Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview withMicheleVecchitto. Michele is a friendly and kind woman who has a talent for writing wonderful poetry and engaging stories. I have been following her for a couple of years now, so I hope you will like her writing as much as I do. You can visit her blog here: Steps Times Two – Love and Life . . . The Second Time Around.
1. Hi Michele, Please Tell Us About Where You’re From?
I live in Niantic. It’s a lovely town on the Connecticut shoreline that somehow manages to hold on to the charm of days gone by while still offering all the conveniences I might need.
One of the many treasures in Niantic is a used bookstore calledThe Book Barn.It now has four or five satellite locations, but the main store is a complex which includes a large barn and several quirky, smaller buildings, each overflowing with books devoted to a particular genre. The few resident cats and some goats, add to its unique vibe. It’s a place to spend the day and get lost in books. Niantic also recently opened a new boardwalk along the beach that offers fantastic views and a place to meet neighbors.
2. Can You Tell Us More About Yourself, Your Everyday Life?
I’m the second of four sisters. My family is especially close and the fifteen children my sisters and I have between behave more like siblings than cousins. My parents are definitely the foundation of our lives. I love everything about belonging to a large family – the support, the laughter, the chaos, and the history we create.
My three children are young adults, busy finding their place in the world. In some ways, they could not be more different from one another, but they remain close. I’m enjoying watching them evolve into the adults they will become. I’m proud of the choices they’ve made and the direction each of them is following in life.
I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life.My husband and I have been married just over five years. Markis an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.
Our personalities are different but we complement each other well. We are each other’s top priority and do everything we can to support each other in our many endeavors. We’ve intertwined our families and I feel blessed to have his three strong, caring, and talented children in my life as well. They, along with their families, are a vital part of my life.
On a professional level, I teach middle school Literature and Language Arts. I love working with students of this age. It’s my favorite age group of kids. I’ve taught math and science and enjoy teaching each subject, but I’m most thrilled to spend my days sharing Literature with my classes. Preteens and teens this age are discovering their voice and it’s exciting to see the world through their eyes.
Additionally, I work as a freelance editor. I’m working with an audio book company and enjoy the exposure to books I might not otherwise read.
“I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.” – Michele Vecchitto
3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?
I started my blog in 2014 as a way of keeping myself disciplined about writing, but I’ve always been a writer. I kept journals as a teenager and still have poems I wrote for a memorable class in high school.
My teacher, Ms. Jordan, helped me discover my voice and probably inspired me to become a teacher. I was a stay at home mom for fifteen-years, and when my children were in school, I’d spend eight or more hours a day writing. I took writing classes and completed two novels and a few children’s books.
When I divorced in 2007 and returned to work full time, I lost some of my dedication to the craft. Steps Times Two is my blog and remedy to not being able to write all day anymore.
4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
I’ve always been a writer as mentioned earlier. I many of my stories and poems from younger days and used to write tales for my kids, nieces, and nephews.
I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.
Beyond these meanings, I love the way writing connects people. I am so excited to be able to talk with people from all over the world about subjects I have brought up or someone else has written about. It sounds sappy, but I believe people are more alike than different and we all have something to share. I am a big fan of the community writing fosters between writers and readers (etc).
“I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.” – Michelle Vecchitto
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
Sometimes motivation comes from pure emotion. I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of it’s own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.
Inspiration for me can come from anywhere:a look between two people; a snippet of conversation I overhear; the expression on someone’s face when they don’t notice I’m looking; and/or an unexpected situation or some mundane activity we all experience. Music also inspires me. My playlist has a bit of everything on it and I love to hit play and let my mind drift. Sometimes I’ll find something to write about immediately and other times, I have to file an idea away and let it resurface when it’s ready.
As well, I’m a huge fan of writing prompts and blogging events. It’s a terrific way to stay involved in the writing community and interact with other people. I love to follow and read what other people are writing because each piece leaves me with something to think about and offers a varied perspective to consider. Prompts for me are similar to a puzzle. Each of us figures out how to put the pieces together in a different way to create authentic images. It’s fun when someone has a completely unique take on the same prompt.
6. Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer to Write?
I prefer to write in the mornings, although, it’s not always possible. During the week, I will write when I come home from teaching school. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I’d write from the time the kids went to school until they came home. I miss those days! I’m hoping to stay home next year and write full time.
