often what you see is a direct reflection of my experiences during the day.

One of the most transformative experiences of blogging for me was realizing my writing resonates with other people. Every time someone writes to me and tells me that I captured exactly what they were feeling, but couldn’t articulate it, is an incentive for me to keep up with my writing.  

Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing.  Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself. 


“Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing.  Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself.” – Christine Ray 


Rawpixel.com UnSplash
Credit: Rawpixel.com via UnSplash

5. Do you have any Particular Writing or Blogging Habits? What do you Enjoy Most About Writing? Is there a Time of Day you Prefer to Write?

I have a busy life and have discovered that the only way to fit writing and blogging into my life is to awake at 4:00 a.m. From 4:00 a.m to 6: 00 a.m. I write, I answer blog related comments and emails, I record ‘Spoken Word’ versions of my writing, and see to editorial duties.

As well, I have been known to write whole pieces in the Google Docs app on my phone during my commute on the bus or train. I also eat lunch at my desk, at work, and try to catch up on reading other people’s blogs.  At times, I’m still awake at 10:00 p.m. doing blog related activities and tending to my own writing. I must admit that I’m tired right now. However,  I expect things to calm down a bit over the upcoming summer months.


6. Can you Tell us About your Most Current Writing Projects on your Blog or Outside of it? 

In addition to writing and publishing daily, I’ve been running various writing challenges on my blog.  This week I challenged readers to write about a life experience using ten objects and will be publishing my favorites on my ‘Brave and Reckless’ blog. I’ve already committed to two Writing Prompt Challenges and have my third occurring now using the prompt: “I Am More Than Breath and Bones.”

I do publish some of my work, the pieces I call “the softer side of Christine”—on Poetry Corner. I’m also happily involved as a Barista at the Go Dog Go Café.  It’s been fun to put the site together and to work with a  lovely cadre of writers, some of whom I’ve met and some of whom are new to me. The Cafe has a wonderful community vibe and brings out the best in writers.

My most recent project was launching Blood Into Ink  (with a group of writers from WordPress and off of it).’Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma. The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths. 

It is open to men and women and already features some pretty fierce writing.  I am proud of this project and hope that it encourages many writers to tell their stories and aids them in receiving the support and respect they deserve for their stories of survival and dealing with them after the fact.

Also, I’m working on a project called Whisper and the Roar, a feminist literary collective site. I am still an author for Whisper and the Roar. All of the writers on this site are feminist but the content is not overtly feminist. I piece I wrote for this particular site is called “Ode to a Black Eye.” Such as many of my pieces, this post is autobiographical (my childhood friend Wendy had the black eye and we finally talked about the incident when we reconnected on Facebook.


Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma. The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths.” – Christine Ray


7. Have you Published any Writing or Poetry outside of your Blog? If not do you plan to in the Future? 

I recently had a couple of pieces of poetry published in Felan Magazine which has lit a fire under me to publish more writing into print. Felan centers its issues around a particular feeling so it was easy to pull my best pieces about Anger (Issue 10) and Love (Issue 11). 


8. Can you Briefly Describe to us Your Writing Process? Are there Certain Genres of Writing and Reading You Prefer? 

The vast majority of my writing happens on my PC in the early morning hours with music playing in the background. Some of my work happens on my phone on the train.  Some it is sprawled into notebooks until I have time to type it up. I’ve been known to write a poem or two during long and dull meetings at work (hopefully none of my co-workers are reading this).

Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy! I’m obsessed with Jane Austen (I’ve got a Jane Austen quote as a tattoo) and I’ve read the Harry Potter series a ridiculous amount of times.  I love psychological British mysteries,  Young Adult literature, as well as, science fiction, and fantasy. All in all, I’m a serious book nerd!


“Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy!” – Christine Ray


Nicole Jones UnSplash
Credit: Nicole Jones via UnSplash

9. Do you have any Wisdom for Other Bloggers and Writers?

Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day. Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!

Also, don’t obsess about numbers. Fifteen extremely engaged followers are more rewarding than two-hundred disengaged writers. Be brave and leave thoughtful comments on other people’s writing. I have picked up a lot of followers this way. Most vitally, I have made excellent friends by commenting on the writing/blogs of other people. 

