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!
“When the comet hit, the town lit up like a Christmas tree. The holidayswere usually uneventful so sister Bernadette was surprised when it destroyed the Abbey. It made her think, “. . .her last dash to the mall [with her two friends had] had unforeseen consequences.”
The sisters near this town were an austere group of nuns. Their Christmas celebration consisted of countless hours stuck in mass. Dinner was no different from any other time of year, except each nun got a piece of disgustingly hard fruit cake. Bernadette was blessed to have two friends who made it possible for her to last through each lacklustre day at the Abbey.
Sister Sara and sister Pauline, had driven with Bernadette to the shopping center in town, deciding to buy each other Christmas presents this year — though it was frowned uponat the Abbey. Then, Pauline had said the fated words outloud:
“You know, I’m thinking of leaving the Abbey. I don’t think Our Saviour would’ve liked such an hateful and bitter place. I wish the process of leaving was somehow easier. ”
Bernadette and Sara had nodded in agreement and that’s when the comet hit the Abbey. All three sisters had grimaced and crossed themselves.
“I didn’t want all those nuns to die, but I guess when God answers prayers, he reallyanswers them,” Pauline said shocked.
Despite their genuine sorrow at the deaths of their other sisters (most of them) a small smile touched the lips of all three friends.
They threw off their habits and never looked back. Clearly, this was a sign from God.
Lauren worked at the Starbucks until 12:00 am at night. She thought after a time, she would feel safer and more comfortable walking home in the dark. Her apartment was only four-blocks away.
This evening she felt particularly on edge and the noise of metal dropping somewhere nearby, echoed in the night.
Lauren began to shake, she had one block to go when she started to run. Then there was only the front door to get into her apartment. She hurriedly opened the door and screamed when she felt someone touch her arm.
“Calm down Lauren, it’s only me. Your neighbour Alice. I’m headed over to my sisters. Brandy and her kids are all ill with the flu and I’m going to help her with the little ones.”
“Oh Alice,” Lauren said trembling. She squeezed Alice’s arm, happy she was there. “I’m sorry about Brandy and her kids, I didn’t mean to freak out on you. It scares me walking home in the dark alone.”
Alice clicked her tongue, “A girl of your age shouldn’t be alone at night.” When she bared her wolf-like teeth, Lauren knew it was too late.
“The Judgement card calls for a period of reflection and self-evaluation. Through meditation or quiet reflection, you may come to a point of deep understanding about the common themes throughout your life and what you can do or change to avoid these situations in the future. Judgement tells you that you are close to reaching a significant stage in your own journey. . .”
“I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you,” Jared told his girlfriend Ashlen. The words tasted bitter in his mouth. He hated having to apologize to her; it made him panic.
“Are you really? I’ve heard that so many times before from you, Jared. Are you sorry because I caught you or sorry for flirting with Sara and leading her on?”
Jared stared at his feet and scrunched his eyes. He didn’t mean to flirt with Sara. She was one of thosegirls, the kind who put out easily and hit on every guy she thought attractive.
“I’m sorry Ashlen. I don’t like Sara that way, she’s just like that you know –a whore; she hits on every guy and probably sleeps with many of them too,” Jared said.
“Well, why didn’t you brush her off right away?”
He shrugged, sighing.”She doesn’t mean anything to me. I love you Ashlen and I’ve been with you two-years; I’ve told you — I want to be with you forever.”
Ashlen blushed, Jared had said exactly the right words. But something he said about Sara earlier, bothered her.
“Okay, I forgive you for flirting with Sara, but don’t let it happen again,” she said. “If Sara bothers you too much when we see her, wave to me or text me in the bar — I’ll get rid of her fast. I don’t flirt with random guys, Jared. So, don’t flirt with girls like Sara, is what I’m trying to tell you.”
“But I will say this: I think when you and your guy friends pay attention to Sara –her sexually explicit behaviour, her itty–bitty clothes, and when you guys all let her touch you —-you’re all leading her on. She thinks she has a chance with one of you –but you all have girlfriends or fiancées.”
Jared started to get mad. “It is what it is, Ashlen. I can’t control how Sara acts. If you forgive me, let’s not talk about her. I don’t want to spend our night talking about some girl who doesn’t matter to me. I’m grabbing another beer.”
(10 minutes later)
“Jared, you know you not wanting to talk about Sara, it’s kind of a problem for me at the moment,” Ashlen said.
