You recently began submitting poems to Cerebral Agony zine. How did you hear about the zine and what inspired you to send some of your written work for online publication?
There was a post on Facebook from one of my friends where submissions were being accepted by Cerebral Agony Zine. I checked the link and saw some poetry with writers I recognized and I decided to inquire if some of my writing would be acceptable.
Who were the writers you recognized from the blog/webzine and are you in correspondence with anyone lending their talents?
I recognized Jerry Langdon and Rich Orth and I've read some of their work on Facebook. We're members of poetry groups and share our writing. They and many others are such great writers. It's a pleasure to read their work when I can. We're not closely in correspondence but as I've mentioned, we share our work in groups and we comment and support each other's endeavors.
For how long have you been in poetry groups with Rich Orth and Jerry Langdon? Are there any verses they’ve written that stand out for you? Would you recommend these groups to other writers?
I've been in groups with them approximately a couple of years and can recall their work. 'Dismal Words' and 'Dark Poems' are two groups I believe we share. There was another group in the past but it closed. They've both written some great pieces. I can't name a specific piece of work but their writing, overall, is a pleasure to read. Both groups I mentioned are groups I would recommend to writers. And writers could also search for groups related to poetry. There are many.
What interested you in writing? Were you reading poets in school or on personal time? Who in particular inspired you?
Writing poetry became an interest when I was about thirteen. There were a lot of changes in my life; my father, a very dear Aunt and one of my Grandmothers had passed away. And it's an age where we all begin entering peer pressure and experience some challenges with adolescence. Poetry became a haven, a way to deal with stress. It was like a puzzle to put together, especially with rhyme and have it tell a story and convey an emotion or situation. Over the years writing has really been there for me as an outlet. To this day, when I have stress, writing provides me with a creative channel, a kind of therapy. I was drawn to poetry when I was about six years old. I would be at school and the teachers would play records with the readings of Edgar Allan Poe; The Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven. Most all the other children were scared, crouching in their seats but I was perched over my desk with a grin, loving every word. Roald Dahl's Lamb To The Slaughter was another piece of writing I enjoyed. From there, over the years, I read other writers and poets in school and on my own, such as Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and Lord Byron. 'Ode' by Arthur O'Shaughnessy is probably my favorite; 'We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.' And then, probably around thirteen or fourteen years old, I began reading lyrics, which opened up even more doors to writing. Lyrics are a great love of mine. Lyrics have been a huge influence for me as well as poetry. Jim Morrison, Stevie Nicks, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Type O Negative, Evanescence, The Smashing Pumpkins, AC/DC, Loreena McKennitt, Adele, Led Zeppelin and U2 are just some of the musical talents with lyrics that I greatly admire. The pieces I write are sometimes poems and sometimes lyrics. They're closely related, at least to me. They each offer something that can hold a lot of meaning. Gothic-Victorian is what I call the kind of work that I mostly enjoy reading and writing.
How did writing become a means to dispel stress when you began? How did you see writing as similar to competing a puzzle?
Writing started and still is an outlet for various moods and a creative means of expression. We all have things to deal with. There are times of problems, stress, sadness, depression, anger; things we all go through. In a way, I guess that I escape inside my mind, where I feel better by creating something. It's challenging to come up with an idea and then work to make it happen. Writing has always been and is a comfort in times when I feel lost. It gives me that little space, where I'm not judged and can pour whatever's bothering me into a poem or lyrics. Writing is like a puzzle for me, meaning trying to write with rhyme but have the whole piece tell a story (I mostly write poetry/lyrics with rhyme). I don't want to only have all the words sound cool because they rhyme together. I want the rhyming words to match, as far as being relevant to the topic of the piece. Also, have a tie, meaning from the beginning (sometimes in the middle) and at the end, there's some sentiment that goes together. It all comes together, like a puzzle. Sometimes, that can be tricky. I try to select certain words that will make an impact. And I try to have the overall piece be the best I can make it.
In how many different ways do you see poems and song lyrics as being closely related to one another?
