Interview with Kathy Dunn for ‘Shepherding All God’s Creatures’ a Christian Animal Organization #interview #nonfiction #animalrights #Christianity


Welcome to another biweekly interview for my interviews series. I apologize I am behind with interviews as other projects have been keeping me extremely busy. Today I have a wonderful interview for you with Kathy Dunn, her team, and their blog for the cause of bringing awareness for animals in a Christian context. Kathy’s blog is called:  Shepherding All God’s Creatures


Credit: Kathy Dunn (From Left ) – Roselyne Smith and Kathy Dunn

1. What is Your Name and the Name of Your Cause? Where are you located? 

My Name is Kathy Dunn, and I love animals! Our cause is an animal welfare ministry, Shepherding All God’s Creatures. Others in SAGC’s ministry and myself, advocate for animals from a perspective of faith. We believe since God made us all, it is best to advocate for these animals keeping a Christian perspective in mind!  

My team includes myself, Kathy Dunn, from Minnesota, US; Roslyne Smith from Leeds, England; Marcello Newall from Italy; Jessica Lopez from Florida, US; and Philip Guyott from London, England. 


2. Please Tell Us About Your Cause and What You Are Trying to Accomplish?

We are Christians who love animals. I (Kathy) started a spiritual venture a few years ago that led me to blog. One day I was awakened to the industrialization and incorporating of animals into factory settings. I realized animals are exploited on every level by man for factory farms for food, the skin and fur trades, vivisection, puppy mills, hunting, and animals in entertainment. In the wild, animals face unprecedented pressure just to survive; many species are endangered and face extinction. In homes, some people mistreat and abuse family pets.

Our organization seeks to accomplish certain goals including: 

  • Using a Biblical approach, to share Christ’s love for us and all of creation, following the Holy Spirit’s lead, and using the truth of scripture. 
  • To focus on animals and exploring their role in creation as well as to explore what mankind’s role is as a caretaker of creation and the earth in general according to The Bible.
  • To provide resources on our blog page so that readers have a place to find educational material on the topic of animal exploitation and abuse. They can also find information on how to become involved and take action against animal abuse. There is also information on diet and how to live a Vegan life-style.
  • To encourage others to speak out to church leaders about the need for Creation Care Ministries within the church.
  • To serve as a tool for people to take information to their church bodies, as churches awaken to their role of caring for creation. On our site, we hope to provide some material that leaders can use to help them create ‘Creation Care Ministries’ for their church.
  • To work alongside the animal welfare movement in their most important work, bringing the love of Christ and knowledge of scripture with us to minister to people who do not know God. For those who don’t know Him, we invite you to take a look and make an informed decision as to what this life all about!
  • Our ministry encourages people to have a heart for Jesus and for His truth, that God will show up for them (Jeremiah 29:13) and is real. He is there to comfort people and loves people and animals. His intent was not that mankind would exploit animals but care for them. We believe Jesus Christ is the answer to overcoming every kind of evil plaguing this troubled world.

 “Our cause is an animal welfare ministry, Shepherding All God’s Creatures. Others in the SAGC ministry and myself, advocate for animals from a perspective of faith. We believe since God made us all, it is best to advocate for these animals keeping a Christian perspective in mind!” – Kathy Dunn


Kathy Dunn- Mercello
Credit: Kathy Dunn (Right) Marcello Newal

3. When Did You Begin Writing and/or Blogging for Your Cause and Why?

I started our blog in December 2013, when I asked Roslyne to join me in my endeavor. In 2014, we asked Marcello to join us. As well, in 2017, we asked Jessica to join as an author and prayer event leader. We are in process of bringing aboard Philip as an author as well as our Information Technology blog and web designer.


4. Why is Your Cause Meaningful for You and Your Team? How Does it Help Other People and Animals?

Our cause is meaningful as it fulfills our desire to help animals according to God and His word in the Bible. It is a calling I have felt since the onset. I have heard from others who follow us, how our ministry is helpful for people in finding support and understanding through our faith-based cause, focusing on animal welfare. 

Our prayer group, in particular, provides a safe place where all of us can pray together for animals and the earth. It helps us support one another in our common goal of helping the animal kingdom, and releasing the Holy Spirit into a hurting world to bring hope, love, mercy, kindness, and peace for all of God’s creation.


“Our prayer group, in particular, provides a safe place where all of us can pray together for animals and the earth. It helps us support one another, in our common goal of helping the animal kingdom, and releasing the Holy Spirit into a hurting world” – Kathy Dunn


Kathy Dunn - Jessica Lopez
Credit: Kathy Dunn – Picture of Jessica Lopez

5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue in Your Cause? Why Is Your Cause Important to You and Your Team?