“Listen, you and your buddies call Sara a slut and you’re really just being disrespectful to her as a woman. When you openly call her names, especially to her face, you’re encouraging her to act exactly like the names you guys call her.”
“If you ignored Sara and acted uninterested and normal around her, she’d stop acting how she does.You guys flirt with her and call her names, instead of finding a way to politely tell her to get lost,” Ashlen explained.
“She’s a skank and isn’t going to change her ways because of how my friends or I treat her,” Jared reasoned.
Ashley punched him in the shoulder, not too hard, but hard enough.
“What was that for?” Jared asked.
“You’re not paying attention to what I’m saying,” Ashlen remarked. “How you treat Sara, yourjudgement of her, directly correlates to how she acts. Understand ‘College Boy?'”
Jared started to speak and Ashlen cut him off, “She’s not a slut. No woman is, even if she chooses to sleep around. I mean presumably if she is doing it as a career, it’s different. But what I’m saying is, don’t call women degrading names, especially, when you don’t know anything about Sara forsure.”
“She may talk and flirt a good game, but it doesn’t mean she’s slept with all these guys you think she has. I think most of her bad reputation is nasty rumours. She thinks acting how she does will get her friends and guys –what she believes is the right kind of attention.”
Ashley studied her nails before continuing to talk: “I don’t like Sara because she hits on guys she knows have girlfriends, namely you. But on the other hand, I can’t judge her entire character because I don’t know her. I wouldn’t want to be a called a whore over rumours about me. And I don’t want to put-down other women just because,” Ashlen said hands on her hips.
Jared listened to Ashlen, he knew she’d be mad if he didn’t. Plus, what she said made sense strangely. He wouldn’t want anyone to judge him, when they didn’t know what circumstances he came from. He probably wouldn’t care, but he knew from having a younger sister, judgement of a girl’s reputation was exceptionally tearful and mean.
“Okay fine. I’ll be nicer to Sara and I won’t flirt with her again,” he said carefully, hoping he’d chosen the right phrase for Ashlen.
She smiled and hugged him around the waist, her head resting on his chest. “Yeah, in fact, if she tries again, lets tell her she doesn’t have to act how she does to have friends or a boyfriend –in a nice way.”
“Sara may not care, but then again, it might help her and us.” Ashlen mused. “She can actually find a guy who’s single and likes her, and leave my and my friends’ boyfriend’s and fiancé’s alone.”
Jared nodded subtly, taking a swig of his second beer.”We could try. Maybe it’s better coming from you, than me?” he said.
“I think those words coming from a guy might be more effective actually. We’ll see how it goes.”
“Okay babe. Sounds like a good plan for next time we run into Sara. Do you want to go home now?” Jared asked, draining his beer.
“Yeah,” Ashlen said. “2:00 am is a long night with work in the afternoon tomorrow. I’ll drive don’t worry.”
The couple headed home, satisfied with how they would handle Sara in the future.
Welcome back to my bi-weekly interview series. Today I am interviewing the talentedpoet, wonderful person, and beautiful lady, Katrina Sarah Cain. Please check-out her blog TheDarkest Fairytalehere: www.thedarkestfairytale.wordpress.com
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself Katrina?
Well what can I say about myself? My name is Katrina and I live in England. I’m twenty-four-years old. I work in data analysis and I’m secretly, a massive geek. I have a interest in psychology, philosophy, and any science really. I’m also an identical twin. My hobbies include Pokemon-Go, gaming, keeping fit, and I’m a general adventure seeker. If I had to describe myself I would say I’m fun, sarcastic, a realist, and wise with oldfashioned morals.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging? What Does It Mean to You? Why Do You Write?
I began blogging in January 2016. I started my blog without any intention of anythingspecial coming out, but then I began writing poetry and it turned my blogging into writing-therapy for myself. I do apologize to my readers for some of my random pieces.
My sister initially, told me blogging and writing was great therapy for a person. I thought, ‘Why not? We all need some therapy?’ I had never written much before, hence, my terrible grammar, but once I started writing I realized I had a talent for it and I began to enjoy it.
Poetry to me isn’t just words, it’s an expression of what we’re unable to say out loud and it helps us relate to others.When I started writing it wasn’t only about rhyming orpoetry, it was about reaching out to others, people with similar experiences to me and still go through these experiences. If one person can find inspiration or peace in what I write, then it means everything to me.