In addition, I recommend subscribing and responding to the Daily Post. I want everyone who writes and/or blog to know that their voice matters and their truths matter too. Don’t worry about your audience, worry about what you need to say.

There are twelve million people on WordPress—your people (your followers) are out there. You may need to look for them, but there is someone out there who wants to read what you have to say.


10. Is there Anything Else you Want to Share, something you think is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself? 

One crazy thing that happened to me in May is that one of my pieces was chosen for featuring as WordPress Discover blog called: Brave and Reckless Advice for New Bloggers – Part One.  I went from 164 views on May 1st to 2,439 views on May 2nd. It was thrilling and terrifying all at the same time!

Things have calmed down a little but I spent three days replying to all the comments I received! I still don’t know how the WordPress editors found me or that piece. However, I try to use my newfound readership for good and give lots of other really good writers exposure on Brave and Reckless (I feel like I should be quoting Spiderman or something here)!


“Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day. Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!” – Christine Ray


11. For fun, do you Have Any Especially Favorite Bloggers that you Love to Follow? 

There are so many blogs that I love! My big writing crushes are:

  • The Feathered Sleep — Candice Louisa Daquin’s writing is elegant, exquisite, and emotionally resonant.
  • A Journal for Damned Lovers — Nicholas is gritty and dark and never glamorizes life, love or himself.  He takes you on journeys into the human psyche that you didn’t even know you wanted to go one. He appeals to my darkness and I want to grow up and write like SK someday!
  • The Lithium Chronicles –Nicole Lyons and the other poets she highlights on her site are badass warriors! There is an electricity to Nicole’s work, a buzz that gets under my skin, and into my blood. Some of her writing is similar to what could be pulled from own diaries.
  • Additionally, all of the writers at the collectives I work with are amazing and deserving of a read.

12. Can You Please Share with us a few of Your Favorite Pieces from your Blogging? 

Poet’s Love Song

by

Christine Ray

*****

Christine Ray = MM photo
Credit: From Christine’s Ray’s Blog ‘Brave and Reckless” for this post.

*****

I see you

Yes, you poet

You who lives

Behind the misty veil

Dwelling in the border

Between this world

And a hundred other

Shadow worlds

*****

see you

*****

see those ink-stained

Fingers

That hold your pen

Like a lover

That fly across the keyboard

In a torrent

Before stopping, hesitating

Waiting

For the flow of words to resume

*****

see the permanent rings

Countless cups of coffee

Have left on your writing table

The chip in your favorite mug

I see the frayed fabric

On your cuffs

Of your favorite writing shirt

The fabric worn thin at your elbows

*****

see those mesmerizing eyes

That seem to simultaneously

Be looking through me

Straight into my soul

While studying the cosmos

And gazing inward

All at the same time

see the contradictions you are

Your eyes are haunting

Full of knowing

Full of pain

Full of longing

*****

see the dark smudges

Under your otherworldly eyes

Reminders that poets

Are night dwellers

Insomniacs

Who haunt the still hours

Who understand the depth

The texture of darkness

Who can capture the qualities

The acoustics of silence

*****

see the way

That words spill out of

Your sensuous mouth

Like pearls, like diamonds

Beautiful treasures

Embedded with your tears

Your sweat, your blood

*****

Yes poet

see you

You who makes me fall

In love with language

Over and over

Whose words

Stab me in the heart

Punch me in the gut

Jangle my nerves

Bathe me in your radiance

Soothe my weary soul

Take me on a journey

I didn’t even know

I wanted to go on

*****

And you are beautiful

*****

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved



Thank you so much to Christine Ray for being so detailed and open sharing her writing and poetry with us on my blog and on the Go Do Go Cafe. If you would like to be featured as a writer, blogger, or person who is blogging/writing about a cause please reach out to me through my contact page. Next week`s interview will be a ‘Rewind Interview,’ a blogger I’ve interviewed in the past.


©Mandibelle16. (2017). All Rights Reserved.