Welcome back to my bi-weekly interview series. Today I am interviewing the talentedpoet, wonderful person, and beautiful lady, Katrina Sarah Cain. Please check-out her blog TheDarkest Fairytalehere: www.thedarkestfairytale.wordpress.com
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself Katrina?
Well what can I say about myself? My name is Katrina and I live in England. I’m twenty-four-years old. I work in data analysis and I’m secretly, a massive geek. I have a interest in psychology, philosophy, and any science really. I’m also an identical twin. My hobbies include Pokemon-Go, gaming, keeping fit, and I’m a general adventure seeker. If I had to describe myself I would say I’m fun, sarcastic, a realist, and wise with oldfashioned morals.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging? What Does It Mean to You? Why Do You Write?
I began blogging in January 2016. I started my blog without any intention of anythingspecial coming out, but then I began writing poetry and it turned my blogging into writing-therapy for myself. I do apologize to my readers for some of my random pieces.
My sister initially, told me blogging and writing was great therapy for a person. I thought, ‘Why not? We all need some therapy?’ I had never written much before, hence, my terrible grammar, but once I started writing I realized I had a talent for it and I began to enjoy it.
Poetry to me isn’t just words, it’s an expression of what we’re unable to say out loud and it helps us relate to others.When I started writing it wasn’t only about rhyming orpoetry, it was about reaching out to others, people with similar experiences to me and still go through these experiences. If one person can find inspiration or peace in what I write, then it means everything to me.
“I started writing because my sister told me it was great therapy for a person. I thought, ‘Why not? We all need some therapy?’ . . .When I began writing it wasn’t only about rhyming or poetry, it was reaching out to others . . .If one person can find inspiration or peace in what I write, then it means everything to me.” – Katrina Sarah Cain
3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
I cannot say anyone in particular, inspires me. I aim to write most days, but I often get frequent writer’s block. I think most of you can relate. I’ll be sitting at home thinking of what to write and nothing appears. Then, I’ll be preparing tea and my mind turns into a rhyming magician and I rush to write down what I’m thinking. My poetry is either writtenat the most random of moments or when I am feeling low or written when I have somethingspecific on my mind to write about.
4. Do You Find There Is A Time Of Day You Most Like to Write? What Are Your Most Current Poetry Projects? Are You Planning On Publishing Any Of Your Work?
The time of day I end up writing is probably, in the evening or at night when my minddecides it’s nocturnal and comes alive. I don’t have any current projects, only what I put my blog; poetry published when the the words appear for me to write. No, I’m not planning on publishing my work. At the moment, I blog and that’s all.
” . . .[M]y mind turns into a rhyming magician and I write down what I’m thinking. My poetry is either written the most random of moments or when I am feeling low or written when I have something specific on my mind to write about.” – Katrina Sarah Cain
5. Do You Have A Writing Process? Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Genres?
My writing process is unorganized and unpredictable. I say no, I don’t have any preferred writing or reading genres but then I look back on my blog and I see some pieces are rather dark. I think when I write poetry, I stick to my perspective of life and the reality of life which many people tend to miss; the things we long for but don’t actually express verbally or otherwise.
6. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Writers or Bloggers?
Yes, it’s your blog and it’s your words. Not everyone will understand how you mind works, but as longs as you enjoy writing keep at it. No one should judge you for your self-expression, but yourself. There’s always magic in artistic expression, chose to express yourself how you want to in your writing (on your blog) and in life.
” . . .I stick to my perspective of life and the reality of life which many people tend to miss of what happens in everyday life; the things we long for but don’t actually express verbally or otherwise.” – Katrina Sarah Cain
7. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Links From You Blog, Some Of Your Favorite Or Most Loved Pieces?
If my tears
If my heart
If I’d fled
To battle my
To give me
(July 24, 2016 – Katrina Sarah Cain)
Here Are Some Links To More Pieces of Poetry By Katrina:
Thank You to Katrina for sharing her journey beginning to write poetry, usingblogging as therapy to help herself and help others relate to similar life issues, and providinginspiration through her fantastic writing. The link to her blog is here again: The Darkest Fairytale. Please make sure to visit her blog and follow, I guarantee you will not be sorry, her poetry is amazing!
Would you like to be interviewed for my bi-weekly writer/blogger interview? I would love to read and learn about you, your writing, and your writing process and so would myfollowers. If you would like to be interviewed please reach-out to me throughmyContact Page and I will email you some interview questions. Thank you for reading and have a lovely September!
Welcome to another interview in my interview series. Originally, I was going to make this a monthly feature, but I had a great response from other bloggers and writers who wish to be interviewed, so I will try it as a series which occurs every two-weeks.