I view them as kindred and each can be special to people. They both express a topic and sentiment. Many lyrics have rhyme and many poems are created with rhyme. Right away, I recall Led Zeppelin's 'All Of My Love'. I think it's a very beautiful, deep and meaningful song with lyrics, as a poem. Robert Plant sings the words as a tribute to his son, Karac, who died of a stomach infection at the age of five. I also recall Stevie Nicks and her song 'Annabel Lee' with the words of the Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem. So, lyrics can be a poem and a poem can be lyrics.
Have you read a great deal of written verse from the Gothic-Victorian era? Which of them impressed you most profoundly?
I have read some of the works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning (husband and wife). Maybe considered Victorian and Romantic poetry. I've also read some Alfred Tennyson. Again, I think of Edgar Allan Poe. He was and will remain the master.
In what ways did Arthur O'Shaughnessy’s line 'We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams’ speak to you when discovering different poets at a young age?
Actually, I was a bit older when I read Arthur O'Shaughnessy's 'Ode.' But the line and first stanza, in particular, came to be something I adored. I've always loved music, poetry and lyrics and always hoped to one day work with composers to write lyrics professionally. And there have been quite a few people who get me writing poetry but don't get me writing lyrics because there's no music to go with it. It's hard to explain but sometimes when I write, I can kind of hear a melody, like from a distant room. And the words fit with what I'm hearing. Sorry, I know that may not make sense. I don't know the first thing about composing/notes/arranging music. But Arthur O'Shaughnessy's Ode goes beyond that, way beyond my modest efforts. It's for anyone who has a dream, in whatever it may be (not only music & lyrics). The world needs dreamers. They are the ones who some others look at and say, "that's stupid", or "that can't be", or "why bother, what's the point?" Those others don't want to try or believe in a change or an idea or a creation. No one really understands where another person is going with a concept but afterwards they see it. And then, maybe, what was thought to be stupid suddenly isn't so stupid anymore. The lines, "World losers and world forsakers, on whom the pale moon gleams" ... to me means the outcasts, the black sheep, what some consider to be a waste. They're the loners with ideas, dreams or ways that no one gets and they are often shoved in the background, the shadows, the night. But the pale moon gleams on them. They try, they work, they don't give up, even if no one supports or understands them. And they are, a lot of the time, the ones who make things happen because they're willing to dream when others weren't. So, the last line reads, "Yet we are the movers and shakers of the world for ever, it seems."
We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;
World losers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
What lines in Roald Dahl's Lamb To The Slaughter spoke to you the most and what about them resonated with you?
It's a terrific short story by Roald Dahl and I remember reading it a long time ago in elementary school. But I read it after that and over the years. Mrs. Maloney is a doting, pregnant wife and her husband, Mr. Maloney, is a detective with a cold, indifferent manner about him. I can't say there was a particular line that stood out for me in the story. As a whole, the story is a great read. The husband comes home from work and he's distant and his wife, obviously very much in love with him, waits on him and does her best to be pleasing. He presents her with shocking news (we can guess he's leaving her) and he mentions that he'll give her money and make sure she's taken care of. The wife proceeds to go about routine and fetches a frozen leg of lamb to cook for dinner. It's a wicked, amusing little tale, though I don't wish any wives to actually go around, bashing their husbands’ skulls in or vice versa. What resonated with me was the whole short story and how it was clever. It didn't have excessive blood or gory details and didn't need to because it was creepy and unnerving, slightly but effectively. It drew the reader in and had a perfect little ending with the police eating the evidence, while she is described (privately to us readers) as having a giggle in another room. If anyone hasn't read it, hope they do if they get a chance. It's a fun, dark story with just the right dash of an almost Hitchcock like feel. Mrs. Maloney cooks a mean leg of lamb.
Along with Poe, Morrison, Loreena McKennitt and the others you mentioned, some favorite writers of mine include King Diamond, Neil Peart (Rush), Cradle Of Filth and Stephen King. Are you familiar with any of their work?
