Welcome to another Tuesday edition of my interviews series. Today I have another new interview for you, a talented writer, poet and a Go Do Go Cafe Barista, Christine Ray.
I hope you love her blog I have found it fascinating. You can check out some of Christine’s wonderful writing on the topics of Poetry, Erotica, Spoken Word, and for you newbies out there, B & R Advice for New Bloggers.
Before we go any further, I need to introduce Christine’s blog as a whole, it’s called: Brave and Reckless.
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself, Christine?
My name is Christine Ray and I’m from Havertown, Pennsylvania (outside of Philadelphia). I blog at Brave and Reckless. I feel as if sometimes I should call myself the ‘accidental blogger!’ I came to the WordPress blog site to do one piece of writing called: What Every Woman Knows. The piece is based on rape culture, sexual harassment, and sexual trauma and is, sadly, more relevant now more than ever.
Writing that one post literally changed my whole life. I rediscovered that I loved writing. I also love to write poetry and I’m thrilled to be part of an active writing community. My blogging goals include continuing to grow and strengthen Secret First Draft, the Go Dog Go Café and Blood Into Ink, all projects that are very near and dear to my heart.
2. Do You Have Any Particular Blogging Goals or Things You Want to Accomplish?
My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit. When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.
The idea was that I develop discipline and prioritize my writing. I am involved with a lot of other collaborative blogs. And sometimes my own personal writing keeps moving further down the priority list than it should be moving.
Additionally, I’m registered for a course about writing child and young adult literature in the Fall that I’m really excited about. The thought of a low-residency program to earn a Masters in Fine Arts has crossed my mind a time or two (or maybe ten!!).
“My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit. When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.” – Christine Ray
3. When Did You Begin Writing or Blogging and Why? What Does Writing Mean to You?
I honestly can’t remember how old I was when I began writing but I was definitely scrawling short stories into dog-eared notebooks in middle school. As well, I started writing poetry as a teenager. I was also the editor of my high school newspaper and my senior yearbook.
Nevertheless, I have taken long breaks from writing when life has become busy but it has always been something I come back to when I’m in transition. I turned fifty-years-old in 2016 which was a major life reassessment period for me. Writing became a primary method for me to work through my feelings.
Finding my voice again as a writer has been really powerful, though to be honest, I think other people took me seriously as a writer long before I did. There were most definitely several months where I transitioned from when I thought about myself as a middle-aged woman (who happened to write), to identifying myself as a writer and a poet, being who I am today.
Writing has become, and honest, always has been an essential part of my identity. As well, began my blog: Brave and Reckless on October 8, 2016.
4. Where do you Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing? Why is it Significant for you to Continue Writing and Blogging?
I find inspiration everywhere. Music is a big part of my writing process and song lyrics frequently inspire my work but I’ve also been inspired by movies (Paterson is amazing); TV (you’d be amazed how much poetry there is in American Gods); beer menus, conversations with other people, and currently, a collaboration with Aurora Phoenix inspires and motivates me. The collaboration began in the comments section in one of my blog posts.
This sounds silly when I say it out loud, but when I started this particular blog in October, I had no idea that I had anything to say! The vast majority of my writing is inspired by exactly what is going on in my emotional life, in the moment. Sometimes I approach writing about those things obliquely, but often what you see is a direct reflection of my experiences during the day.
One of the most transformative experiences of blogging for me was realizing my writing resonates with other people. Every time someone writes to me and tells me that I captured exactly what they were feeling, but couldn’t articulate it, is an incentive for me to keep up with my writing.
Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing. Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself.
“Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing. Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself.” – Christine Ray
5. Do you have any Particular Writing or Blogging Habits? What do you Enjoy Most About Writing? Is there a Time of Day you Prefer to Write?
I have a busy life and have discovered that the only way to fit writing and blogging into my life is to awake at 4:00 a.m. From 4:00 a.m to 6: 00 a.m. I write, I answer blog related comments and emails, I record ‘Spoken Word’ versions of my writing, and see to editorial duties.
As well, I have been known to write whole pieces in the Google Docs app on my phone during my commute on the bus or train. I also eat lunch at my desk, at work, and try to catch up on reading other people’s blogs. At times, I’m still awake at 10:00 p.m. doing blog related activities and tending to my own writing. I must admit that I’m tired right now. However, I expect things to calm down a bit over the upcoming summer months.
6. Can you Tell us About your Most Current Writing Projects on your Blog or Outside of it?
In addition to writing and publishing daily, I’ve been running various writing challenges on my blog. This week I challenged readers to write about a life experience using ten objects and will be publishing my favorites on my ‘Brave and Reckless’ blog. I’ve already committed to two Writing Prompt Challenges and have my third occurring now using the prompt: “I Am More Than Breath and Bones.”
I do publish some of my work, the pieces I call “the softer side of Christine”—on Poetry Corner. I’m also happily involved as a Barista at the Go Dog Go Café. It’s been fun to put the site together and to work with a lovely cadre of writers, some of whom I’ve met and some of whom are new to me. The Cafe has a wonderful community vibe and brings out the best in writers.
My most recent project was launching Blood Into Ink (with a group of writers from WordPress and off of it).’Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma. The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths.
It is open to men and women and already features some pretty fierce writing. I am proud of this project and hope that it encourages many writers to tell their stories and aids them in receiving the support and respect they deserve for their stories of survival and dealing with them after the fact.