Today, I’m excited and pleased to share with you the talented writer and bloggerRyan Stone of ‘Days of Stone’. Please visit the link provided to read more about Ryan and read his superb poetry.
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself.
The blood of the Irish runs deep in my veins but I’m an Australian born and bred. I was raised in a ‘man’s land’ of karate, fast motorbikes, heavy metal guitars, and football with Aussie rules. My love of reading and writing was not readily accepted. Instead, I was forced to indulge my interests under my bed covers by torchlight. But the poets Seamus Heaney,Kenneth Slessor, Walt Whitman, and Maya Angelou — all have a way of asserting themselves in my writing.
Although I have no real love of uniforms, I’ve worn a few in my life so far: the combatfatigues of a soldier in the field and driving a battle tank; the torn black denim of a metalguitarist; and the turnout gear of a fire-fighter. I’ve been a rank-and-file cop, a detective, and a member of a plain-clothes special duties team. When all the uniforms are stripped off, I like to think it is the writer who remains.
I have no formal credentials, only an observer’s eye and an insatiable appetite for books. I’m rough around the edges, but the right turn of phrase will stop me dead in my tracks every time. I love Metallica, Ted Kooser, and with equal passion, my closest friend in the world, my German Shepherd (don’t tell my wife).
“When all the uniforms are stripped off, I like to think it is the writer who remains . . . the right turn of a phrase will stop me dead in my tracks every time.” – Ryan Stone
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
The first time I considered my writing to be writing, was towards the end of highschool. I was blessed with an incredibly passionate Englishteacher who managed to channel a teenage boy’s angst and anger into something less destructive. When one of my poems earned me a kiss from a pretty girl I had a crush on, I knew writing was something I’d stick with.
I’ve never been much of a social media fan. But I reached a point where I became sick of waiting several months for editors to respond to my poetry submissions; I turned instead to WordPress. Along with all the great writing and posts I’m able to read from other writers, I’ve developed a wonderful, supportive group of friends, and readers, who offer feedback and advice in a much shorter time frame than editors. While I still submit to poetry journals, my year of blogging has given me a huge amount of enjoyment and satisfaction.
3. What Does Poetry Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
To borrow from my favourite quote by Anton Chekhov: Poetry isn’t being told the moon is shining – for me, it is being shown the glint of light on broken glass.
I love the way a poem can capture more than a photograph, can carry an image or emotion over time and space, and let me experience someone else’s worldview for a moment. I also like the way reading one of my own poems years after it was written can transport me back to a previous ‘headspace,’ for a moment.
” . . .Poetry isn’t being told the moon is shining – for me, it is being shown the glint of light on broken glass.” – Ryan Stone (borrowing from Anton Chekhov)
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation To Write?
Nearly all of my poetry begins while I’m running with my dog through the rain forest beside my house. Usually, a thought, a memory, or an observation takes root and nags at me until I jot it down. Sometimes, an unusual word or phrase will catchme the same way. My dog has developed his very own ‘here we go again’face which he pulls each time I pause during a run, so I can tap out a note or two on my phone.
5. Do You Find There Is a Time of Day You Most Like To Write?
Predominantly, I write at night, when my boys are asleep, and the house is quiet. I am frequently awake into the small hours of the morning and find my 2:00 am mind is quite adept at slipping out of the shackles my daytime mind imposes. During these hours, I can most effectively explore and develop the notes I jot down during the day.
” I am frequently awake in the small hours of the morning and find my 2:00 am mind is quite adept at slipping out of the shackles my daytime mind imposes.” – Ryan Stone
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have two fantasy novels I’m working on at present. One is about a princess who becomesa pirate queen after her parents are murdered, the other is about an orphan boy who becomes a magician and later, a king. Both novels began as short stories which expanded and grew during a couple of National Novel Writing Months (NaNoWriMo). Both novels are over a hundred-thousand words and in need of serious revision. As with everything, time is a killer.
Poetry wise, I’m writing a chapbook with one of my closest internet mates (Ajay) who lives in India. It is loosely based around flowers and cultural differences. I’m currently editing a collection of my Senryu (5-7-5) poems, with the intention of self-publishing a small e-book of one-hundred Senryu poems, in the next few months…unless a publisher comes along sooner.
7. Have You Published Any Writing or Are You Planning To Publish Works Of Writing In The Future?
I’m fortunate enough to have had many poems published in a number of online journals, print anthologies, and poetry magazines. I never thought anyone other than my mum would enjoy my writing and rarely submitted my writing anywhere until recently.
