Olaf lifts his head as the droplets wet his snout and soak into his umber hair. He snorts searching for that sharp scent; a mildewy-humid aroma that hangs in the air ensuring tomorrow will be sweltering. Olaf moos as above him the brilliant azure turns a threatening purple-black onyx; then, it arrives, not droplets but sheets of intense downpour that soak through his coat, massaging his soar muscles. He flicks out his tongue, lapping up the rain that is life to him such as the sweet verdant grass that nourishes his body, providing both serenity and security of life.
1. Sarah, Please Tell Us About Yourself? What Are Your Writing and Blogging Goals? What Do You Hope to Accomplish by Writing?
My name is Sarah Whiley and I live in north-east Victoria, in Australia. My blog is: ‘By Sarah. I’m a primary school teacher of 17 years and have taught all ages from 5 to 12 years old. I have always loved writing since I could pick up a pencil and create. I am passionate about instilling this same love of writing in my students.
In order to do that, it is important that I see myself as a writer – as an author in my own right. This is what I am hoping to accomplish by writing and blogging. I am so fortunate to live where I do. They don’t call Australia the “lucky country” for nothing!
2. Tell Us About Where You Live and What You Love About It?
I’m originally a city girl from Canberra, and later, Melbourne. I have enjoyed the spoils of both cities’ such as the cosmopolitan cafes and restaurants, nightlife, and their unique cultures.
When I met my husband and moved to the country! I love the wide- open spaces, the varying landscapes and the bush. I am now an avid bushwalker and spend most weekends out and about, communing with nature.
“I am a primary school teacher of 17 years and have taught all ages from 5 to 12 years old. I have always loved writing since I could pick up a pencil and create. I am passionate about instilling this same love of writing in my students. In order to do that, it is important that I see myself as a writer – as an author in my own right.” – By Sarah Whiley
3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging and Why? What Does Writing Mean to You?
My journey with blogging began five years ago, after a series of personal setbacks and issues. I commenced blogging primarily, as a cathartic experience to help me work through my thoughts and feelings. Once I no longer ‘needed’ my blog, I had a small break, however always felt something was ‘missing.’
After attending professional development for helping me teach writing, I realized, the hole that blogging and writing had left in my life!
I started my blog, ‘By Sarah,’ to explore my own creative writing, to explore myself, and my talent for writing. I have, particularly, enjoyed writing short stories and poetry. An unexpected bonus to continued blogging has been the great friendships I’ve gained in the WordPress community; I have established so many along the way.
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing and Blogging? Why Is It Vital for you to Keep on Writing?
I have some seeds of ideas stashed away in my writer’s notebook. I tend to work on these pieces over a long period of time. For other ideas, I rely on a range of prompts. I feel it’s important to write regularly in order to develop my skills and continue to write and maintain it as a habit. Also, I experience a great degree of stress relief from writing.
Moreover, as a teacher, it is easy to get stuck in a cycle of hyper-vigilance and not to give yourself enough ‘down time’. I find a variety of prompts extremely helpful for motivating and inspiring writing for myself and in my teaching.
As well, I have a schedule of sorts and I endeavor to write every day aside from Wednesdays (which is my ‘well-being-do-nothing’ night!
“For other ideas, I rely on a range of prompts. I feel it is important to write regularly in order to develop my skills and continue to write and maintain it as a habit. Also, I experience a great degree of stress relief from writing.” – Sarah Whiley
5. What Are Your Writing and Blogging Habits? Do You Prefer Writing a Certain Time of Day?
I set aside time each day to write. Usually, I can be found on the couch with a dog or two keeping me company, along with some background noise from the TV (I am one of these people who can’t concentrate when it’s quiet). I enjoy writing poetry most. I have a knack for rhyme and rhythm and find it easy to whip up a poem.
As well, I have been challenging myself to explore other types of writing and short stories to extend my skills. I don’t write in the mornings as I am in a rush for time once I wake up. I rush out the door to teach school, but I write after dinner, sometime between 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. at night. I find Tuesdays and Thursdays to be my busiest and most productive days.
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing or Blogging Projects? Do You Have Projects Outside of Your Blog Involving Writing? Do You Plan on Publishing Any Writing in the Future?
Currently, I am undertaking Sammi Cox’s ‘A Month of Mini Writing Challenges’ and have am the new host for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s ‘Saturday Mix’. Outside of my
blog, I keep a writer’s notebook and am busy maintaining a Class Dojo Story (similar to a blog) for my classroom.
I will soon be published as a feature writer in Linda J. Wolff’s upcoming eBook. Linda runs a fantastic Urban Poetry site and I was the winner of her Fibonacci poetry competition earlier this year. At the end of the year, I plan to convert my blog posts for 2017 into a self-published collection for family, friends, and anyone else interested.
“I will soon be published as a feature writer in Linda J. Wolff’s upcoming eBook. Linda runs a fantastic Urban Poetry site and I was the winner of her Fibonacci poetry competition earlier this year. At the end of the year, I plan to convert my blog posts for 2017 into a self-published collection for family, friends, and anyone else interested.” – Sarah Whiley
7. Can you Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? What Do You Think Will Be Your Process of Self-Publishing Your Writing?
Being a teacher, I find the writing process natural and not something I have to think too hard about. Storytelling and explaining my ideas is something I innately do. Upon analysis of my writing, though, I definitely follow six-traits in my writing process including ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions.
After I am happy with a final piece, I often bounce it off my husband or my mum, seeking their feedback. They are a tremendous help to me and improve the end result of my stories and poems and their overall flow. When I self-publish at the end of the year, I am investigating the use of the ‘Blook-Up Service.‘ (As Sarah gave me these answers super-quick back at the end of August or September, please ask her about the progress of her book and her published poem!!).