I am motivated by my faith in Jesus Christ and other people whom I share my personal walk with Christ with. Reading The Bible and studying scripture – the written Word – as well as the spoken and Living Word of Jesus also inspires me. As well, sermons from going to church and other blogs add to my inspiration. Knowing about animal suffering and how it break the hearts of my team at SAGC and God’s heart, leads me to urgently want to share our message.



SAGC’s cause is significant because a lot depends upon it!  The spiritual world manifests itself in the physical world. War, hatred, bloodshed, and death, were never intended to be experienced by people or animals. One day, Jesus is going to return to the physical world as he says he will in the Bible. “Our reward,” Jesus says, “is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:12) for following and believing in Him.

Our organization believes that all who entrust their lives to Christ will one day live in perfect peace with one another, the earth and animal kingdom, the way it was originally intended to be (Isaiah 11:6-9). This is our goal as Christians and people who love animals.


6. How Does Your Blog and Writing Habits Fit with Your Cause? 

We hope and pray that our blog raises awareness of caring for animals and creation from a Biblical perspective. We want it to encourage people of faith to reach out to their communities and leaders, insisting that they take up animal and earth welfare issues. People are responsible for these issues such as any other social justice issue that affects people such as poverty and sickness.

We desire to bridge the gap between secular animal welfare and faith-based outreach, showing the world that Jesus cares about animals and the earth and  drawing people to Him so the can achieve salvation through Christ.


“We believe that all who believe and entrust their lives to Christ will one day live in perfect peace with one another, the earth and animal kingdom, the way it was originally intended to be (Isaiah 11:6-9). This is our goal as Christians and people who love animals.” – Kathy Dunn


7. Have You Published Anything On Your Cause Outside of Blog Posts? Have You Held Any Special Events for Your Cause or Do You Have Future Plans to Do So? 

In 2016, the article, “God, Love, Peace and the Animal Kingdom” was published in the annual edition of Twin Cities, Veg Living, a publication by Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA). They are a local animal welfare organization dedicated to building community and raising awareness to the suffering of animals in factory farms, and advocating for a Vegan lifestyle.

CAA also interviewed me for a Podcast, “Christianity and Advocating for Animals” This link is also found on the SAGC blog page under “Feature Podcast.”

SAGC hosts ‘Animal Christian Concern’ through Roslyne’s group in the UK. You can also check out this book compiled by Roselyne Louis Smith:A Collection of Animal Christian Concern Articles” which is available on Amazon. 

For Special Events:  We host Prayer Events Online and recently, SAGC absorbed “Christian Vegan Prayer Calls Group” and their membership which was led by Jessica Lopez. We will host the prayer conference call which was the main feature of Jessica’s prior group on a monthly basis (to begin with). Members can join in this call for prayer as the prayer leader (Jessica) leads them.

For the future, there are many considerations. After attending the’ Creature Conference’ hosted by Sarx in the UK (March 18, 2017), I have been feeling inspired to put together a similar event here in America. This event would be dedicated to bringing faith groups together to strategize on common goals of animal and earth care issues, while unifying, finding support, renewal, and encouragement for the cause of our blog as well as our calling as Christians in the world.


6. Can You Briefly Describe How Your Blog and Your Cause Began?

In 2010, I discovered what was happening in our world to animals in the fur industry. I watched an undercover video of animals in China being skinned alive for their fur.  I was so shocked; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

It led me on a journey seeking all the realities of our industries where animals are concerned; I wanted to know what was going on in our world. I discovered many of the various uses mankind utilizes animals for, treating them as “things” at their disposal. I kept asking myself “where is the church?” This took me on a spiritual journey to find that answer and the SAGC blog was born three short years later.


“In 2010, I discovered what was happening in our world to animals in the fur industry. I watched an undercover video of animals in China being skinned alive for their fur.  I was so shocked; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.” – Kathy Dunn


Kathy Dunn - Philip Guyott (right)
Credit: Kathy Dunn – (Right) Philip Guyott

7. What Is Involved In Supporting Your Cause and Blogging for It? 

Staying on top of the issues and current news around the world in regards to animal welfare issues is vital. I do a lot of this work by gleaning through other animal welfare organizations and what is happening with them. I also study the Bible and read the related material and educational books both from a faith/theological perspective as well as from a secular animal welfare venue. Networking with other people and other organizations with God’s guidance is also important!


8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for other Bloggers/Writers who are Blogging/Writing for A Cause?

Follow your passion where God leads you! Read, study, don’t be quick to judge but find out as much about your cause and its background including: people involved, the culture, the history of the cause, and other particulars about your cause as to gain as much truthful knowledge and understanding as possible.You will find confidence approaching your cause this way, knowing you know the material thoroughly. 