A few years ago, I wrote a poem called “Unburied Hatchet,” which I thought had a chance of being published, so I submitted it to a couple of places…and was rejected each time. On a whim, I sent it into the monthly competition in Writers’ Forum Magazine (a magazine in the UK to which I subscribe), and was blown away when it won first prize and £100 (quite a lot of money with the Australian exchange rate being what it is). That first win, gave my confidence a much-needed boost and I’ve been submitting ever since.
” I wrote a poem called “Unburied Hatchet” . . .I sent it into the monthly competition in Writers’ Forum Magazine . . .and was blown away when it won first prize and £100.” – Ryan Stone
8. Can You Briefly Describe The Process You Went Through To Publish or Are Going Through To Have Your Writing Published?
All my publishing to date has been by submission, so I’ll talk about publishing by submission. Whether it’s a print journal, online review, magazine, blog, or something else, the rules are always the same.
Read the publication first, to gain an idea of what style of writing they publish. While it doesn’t hurt to offer something fresh, I usually have a fair idea of an editor’s likes and dislikes before I submit.
Read and re-read the submission guidelines before you hit send. An improperlyworded subject line can be enough for an editor to discount the submissionwithout even reading the poem. Some publications request everything in the bodyof an email, others prefer attachments. Decent editors are inundated with submissions which meet their specific requirements and most, won’t waste their time with sub-standard submissions.
Take rejections gracefully.Analyze any critiques subjectively and apply critiques if you think they are warranted.BUT DON’T GIVE UP – submit, submit, submit. There are a million homes for poems out there and because a poem isn’t right for one editor or magazine certainly doesn’t mean it won’t be a prize winner for another editor or magazine. While I’m realistic about my own writing, I generally look at rejections as a case of a bad fit, not a bad poem.
9. What Is Your Writing Process Like?
Almost exclusively, my writing begins as a note or two on my iPhone (often while I’m running) and later develops on my iPad. My writing environment is incredibly vital to me and the Mac/iPad writing program — Ulysses — puts me in an excellent creative ‘headspace.’ I tend to write a first draft quickly once an idea forms and then I’ll put it aside for a week or two, before returning and revising a poem over and over and over…
I am incredibly fortunate to have found a brilliant first reader. She’s an amazingly talented poet in her own right as well as possessing editing skills second to none. For some reason, I’ve yet to understand, she seems to enjoy my writing and conversation and has nurtured and developed my poetry to no end. My first reader’s input is a huge part of my process in developing a poem from initial idea to finished piece.
” I tend to write a first draft quickly once an idea forms and then I’ll put it aside for a week or two, before returning and revising a poem over and over and over . . .” – Ryan Stone
10. Do You Prefer Certain areas of Writing or Reading Styles or Genres?
When I’m reading a novel, it is usually fantasy and almost always a series. StephenKing’s Dark Towercollection is a favourite, as are Game of Thrones, Magician, TheBelgariad, Lord of the Rings, and Bernard Cornwell’sArthurianbooks. I play a great deal of electricguitar which draws me to music biographies as well, anything rock or metal is fair game. Additionally, I love short story collections: Italo Calvino takes first prize there, and I read as much modern poetry as I can get my hands on.
Originally, my love of poetry was nurtured by Maya Angelou, Kenneth Slessor, JimMorrison (The Doors), and Jewel Kilcher. When I first discovered Ted Kooser a few years ago, my own poetry made a huge leap. Kooser’s book, The Poetry Home Repair Manual, was full of ‘Aha!’ moments for me. Most recently, I’ve lost myself in the brilliant BuddyWakefield and Richard Hugo’s:The Triggering Town.
11. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Writers?
I’m not really big on dishing out advice, as everyone writes uniquely. What works for one person, won’t always help another person; but I can certainly share what works for me.
The important thing is to write, write, write and keep writing. It doesn’t have to be good. I have loads of writingwhich will probably never see the light of day; however, once the first jumble is out of my head, the writing that follows is much better.
I don’t edit my first draft as I write. I write it all down and worry about cleaning itup later. If I’m only editing a word or two, then I’ll delete and replace. If I’m editing a whole line or large section, I cut and paste in a new version – v1, v2, v3, (etc .) and keep each version in the same document. I find it’s much easier to revise without the fear of losing words or ideas I may want to later reinstate.
Once I’m happy with a version of my work, I put it aside for a few days and return to it later with ‘fresh eyes.’ I find it much easier to spot weak points, sticky spots, doubled up words, bad rhythm, (etc.), when I’m reading it fresh.