I'm not familiar with King Diamond or Neil Peart. I do know a couple songs by Cradle Of Filth. I like 'A Dream Of Wolves In The Snow' (I love wolves). Stephen King... I know what he's done through movies. I admit I don't read books really, except some classic poetry and that's been awhile. I read mostly through research (for the poetry/lyrics I write) on the internet and I read the poetry of various writers on Facebook. 'It' and 'Pennywise' are fun. Stephen King has done some amazing work: The Shining, Carrie, Dolores Claiborne. Rose Red, I believe, was somewhat based on the Winchester Mystery House and Sarah Winchester. I read up on her and the house. I wrote something called 'Gothic Victorian' in part about Sarah Winchester.
How much research did you do on the Winchester House and how does your poem Gothic Victorian reflect your research?
I saw a few television specials (ghost & hauntings) about the Winchester Mystery House. And when I wanted to write about it (more in lyric form), I researched online some more, in probably about three or four places. "Flames are on the leaves" - I set it in Autumn. I mentioned a presence 'grieves' because it was noted how Sarah Winchester grieved for the loss her husband and child. When I hear the term 'tortured soul', I think of her. "Something dies, something is born, and thunder lives (she is)" - meaning she passed on but her ghost is alive." "She's heart of the house" - was a reference to the 'Blue Room', known as the heart of the house. It was a secret room where Sarah Winchester would conduct séances. Thirteen stairs and thirteen candles are mentioned because Sarah Winchester was fascinated with the number thirteen. Also, in part, I thought of my Mother (while writing this) because thirteen, she's said, isn't a lucky number to her and mentions that she was born on the thirteenth day (in Spring). But I've always told Mother that thirteen is a very lucky number, to me, because of her. It's a special number to me. My Mother kept her hair black until she was in her seventies. And I mention black hair in the lyrics. I added a bit of myself in it with a reference to hazel eyes and flesh of porcelain. Photos of Sarah Winchester are very rare. I can only think of one, where she was an elder lady and it wasn't very clear. I tried to give her some features for the lyrics. "The piano plays tonight" references how Sarah Winchester liked to play the piano. The title Gothic Victorian was fitting. She lived during the Victorian era and I used the word 'Gothic' because of the darker and haunting aspect of the Victorian mansion, where she lived and continually designed expansions. It's a huge, gorgeous manor with hallways and rooms like a maze. Sarah was reclusive and adored her home. Maybe, because that's where she sensed the presence of those she loved, still with her. There's more of a story about her and the house but what I've told, here, are what portions that are relevant to what I wrote. I couldn't write lyrics, word for word of a biography or it would read like a short story. So, I added some creative writing but definitely kept some of the facts about the Winchester Mystery House and Sarah.
What was it about The Tell Tale Heart and The Raven that caught your interest? Did those pieces make you want to read more of Poe’s writings?
Edgar Allan Poe caught my interest because even when I was a very young child I was drawn to scary movies and darker things, such as vampires, werewolves and ghost stories/hauntings. Poe was amazing. He had great rhyme, choice of words and could make the reader feel a bit unnerved. And I love that. Gothic, Dark or Horror related writing doesn't have to have excessive blood or gruesome description, such as Poe's 'Annabel Lee' (of great loss, grief) and 'A Dream Within A Dream' (of a dreamer but aren't dreams what we thrive for in the time we're given, life itself is a dream). That's the best way I can give my take on a couple of Poe's writings. True 'Gothic' or 'Dark', I believe, comes with more impact by unnerving and usually with an element of 'true to life.' Real life can be unsettling in itself, more than horror stories. Writing that's from the gut with some twinge of honesty and topic of hurt, anger, depression and even love can have Gothic or Dark tones. Gothic is a way, I believe. Maybe, a person who has known grief, sadness, heartbreak and depression and there's that sense with them. And the word 'suicide' has been associated with Gothic, which I dislike (and I don't condone or write about it). A person who can take the hits of life and keep going is someone who is more Gothic, in my opinion. It's that Soul who has seen the darker days but is a survivor and finds an outlet to release or share, instead of giving up. Gothic isn't necessarily how you look, what you wear or what you talk about in all conversations. It's a darkly Soul, part of who you are, again, all this is what I believe. But different people will have different opinions. Darker storylines of hauntings, vampires, werewolves, castles, a séance and the like are great fun, especially if there's that bit of 'true to life' twinge in it. I've never been that summer, butterflies and sparkles girl. I'm an Autumn/Winter kind of woman and Halloween is my favorite holiday.
