When I turned 40, instead of buying a sports car, I decided to begin an Open University degree. I signed up to creative writing as my last module towards a BA (Hons) Humanities with Literature. In preparation, I attended some writing workshops and have been writing ever since.
Whilst I started writing as part of my academic learning, I very quickly realised that through it I was learning about myself. I found myself writing about past experiences and discovering how cathartic it was to put those thoughts and feelings into words.
I wrote my first book review of Sark’s Succulent, Wild Woman in 1997 for the journal Alaska Women Speak. At the time, I was living in a cabin on Kalifornsky Beach Road, gazing at Cook Inlet and Mt. Redoubt near Kenai, Alaska. It is no wonder my jump into poetry was effortless. The switch in genre gave me the chance to wrangle with and process my everyday brush with nature and its allure. That’s not to say that writing poetry is an easy task; to the contrary. Writing takes dedication and concentrated practice.
If you are digitally inclined, I have good news – the anthology is now available for pre-order on Kindle! That means you can order the ebook today and it will be delivered straight to your device on Sunday 15th October.
The anthology will be out in paperback and hardback on Lulu.com on Sunday, and it will also be available in paperback and hardback on Amazon in a few weeks. Please do join us for our launch event on the Facebook page on Sunday – everyone is welcome. RSVP here!
I started writing as soon as I’d learned to put pen to paper. My very early childhood was one that was happily inundated with stories of all kinds – stories in the books that my siblings read to me, stories my father spoke aloud on long drives, stories on television, and even stories around the dinner table when the family talked about their day. It was only natural for me to invent my own – sometimes just to entertain myself. My early stories (and poems and songs) were most frequently populated by the two things that most fascinated me as a little boy – dogs and monsters.
I started writing stories to entertain my family and teachers. But shortly after starting secondary school I realised that creative writing was also an escape route and that I could write for myself as much as anyone else.
I don’t remember the exact time or age, but love of poetry came early. I was a lonely child and extremely sensitive. I recall the joy of reading poetry … whenever in my little mind I could make sense of poetic lines it would delight me no end.
I had this daybook where I used to indite. I have memories of my school magazine publishing my poems. As with a lot of poets I fell in love, or what I thought was love when I was thirteen or so.
The bliss and baggage that comes with early love crept into my poems and still does.
I was a teenager, the time I got interested in boys and went to the local disco at the football club. I was flirting around and couldn’t decide which boy I liked most, that’s when I wrote my first poem about a butterfly wandering around.
After that, I wrote mostly nonsense rhymes and limericks. Unfortunately, I lost my little notebook.
I started to write English poetry about five years ago and after a friend encouraged me, I started to submit my work last year. I was very surprised by the way that free verse poetry exists, till then I always thought poems had to rhyme.
Writing has been a journey I dismissed like several other things that helped me grow into who I currently am. I’ve always written because of school and I was pretty good at it, or at least that is what my teachers and report card said. I would say that writing poetry didn’t become something that I would consider a great skill until my junior year of college. Up until this point I only had written essays of the academic variety, besides the picture prompts we were mandated to write in the U.S throughout middle school and high school. Writing became important to me my junior year, when I was taking “Literature of Social Protest” with political theorist, Barbara Foley, while taking my first creative writing class that junior year where I read poetry from the likes of E.E. Cummings, William Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Amiri Baraka just to name few.
I have written poems and rhymes from an early age and have always linked rhythms to words to help me learn things. I love playing with words; I love the silliness and fun you can create by observing everyday life, playing with your imagination and telling silly tales. I also relish using words to create and change the moods of the readers. At various times, I have had people tell me they have laughed, thought differently, or even cried after reading some of my poems, and the fact that can happen just by placing ink on a page in a certain order just makes me tick!
If you are appearing in our upcoming anthology, and you have not been interviewed for the Peeking Cat blog before, I’d like to hear from you to take part in an interview before 15th October. If you would like to take part in an interview please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 4th October. I’ll send you some questions in a Word document and you’ll just need to fill it in and send it back to me (along with a photo of yourself if you’re happy for your lovely face to appear on the website). I’ll upload the interviews to the blog and also share them on the Facebook page on anthology launch day!