“I started writing because my sister told me it was great therapy for a person. I thought, ‘Why not? We all need some therapy?’ . . .When I began writing it wasn’t only about rhyming or poetry, it was reaching out to others . . .If one person can find inspiration or peace in what I write, then it means everything to me.” – Katrina Sarah Cain
3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
I cannot say anyone in particular, inspires me. I aim to write most days, but I often get frequent writer’s block. I think most of you can relate. I’ll be sitting at home thinking of what to write and nothing appears. Then, I’ll be preparing tea and my mind turns into a rhyming magician and I rush to write down what I’m thinking. My poetry is either writtenat the most random of moments or when I am feeling low or written when I have somethingspecific on my mind to write about.
4. Do You Find There Is A Time Of Day You Most Like to Write? What Are Your Most Current Poetry Projects? Are You Planning On Publishing Any Of Your Work?
The time of day I end up writing is probably, in the evening or at night when my minddecides it’s nocturnal and comes alive. I don’t have any current projects, only what I put my blog; poetry published when the the words appear for me to write. No, I’m not planning on publishing my work. At the moment, I blog and that’s all.
” . . .[M]y mind turns into a rhyming magician and I write down what I’m thinking. My poetry is either written the most random of moments or when I am feeling low or written when I have something specific on my mind to write about.” – Katrina Sarah Cain
5. Do You Have A Writing Process? Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Genres?
My writing process is unorganized and unpredictable. I say no, I don’t have any preferred writing or reading genres but then I look back on my blog and I see some pieces are rather dark. I think when I write poetry, I stick to my perspective of life and the reality of life which many people tend to miss; the things we long for but don’t actually express verbally or otherwise.
6. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Writers or Bloggers?
Yes, it’s your blog and it’s your words. Not everyone will understand how you mind works, but as longs as you enjoy writing keep at it. No one should judge you for your self-expression, but yourself. There’s always magic in artistic expression, chose to express yourself how you want to in your writing (on your blog) and in life.
” . . .I stick to my perspective of life and the reality of life which many people tend to miss of what happens in everyday life; the things we long for but don’t actually express verbally or otherwise.” – Katrina Sarah Cain
7. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Links From You Blog, Some Of Your Favorite Or Most Loved Pieces?
If my tears
If my heart
If I’d fled
To battle my
To give me
(July 24, 2016 – Katrina Sarah Cain)
Here Are Some Links To More Pieces of Poetry By Katrina:
Thank You to Katrina for sharing her journey beginning to write poetry, usingblogging as therapy to help herself and help others relate to similar life issues, and providinginspiration through her fantastic writing. The link to her blog is here again: The Darkest Fairytale. Please make sure to visit her blog and follow, I guarantee you will not be sorry, her poetry is amazing!
Would you like to be interviewed for my bi-weekly writer/blogger interview? I would love to read and learn about you, your writing, and your writing process and so would myfollowers. If you would like to be interviewed please reach-out to me throughmyContact Page and I will email you some interview questions. Thank you for reading and have a lovely September!
“This is the first time I had ever had to sign for a letter addressed to Occupent.” The letter was nothing special, only a neighbour complaining about the billboard this company pays me to have on my lawn. The company mails me a cheque for $500 a month to leave their horrid billboard painting alone. I try not think about it or look at it much.
If Gary in the Condo next to me doesn’t like it, too bad for him. I put his most recent letter in the garbage. Clever of him to have it sent to me as ‘occupant;’ he knows my name well.
As I am leaving my house for work, I glance at the billboard. The lady on it looks like some nightmarish clown. At least, my niece thought so when she visited with my sister. Sara hated to sleepover because outside the spare bedroom window is the billboard. I love Sara but the billboard stays, it pays part of my mortgage. I don’t mind switching rooms with Sara for the night she comes to visit me once a month.
On my way to the car, I see my neighbour Gary. I wave and run over to my billboard smiling and giving the billboard a thumbs up. Gary, an elderly man in his seventies, scowls at me. I wave to him again and drive off squeeling my tires and honking at Gary who shakes his fist and swears at me loudly as I pass him in my car.
I don’t care. If Gary paid me $500 a month to not have the ugly billboard on my lawn, well that would be the only reason I would be getting rid of the billboard. Until then, the hideous monument remains on my lawn.