There are goths who are honest in expressing themselves and posers who only gravitate to the image. I think the suicide angle is mostly a stereotype from people who label all goths as being ‘freaks’ and ‘weirdos’ and not like the ‘beautiful people.’
Every once in a while, I go to search engines or a social media group and look for Gothic Poetry and some (not all) of the poems I read talk about suicide (same with a search for Gothic Lyrics). And everyone has the right to express themselves with artistic creativity as they choose. Some people know very dark places and are honest. They've had to be strong for so long that they reach moments when it all becomes too much. But I dislike suicidal references. The suicide of a person can ruin the lives of the family and friends of that person. It's a serious subject and it's sad if it’s used to make an artistic endeavor appear more Gothic. Anyone contemplating suicide should try to get help and consider the devastation they would cause the people who love them.
Goths do get labeled. And those who label them haven't got the first clue to what they're about. Those who get labeled can be the most genuine and beautiful people there are. And some of the supposed 'beautiful people' can be the most fake on the surface and ugly on the inside.
Everyone has problems, issues and hurts to some degree, at one time or another. I'm a shy person, reclusive really (not used to interviews) but I'm trying to be a bit more outgoing - answering honestly. I was ostracized in school because of a certain religion that my father chose for me, my siblings and Mother (we're no longer with that religion). We had a very reclusive and restrained upbringing because my father was an abusive and cruel man. My Mother was and is all that's loving, strong and pure. My siblings and I were known as "freaks" and "weirdos." My father died right before I turned fourteen but I'll say it this way, damage was done. Years later and as an adult, I'm the Black Sheep of my (not family but) relatives. My Mother, brother, sister, nephew and niece are the only blood family I know. The rest of the relatives did and said things that caused tremendous pain. They ostracized me (and us), judged, gossiped and had some spiteful names and labels to throw out. However, family isn't always made by blood and marriage. People who are Goths, Wiccan, many backgrounds, ways and beliefs have welcomed me and in return I cherish, respect and love them.
Perhaps the occasional references to suicide are metaphorical and not to be taken literally? A means of symbolically dispelling internal anguish? Many people who look down on others for being different are resentful because they can’t express themselves the way they want, so they get down on those who do, spewing snide remarks like “you look like a vampire, go kill yourself”, etc. How much more accepting and open-minded are Goths as opposed to such people?
The intentions were probably metaphorical in some instances. People who are dealing with hurt or depression sometimes may write about suicide as a way to get out the pain. And with some others, the subject might have been used to make a piece come across more dark. And when I did a search for Gothic Poetry/Lyrics, suicide was not mentioned in all or even in great amounts, only some. So, while I've read where it has been associated with Gothic, overall it's not referenced to in the majority.
Many people who look down on others or make snide remarks may be secretly jealous of them in some way. Also, some enjoy ripping another person apart because they would rather divert attention away from themselves. They would rather talk about a particular person or group because it takes away from them having to take a good look at their flaws and issues. In my own experiences, I've known a few people who revel in gossip, get off on lying and throw out names such as; Vampire (I'm pale enough), Witch or Freak. And make comments such as; "whenever anyone talks about you, they all say the same thing - what a waste." That's something that will stay with me. But those names, I kind of wear proudly because they were meant in a way that separates me from them. And that's a blessing. I don't want to be like them or be part of their little clique. Goths or anyone who may be different from what's socially or more prominently considered 'normal' usually are more accepting because they are the first to know how damaging it can be to feel excluded.
It’s hate any way you slice it, or if you try to justify or sugarcoat it preaching about being open-minded. People like that are hypocrites, plain and simple, and we all know that hate can go too far.
