Before we go any further, I need to introduce Christine’s blog as a whole, it’s called: Brave and Reckless.
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 literaturein 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-oldin 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 workbut 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
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 objectsand 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 Magazinewhich 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 hourswith 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 typeit 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
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?
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?
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 causeplease 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.
There are varies kinds of prisons such as the one the hardened criminals go to — the murders, the rapists, pehedophiles, and those who been involved in aggravated and brutal assaults. There are prisons where people are locked up in for white collar crimes, skimming money off the top of their business, and related incidents. Nevertheless, there are also the prisons that children learn inside; they are called schools but every child knows that the bars on the windows mean something more.
I first read this book in University in an English course. It’s about a Baptist family who leave Georgia in the US to be missionaries in the Belgian Congo. The book is narrated by the family’s mother Orleanna at the beginning of each of the books seven sections. After, each of her four daughters narrate their experiences. Especially, her daughter Leah. The family’s Dad is a crazy Baptist Preacher who will not leave the Congo despite his families extreme difficulties there. The family is forever changed by their experiences as missionaries. This book is life changing. So, interesting and exceptionally written as all of Barbara Kingsolver’s books are. It is even on Oprah’s booklist!
I read this book in University with Dr. McNamara. It is a book about a group of soldiers during the Vietnam War. Some make it home and some soldiers don’t. They carry with them their individual burdens and the burdens they take on in Vietnam. They carried their burdens home with them and if they survived, through out their lives. “They carried the malaria tablets, love letters, 28-pound mine detectors, dope, illustrated Bibles, each other. If they made it home alive, they carried unrelenting images of a nightmarish war that history is only beginning to absorb.”
I honestly hated studying Thomas Hardy’s poetry. He was a depressed guy with a horrible outlook on society, mankind, God, and himself. But he did write a great book when he wrote Tess of the D’Urbervilles. The book is about Tess’ fall, so to speak. She is a peasant girl who falls in love with Angel, the vicor’s sun. Angel holds Tess to a high ideal. He expects her to be the perfect loving wife he wants her to be. When he finds out Tess is not so perfect, that she was raped, he breaks the betrothal off. Tess must deal with the loss of love and make a new life for herself despite Angel’s blindness.
Not so much poetry as an epic, this epic chronicles John Milton’s interpretation of the creation of the world and the universe; the fall of Satan and his demons who oppose God and are cast into Hell; the fall of man, God’s best creation, with help from Satan; and how the world works after man has fallen due to eating the fruit from the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. The lines of poetry are beautiful and eloquent throughout the story. Even though Paradise Lost is long at times, and difficult to read if you don’t read poetry well, it is an amazing story. I learned a lot about my own religion, Christianity, through Paradise Lost, since much of what Milton wrote was based on the Bible and other religious Catholic books. But I’m not Catholic though.
This book is brutal and awful at times. I think it opened my eyes to how terrible some people can truly be when I read it in second year university. The book compares Dorothy who is a fat, frumpy, and a proofreader with a lurid imagination; with Justine who is smart, slim, and “compulsively” sexual. Justine is a freelance journalist who interviews Dorothy about her past “involvement with a cheesy cult leader.” The book is eye opening, especially the sexual abuse and rape Dorothy received as a girl, and the awful destructive relationship Justine finds herself in with a man who could easily kill her. This is not a nice book but it will make you think twice about how screwed up certain people truly are.
I think Faking It by Jennifer Cruisie is my favourite chick literature book I have ever read. I can’t say why so much. It is only that the characters are so vivid and appealing. Matilda runs the Goodnight Gallery of Art, she inherited it from her father when he died. She has a secret in her past that she is willing to steal back to keep. She runs into Davy, on her first attempt to burgle a secret painting back.
Davy is an ex con man who was ripped off three million dollars by his financial manager who turned the money over to Davy’s ex Clea. Davy will do anything to get his money back. Davy and Matilda join forces to stop “Clea, suspicious art collectors, a disgruntled heir, an exasperated hitman, a mutant dachshund, a juke box stuck in the sixties, questionable sex, and the realization they can’t turn their backs on the people they were meant to be,” or love. It’s a good one I promise. You will fall in love with the Goodnight family and Davy.
As you can see, this is a well worn and loved book. It’s a fantastic twentieth- century mystery. Rachel Verinder inherits a fabulous yellow diamond. Outside her house are Hindu priests who have waited centuries to reclaim their talisman looted from the ancient and Holy city of Somnauth. Someone steals Rachel’s diamond. No one is what they seem and nothing can be taken for granted in this story.”Witnesses, suspects, and detectives take up the story in turn.” The Moonstone is suspenseful and fascinating with a surprise ending no one would guess. This book made me look into more mystery books and the ending is unpredictable. I loved it.
This is an extremely old story written poetically in old English. I think I have read it too many times to count. But you can read the book retold in prose if you wish. Sir Gawain is challenged in King Author’s court, to chop of the Green Knight’s head. If he can’t do it, then the Green Knight will have the chance to chop off Sir Gawain’s head. Sir Gawain fails so he journeys to find a way he can save his own neck. He comes across a Lord and his Lady in their castle, where he breaks from his journey. He is encouraged three times by the Lady to sleep with her, even though she is married and through her, Gawain discovers a way to save his head from the Green Knight, or so he thinks.
Madeline L’engle is a young adult writer I grew up reading. I received this book as a present when I was ten-years-old. It’s about sixteen-year-old Vickie who gets to go with her friend Adam’s Aunt Serena on a trip to Antartica for a birthday present. Not to mention, Vickie’s friend/crush Adam will be working at one of the research stations in Antartica. Vickie discovers many of the people on the trip are not what they seem and her trip turns into an adventure both thrilling and dangerous. I reread this book so many times when I was young. I wanted to be like Vickie and travel. Also, I loved the poetry in the book. It’s superb.
Not a reading book. But a handy book to have as a writer. Once you’re out of English classes you can forget a whole lot of terms you learned to describe in a poem or book. Or, when writing an essay and you need to define what “alliterative” means, it’s all in here. This is probably on the internet now, but it was useful in my English degree and I still use it to this day.
Thanks for reading. Also, many thanks to La Duchesse D’erat for this weeks list challenge.
As I stand here at your grave I can’t believe you were right, Davey was trying to kill me. I just wish he hadn’t gotten to you first.
Six months ago I took off on a horse having been raped by Davey and arrived at a police station. I was given a rape kit at the nearest hospital and evidence of Davey’s DNA was taken from my body. Davey was already in the polices’ system and they matched the DNA on my body to his.
At his ranch, they found a hunting knife with your blood on it and a sawed off shot gun which he admitted he was eventually going to kill me with.
It’s not fair Bernice, that your ghost should save me and we should find your body in a fridge in Davey’s basement as if you weren’t a person, my sister. I love you forever and think I am going away from my condo for awhile, maybe up to San Francisco, I always wanted a house there.