“I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of its own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.” – Michele Vecchitto
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have my blog which I try to work on each day. I also post on Poet’s Corner on WordPress and do my best to keep up. I am working on a historical fiction novel based on my husband’s grandfather who escaped from Poland in the early 1900’s. I’m enjoying the research portion of this novel greatly. In addition, I recently cleaned up a YA novel I wrote about ten-years ago. My romance novel also needs editing and I have two short stories to finish.
My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!
8. Can You Tell Us About What Your Publishing Process Has Been for Some of Your Writing?
I’ve had poems published in anthologies and in places like The Reverie Journal. I have self-published two volumes of poetry which can be found on Amazon. I’m considering adding a third volume but I think my next push will be seeking a publisher for a novel.
Years ago, when I had more time, I was organized about sending my work out. I had a contract with Blue Mountain Arts and several ‘good rejections’ from publishing houses. I took classes and attended conferences. I think networking is a huge part of the publishing process and hope to get back to it in the next year.
I’ve been invited to participate in the Austin International Poetry Festival next April. Eight of my poems will be included in their anthology and I plan to travel to the event to do some readings.
“My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!” – Michele Vecchitto
9. Are You Able to Describe Your Writing Process To Us?
My writing process varies, depending on the type of project I’m working on, but it always includes music. I have a million playlists and a great pair of headphones.
The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.If I’m working on a poem, I jot ideas or prompts on post-it notes and arrange them around my writing space.
If I’m working on a formal piece, I’ll have notes on rhyme schemes and various types of poetry. After I write, I’ll look for photos to accompany what I’ve written and then decide on a title. My titles always happen last.
If I’m working on a novel or short story, the music part is the same, but I’ll have notes on my bulletin board or in folders which I can flip through. I also send rough drafts to my sister Maureen. She’s read everything I’ve ever written and offers me honest feedback. She’ll tell me what works for her as a reader and what doesn’t, then I go back and edit.
I set my larger pieces aside, sometimes for days but often for months, and then return to them so I can see them with fresh eyes. My YA book has been through three major revisions already and I think it’s almost ready to send out.
11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading? Any Genres In Particular?
I’m not sure you can be a writer without being a reader. I love both equally and will read almost anything. I like to balance my writing with quick, light reads and books which require more concentration. I’m a big non-fiction reader. It must be the teacher in me, but there’s never too much knowledge to learn. I always want to discover new things.
My own writing style has surprised me at times. My YA book is a fantasy novel which is something I’ve never followed, however; a fantasy story was the tale waiting to be told when I tackled the YA book project.
I must confess, I do enjoy writing darker, more provocative pieces. There’s such power there. I enjoy inspirational pieces as well.Both of these kinds of writing have their place.
“The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.” – Michele Vecchitto
12. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers or Anything Else You Would Like To Add?
I find the more I write, the better I get. It’s a commitment and like any other craft, needs to be nurtured so, keep writing.
I’ve also started aFacebookpage and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitterhas been a great resource for finding writing communities and sharing information for me as well.
13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?
I’m not sure I have favorites. I love to read blogs of all styles and content. A friend of mine started a blog in which she combines book reviews and running calledBelle of the Book. It’s fun to follow a blog when you know the writer personally. If the writing is good I want to read it.
14. Here is A Piece of Michele’s Writing She Has Shared:
Michele says about “Deerfield’s Ghost:” “I love this one because it almost wrote itself. When I came to the point when I narrowed in on a subject, I googled “massacre” to find a specific date to use and came across a list of victims from the Deerfield massacre of 1704. The funny thing is, it included the names and ages of people I had included in my poem.”
More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:
Ray holds special meaning for me because it was written for a dear friend who passed away. Reading it at his funeral was the first time I’d read my poetry in public and I feel grateful I had a chance to honor him in this way.
Small Town Hens is an example of a poem I wrote after I witnessed a situation that made my blood boil. It makes me chuckle now because it captured my disgust at poor behavior.
Light of Love was written after the nightclub attack in Orlando. I will sometimes respond to current events in poetry. This incident demanded a response.
The Choice and Metamorphosis are two old ones that I wrote during very difficult times. I try to live my life as described in “The Choice”and “Metamorphosis” speaks to the ability to persevere in even the darkest of times.