8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing and Reading Genres? And Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers and Bloggers Starting Out?
Well, I’m definitely drawn to the dark, somewhat macabre styles of writing. My pieces often take a dark turn or have a twist at the end. I am not a fan of science-fiction or fantasy, at all, but I prefer supernatural, horror, thriller, crime, mystery, drama, historical, and biographical works.
My advice for new bloggers is:
Write what you know. Capturing a small moment in time can sometimes produce the best piece of writing! Also, go with the flow….literally! Don’t overthink it. Go with your ‘stream-of-consciousness’ and see where it leads.
Find like-minded people. Better to have fewer blog followers and likes, and better to have more feedback from those few who ‘get’ you and your writing, those who appreciate your efforts! Quality not quantity as they say.
Find like-minded people. Better to have fewer blog followers and likes, and better to have more feedback from those few who ‘get’ you and your writing, those who appreciate your efforts! Quality not quantity as they say.” Sarah Whiley
9. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us About Writing Or Yourself?
My experiences growing up in a large family and my relationships with my siblings have certainly shaped many of my ideas and stories! I am the eldest of six children (No, we are not Catholic!). My mum just wanted another son and kept trying until she got one! It’s ironic how she wanted four boys…she ended up with four girls! Despite the large age gaps between some of us, we are reasonably close and hang out together and, at times, travel together.
Also, I LOVE to travel. Whether it be exploring local gems, interstate expeditions or overseas adventures. I am curious and interested in the world around me. I soak up information and facts like a sponge (you never know when they’ll come in handy for a trivia night!) I enjoy nothing more than experiencing new things. I adore the outdoors and take every chance (money permitting of course!) to jump on a plane and go somewhere different.
As well, I love New Zealand and have holidayed there four times now – with plans to go back! I have also traveled to the US (including Hawaii), England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Indonesia. All of these factors have helped develop my writing.
10. Can You Briefly Tell Us About Some of Your Favorite Blogs? What Do You Like Most About Them?
Gosh, it’s hard to name a few. There are a lot of my WordPress friends whose work I truly respect and enjoy. But, if I have to narrow it down, I would have to say:
Jane Dougherty Writes – Jane has a wonderful turn of phrase and is able to use colorful words to create great imagery in her poems and stories.
God’s Chair – Jael Sook is an engaging and diverse poet and writer and I thoroughly enjoy her work, anticipating each post she makes.
RedStuffDan – Dan is an incredibly artistic photographer. His subjects include Bordeaux vineyards, local village life, architecture, doors, mirrored
images and digital photography as art.
11. Can You Please Share With Us a Few Links from Your Blogs:
My summer holiday in Hobart, Tasmania had not begun quite as I had expected. A thunderstorm, a severely delayed flight, and an inaccessible hostel topped off with some bitterly cold weather that I had most definitely not packed for. Finding myself with a few hours to spare, I decided that a stroll around the CBD to orient myself was in order.
The gathering, dark clouds had other ideas.
I had no sooner ventured out onto the streets when the skies opened and a torrential downpour began. Cursing, I sought cover under the awnings of the few shops that had them.
And that’s when I saw it from across the street. ‘Lark Distillery’.
I have never been a whiskey drinker, but I could not resist the pull of the plume of smoke coming from the chimney, nor the cozy 1800’s building that housed it. I ran across to the front door and pushed it open.
Immediately, a warm, yeasty aroma hit me. Unsurprisingly, I was the only patron. The young man behind the ba took in my sodden, street-urchin appearance, and without a trace of disdain, offered me a tasting.
‘But I don’t really drink whisky,’ I protested. ‘Can I just stay in here until the rain passes?’
‘Sure,’ he replied. ‘But why not have a little taste, just to pass the time?’
He took a glass and bottle from the shelf behind him and sang a few lyrics of the Metallica song, ‘There’s whisky in the jar oh.’ He winked, and with that, I took a seat at the bar. I felt somewhat lonely amongst the long row of empty bar stools. Clearly, they were used to a greater custom.
‘So what would you like to try?’ he asked.
‘I’m in your hands,’ I admitted. ‘What would you recommend?’
‘Let’s start with the single malt. It’s a classic,’ he advised.
He poured a sample into the glass. The glug-glug and almost syrupy quality of the liquid was mesmerising.
‘This whisky is double distilled in locally crafted copper-pot stills and aged in small, 100 litre oak casks. We store our spirits for 5-8 years in smaller barrels for faster maturation,’ he explained.
I took a sip and promptly spluttered. He laughed.
‘Try throwing it back in one go,’ he suggested.
So I did.
After the initial burning sensation and urge to cough, the most amazingly delicious warmth spread from my belly to my brow.
‘Mmmm,’ I approved. ‘Nice. Smooth.’
‘Well if you like that, you’ll love the cask strength. It’s got the same smoothness but is more full bodied due to a higher percentage of Tasmanian malt. It bursts across the palate with hints of maple syrup and sweet notes of highland peat.’
‘Right,’ I said, not having a clue what that meant. Irrespectively, I nudged my glass forward and said, ‘Hit me.’
And I threw that back too.
This bloke knows what he’s talking about, I thought. It was amazing. My palate was dancing and my whole body was alive. The rain outside had faded away, and I felt all toasty and warm and happy.
‘How much alcohol is in this?’ I demanded.
‘58%’ he replied, with a twinkle in his eye, as if he knew that I was feeling tipsy already. ‘How ’bout we mix it up a little? Wanna try some gin?’
‘Gin?’ I replied with enthusiasm. Now we were speaking my language! ‘Oh yes please! Definitely’.
Again, I pushed my glass forward.