Also, I’m working on a project called Whisper and the Roar, a feminist literary collective site. I am still an author for Whisper and the Roar. All of the writers on this site are feminist but the content is not overtly feminist. I piece I wrote for this particular site is called “Ode to a Black Eye.” Such as many of my pieces, this post is autobiographical (my childhood friend Wendy had the black eye and we finally talked about the incident when we reconnected on Facebook.
“Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma. The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths.” – Christine Ray
7. Have you Published any Writing or Poetry outside of your Blog? If not do you plan to in the Future?
I recently had a couple of pieces of poetry published in Felan Magazine which has lit a fire under me to publish more writing into print. Felan centers its issues around a particular feeling so it was easy to pull my best pieces about Anger (Issue 10) and Love (Issue 11).
8. Can you Briefly Describe to us Your Writing Process? Are there Certain Genres of Writing and Reading You Prefer?
The vast majority of my writing happens on my PC in the early morning hours with music playing in the background. Some of my work happens on my phone on the train. Some it is sprawled into notebooks until I have time to type it up. I’ve been known to write a poem or two during long and dull meetings at work (hopefully none of my co-workers are reading this).
Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy! I’m obsessed with Jane Austen (I’ve got a Jane Austen quote as a tattoo) and I’ve read the Harry Potter series a ridiculous amount of times. I love psychological British mysteries, Young Adult literature, as well as, science fiction, and fantasy. All in all, I’m a serious book nerd!
“Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy!” – Christine Ray
9. Do you have any Wisdom for Other Bloggers and Writers?
Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day. Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!
Also, don’t obsess about numbers. Fifteen extremely engaged followers are more rewarding than two-hundred disengaged writers. Be brave and leave thoughtful comments on other people’s writing. I have picked up a lot of followers this way. Most vitally, I have made excellent friends by commenting on the writing/blogs of other people.
In addition, I recommend subscribing and responding to the Daily Post. I want everyone who writes and/or blog to know that their voice matters and their truths matter too. Don’t worry about your audience, worry about what you need to say.
There are twelve million people on WordPress—your people (your followers) are out there. You may need to look for them, but there is someone out there who wants to read what you have to say.
10. Is there Anything Else you Want to Share, something you think is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?
One crazy thing that happened to me in May is that one of my pieces was chosen for featuring as WordPress Discover blog called: Brave and Reckless Advice for New Bloggers – Part One. I went from 164 views on May 1st to 2,439 views on May 2nd. It was thrilling and terrifying all at the same time!
Things have calmed down a little but I spent three days replying to all the comments I received! I still don’t know how the WordPress editors found me or that piece. However, I try to use my newfound readership for good and give lots of other really good writers exposure on Brave and Reckless (I feel like I should be quoting Spiderman or something here)!
“Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day. Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!” – Christine Ray
11. For fun, do you Have Any Especially Favorite Bloggers that you Love to Follow?
There are so many blogs that I love! My big writing crushes are:
- The Feathered Sleep — Candice Louisa Daquin’s writing is elegant, exquisite, and emotionally resonant.
- A Journal for Damned Lovers — Nicholas is gritty and dark and never glamorizes life, love or himself. He takes you on journeys into the human psyche that you didn’t even know you wanted to go one. He appeals to my darkness and I want to grow up and write like SK someday!
- The Lithium Chronicles –Nicole Lyons and the other poets she highlights on her site are badass warriors! There is an electricity to Nicole’s work, a buzz that gets under my skin, and into my blood. Some of her writing is similar to what could be pulled from own diaries.
- Additionally, all of the writers at the collectives I work with are amazing and deserving of a read.
12. Can You Please Share with us a few of Your Favorite Pieces from your Blogging?
I see you
Yes, you poet
You who lives
Behind the misty veil
Dwelling in the border
Between this world
And a hundred other
I see you
I see those ink-stained
That hold your pen
Like a lover
That fly across the keyboard
In a torrent
Before stopping, hesitating
For the flow of words to resume
I see the permanent rings
Countless cups of coffee
Have left on your writing table
The chip in your favorite mug
I see the frayed fabric
On your cuffs
Of your favorite writing shirt
The fabric worn thin at your elbows
I see those mesmerizing eyes
That seem to simultaneously
Be looking through me
Straight into my soul
While studying the cosmos
And gazing inward
All at the same time
I see the contradictions you are
Your eyes are haunting
Full of knowing
Full of pain
Full of longing
I see the dark smudges
Under your otherworldly eyes
Reminders that poets
Are night dwellers
Who haunt the still hours
Who understand the depth
The texture of darkness
Who can capture the qualities
The acoustics of silence
I see the way
That words spill out of
Your sensuous mouth
Like pearls, like diamonds
Embedded with your tears
Your sweat, your blood
I see you
You who makes me fall
In love with language
Over and over
Stab me in the heart
Punch me in the gut
Jangle my nerves
Bathe me in your radiance
Soothe my weary soul
Take me on a journey
I didn’t even know
I wanted to go on
And you are beautiful
© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved
- The Monsters Under My Bed by Christine Ray
- Falling by Christine Ray
- On Becoming a Poet by Christine Ray
- You by Christine Ray
Thank you so much to Christine Ray for being so detailed and open sharing her writing and poetry with us on my blog and on the Go Do Go Cafe. If you would like to be featured as a writer, blogger, or person who is blogging/writing about a cause please reach out to me through my contact page. Next week`s interview will be a ‘Rewind Interview,’ a blogger I’ve interviewed in the past.
©Mandibelle16. (2017). All Rights Reserved.