Thanks to Michele for thoroughly and thoughtfully answering the interview questions. I wish her much luck with her writing and future endeavours. Here is the link to her blogone more time: Steps Times Two.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview. If you would like to share and answer interview questions on writing and blogging of any kind, feel free to reach-out to me on my contact page.See you in two-weeks!
This picture makes me think of mazes and labyrinths, finding your way through a winding place. I found three good quotes on GoodReads to represent this theme. The movie Labyrinth in no way inspired this, I hate that movie!
1.“ [It] became a world whose rules I lived by, and I understood the moral of mazes: sometimes you have to turn your back on your goal to get there, sometimes you’re farthest away when you’re closest, sometimes the only way is the long one . . . That when you seem farthest from your destination is when you suddenly arrive, [it] is a very pat truth in words, but a profound one to find with your feet.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust
2. “ . . .A labyrinth has only one path and you merely have to follow it; it’s a symbol of life or, rather, of life and death; labyrinths twist and turn, but they have a beginning and an end, through darkness into light.” ― Ariana Franklin, The Serpent’s Tale
3. “This maze is laid out such that should you step through the correct path, by its end you will have learned the most extraordinary dance, such that any coronation would be proud to see you at the height of its feast, such that any holy dervish would weep and call you his devotion.”― Catherynne M. Valente, In the Cities of Coin and Spice
Shelley introduced her teenage daughter to Kelsey with pride. “Charlotte’s so involved, tell Kelsey what you do besides school?”
Charlotte said: “I play volleyball, basketball, and soccer after school and weekends. I’m head of the student council and grad committee. I sing in choir and take piano lessons. Also, I read with children in primary school. At church I play piano and read Bible verses during the service.”
Kelsey was slightly shocked. “You do all this? When do you get to have coffee or see a movie with your friends?”
Charlotte frowned, “I’ve no time for activities with friends.”
My Dad’s family moved around because Grandpa was a Pastor and at times, Grandpa chose to accept a call to a different congregation in the country. My Grandpa taught his boys to hunt. I can’t say whether or not my Uncle D would have taught his sons to hunt because he died when his boys were still young.
But my Uncle K has taught his sons. I feel speechless when I see pictures of my barely adult cousins, standing on top of a buck’s corpse, proudly. My Dad never hunted much when his children came along, but my family was the recipient of meat from hunted animals when I was younger.
There are few reasons I see for hunting. I think the only valid reasons are if a predator is a danger to humans or if an animal population is overpopulated and a danger to the ecosystem of an area. But for sport or fun . . .we have grocery stores now, let the wild animals be.
One of the scariest times I can remember was sleeping in my one Uncle D’s basement. My eldest brother and I slept in a room and there were dead animals all around us. There was a giant grizzly bear rug on the floor and deer heads on the wall. There were other deer-like animal heads on the wall too. Their fake eyes stared at me throughout the night and I could not sleep, “You lookin, at me?” I wondered.
I was young, but it makes me think now, what need have we to kill these creatures.Why hunt if not for survival. I know I’m a city girl but it seems to me at times, our inner caveman comes out and forgets it’s modern times — let the deer be.
Thanks to Roger Shipp for hosting Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner.
Say something beautiful . . . sometimes I think I have been ruined by Romance books because real men don’t talk beautiful, at least the ones I know. Ask them to explain why they like you and its simple words such as your pretty, your patient, your sexy, and there is nothing wrong with these words. But I just don’t think men talk as Christian Grey when he describes his Anastasia and her beauty or even how singers sing about women in songs. In fact, most of us don’t seem to have much poetry in us when it comes to love. But I think that the simple words are good enough because it is the simple words and simple actions that men and women say and do for each other that make us the happiest.
Case in point, My boyfriend A took me on ” a date” a couple of weeks ago and it was special just because he called it “a date, ” he picked me up, and he was interested to hear what I had to say. He wasn’t on the couch looking at Kijiji going “uh huh” but he took the time to actually focus on us and what we were both up to, it was wonderful. We ate dinner and shopped around West Edmonton Mall a bit and I really appreciated the evening.