‘Now, here at Lark, we do a gin each season,’ he explained, ‘that way we can capitalise on the unique flavours available at different times of the year. This one is our summer release.’ He poured a more than generous sample.
This time, before I drank, I lifted the glass to my nose. The aromas were incredible. Bold and beautifully sweet, I inhaled a balance of citrus and rosewater with undertones of juniper and coriander. It made me think of the warmth of the summer sun. It was almost as if I could feel it on my skin.
I drank and closed my eyes with satisfaction.
‘That was good.‘ I could hear my voice starting to lilt and slur with the effects of the high alcohol content. I sat with the gin in my hand and sipped from the glass again and again. As if wanting to savour it but devour it at the same time, until every drop was gone. I couldn’t wait to see what was next.
‘This is slainte,’ he declared. ‘This is very, very special. It was developed by one of our owners in response to the strong demand for a unique Australian whisky liqueur. Slainte is the marriage of our single malt whisky and a distilled spirit of herbs and spices. The two are carefully combined to give a complexity of character, spiciness and sweetness, while maintaining the overtones of the whisky.’
I could listen to this guy talk all day! I thought. Such passion for the product.
My head was swirling, and I though I still didn’t fully understand what this whisky was all about, I had decided I liked it. Very much. I slid my glass towards him.
‘Now, Tasi,’ he began, as he pulled out a new bottle from behind the counter, ‘Tasi is something different altogether.’
‘What is it?’ I asked, my curiosity getting the better of me.
‘Tasi is a unique herbal liqueur derived from a single native Tasmanian berry.’
‘I know about the Tasi berry!’ I interjected, surprisingly myself. ‘It’s actually called a Myrtus berry isn’t it?’
‘Yes, that’s right. It’s unique to Tasmania. So this really is something you can’t find anywhere else,’ he was speaking almost reverently. ‘Pass me your glass.’
Unlike any of the other tastings, he first scooped up some ice cubes and placed then delicately in the bottom of my glass. Intrigued, I leant forward as he carefully poured. Tasi was a glorious deep yellow in colour and looked like liquid gold, flowing over iridescent rocks.
I will never forget that first mouthful. It was as if the liqueur curled around every inch of my teeth and gums. It stuck to my tongue and was like treacle down my throat. That liquid gold coated every surface it touched within my body and I felt like royalty. I smacked my lips approvingly and even moaned out loud. I appreciated every last golden drop and licked the ice cubes once my glass was drained.
It was THAT good.
I bought three bottles and thanked him for his time, his advice and his expertise. The bottles clinked as I pulled the door open and reentered the world outside.
Thank you so much to Sarah for filling out the interview questions and providing such honest and thoughtful answers. I’m so sorry it took so long to put the interview together. This last past year has been crazy. Make sure to check out Sarah’s Blog: By Sarah.
I should have another interview out in the next couple of weeks, with no promises. If you would like to be interviewed and are a writer or blogger or if you blog for a cause, please reach out to me through my Contact Page. If you’re a regular, you’ll notice I’m playing around with my blog to update my theme. The Contact Page info also needs to be updated eventually.
Happy December! I feel I haven’t been around so much blogging but I made sure to prepare the last part of quotes for November 2017. I think I’m behind so I’ll have more quotes this week to catch up. But please enjoy these quotes for now to ponder. Have fun with your holiday celebrations throughout the month, as well.
I’m nearly done my Christmas shopping, a few odds and ends to go. How about you? Life is good. Trying to figure my direction out at the moment but excited for what’s coming this Christmas and in 2018. For now I’ll start with Christmas baking and in-between freelance writing will try to finish November Notes along with doing a few more short fiction prompts.
For November Notes the Day 9 song is called ” 1-800 – 273 – 8255″ Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid. I reversed the songs for Day 8 and Day 9 so Day 9’s actual song was completed yesterday. As per usual combining prompts with Sarah from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie Saturday Mix Prompt of a shadorma form poem about emotion.
Credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel via Unsplash
“1-800 – 273 – 8255” by Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid
“The Shadorma is a Spanish poetic form made up of a stanza of six lines
(sestet) with no set rhyme scheme.
It is a syllabic poem with a meter of 3/5/3/3/7/5.
“An ‘Elfje’ counts as five sentences.
Line 1 – One word. This word symbolizes a colour or feature. The word symbolizes the atmosphere.
Line 2 – Two words. These are something or someone with this colour or feature.
Line 3 – Three words. Giving more information about the person or the object. You describe where the person or the object is, who the person or what the object is, or what the person or object is doing. This sentence usually starts with the word ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘it.’
Line 4 – Four words. Here you are writing something about yourself in relation to the person or the object. This sentence is your conclusion.
Line 5 – One word. This word is called the ‘Bomb.’ It is the essence of the poem.”
Welcome to almost September and a look back at some of past interviews in my ‘Rewind Interviews.’ On my own blog and on the Go Dog Go Cafe, a writer’s community! I anyone wants to be a regular member of the Cafe as a Barista once a week or even every two weeks, please let us know. Also, you can submit questions about this or your own writing to the Contact Page.
I’m excited to share with you a ‘Rewind Interview‘ of my good friend, talented writer, wonderfulperson, and wise woman:Rosema Gonzales from the Philippines. You can explore her blog at the following link: A Reading Writer .
1. Rosema, Please Share With Us Some Things About Yourself?
I am my blog’s name: A Reading Writer. I read and write and in-between, eat cake and/or drink coffee.
I currently work for a small Public Relations firm as a Public Relations Associate and also a Public Relations Writer. I have a degree in journalism and I dream of becoming a newswriter someday; abonafide journalist. Although, I feel this goal could be a bit impossible, realistically speaking, but who knows?