The poem is more important than the truth. When I’m writing a poem based on an actual event, I find it easy to place valueon a thing because its memory is significant to me. Often, I don’t want to let the thing go from the poem. This can become a weak point as the particular thing doesn’t make the poem better and doesn’t hold the same value for the reader. Once I let the poem dictate what to keep and what to cut, rather than trying to stay one-hundred-percent true to mymemory, my poetry comes together far tighter.
“Once I let the poem dictate what to keep and what to cut, rather than trying to stay one-hundred-percent true to my memory, my poetry comes together far tighter.” – Ryan Stone
12. Is There Anything Else You Would Like The Share With Us Which You Think Is Pertinent To Writing or Yourself?
An honest first reader who will tell me what works and what sucks without worrying about my feelings, is worth her weight in gold.
13. Can You Please Share With Us Few Links Of Your Favourite or Most Loved Pieces?
Until I saw those wasted hands,
brittle as chalk, I hadn’t thought
how fast the years make ghosts.
I heard them once called brawler’s paws.
For me, they were always more:
cobras, poised to strike.
But his brawling days are gone now;
I could kill him with a pillow,
if I cared enough to try.
Thin sheets press tightly to a bed
more empty than full, his body broken
like the promises of childhood.
Haunted eyes betray last thoughts
of a dim path, spiralling down.
He hopes to make amends.
“Forgiven?” he croaks,
barely there, as always,
and I’m wishing that I wasn’t.
With the last rays of day as witness,
I turn my back with purpose
and hear the silence roar.
In a late-night bar I catch my reflection
swimming in a glass of bourbon;
but I’m staring at a ghost.
– Ryan Stone
First published in Writers’ Forum Magazine issue 163, April 2015 – first place
I vaguely remember writing on this topic before, or maybe I read other people’s posts on it but I will give it a try nonetheless.
Many of you know I suffer from a depressive mood disorder which has caused me severe fatigue these past eight-years. I only mention it because I have experienced great improvement with my mental energy levels especially, and a bit with my physical energy levels this past year. Particular supplements have also aided my increase in energy levels.
But I always have bad days now and then. When I was worse I had more bad days than good days and now I would say I only have a bad day one or two days every couple of weeks. What makes a bad day a bad day varies but often means I’m too mentally and physically worn out to do much of anything; I wake up this way.
Today, I found until tonight, I could not concentrate well on writing or reading blogs or books. I would try going through my email to read through some of your posts and I didn’t have it in me to pay attention and give thought to what I was reading or what to comment. I also found myself glossing over pages in books where I regularly would be intent on what was happening to the characters.
I decided to catch up on some TV shows I’d missed the finales of and a show I miss because it’s on in the morning. I like Fashion Friday on a Canadian morning show called Cityline so I watched that as I often sleep through it. Additionally, I watched The Vampire Dairies’ grizzly season Finale and the season Finale for Grimm. I loved both finales and I’m eager for next season’s storylines for each show.
But today mostly consisted of me sitting and watching TV and even after awhile I went to my room and I laid down, needing to sleep a couple hours, feeling as if I needed the nap today. It’s odd, usually I don’t need to nap. I tried to put effort into healthy meals and I thought about walking, but I didn’t have a walk in me.
Most often, I’m up untill 11:00 pm or 12:00 pm but tonight I’m lying in my comfy bed in a sleep shirt, tucked into my cozy duvet and fresh sheets and it’s only 9:00 pm.
I cleaned up my room on Friday and Saturday, completely organizing everything. It’s a nice feeling being in a clean room, no dust, no papers in piles, everything organized, even my clothes and shoes.
At this moment, feeling drained as I have most of the day, I’m writing to you in my perfect writing place in bed on my iPad. I invested in a newer version after Christmas as the old model didn’t have enough GBs. This has 64 GB, enough for ebooks, a large iTunes music collection, and many applications. It also a thinner tablet which is lighter to hold.
The light the iPad gives off in my dim room is fantastic for writing and being comfortable lying down. So, even though this isn’t usually where I write, tonight in bed, is my favourite and ideal writing space.
Tomorrow it will change, but then, tomorrow’s another day and I will have energy to write more and read more again, to take a walk in the warm May weather, maybe even write on the patio. For now, everything is as it should be.
Sorry, I don’t know how to explain a bad day better then I did; it is what it is. It is too difficult to explain unless you’ve experienced it or something similar. Most people are able to keep going in life despite hiccups such as feeling energy-less. But this is a fatigue which stops you in it’s tracks. Nothing can make your body draw on more energy; there is no energy to draw from. Which is why this is severe fatigue I experience and not only being sleepy or tired.