A favorite piece of scripture of mine is:  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, Godliness; and to Godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”  (2 Peter 1:5-7) 

God has given us everything we need to work with for supporting causes such as animal welfare in a Christian context.


9. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share with Readers of This Interview, Pertinent to Your Cause or Your Organization? 

Always be ready to go the extra mile!  Causes are human made – all social justice issues are the result of a fallen world and man rejecting God. It is easy to fall under the influence of the powers and principalities of evil at work in this world.

Peace eludes us, as we live in a world in disagreement where some people think they judge rightly and are willing to defend what they wrongly believe at any cost. Leave the judging and revenge to God who judges rightly. 


“Peace eludes us, as we live in a world in disagreement where some people think they judge rightly and are willing to defend what they wrongly believe at any cost. Leave the judging and revenge to God who judges rightly.” – Kathy Dunn


10. For Fun, Please Tell Us Your Three Favorite Blogs?

  •  Greg Boyd — A theologian, Bible scholar, and teaching pastor at Woodland Hills Church; he is the author of this blog. His wonderful teaching keeps me seeking and ever hungry for truth and knowledge of God
  • Swords To Plowshares — Craig Wescoe is a wonderful writer in his knowledge of scripture and our Biblical responsibilities for the earth and animal kingdom
  • Animals Are Feeling Beings Too — LeeAnn’s blog is uplifting with a serious side. I love all the photos and videos she finds and shares.  She is very creative and her posts are short and to the point.

11. Please Share with Us Some Favourite Link From Your Cause’s Blog:

Praying The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)

OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN:
Father, we come to you now in the midst of great division among the people in the United States and around the world.

HALLOWED BE THY NAME:
First, we honor you as Creator of all and PRAISE YOU for all that you have made! Without you, we can do nothing (Joh 15:5). We want to put on display the glory of the Father by bringing about the rule and will of God on earth – guide us in doing so and protect us as we work at it with the Spirit’s guidance.

THY KINGDOM COME:
In us and through us, with us and without us, because of us, for the animals the earth, the downtrodden, abused, voiceless, marginalized among us so that we are an example of Christ for those who live by the power of the sword, who are living by the patterns of this world, that they also might humble themselves and repent and find you, Jesus; shower your Spirit upon us, enable us to be that example of Christ the world needs to see, guide us in studying what that means and to apply it in ALL we do – You are the answer to ALL that ails mankind.

THY WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN:
When I think of your will being done on earth as it is in heaven, I think of the Garden of Eden and what a pristine, peaceful world would look like for ALL that you created. I think of how we would treat each other, the animals and the earth, under your complete Lordship and that love is the goal – may we all pray for our world according to this model and the visions he gives each of us. Help us use our imaginations when we pray and in how we live out what we see in as much as we can in this broken world by the power of the Holy Spirit; help us love as Christ loved. We are asking that your reign is accomplished now in us, through us, in spite of us, and without us!

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD:
We ask that all that we need daily to remain steadfast in a dark world ruled by Satanic powers will be supplied and that we will utterly rely on the Father to trust him for all that we will be needing as we work to bring about your kingdom on earth.

AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS:
Lord that we would extend the same forgiveness to others that you extend to us, unworthy though we all are. We are admonished by you to extend grace to all, including those we consider our enemies (maybe there is no love lost for animal abusers, or perhaps in light of the American election, a candidate who won the election that we may feel is our vehement enemy) – Lord not that we sway to and fro with the powers that be in every kind of wickedness or agree necessarily, but that we stand our ground on the basis of what Jesus taught, act like he did when he came against enemies, and that we leave the final judgment of a person’s character and any revenge for wrongs done up to the Father. As Micah reminds us, we are to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” Micah 6:8

AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE:
Lord, please protect us from the hardships that accompany our kingdom work; yet when they come as they will in this war zone in which we live, strengthen us to place all our hope and faith in Jesus and to carry on, knowing that like Paul said, no matter the situation, whether well fed or hungry, with plenty or little…. we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:12, 13); enable us to put on all the armor of God (Eph 6:10-20) and having done all to stand; and Lord that we will not give up, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not! (Gal 6:9)

In the Holy name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, AMEN


For an excellent article on the Lord’s Prayer, go here.

Thank you for reading and following our blog, we hope you are blessed by it and will share it with others!  ~Kathy


Here Are Some More Links to Kathy’s Blog Here:


Thanks to Kathy Dunn and all the members of her blog and organization. The preservation of the earth and the ethical treatment of animals is an extremely important issue in today’s world so thank you for sharing your cause with us and from your unique Christian perspective as well. Here is the link to Kathy’s Home Page again: Shepherding All God’s Creatures.