When I’m not working, I’m blogging and writing. My blog, A Reading Writer , is my fortress and it has changed my writing-self dramatically. I used to only write bookreviews and thoughts on books I was reading (wanted to read). Now, I write both poetry and fiction. I never thought I could write poetry or fiction until I joined the WordPresscourse: Writing 101, last year. Writing 101 changed my perspective on my writing abilities.
When I’m not writing or blogging, I have a thirst for reading. Mitch Albom who is my favorite author. I love all the novels I have that Mitch Albom wrote, but it would take too long to name them all :D)
When I am not reading I am drinking a cuppa of dark coffee and wishing I could be eatingcheesecake! 😀
2. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?
Technically, my first post was published on August 28, 2014, close to three-years-ago now. My first post was only the beginning of my ‘existence’ as a blogger. My ‘real’more thanexisting as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of myA Reading Writer blog.
“My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.” – Rosema Gonzales
3. What Does Your Writing and Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write and Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation?
For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry arefor me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere. I had a writing piece which was inspired by a garbage truck once. Seriously! But the majority of my poetry and fiction are written while I’m riding thebus. I think my brain churns more when I’m commuting. Reading and music alsoinspire andmotivate me, and have recently given birth to some unpublished poems, too. 🙂
4. Do You Find There Is A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?
Hmmm. As I said before, I usually write on a bus so it’s either early morning or at night when I write. Although, I think there is something about the silence and darknessof night that inspiresmore creative pieces as compared to when it’s daytime.
“For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry are form me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere.” – Rosema Gonzales
5. Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects or Any Hopeful Writing Projects?
If hosting a writing challenge is a project then, I would say my most recent project called: Word-High Julyhas been my focus. #WordHighJuly featured thirty beautiful Filipinowords as word prompts. Many poets and bloggers have written impeccable pieces inspired by these Filipino words such as halakhak, a noun which means loud uninhibitedlaughter, or kaulayai, a noun which means a pleasant and intimate companion. In terms of future projects, I’m dreaming of publishing my own poetry book in the future.
Note: Rosema has done just that and published her first book on Amazon.com, earlier in the summer. It’s called Between My Bleeding Lines by R.C. Gonzales and is available as a Kindle ebook and in Paperback!
Below is also n example of an image and word prompt used in Rosema’s #WordHighJuly writing challenge last year
6. Have You Published Any Of Your Writing Or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing In The Future? Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing and Writing Process?
All my written works are published on WordPress onlyfor the moment. It’s part of my future plan to publish them soon maybe on my own, because scouting for a publisher is a tough task. I’m still building up the courage to finally, begin writing my own book.
Because I’m not even one step towards publishing my work beyond my blog, I think I’m not a good writer or blogger to describe the process of publishing my writing. HOWEVER, I have great blogging friends who have successfully published their books and I’m sure they will willingly help people who like me, will eventually need tips on the entire publishing process. I have been reading some online material about self-publishing. So, I have gathered a ton of information there.
(See above Rosema self-published her poetry book!)
7. What Is Your Writing Process Like?
I have an erratic writing process.I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly. There are times for instance, when I am just walking and I come acrosssomeone who I don’t know and a poem is born! It’s an unpredictable process so I always have my phone handy because it’s my stockroom for poetry and fiction.
“I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly.” – Rosema Gonzales
8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles and/or Genres?
I prefer reading in bed. I’m a certified librocubicularist. 🙂
When it comes to reading genres, I love Young-Adult, Mystery, Thrillers, Contemporary Literature, Historical Fiction, Poetry, and Faith related books.When it comes to writing, my most chosen genre is Romance; love, and more so, unrequited love. I also write realisticfiction and about tragedy. My blog friend Mel, of In Media Reshas been joking about putting a death toll counterin my blog. HAHA. I’m close to considering it !
9. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
First, I must say write for yourself not for anyone else. It is blissful to have many peoplefollow and read your work, but it is unusual to have many followers and readers as a writer or blogger starting out. So, do not be discouraged by a lack of other peoplereading your writing; write for no one but yourself.
Second, I you cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprints, each author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself;find your own voice and style, then improve on it.
Lastly, I believe you should always be the first person who believes in your characters, in your poems, in in all your writing. This advice, I often give myself, and is a lessonI’m still trying to learn.
“[Y]ou cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprints, each author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.” – Rosema Gonzales
10. Do You Have Anything About Yourself You’d Like to Share With Fellow Writers?
Honestly, I’ve only just found my true writer-self. I think this year is the first, I’ve finally embraced creative writing. My focus before this year, was on writing straightnews, real-life nonfiction, becoming a genuine journalist. Now, I am loving what I’ve been discovering about myself through creative writing.
As well, it would not be possible for me to have had such personal growth through writing if I did not have a great bunch of supportive and lovingwriters in the bloggingcommunity on WordPress. I would like to highlight the need for a friendly, honest, andinteractive writing community.
11. Any Advice for Other Writers or Bloggers Starting Out?
Bloggers and writers (online and in general), need to be kind enough to read the work of the writers who read your own posts. Let’s be supportive enough to correctgrammar mistakes or provide tips on how a writer can improve on his or her work. Leave thoughtful comments on other bloggers and writers posts.
I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage ourfellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructivecriticism or disagree with what another writer wrote. What’s important is to let writersknow how their work affects you, how you feel about their work.This is helpful, to all writers.
Writers should be the first to realizecompletely, the power of their words. I hope we can agree to use words to create an encouraging community. Let’s not underestimate the power of our comments. Comments on a writer’s work can change lives; I’m proof and I can testify to the truth of comments changing my own life and writing.
