Everyone has a story to tell; each one of us writes poetry – some, without even realising. That stream of consciousness that runs in our veins? It’s poetry waiting to be written. We believe in the power of words, and that power is what urged us set up PoetsIN.
It’s because of those inner streams, that we are bringing you all a regular interview feature, Writer Profiles. An interview with a writer. This week it’s the beautiful Hannah.
Sit back, grab yourself a cuppa, and feast your eyes on this week’s writer profile.
What is your relationship with words and how has that evolved?
It can all be traced back to my parents, who began reading to me before I could even walk. They filled my bookshelves with everything from Little Golden Books to Beatrix Potter’s tales of Peter Rabbit and friends. Though my tastes changed as I grew older, I never lost my love of reading. This love of reading, I believe, sparked my interest in writing. I can remember writing silly stories about animals in elementary school and illustrating them (rather poorly I might add). However, it was my elementary writing teacher, Marsha Dossey, who cultivated my writing. She was, and still is, the sort of person who can make anyone love writing. She always made the subject fun and allowed us to run away with our imaginations. From there, I discovered a love of poetry in middle school, and attempted writing my own poem in addition to short stories. I won a few writing awards throughout my teens and pursued several writing classes during college, but, somewhere along the way, I set my pen aside. I can’t say why I did this. Probably a mix of self-doubt and an ever growing busy schedule. It wasn’t until 2015 that I began writing seriously again and thankfully so. My writing has grown and become more mature as I’ve gotten older. I still have much to learn and improve upon, but that’s part of growth. My love of books has also stayed strong throughout all of this, but I don’t just read for the sake of reading. I read to learn from my favourite authors and to embrace what they have to offer.
How long have you been writing, what is your favourite style of writing and why?
As I mentioned previously, I’ve been writing off and on since I was in elementary school (I’m twenty-seven now). I’d have to say that poetry is my favourite style of writing because I like the challenge of expressing emotion and painting a picture in just a few lines.
Many of us within this group have experienced times where writing has helped us overcome times of pain, describe the first time you realised the true of power of words.
I’ve struggled with depression off and on since my teens. I think that was another factor that led me to set my writing aside for some time. Even in those times, however, it was always writing that helped me sort of purge myself of all the things going on inside my head. Writing, at times, is like taking in a breath of air and letting it out—it is that relaxed feeling in your chest once all of the air has been expelled.
Many writers love to read. What is your favourite book and why?
Now this is a difficult question. My list of favourites always seems to stretch and evolve with time. “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas always stays at number one because it’s a classic tale of revenge, hope, justice, mercy, and forgiveness. I’d also have to list “Lost Boy” by Christina Henry in the number one spot as well. It’s a delightful retelling of Peter Pan from young Captain Hook’s point of view. Henry tells the tale in such a clever way that leaves the reader leaning more toward Hook’s side than Peter’s—a feat not many could achieve as she has.
Sum up yourself in a haiku or micropoem.
Eyes full of infinite wonder
universes swirling deep
inside my lungs
compelling every breath
to prove themselves worthy
of an extraordinary life.
We all have moments where we truly connect with words we read. What quote inspires you the most. Why?
This is another extremely difficult question as there are so many quotes I’ve discovered profound inspiration from. If I must choose one however, I’d say it would be the following lines from Walt Whitman’s preface to his beloved “Leaves of Grass:”
“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
What draws me to these lines is that it speaks true to the simple elements of living a vibrant and rewarding life. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, really.
Describe your writing process.
I don’t really have a specific writing process. I usually write something when the moment feels right. Sometimes I’ll take a line I like in a song or a piece of artwork and try to build off of what themes are most striking. I prefer to work with instrumental music playing because I can become easily distracted by a chorus, especially if it’s catchy. I also find that I do my best work in coffee shops or on days I can be completely undisturbed.
Writer’s block, real or a myth?
Writer’s block is definitely a real thing, or it is for me anyway. I go through dry periods when I can’t make words work for me or I just feel completely uninspired. I definitely try to work through the block, but it usually leads to work that will never see the light of day.
What is your favourite word?
Fernweh – an ache for distant places, a craving to travel
Finish this sentence… Words are the epitome of…
Words are the epitome the language of our hearts and the dealings of our minds.