If you would like to have your blog or writing featured on my biweekly interviews please reach out to me on my blog Contact Page. I am happy to interview writers/bloggers in most any kind of writing, fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and any kind of blog theme including blog pages for causes such as animal welfare.  See You Again Soon!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

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Interview With Simon Farnell


Welcome to another bi-weekly interview. I’m excited to share with you today a writer and blogger by the name Simon Farnell from the blog: Planet Simon. Ensure you check-out his site. He is an avid and imaginative science-fiction and fantasy fan who writes superbly. I enjoy his Titan Mystery Serial and his thoughtful and interesting articles on the The Solar System.


simon-farnell
Simon Farnell

1. Hi Simon, Please Tell Us About Yourself:

My name is Simon Farnell and I come from the UK. I’ve lived here all of my life and I’ve rarely been away. The only time I’ve been away from the UK is for work. I’m a nearly forty-two-year -old man who grew up with a great imagination and a poor understanding of math.

Nevertheless, I became an engineer and started working with electronics, soldering, wiring, and fixing things. After many years some crazy person thought I should design electronics and through much blood, sweat, and tears, I still am.

I have always loved the outdoors and I have an avid sense of adventure in the natural world outside my back door. I’ve climbed numerous mountains, sailed around on the sea, and canoed to different places. This sense of exploration and discovery shows in my tastes of reading, films, music, and writing.

I’ve always loved Star Wars from when I was young and I love the science-fiction and fantasy genres. Through the years my love for these genres has shown especially in my taste in music. I listen to wonderful tracks that take me on great adventures.

One day I realized I have a vivid imagination and that maybe I should write some of my thoughts down. That’s how it began. 


planet-simon
Simon Farnell

2. When Did You Start Writing and Blogging?

I started blogging in 2012 when a friend I was working with suggested should write and share my thoughts as “I have something to say.” I didn’t blog much at first but I had a few ideas which I posted. Looking back on some of these first posts, I see some of it was terrible. I struggled working with WordPress and almost gave up on my blog until I figured out how to use the WordPress platform and discovered its power.

When my mother died in 2014,  I discovered I had all these emotions inside me and while I didn’t pour them into my blog, I found writing to be an escape for me, a kind of therapy. I believe it’s still helping me find the real me inside myself.


“When my mother died in 2014,  I discovered I had all these emotions inside me and while I didn’t pour them into my blog, I found writing to be an escape for me, a kind of therapy. I believe it’s still helping me find the real me inside myself.” – Simon Farnell


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

I write because I feel I need to write. I have stories I want to tell, worlds to discover, and feelings to pour out. When we read a story it’s someone’s story or imagination in written form and poetry feelings in written form. While I didn’t start my blog to write poetry, I have written some pieces which are my feeling painted by my fingers into words.


4. Where Do You Find Your Own Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer Writing?

A large part of my inspiration is from music. I’ve always loved movie themes and music soundtracks without words.  I’ve discovered the likes of Two Steps from Hell and Audiomachine which take me to places only my mind can go.

I like to write anytime,  but the evening is easier; however, even that is difficult at the moment – so I write any time I can.


“I write because I feel I need to write. I have stories I want to tell, worlds to discover, and feelings to pour out. When we read a story it’s someone’s story or imagination in written form and poetry feelings in written form.” – Simon Farnell


6. What Are Your Current Writing Projects or Do You Have Any Future Projects Planned?

A. For my blog I’ve been writing a serial story called the Titan Mystery – the title is crap and I’m going to re-work it later. The series is about a huge ship that bends time. It traps another ship and its crew in a time bubble and the story is of how the crew escapes.

Here is a link to the beginning of The Titan Mystery 

planet-simon-the-titan-mystery1


Continued . . .

B. I’ve also found that Minecraft is a useful vessel for telling stories and I have a series with Minecraft Steve:

Here is a link to Simon’s Minecraft Steve and the Lost City Part 4.

simon-minecraft-steve


Continued . . .

C. I’ve also been posting a series about conspiracy theories which have come to life and I study them to test their viability. It’s amazing how many mysteries there are out there and scary ones too.

Apart from these serials,  I have two books that I have started and I am slowly working through them. I’m not saying anything about them yet, but I’m hoping future posts will have information and updates on the books. Lets say, they should be pretty amazing.

Here is a link to Simon’s SciFi Files: Lunar Atmosphere

simon-sci-fi-files


7. Please Tell Us About Your Process: 

My writing process is to write what comes to mind or what I feel. I like to write more than I like to edit and I think this shows. My viewpoint is, spending time editing is time wasted which could be spent writing or something else. I know that when I write my book(s) that will have to change and I will have to edit.