“I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote.” – Rosema Gonzales
11. Please Share With Us Some Pieces Of Your Fiction And Poetry:
Thanks so much Rosema for filling out interview questions and writing themwith yourheart. It always comes through in your work, fiction, poetry, or talking about yourfavourite books. I’m encouraged you will make wonderful strides in creative writing and in your career aspirations.
“Dreams are always possible, sometimes we only have to believe they can be a possibility!” – A.E.
Once again, here is the link to Rosema’s blog: A Reading Writer. Many thanks for reading along. If you would like to be interviewed as a blogger, poet, writer, or blogger or a cause, please let me know. You can reach-out to me through my Contact Page.
Welcome to a new interview, this week I’m interviewing Sangbad Mitra a writer, blogger, and barista at the Go Do Go Cafe, where his interview will be simultaneously featured. Please check out this blog to read some wonderful writing and to submit your own work should you wish. For now, let’s get on with an interview with Sangbad Mitra and his blog: Thoughts of Words: Let the Words Get Freedom and Thoughts A Stage
1. Sangbad, Please Tell Us About Yourself?
I’m Sangbad Mitra from India. I live in Kolkata, West Bengal which is also known as the Cultural Capital. My blog name is Thoughts of Words. Kolkata is one of the major Indian cities. I live in the south of the city which is popularly known as ‘South Calcutta’ or ‘Kolkata’—however, you take the name of a country. There are malls and colleges in this portion. There is also a bypass in front of my home and there is a National Highway two kilometers away.
2. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging? Was there a Reason you Did? What Do Blogging and Writing Mean to You?
I’ve been writing for more than a decade. Teacher’s Day will be the thirteenth year of my writing spree. Most of these years, I’ve been a closeted author/poet, until this November. After my last and my first true relationship ended abruptly. I needed to vent my feelings in order to remain calm. I started writing to deny the call of addiction such as alcohol and drugs. And I re-embarked on my writing journey. Before that, there was a gap of two or three years where I hadn’t written anything. It was a relief to write the world a few stories and poems again.
” I started writing to deny the call of addiction such as alcohol and drugs. And I re-embarked on my writing journey. Before that, there was a gap of two or three years where I hadn’t written anything. It was a relief to write the world a few stories and poems again.” Sangbad Mitra
3. Where do you Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing and Blogging? What is it important to you to continue with your writing and blogging?
When I began my blog, I used to write out of nemesism mostly. But, in April, this changed. I participated in the National Poem Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). On the first day, the prompt was to write a poem such as Kay Ryan wrote, and I wrote a poem. It was called “Crow.”
The next morning I saw that my poem had been featured on the NaPoWriMo prompt website. This made me think and change my view on life. I stood in front of mirror asking why I had been writing what I had been, before. That’s when I began I writingwhat I wanted to write and not what other wanted me to write. When I write poetry, now write to express my thoughts and my view, all because my poem about my pet crow was featured for NaPoWriMo.
As well, my writing became a cathartic process. In my new phase of writing, my inspiration mostly came from my broken relationship. I wrote to keep thoughts of her out of my mind, to ‘forget’ about her. Before, when I used to feel depressed or low, I wrote using my experiences, writing what others would like. That was my purpose in writing. Nonetheless, I was satisfied with the changes in my writing after 1st April and NaPoWriMo. Now, I write what is on my mind, directly, and this is freeing.
Another thing that inspires and motivates me is my city, Kolkata. The vibrancy, the vibe, the beat of my city inspires me. I also have a section on my blog for writing about my city, under the Anthology section of my blog.
4. What are your Writing and Blogging Habits? Where do you Most Enjoy about Writing? Is there a Particular Time of Day you Prefer to Write?
I don’t have any particular writing habits. You may find me on the subway and writing on phone or do the same while taking the bus. Standing and writing on my cell phone is pretty typical for me. I use the WordPress app to write on. Although, at night, I maintain a diary.
Additionally, I like writing about the citizens of Kolkata. I write about people such as my Lady neighbor. She’s a recurring character in many of my Kolkata series poems. As well, the neighbor’s Neem tree also is the topic of some of my writing. There’s a poem called “Neem, my Neighbor” about this tree from NaPoWriMo.
“Another thing that inspires and motivates me is my city, Kolkata. The vibrancy, the vibe, the beat of my city inspires me. I also have a section on my blog for writing about my city. . .” -Sangbad Mitra
5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects with your Blog and Outside of It?
Right now, for my Thoughts of Words blog (I just call it my “Thoughts” blog), I’m writing a novella Captive which is in hiatus state now and will continue in July. Outside of this, I’m also writing stories which I’ll share once a week beginning next month, in place of my serialized novel Fables of Time. I’m also writing more fables for this series and will share them on my blog when I’ve written considerably more of them.
These fables are something I’m also writing, outside of my blog. Other projects I’m working on outside of the blog include preparing my Chapbook for self-publishing. A portion of this chapbook will be the poems I wrote for NaPoWriMo. There’ll be forty poems in the book. A third project I’m working on outside of the blog is an epic novel.
6. Have you Published Any Writing or Poetry Before your Recent Plans to Publish your Writing? Can Your Briefly Describe Your Writing Process?
No, I haven’t published any of my writing at this point. By the end of the year, I aspire to publish the Chapbook.
When am writing a poem, I write my piece and then I read it few more times before putting my signature to it. In the case of writing a story, after I complete writing a chapter or a short story, I set it aside. It reread my chapter or short story and then after a few days, I rewrite the portions I’m unsatisfied with. I also rewrite parts of the story I feel is not what I want them to be. In the case of essays, I write them over a day or two before finishing the final draft. So, it’s writing, rewriting, reading, and re-reading.
