What’s your writing background? When did you begin writing and what inspired you?
In first grade I raised my hand excitedly and fairly yelled at the teacher, “I know what I am going to do when I grow up, I’m going to make books!” This was the result of seeing how powerful even the Dick and Jane readers can be for a whole class full of people, like witnessing magic it was. While holding day jobs for income over the years, I managed to earn a few writing awards for slice-of-life fiction and poetry, the two genres I love best to write. Inspiration comes from human nature and Mother Nature. As for the act of writing, I don’t write because I want to, I write because I must. Should writing ever cease for me, I am certain breathing will too. Writing saved my life.
How often do you write? And how do you manage to fit in writing among other commitments?
Fitting writing in was once a problem with full time and part time jobs (concurrently) as well as volunteering (lay counsellor, boards of directors, animal rescue) but somehow the writing happens even when I may not be. Once I awoke in the night, wrote a story in fifteen minutes, didn’t alter it and it placed second in a literary contest. I just never know where or when it will spill out of me. I wrote all over my bedroom walls at age thirteen, flourishy poetics in the hand I’d morphed from my mother’s beautiful penmanship to my own artsy style – now people pay for that – who knew! I try to write something daily but it is not always a result I want to share. Some days I simply cannot even write but share older works in the hope my loyal subscribers won’t abandon me.
In which genre do you most enjoy writing?
Fiction, slice-of-life fiction, it is the most challenging by far. Poetry seems to spring out unbidden but writing fiction and doing it well is very hard work. Still learning as I grow.
What draws you to write in that genre?
My most memorable reads were from that genre; Margaret Laurence’s “The Diviners” in which Christie Logan the town garbage man says of multiple liquor bottles (TRIGGER WARNING): “aborted babies or still warm food: By the Jesus, ya know people by their garbage, ya do.” He also told the protagonist Morag what he wanted on his headstone: “He Meant Well”. For some reason this book is as vivid to me as when I read it though Paula Sharp, Cathy Pelletier, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, John Irving, Timothy Findley, Alistair MacLeod, Jack Hodgins, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Alice Munro, Dorothy Allison, Mary McGarrity, Jane Smiley, Wally Lamb and so many more fine writers out there spring to mind I haven’t life enough to include all their names here, it would take me forever.
Can you tell me about your current project(s)?
SPIRITSHINE is a book of verse resulting from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When I was plunged into the depths of PTSD, I really was alone with nothing and no one safe to turn to. Thanks to counselling and her working with me to find one thing to get up for daily, I reconnected with my writing and while I haven’t written well and I know it, this book of verse now available today is the evidence that art saves lives. Without writing, I am sure I would not even be here. The contents of the book may not be everyone’s cup of tea and as I said I was often not fit to write well, still often am not, but the underlying message of raising awareness for Mental Health Week and the proof that art saves lives is the message behind the effort. Blogging on WordPress.com keeps me connected to the art of writing as and when I can. The book was meant to be free but the site won’t let me do that – big surprise. So I have tried to price it low enough to make it affordable to all and yet know it will not be because, like me, so many haven’t a single penny to spare. I hope they will visit my blog where many of the works originated and find some soulful resonance or comfort there.
This instant, I have none. To just keep writing is all I know to do. Dreaming of another book some day, work of fiction but that is a… so far… distant dream I hope to one day visit.
Where can people find out more about you?
Mostly my blog and Facebook, though, I find I just can’t take too much online stimulation or I have to rest my eyes and mind for hours as both hurt from it. Still. Hoping one day to share again and so appreciate all the love and support from so many corners of the world. Often lament the trappings of the online socializing world but loving that we can use the world wide connections for goodness, to achieve things in ways we never thought possible. This interview for instance, thank you so much, Ruth, so honoured to be your guest.