8. What Are Your Preferred Genres of Reading And Writing? Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?

I like to read and write science-fiction and fantasy stories, this way I can let my mind go anywhere and anytime. I believe writers and bloggers should write themselves first. I know that if you want to sell you need to have a product. But make sure you write for you most of all.


“My writing process is to write what comes to mind or what I feel. I like to write more than I like to edit and I think this shows. My viewpoint is, spending time editing is time wasted which could be spent writing or something else.” – Simon Farnell


9. Do You Have Any More Pieces of Writing You’d Like To Share With Us?

This is more poetic piece that I wrote recently based on thoughts and feeling I was having at the time:

Torrents of Memories

By Simon Farnell.

simon-water
Simon Farnell

I stand absorbed by the falling water. Like moments in time they come and go so fast. Lost to the pool below, mixed together in an inseparable mix.

Yet my pool of thoughts can be separated, in mixed from the rest to bring g back moments in a drop, feelings lost to be rediscovered.

Soon I’m lost to every falling drop, memories crash over me in a crescendo and the moments lost in the torrent until I can feel them again.

Simon ☺


Continued . . .

This one is more humorous, based piece on someone I was working with:

 


Thank you Simon for answering the interview questions and sharing with us your fascinating science-fiction writing, fantasy writing, and thoughts on the world. If you would like to be apart of my bi-weekly interview series, please reach out to me on my Contact Page on Mandibelle16.

Until Next Time!


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

Interview With Christopher Leo Couch


Hey everyone. I’m thrilled to share with you an interview on a wonderful writer, teacher, and blogger this first week of July. His name is Christopher Leo Couch of Clcouch123. Please check-out his blog, he’s a fascinating, kind, and learned writer.


Christopher Leo Couch
Christoper Leo Couch
  1. Please Tell Us About Yourself.

My name is Christopher Leo Couch. Christopher because my mother liked the Winnie-the-Pooh stories and Leo because it’s my father’s first name and his father’s and so on back. My last name is Couch because centuries ago, members of my clan made cushions for medieval furniture, furniture otherwise made of only hard stone and brick.

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky; much of my family is from and in the Southern USA.  My immediate family moved to Pittsburgh when I was young, then to Cincinnati. I moved back to Pennsylvania to work. I live in Mechanicsburg, a small town (borough) near Harrisburg (the state capital).

I grew up with four siblings, three brothers and my sister. I am the middle child. As such, I had to be an older child or a younger child, depending on the nature of the situation. The nature of the situation was rarely made clear to me. I never knew which child I was supposed to be and when. As a child, I had a busy imagination. I enjoyed stories and writing them. I made little worlds out of my train set and other toys such as models of spaceships or Lincoln Logs.


2. What Type of Profession Did You End Up Going Into?

I went into teaching, which became the substance of my work. I taught college while in college. Later, I taught my way through Graduate School and teaching paid the bills. I discovered I had great concerns for the accomplishments and growth of my students. In my initial studies and since, I developed a learner-centered approach to teaching that has evolved by experience and further training.

As an educator, I’ve worked in schools and churches. I’ve worked with all ages of students. I find it appealing to teach a range of all ages. I enjoy working  with babies, children, youth, and adults. I have degrees in Communications, and English, and I’ve studied religion. I’ve also, taught both public speaking and writing.

I am Christian though probably a lousy evangelist. I enjoy meeting those from other religious traditions and learning about their faith. I spend time with agnostics and atheists as well. I can articulate my faith well and I’m a devotee of the apologist C. S. Lewis; however, I believe if we’re all going to last in this world, we’re going to have to respect each other first. Rather than attempting to talk someone into my way of thinking and believing, I prefer to listen and respond. Then, I’m able to learn and relate to where others are in their spiritual beliefs.


” . . .I believe if we’re going to last in this world, we’re going to have to respect each other first. Rather than attempting to talk someone into my way of thinking and believing, I prefer to listen and respond. Then, I’m able to learn and relate to where others are in their spiritual beliefs.” – Christopher Leo Couch


3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?

About a year ago, I had heart surgery. My recovery was slow and I couldn’t do much of anything. One activity I could do was write, so journaling became a daily practice. My spiritual director (once) had recommended I keep a blog. Why he suggested this, I’m not sure. I had already found WordPress, but I began to write on my blog more often after his suggestion. I enrolled in Blogging University (the WordPress offered courses). I also participated in a WordPress poetry writing class. I built a basic blog, giving myself enough options so that I could write blog posts, read the blog posts of others, and respond to other WordPress blogger’s comments.

I haven’t done much in a sophisticated fashion with my blog concerning graphics and other technical aspects, but I’ve been posting and corresponding daily for several months now and am learning as I go.