“When am writing a poem, I write my piece and then I read it few more times before putting my signature to it. In the case of writing a story, after I complete writing a chapter or a short story, I set it aside. It reread my chapter or short story and then after a few days, I rewrite the portions I’m unsatisfied with.” – Sandbad Mitra
7. Do you Prefer Certain Areas of Writing and Readings Genres?
I’m much inclined to reading old Bengali classicsthan writing in the English language. As well, I prefer reading Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay over Mark Twain. For genres, I prefer to read/watch thrillers for the most part. In the past few months, I’ve read the Travelogue of Marco Poloand now am reading story collection of Kafka.
When it comes to writing, I prefer to write whatever it is I want to say.It may be words against terrorism or it may be words describing a summer night. The only genre I feel I’m incompetent is erotica, although, I’ve written few. Recently, I post one on Saturday’s if I’ve been able to write one.
8. Do you have Any Helpful Advice for Other Bloggers and Writers?
My advice is to never stop writing. Write, share, and listen to what others are saying. Don’t get down or agitated because readers are useful as teachers to writers. Also, don’t be vain or self-proud. Pride can be the worst enemy and causes the greatest of writers to fail. I like to hear my readers’ views. Comments make me happy along with receiving ‘likes.’
“Write, share, and listen to what others are saying. Don’t get down or agitated because readers are useful as teachers to writers. Also, don’t be vain or self-proud. Pride can be the worst enemy and causes the greatest of writers to fall.” -Sangbad Mitra.
9. For fun, What Are Your Top-Three Favorite Blogs? What Do You Like About Them?
Top three…there are more than three…but there are these two bloggers to whom I always remain indebted to in my blog journey. Both Meenakshi Sethi (my Elder Sister’s blog) and Gina Gallyot’s blog: SingleDust. I call her LoveDust. Both these women are my oldest followers but are also always pushing me to write whenever I want to quit. I read their reviews of my writing and I change my mind. Sometimes I also ask them how they tolerate my nagging and they inspire and help me despite my flaws.
10. Please Share with Us Some Pieces from Your Blog: My First Post: The Morning That Was Serene and Melancholy
The Featured Poem that Changed My Writing Perspective: Crow by Sangbad Mitra
Thanks to Sangbad for agreeing to interviewed and providing insight into his writing and life. If you would like to be interviewed for your writing, blogging, or cause you write or blog for, you can reach me through my contact page. See You Next Week!
Good Morning! Welcome to another edition of my interview series. Since I have joined the Go-Dog-Go Writer’s community, I will be showcasing an interview with a wonderful writer every week (instead of bi-weekly).
However, since I do not have the time to put together a full interview each week, every second week will be a ‘Rewind Interview’ showcasing a wonderful writer or blogger from past interviews. You can expect this both on the Go Dog Go Cafe as well as on my own blog Mandibelle16.
Most of my upcoming interviews for the summer will be baristas from the Go Dog Go Cafe as well as a couple of interviews I had scheduled previously.
We will be focusing on her personal blogging and writing for this Rewind Interview.
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself?
My blog is called “A Life Less Lived” and I use the name “Singledust” as the author of all my blog posts. I live in Malaysia, in a vibrant suburb south of the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. It’s a town packed with malls and teeming with life! It is also a college town and the young demographic we have means lots of lovely cafes and hangout joints where the vibe is always amazing.
2. What is Your Blog About? What Are You Trying to Accomplish?
I started my blog because my daughter asked me to stop scribbling in notebooks and publish all I wanted to say. She set the blog up and I began. In early days the blog was a lot of self-discovery and deciding what my blog was going to be about. I had to figure out what to write about and much personal information I should I share.
I went down a couple of paths, tried doing travel related stories at first, then showcasing foods I liked and places to go eat the different foods in my country, but I wasn’t feeling fulfillment from that kind of writing. I wrote because I needed words to come out of me after suppressing it for so long.
Then I came across Flash Fiction prompts and was hooked. I found I liked writing stories. I had grown up with lots of storytelling after all and thought why not incorporate some of the tales I remembered into new ones I created. So that’s what I did and wrote some poetry on the days the stories seemed more musical. I had never written poetry before this blog so I amazed myself even!
From Flash Fiction challenges, I expanded into longer pieces called “Tales From The Equator,” stories I remembered from my childhood as well as those I told my kids as they were growing up.
All this has provided me with a huge collection of stories and poetry I have rummaged through to eventually another book. My blog is my training ground and preparation. It is an amazing place to read other writers, get feedback, develop new story lines, and network.
“I started the blog because my daughter asked me to stop scribbling in notebooks and publish all I wanted to say. She set the blog up and I began” -Gina Gallyot
3. When Did You Start Writing and Blogging and Why?
I started a year ago in February 2016 after some parts of my life finally got settled and I closed painful chapters of my life for good. In my new life, the writing side of me reawakened as I needed an outlet. When I started the blog it was a place for me to write so I would not forget my journey of self-discovery but after some time I realized that the journey was part of my healing and there was no end in sight.
I will continue my healing journey as long as I live. The process has never come to a screeching halt with magical solutions. Each day has a lesson of its own. And as I wrote I released anger and frustration inside me for so long — things I cannot talk about in whole honesty — writing allowed me to layer stories and fantasies into my writing and in that sense has permitted me to heal and recover, like a journal of my life. My life is stories!
4. How Does Your Writing Help Other People and Give You Meaning?
Just seeing words on paper (well now on screen) brings me joy and blogging have enabled me to connect with amazing people all around the world I would have never met otherwise. I love being able to read their stories and be able to see that the world is full of people such as me, going through trials and overcoming them through writing and in turn, I hope my stories will help others healing or reaching a new spiritual place.
