Everyone has a story to tell; each one of us a writer of 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 bring you this regular interview feature, Writer Profiles. An interview with a writer. Some you’ll know, some you won’t.
This week it’s a person you’ll likely know from our group. Her name is Beth Lunney.
So, relax with a meme salad as you read this week’s writer profile.
Who are you and what do you do?
After all this time, I still haven’t figured out who I am – it’s an ongoing work in progress with constant edits. This chapter has me in an IT tech/web design day job, student, and caregiver. When I do get down time, that’s when I pretend to be a writer, and spend an ungodly amount of time playing retro video games and eating stories. Sometimes I play bass. You can also usually find me taking apart old tech and rebuilding it. I love finding new uses for keeping old technology alive. It’s the mad scientist in me, I’m a tinkerer at heart.
How would you label your writing and/or poetry if forced to label it?
I’ve always referred to my writing style as “freeform fuckery.”
What is your relationship with words and how has that evolved over time?
Relationships are tricky. Sometimes words and I are bffs. Sometimes we’re jilted lovers not speaking to each other, ready to file a restraining order. Others, the one night stand you can’t forget, or that time you forgot the safe word. Most often, it’s a greedy, lusty relationship where you just can’t get enough.
Words for me are all of those at various times.
How long have you been writing/performing?
Performing is generally not my thing. I’m an introvert by nature and grew up with a stutter that left me hating being in the spotlight. I’m pretty content fooling around with my bass in the quiet of my bedroom when I get the chance.
I’ve been writing since I was old enough to pick up a pen. I started with journaling, jotting down my dreams and nightmares, as a way to try to sort out the weirdness from my sleep disorders. From there it evolved into fiction and poetry.
Is mental health something you feel strongly about?
Absolutely. My own diagnosis of Bipolar I aside, I grew up with a mom who worked in a nursing home. I spent a lot of time visiting a slew of extra grandparents when sitters weren’t available. There, I witnessed the devastation mental health can have on individuals and families at an early age. I’m grateful for that early experience shaping how I look at those with mental illnesses – those residents taught me a huge deal about compassion, empathy, and most importantly, patience. I’ve been an advocate of mental health awareness since then.
Please describe your writing process.
Piles of notebooks with half written scenes and dialogue bits. Notes scattered along on various paper scraps and stapled into journals. Strings of random lines waiting to be connected. Texts to myself. Forgetting those brilliant ideas that come in the middle of a really long shower. Write massive amounts in one sitting, then not touch it for a year or two. Consistently doubt that you have any talent at all. Copious amounts of caffeine intake. Send sacrifices to the writing gods so you actually finish a project or get that spark of inspiration. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Some of us write our best stuff when in a rage, heartbroken or fighting depression. Are you affected in similar ways and do you use writing as a venting mechanism?
When it comes to fiction, not so much. But poetry has always been a purge process, and where I turn when I need to get my thoughts out and my head on straight. I’m a believer that with pain, comes beauty. For me, poetry lies in that space between just where the beauty begins to form.
If you had the chance to perform one poem or read one excerpt to someone that sums you up, which is it (link?)
An older piece of mine:
If you could collaborate with anyone out there (alive or dead), who would it be and why?
Nick Cave, hands down. The man’s lyrics have always been a source of inspiration for me. When a piece is just so good it grabs you deep in your soul, digs around a while, and does not let go, it’s a thing of pure beauty. I see lyrics and poetry in very much the same way.
Who are your writing influences, heroes and villains poetically, musically and/or lyrically?
Oh, damn! I may need a few more pages to list all my influences! Nick Cave, David Bowie, King Crimson, Tom Waits. Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson. Melville and Dumas. Bukowski. Friends who write. Writers who have become friends. Random characters I interact with on a daily basis.
However, my influences don’t just lie in the who’s, but are also present in the what’s. Diving into history and digging through the mysteries there, the sound waves make when they crash against rocks on a quiet night. Hell, I can be influenced by fingers clicking on a keyboard and the poetry that lies in well written program code.
What quote/song/poem inspires you the most and why?
That answer lies not in the above, but in a book – Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, The Whale. It’s a salve that I keep returning to more than anything in print. Yes, even the whale fact parts!
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”
Writer’s block, is it real or a myth?
Absolutely real! Though I believe it manifests itself differently for everyone. For some, it’s a jumbled mind. For others, it’s fear. For myself, it’s a mixture. A find a good fix is usually switching gears. I’m a visual person by nature, and usually turn to art in the form of visual journaling and collage when the words won’t flow. I find zen in putting various pieces together to tell a new, more personal story. Most often one of the two artforms will rekindle the other.
Finish this sentence… Words and music are the epitomes of…
What’s next for you?
As for writing, as long as inspiration strikes, I’ll keep my pen to paper. I have no plans to be published, either, but who knows? As of now, the only place you can find me in print is the Stop the Stigma PoetsIN Anthology, and I’m more than happy with that. I’d like to write a list of impressive goals here, but if we’re being completely honest, a huge assed friggin’ nap is on deck.
Thanks to Beth for sharing with us and answering our probing questions. You can find her on Facebook where she juggles being awesome and harvesting memes for the fabulous PoetsIN group.
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