4. What Does Writing Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write?

Poetry is an impulse for me. I write poetry because I have to. It’s the reason I write, I think. Poetry is the way I meet the world. Maybe someone else somewhere, said this more profoundly, but for me this is how I can explain it. I write poetry to explore, as I imagine many do with this form. Poetry can be an exercise—a way to play with words—which is fine. I play that way. Usually, there’s more at work behind the poetry, even in the playful parts. I write to speak, to say something to the world, and to engage the world.


“Poetry is an impulse for me. I write poetry because I have to. It’s the reason I write . . .I write poetry to to explore, as I imagine many do with this form. Poetry can be an exercise -a way to play with words . . . I write to speak, to say something to the world, and to engage the world.” – Christopher Leo Couch.


5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration to Write? Do You Find There Is a Time of Day You Most Like to Write?

Many things inspire me to write such as current events, a moment of beauty, and the concerns of myself and other people. I’m inspired to write when words come to mind or heart which I cannot let go of.

Currently, I most like to write in the early evening and revise in the afternoon the next day. I often enjoy writing first thing in the morning, when my mind is new and I encounter the world in an open way (or as open as the day and I are going to get).


6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Poetry Projects? Any Hopeful Projects You Are Working On?

I’m working on composing a series of psalms. I’m not the first person to express psalms in a new way. I’m not sure how I began working on this project. A psalm, simply put, is a song to God. Perhaps, I was writing out a prayer and thought there might be something lyrical about it. At any rate, I continue working on writing a series if psalms.

It’s also been a dream of mine to study and train for an MFA in Creative Writing. I’ve applied to various programs, though have not worked out a method to afford taking courses in a Creative Writing Program, which is why it’s a dream. But I do have an active, waking dream to lead a creative writing class.

While recovering from my surgery (I must have had more time than I recall), I drafted  a verse novel for a young-adult audience. I have great fondness for the genre and have been delighted to teach it, study it, and simply read it. I’ve written works, often in dramatic voice, for groups and special events; I’d be glad to continue writing works such as this.

I’d love to publish my work, of course. I have mentioned in my blog a dream of mine, to have a collection of my poems published in hardback form. I want my poetry to be a book as the kind of works I look for in bookstores and come upon as treasures abstracted from the mortal—or divine—aspects of earth.


“I want my poetry to be a book just as the kind of works I look for in bookstores and come upon as treasures abstracted from the mortal — or divine — aspects of earth.” – Christopher Leo Couch


7. Have You Published Written Works or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing in the Future?

I published numerous works while in graduate school and in my scholarly life. Most of my work, even poetry, has been published in journals. My favorite of these works is an article about ancient riddles and their use in The Hobbit.

For the last church in which I worked, I wrote a devotional series and for a Lenten observance. I wrote The Way of the Cross—a kind of liturgical writing which has been composed over centuries. If you go to the The Trinity Camp Hill Website, you’ll find my Way of the Cross and the entire experience rendered on line.


8. Can You Briefly Describe the Process You Went Through to Publish or Are Going Through to Have Your Writing Published?

I imagine if I seriously wanted to publish widely, I would need to have a literary agent, if not an advanced (terminal) degree. What I often do, is send my writing to a group which might be interested in printing it. Sometimes I’ve been commissioned to write certain pieces. Sometimes sending your writing to interested parties works and sometimes it doesn’t.

On a side note, I’ve heard there maybe a new planet discovered in our solar system. If so, it’s going to need a name. I posted a poem about my choice of Minerva (Roman god of wisdom), which many of you (thank you) like as well. I also sent my suggestion to NASA. Maybe, they will like my name choice as well?


“Most of my work, even poetry, has been published in journals. My favorite of these works is an article about ancient riddles and their use in The Hobbit.” – Christopher Leo Couch


9. What is Your Writing Process Like?

I’ve described something of my writing process above; I write. It’s not usually so hard, because I know I’ll write stuff that I won’t keep. But I’m still writing. The computer is especially (truly, really) helpful with my writing. I can draft, move things around, and create new saved versions and files. It’s so easy now with the a computer. Sometimes, I wonder how I made it through my Master’s Degree using a typewriter. (A mechanical word-calculating device networked to nothing but the typist).

I usually write in response to something—even if it’s only in wondering why or how. Sometimes, I write something and then put it away. (Again, wonderful computer)  I have many pieces of writing saved and stored on my computer (without proper back-up, I’m sure). At times, writing is difficult, because I am writing about something difficult. The recent death of my close friend is hard to write about. Sometimes writing is more straightforward and other times, writing is like playing. The act of writing is a chore (physically speaking) but I’m fine with it’s physical demands.


10. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles or Genres?