I affectionately call my stories, “my little lines.” I would humbly like to believe that it also inspires others together with the comments I give on the posts I read.
“I will continue my healing journey as long as I live. The process has never come to a screeching halt with magical solutions. Each day has a lesson of its own.” – Gina Gallyot
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation?
My inspiration is the life I have lived, a life less lived; while trying to survive my struggles, never feeling as if I had actually lived. I existed for the next day to start and end, and stories were my refuge. They were places I would go in my mind and create a safe place for myself and my children.
The world around me is also so beautiful in its ordinary splendor. I don’t need the highest mountain or deepest sea, a walk around my neighborhood inspires me with the beautiful life of nature and people. Every single thing on earth has value and has a story of its own.
Additionally, I’m inspired by the people I meet, strong people carrying heavy burdens in life, broken people standing tall for others to lean on, humble gentle caring souls oblivious of their own sorrow as they comfort others. In short, the human spirit is extremely inspirational and resilient.
Every person also has their own story, but there is the question of who stops to listen when we are all so busy trying to tell our own stories. I try to listen to life happening around me in all forms. It’s important to me to give value to everything and everyone I meet in my short life on earth. It is vital that I never forget people are all connected by invisible threads of endless thoughts and feelings and need to treat each other gently.
6. Do You Have Any Particular Writing Habits? How Does your Blog Fit in With You Are?
I hope my writing has helped inspire people and encourage then to be better than what they think of themselves in low times. I would like to think that my writing (my blog) is a soft spot to land after all the bad news and horror people read. I would like to be a soft voice and a place people can unmask and be themselves as they read my stories and poetry. I hope they remember it is possible to live life happy and free and know that living a better life is possible at any stage in life.
“I try to listen to life happening around me in all forms. It’s important to me to give value to everything and everyone I meet in my short life on earth. It is vital that I never forget people are all connected by invisible threads of endless thoughts and feelings and need to treat each other gently.” -Gina Gallyot
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects on Your Blog or Otherwise?
I try to participate in at least five Flash Fiction challenges per week to keep the creativity going. I am beginning to become involved in the poetry community, though I am like the littlest baby there as I never wrote poetry prior to this blog! I am trying to compile all the stories and poetry into categories and maybe publish them in a few of years. Every writer’s dream right?!
I have two recent poetry submissions published onSpillWords. Here are the links and publication dates:
My biggest writing achievement is my poetry book titled: Remember my: Sweet Whispers – I Loved You From A Time Once Before.
It is available on Smashwords as a free download and includes poems I wrote that people enjoyed on my blog.
8. What Are You Future Plans For Your Blog and Writing?
No big ones as of yet. I have blog posts as well as guest posts featured on other sites but that’s about it. I still feel I am new to this and I like to let things move at a slow pace and see progress in steps rather than leaps and bounds. I am enjoying the journey, not the destination. Future plans might be to start focusing on a book I started last year but got distracted and have never completed. Blogging at my own pace and enjoying the company I meet along the way has been rewarding so I will continue on this path.
9. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? Do You Have Support for Your Writing and Blogging in Your Life?
Well, I decided to write again after a negative influence was removed from my life. I wrote a lot as a young girl and well into my early youth. I was sidetracked by the ‘merry go round of life.’ Coming back to my first love of writing stories has been like meeting an old flame and feeling the spark we had long ago that has developed into a mature romance. It’s a safe and uplifting romance of heart and soul, paper and pen, words and emotions.
My support comes from my tenacity for life. My four children have been my pillars of strength and support me with enthusiasm and love. Recently a more meaningful relationship has been the wind beneath my wings and encouraged me to soar higher. I also always have hope.
“Coming back to my first love of writing stories has been like meeting an old flame and feeling the spark we had long ago that has developed into a mature romance. It’s a safe and uplifting romance of heart and soul, paper and pen, words and emotions.” – Gina Gallyot
10. How Do you Maintain Discipline in Writing? Do You Prefer Certain Writing or Reading Genres?
I discipline myself to write consistently and have a few stories or poetry on file to go over so I am never without material. Flash Fiction is incredibly helpful in clearing the cobwebs to write better in other areas of writing. It allows me to try different styles I might not usually do and this versatility helps me develop a better vocabulary too.
Reading is important too because people need to be inspired by other authors and writers. I spend a great deal of time reading new books and also re-reading previous favorites from beloved authors. My favorite writers are ‘mystical writers. Simple strong words in long flowing sentences that convey images of times we have all once traveled upon are inspiring to read about.
I fell in love with Yeats as a young girl and am still smitten with him. Poets and writers who write like Yeats and draw emotions from other worlds and bring that feeling into our world, I find interesting. I like human based stories, like those from Khaled Hosseini and recently John Green.
My all time favorite novels include The Alchemist and 100 years of Solitude. Another writer that fascinates me till is John Farris and his Wildwood, Chilling Experiments in the Backwoods of the Appalachian Mountains.I feel a strange attraction to that region although I have never been there before.
11. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers? Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share With Us?
Write from the heart what you want to say. You can use your metaphors, pseudo names, or examples (metaphors and literary devices) that distract from you, but write as if it is the last essay or poem you will ever get to write.
That’s what makes you stand out from other writers — sharing your heart. Don’t let the blogging statistics derail or distract you. Numbers have no real weight in comparison to what you write from your own heart and feelings.
Moreover, I have never wanted to live a mediocre life in either thought, word, or deed. While I joke and say I write ‘little lines’ and often am told to give more respect and emphasis to my ‘little lines,’ they are strong on their own and not fragile lines but lines that encourage people who think they are not worth much.
People read these ‘little lines’ and feel uplifted because the world they live in is trying to confine them. I want ‘little lines’ to help set people free and be whoever they want to be, never living a mediocre life in thought, word, and deed.