Everything was going fantastic until he received a bad haircut from some hairstylist at Spasation. I felt bad because I had suggested the salon because I have a membership card that gets me 10% off of products and services at Spasation. Plus, I like the Spasation downtown a lot. They give good massages, and decent haircuts, and wonderful pedicures. But if I’m honest, I go to a place called Chrome to get my hair cut and hilighted because they just do a better job, so I guess it’s my fault and I shouldn’t have sent my boyfriend to the West Edmonton Mall Spasation. I should have said, “Go to Eveline Charles because at least your guaranteed to receive a decent haircut at that salon even though it costs more.” But other than that, it was a good evening and it is a lucky break that men’s hair seems to grow fast because it is so short.
My boyfriend also became a Canadian citizen yesterday. I was proud but sorry I couldn’t be there to see him receive his certificate. He is excited to receive his passport and travel somewhere outside of Canada and Morocco where he is from. I am hoping I can go with him on vacation but I will have to see. I’m still on a budget, especially at this time of year after Christmas and Boxing Week.
I felt awful for my poor dog Nikki who is an American – Eskimo Terrier. She is 12-years old and we thought she just had arthritis because she ran great distances with family members when she was younger and faster. Then, her paws underneath her elbows and knees (I don’t know what you call them in dogs) began to swell up enormously. She had trouble walking and spent so much time just sleeping downstairs and not even touching her food. The swelling didn’t go away and finally we brought her to the vet and the vet said it could be arthritis or Lyme disease. We got blood tests and it turns out it is not Lyme disease or something with her kidneys (etc.) but she has Rheumatoid Arthritis.
This is a relief because it means my family did not over-run her but it is also upsetting because it is an auto-immune disease, so her immune system is attacking her joints and causing them to inflame. She has to be on steroids when her arthritis acts up, painkillers, and a vet is going to teach us how to do doggy physiotherapy for her. I imagine I will be doing this physiotherapy in the day because she lets me touch her paws and she doesn’t let a lot of other people, even her pack (the rest of the family), touch all of her. But at least we know what she has and can manage it appropriately. I hope that she doesn’t get too arthritic. She comes from dog breeds who both are long living breeds so she could have this for 6 to 8 more years unfortunately.
I am using a new sleep medication called Gabapentine. It works well once you get use to it. I was taking too much melatonin to fall asleep because that was the only medicinal product that worked but now after getting used to Gabapentine and getting over the initial day time tiredness, I love it. I had forgotten how good it is to sleep so deeply and well. Commonly, Gabapentine is used for patients who have seizures to help them sleep deeper but it is more for the drowsy side effect that I am using it. And so far so good. But I haven’t heard anything from my family doctor about the Chronic Fatigue medication yet so hopefully I hear back from him soon, when he gets back from vacation next week.
I want to deal with side effects of the Chronic Fatigue medication you see because I have just received all but my text-book for my Editing 110 course. So far the course looks great! It won’t be to hard but if I finish early, I will start another course. I mailed in the first assignment that is worth 10 % and I have 3 more assignment worth 30 % and a great deal of reading to do in my Study Guide and textbook eventually. The assignments don’t look too hard, but it is only a 100 level course. However, I better not say too much about it being an easy course because I do not want to jinx myself and then not be careful when I am doing my assignments. I need a B- in all of these editing courses I will be doing because that is the requirement to get the certificate. I will take a few courses before I apply to the program, maybe even most of the courses because you can apply anytime for the certificate.
But editing seems quite interesting and I was already learning a lot of material I’d forgotten looking up why certain sentences were grammatically and otherwise incorrect. I have a good deal of experience proofreading and I think it will just be a matter of watching that I am careful to be detailed and learning all those interesting facts about the editing process which will maybe help me publish a book one day, or some articles, or a story or two.
This weekend, I am looking forward to going to lunch with my friend and giving her her Birthday/Christmas present. I saw her lots in the summer but not often since then. We are going to the new Cactus Club downtown. I must make sure to eat healthy as my new sleep medication made me put weight on as I suspected. So it’s back to measuring food and living off of salad. But I will be much more comfortable in my skin when I am 10 lbs down again, so will my clothes lol. I also have to see my boyfriend again as he is up and bring him his new stuff for his apartment. I ordered him some towels (etc.) and items that he needed. And I’m looking forward to receiving my ” New Year’s Present,” but I don’t know what that is so I’m waiting in anticipation.