I read poetry, young-adult literature, and regular mysteries. Sometimes I read varied genres for fun and sometimes for work. For work, I read about pedagogy and religion. My favorite mystery works are by Aaron Elkins who sometimes writes with his wife Charlotte Elkins. Charlotte also writes on her own. My sister and I share mystery titles and our reviews of the books we both read. But, young-adult literature crosses pleasure and work, as does poetry.


“Sometimes, I wonder how I made it through my Master’s Degree using a typewriter. (A mechanical word-calculating device networked to nothing but the typist).” – Christopher Leo Couch


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

Write! Don’t wait. Write. Share. Get reader response and write more!

When sharing your writing before revising (and after, since writing is an organic process and not artificially linear), choose those whose opinions about your writing, you generally respect. These opinions do not have to be from folks who are writers.

If you would like to know how to increase your vocabulary when writing — read. You can read anything. I suggest reading writing you like. Rosema from the blog: A Reading Writer writes about wonderful books to read along with meaningful poetry. Please check-out her blog in the link above.


12. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share With Which Is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?

I’d like to thank you, Amanda, for arranging this interview. I’d also like to thank everyone who reads my work. I’d like to thank those with whom I interact with online, because your work invites response.Thank you! Don’t let writing be a mystery which stultifies.  Writing is a mystery—but the good kind. When it’s fair and correct, give credit where credit’s due. Identify sources and inspirations.


“Don’t let writing be a mystery which stultifies. Writing is a mystery –but the good kind. When it’s fair and correct, give credit where credit’s due. Identify sources and inspirations.” – Christopher Leo Couch


  1. Can You Share With Us a Few Links From Your Blog With Some of Your Favorite or Most Loved Pieces? 

The first poem is playfulGrandmama used two words in “Collecting Words,” which I especially like. I use these two-words here:

“Pie Outside Can’t Hide”

By Christopher Leo Couch

Crimp pie crust,

Not too hard, ‘cause,’

Dust to dust.

Enjoy the crimp,

With elf and imp.

Like will-o-the-wisp,

When fall is crisp.

We bake our wares,

To cool on stairs.

Steam sprite-rises,

No surprises.

Wafting dessert:

Magic food alert!


My second poem is more soberly reflective:

“Failing Night”

By Christopher Leo Couch

 Just after five,

I have not been asleep.

Pain shoots through,

My leg, a single line,

Of nerve.

As if a wire was pushed,

Through inside.

Then something threw,

A supernatural switch,

And a low current of too-

Warm electric sting,

Without cessation.

Courses through tired,

Muscle.

Having surrendered the,

Day’s labors into,

Aspiration’s night of,

Negligent awareness.

Barely keeping guard,

Letting go of awake,

To turn into dream.

In hope to re-knit and,

Repair stretched.

Measures in the body,

And the mind.

It’s a cycle that’s supposed,

To work.

Why then is pain,

Ruining what I’ve made?

Not fair.

I want to rest then rise,

With normal consciousness,

Beneath the skin.


More of Christopher’s poetry can be found on his blog here.

Thank you so much Christopher for doing this interview for me. I enjoyed learning about you, your past, and your future aspirations. I wish the best for you in life, completing your MFA in Creative Writing, your psalms, and a hardcover book of poetry.


Thanks for reading this bi-weekly interview series. I have another fantastic interview lined up in the next couple of weeks. If you wished to be interviewed on writing and/or blogging, please reach me on my contact page on the top of my blog.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

A Little of This and Some of That.


  
Well it’s American Thanksgiving already, so soon. It means that Christmas is upon us in full swing. I have my list items I want to purchase Black Friday. Some of it is presents and some of it’s personal. I like to do most of my would be ‘Boxing Day’ shopping now because the deals and selection of items is better. Items tend to be picked over at times after Christmas. So, I have an order for Indigo,  with some cozy throws and Christmas gift bags. I have to send two more boxed gift sets from Lush to two of my close friends. I need to do an order to Purdy’s online for chocolates for everyone. I need to purchase a gift card for my Mom. I was hoping Loft, but I can’t get the gift card buying option to work online. So, I’ll have to see about what I buy for her. Maybe, Cleo’s ? And quite importantly, I need stamps  for Christmas cards. Then for me, there are a few items of clothing I would like from Banana Republic

In Residential Interiors, I am half-way through the furnishing slides I need to know for my Final on Modern Furniture. Starting with Frank Lloyd Wright in 1909 up to a few prolific modern designers in 2013. I need the notes from tonight’s class fast. Then once I have those, I can transfer that information onto the paper copies I am using to study the exam slides. Some of the slides I will have to go look up more information on as the note taker didn’t provide good notes for some pieces of furniture. Then I have to read the remainder of the textbook, three or four chapters I think. Followed by me going through all the modern day slides and comparing them with the notes so I know about those slides incase they are on the Final. Then I need to memorize the information on the final exam slides. So, that is going to be a lot of work. Thank goodness I write in the afternoon next Tuesday. I am looking for a course to take next semester, but so far no such luck. I would like to do something in Winter because it gets so dark outside and you feel stuck inside so it is great to keep busy. I applied for graduation so I will receive my Residential Furnishings Certificate in June 2017. 