“Moreover, I have never wanted to live a mediocre life in either thought, word, or deed. While I joke and say I write ‘little lines’ and often am told to give more respect and emphasis to my ‘little lines,’ they are strong on their own and not fragile lines but lines that encourage people who think they are not worth much.” – Gina Gallyot
12. What Are Your Three-Favorite Blogs you Follow or Enjoy, just for Fun? What Do You Like About Them?
I love reading blogs in this order: flash fiction, poetry, and long reads. They inspire me to write better stories, and each writer has their own flavor. It’s too hard to mention a top three or even top ten. I enjoy each writer for their own kind of fiction and emotion.
13. Please Share With Us Some of Your Favorite Pieces:
A special one to me from the tales from the equator series:
She was a pretty tiny bird living in a big white cage. Her master would sit each morning and evening and admire her beauty from just outside her cage. She loved it when he came to sit with her, he read her stories and sang songs and she was his inspiration. He was an artist and he drew lovely paintings of her, sold them and even put some around his lovely house. She longed for him to open the cage, just once and let her out so she could sit in the palm of his hand, but he never did. Always just looking at her, smiling and saying soft soothing words, he would always leave when the woman came.
He lived with a beautiful woman in this house, she never came near the cage, almost never knew the little bird existed and would ask the maids to clean the cage and feed the pretty bird. Little bird looked with envy at the beautiful woman with the long black hair and flowing dresses, her feathers were short and had too many colors, her cage had no walls, she could never hide her ugliness.
One day, a praying mantis sat on the window ledge and asked the tiny pretty bird why was she quiet, why she never sang. Little tiny bird said she had no singing voice, she was made only for man’s eyes, not for his ears or heart. And the mantis thought she saw a tear, but birds don’t cry thought the mantis, not in these parts anyway.
The little bird talked to the mantis every day in between the times the artist sat by the cage and they grew to know each other more. The mantis was as old as the sands of the desert and had traveled far and lived long, she was old and wise but had no heart, yet lately talking to this tiny little bird made the old mantis feel something she had not for a very long time now. It was like an inflation of her hollow chest.
One day she asked the tiny pretty bird if she would like to be free? And the tiny heart fluttered with uncontrolled joy. But the bird asked how? And the praying mantis divulged an ancient secret.
Praying Mantes were the gods’ eyes and ears on earth for there were places the gods could not go to, the crevices and the cracks of the world, so they created the praying mantis who could slip in and out unnoticed and gather information back. The mantis had some magic and in them and was allowed one wish for their entire life and that’s how they would end their lives, by granting a wish as their final breath.
The little bird was upset and refused to listen more, but the old tired mantis coaxed her; allow me to bestow the wish on you, I have lived long and traveled far, I need to rest and move on to the next life the gods have planned for me. I have been a mantis too long, almost since this new world begun, set me free.
And the little bird because she had a lovely heart, though so tiny, it was full of love, for the handsome artist man and she wanted to feel the touch of his hand, agreed. And they decided on the right time to carry out their plan.
It was a beautiful sunny morning, where sunlight reflected off every surface and sunbeams found secret places and brought them warmth and the little bird decided today would be the day. The artist would arrive soon and she wanted to be free from her feathers and cage. The praying mantis nodded in agreement.
When they heard the man approaching, the mantis cast her final spell and the cage door flew open and the tiny pretty bird flew out and landed on the ground, now a tiny little lady with streaks of blue and green in her hair. The tiny bird was so happy to touch her own skin and pretty hair and she looked to thank the mantis, but the mantis wasn’t there.
Too late to look now, the handsome artist had approached, and the little bird now a pretty little lady smiled at him with the prettiest smile she thought she had. But the artist was taken by surprise and she never knew he could be a cruel man for she always looked at him from behind the bars of her cage and only saw what he showed her of his true self.
He shouted for the maids to chase away this intruder, he said. Chaos reigned as maids came to remove the tiny little stranger from the big lovely house. They roughly pushed her out the door and told her to do her begging elsewhere, this was the mistress and master’s house, not any common place.
Little bird tried to speak but no one could understand the language she spoke and she could hardly walk, new to feet and no feathers she felt exposed and abused with the rough hands and words. She understood them; why could they not her.
And they shut the big heavy white door and tiny little bird stood alone on the road.
Devastated that her plan had gone so disastrous, she wished she could talk to the praying mantis, her only friend all the years she sat in that cage, she wondered if she had been tricked. Living in that cage wasn’t so bad after all, at least she got to see her handsome artist twice a day and she had water and food and sunlight. Now she had nothing, she would never see his face again.
She walked down the road uncertain which way to go, her bare feet on the hot asphalt, the warmth went all the way to her chest, but never reached her heart. And she knew she could not live like this in this world; and said a soft wish to the gods who would listen, punish me for my greed and insolence, take me away from this existence. Leave me as dust in this world for I feel empty and distant.
And the spirits of the sun took her message to the skies and some gods had pity on her and said such a beautiful soul must be rescued somehow.
So they guided her thoughts till she walked further down the street and they crushed her body with a magnificent sunbeam and she became tiny flecks of dust that settled among the rocks and the grass, she would always be free now, and be part of the world yet no one would see her, she would be as she wished, just dust and glitter.
Flourish by Gina Gallyot about how much she loves her Dad.
A Walk In The Snow by Gina Gallyot, a poem about hoping to fall hopelessly in love like this one day.
Thank you to Gina for agreeing to be interviewed for her original interview and the “Rewind Interview.’ Here is the link to her blog homepage once more: A Life Less Lived. If you would like to be a part of my interview series, please reach out through my Contact Page. See You on next Tuesday!