Thanks for reading. Back to fiction, poetry, likes, and commenting on your blogs tomorrow.
And last, but not least, our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates a call and response. Calls-and-responses are used in many sermons and hymns (and also in sea chanties!), in which the preacher or singer asks a question or makes an exclamation, and the audience responds with a specific, pre-determined response. (Think: Can I get an amen?, to which the response is AMEN!.). You might think of the response as a sort of refrain or chorus that comes up repeatedly, while the call can vary slightly each time it is used. Here’s a sea chanty example:
The Mirrored Refrain is rhyming verse form constructed by Stephanie Repnyek. The poem is formed by three or more quatrains where two lines within the quatrain are the “mirrored refrain” or alternating refrain.The rhyme scheme is as follows: xaBA, xbAB, xaBA, xbAB, etc.. x represents the only lines that do not rhyme within the poem. A and B represent the refrain. The first four stanzas of the example poem are labeled for better understanding.
Please see Shadow Poetry for more information on this poetry type.
Connections are something I’m passionate about. I enjoy the connections ideas have with one another.When I was in university, my major concentration of study was English Literature because I loved to read, write, and hear stories. Later in my studies, in my third or fourth year, I learned about ‘New Historicism’ in a Literary Criticism Course. New historist’s believe that: “what is history is textual and what is textual is history.”
When we write about history we are also writing something literary and vice versa. This is because the writer’s beliefs, or the beliefs of the regime the writer was working under, affect their work. The ideas of ‘New Historicism’ made a fascinating connection for me between my English Major and History Minor.
Many kings such as Charlemagne (768 AD) for instance, had books written about them. These books made them appear to readers and history in a certain light. Charlemagne (or Charles the Great) United Western Europe, laying the grounds for France and Germany. He also was a huge supporter of the Papacy because the Pope legitimized him as a King ordained by God. Perhaps, that is one of the most extraordinaire tactics Charlemagne takes, he makes Western Europe Christian. Charlemagne would have his writers (monks) leave out any details that might make history look back on him in a less then ideal way. But history can often be no more than stories based on a few facts, it might be more literature than historically accurate.
An example of this is the epic poem, The Song of Roland. The epic poem is French literature that takes place during Charlemagne’s reign. It is the oldest surviving work of French literature. The poem is about the Battle of Ronceveax, a historically accurate battle. Charlemagne’s army is fighting the Muslim armies in Spain when they are tricked. The French army is annihilated, until Charlemagne arrives and defeats the Muslims. The character Roland and the French army have no qualms about bravely dying for their king. They appear noble. They are not like many of today’s anti-heros who are scared to die and do not have much in the way of fighting skills. Medieval heros were written to appear strong and divinely blessed (such as Roland) so history would look back on them in a favourable way according the values of the time, and of their Kings.
Another connection to history and literature is philosophy — which was almost was my second minor. What the great minds of a time period were thinking, influences the historical events of the time and the way literature was written. Thomas Aquainius for example, a philosopher in the 1400’s, believed in ‘natural theology’ as a priest for the Catholic Church. Much of his work was based off of Aristotle’s works, especially Aquinius’ famous Summa Theologica.
Catholicism regards Aquinas as a Saint and a model for priesthood. He influenced religion in his time (and now) and his philosophical work on Aristotle had an effect on literature being written. Aquainus’ views such as his beliefs on ‘virtue’ effect the history of the Catholic Church in the sense that Aquinas’ beliefs were the image the Papacy liked to portray.
In the latter Middle Ages, Renaissance and beyond, Catholic clergy such as the Pope and Cardinals, held a great deal of influence, similar to that of Kings. They commanded armies and despite Catholic teachings of celibacy, had wives and families. Peasants were sold items such as ‘indulgences’ to save their ancestor from purgatory, or to help buy their own way from hell. The focus was taken off how Jesus would save you if you believed in him to what you could do to get into heaven.
Clearly, history was deviating from what Acquinas taught and wrote. In this case what was written in literature was philosophical, but not the actual history occurring. I’m sure at the time, the Papacy would have argued that what they were doing was perfectly in line with Aquanius and the teachings of the Catholicism. This is why in part, a Reformation in religion occurrs in the 1600’s.
For the most part, I found my studies of philosophy, history, and literature to be connected. For many events, history is not what we think it is. Actual history is influenced by opinion and thought – our philosophies and beliefs. History to a large degree can be made-up or embellished and is more so literature than a sound historical account. But literature can have sound philosophical beliefs behind it. This is a fascinating and complex way to look at how ideas connect with what occurs in our lives, what we write, and what we believe.