I read a book called Wallbanger a chick -lit book by Alice Clayton, last year. Clayton wrote a sequel to this book called Rusty Nailed and a short novella sequal to that called Last Call. In the same series, there are also some other books about different couples. But the three books I have fallen for are about Simon, Carolyn, and Carolyn’s cat Clide. They are hilarious books especially the first one concerning how Simon and Carolyn and their friends meet and end up coupled off. The next two books are about Simon and Carolyn getting together despite the issues of the past, the issues of their friends (who are also in each book), career issues, and cat issues. I’m not a cat person but when Clayton writes at the end of each book from Clides view point it is so funny. So, if you are into literature for women that makes you laugh and you like love stories, check out this triplet from Alice Clayton. If you’ve read her books before, what did you think? 

  
So, starting to plan into December already. I am meeting my friend for coffee Thursday and going on a date Saturday. After my exam, I will be going to lunch with a friend and later to see Mockingjay Part II with my youngest brother and his girlfriend. I also want to see the new Starwars: The Force Awakens it seems more interesting then the last set of movies they made about Starwars. Need to make it to a wine store sometime in there too. Going to get my haircut in December too, so it’s nice for Christmas and all the festivities involved in that. Also, who can forget holiday baking. There is just my parents at home and I now so I’ve cut down a lot but I’m thinking shortbread, spice cookies, turtle squares, and some chocolate chip cookies. We’ll see how much I get made. 

Have a lovely week. 

  

The Happenings of A Woman in Autumn


Fall is one of my favourite times of year, especially this year with the beautiful twenty degree Celsius weather we are receiving in Alberta. I think back to previous years and I am positive I was already wearing a warm winter coat and high boots to walk through the snow. So, if we can just keep this up until December, I’d be happy. 

This previous weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving, just like American Thanksgiving, without the Black Friday. My whole family was over at our house including my brothers, Nathan’s girlfriend, my Grandma, and some Asian friends of my Dad’s. Supper was good, I helped my mom as much as I could. Mom strives to make thanksgiving a healthy meal as much as possible. We still had turkey, perogies, cabbage rolls, and stuffing but we also had a healthy green salad with fruit and pecans, stir fried vegetables, and little baby potatoes in the ovan with a bit of olive oil and more vegetables. We also have to take into consideration that my Dad has to eat gluten-free. So, we have his most desired dessert, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and Dad just doesn’t eat the pie crust. I also managed to bake my Neiman-Marcus cookies where you blend the oatmeal into a powder. They are chocolate chip and pecan cookies. To save ourselves, my Mom and I sent all cookies home with my brothers. 

I also had a fantastic time planning and taking part in a big dinner for my best lady pals at Earls Downtown. We were all seated around a big round wooden table so it was a tad hard to talk to everyone but I think I managed. I was just so happy every lady their made it out.

 Sitting there I realized three of our group were moms of little children and everyone except me was married or had a serious boyfriend. This didn’t particularly bother me but I though about it later, although I miss have someone by your side, I was okay with just being single right now. After four years, it feels right for me to just focus on me and my health and getting that back to a place where I can go out more and also I would like to lose some weight. I miss seeing my good friends more than I do, but life happens and makes it harder to mesh your lives with those you would like to as often as you once did.

I talked to A, that was a big step. He is not mad or upset about what happened when we broke up and I’m glad. I think this was a good thing for us both to do. 

I am also finally, able to concentrate and work on my class after a month of nothing working out. Just in time for the midterm I have notes, pictures of slides, and the textbook so I can study and do well on the midterm Tuesday afternoon. I was able to arrange the exam time for the day, rather, then at night with the class. Next project after this will be an essay on a display of pieces of furniture we might choose to do. I will have to get some research material for this project I think. I am so glad I can do the course from home. Although, I find art history extremely interesting so I would have liked to hear what the professor said about these furniture pieces we’re studying.

Next, week I have the midterm and a blowout and makeup at Icon the next day. It was a groupon I’d bought to use on my birthday, but since I was in hospital at that time I didn’t. I also hope to figure out what is making my teeth so acidic the enamel is disappearing, and to work on losing weight through these 7 minute workouts and healthy clean eating. 

Take care,