There's no justifying it. There's no sugar coating it. Someone who judges someone else, excludes or harasses another person because of how they look or how they perceive that person to be different - is a hypocrite. I'm definitely not going to preach about it or give it any kind of comment towards acceptance. Period. There is no amount of preaching, from anyone, to make a hate induced scenario justifiable. People get hurt, as you mentioned, even physically attached. There's not a damned place for acceptance, explaining away or dissecting the reasoning behind it, in any way, shape or form for that behavior. It's hate!
Poet Steven Michael Pape wrote Killed For Looking Different about an incident in the UK in which Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend were assaulted because of the way they looked. If you read it, what are your thoughts?
I remember reading a news post or a post online, quite some time ago, about Sophie Lancaster but it was only some of what took place. There was a video, you shared, and I watched it and it gave more detail than what I'd known. Those teenage boy attackers (murderers) have nothing but blackness inside, vacant of humanity. They already had a history of violence and then, brutally attacked Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend, Robert Maltby, because they were Goth and appeared different. A young girl, only 20 years old, lost her life. She had such pretty bright eyes, a caring family, close friends, a loving boyfriend, a future, hopes and dreams and it was taken from her. A Mother lay beside her beloved, young daughter, while she slipped into death, after being removed from life support. I can't imagine the amount of grief and pain felt by her Mother, Sylvia, family, friends and her boyfriend, Robert, who survived (but what tragedy he lives with). No one can imagine, unless they've lived such a devastating event. There are no words to express how repulsive and evil it is for someone to kill another person just because they look different. Horror isn't a macabre work of writing. It's not a movie, artwork or a band with some dark fantasy or fictional element to it. Horror walks upright. It's sadly - reality.
What attracts you to the mystique surrounding Halloween? Does it relate to legend or history or both?
I start celebrating Autumn about mid-August. I very much dislike Summer, heat and the sun. And I have a severe sensitivity to heat and brightness (some Fibromyalgia side effects). By September, it's all about Halloween. Many people see the change of season as a sorrowful event because the days grow shorter, leaves fall off the trees and hotter days are gone. But there's much beauty in Autumn; The smell of fireplaces burning, scent of cinnamon and gingerbread, those leaves turning shades of gold, red, orange and yellow before they fall crisp. Kids, then, play in those leaves, Pumpkins are everywhere and there's nothing like wrapping up in a soft, warm blanket with a cup of hot cocoa (extra cream) on a rainy Autumn night. And Halloween means all things haunting, horror and fun; scary movies, ghost stories, costumes and candy. But Halloween is also a time of remembrance for those who have died. Among the fun, for me, it's a time to also remember the loved ones who have passed on. It is a holiday that's meant to honour. Halloween/All Souls' Night does have a mystique. There is a sense of presence and I do believe what's been said; veil is the thinnest, between here and the other side.
Do you read any books about All Souls’ Night that you would recommend due to the information they carry?
I do read on the internet quite a lot. There's tons of information on all sorts of subjects. There are different beliefs, legends and history about All Souls' Night, Samhain and Halloween. It's fascinating and it can get in depth, according to various beliefs.
What speaks to you about Jim Morrison’s writing? He was considered by many to be a poet who sang for a rock band. Would you say he is another example of how song lyrics and poems can be interchangeable?
I've long admired his work and wrote a poem about him called 'Fire And Ice.' I've written about a few people, such as Marilyn Monroe and Peter Steele (Type O Negative). Jim Morrison had such a seductive voice and presence. He and some other singers can carry you away for a while when you listen to them. I think he was a Poet. From what I've read and researched, he wasn't happy or comfortable with the Rock Star image. It seems that poetry was his love. The music of the Doors is mysterious, powerful, long lived and loved. 'People Are Strange' is one I really like (going back a bit to a previous Q&A - regarding exclusion, being unwanted). Break On Through, Light My Fire - fantastic songs. The Crystal Ship can read like a poem but what an amazing song. Ghost Song is a poem with melody, that mixture of poetry and lyrics.
I’ve heard Light My Fire a million times; it’s a good song but radio has a tendency to play it out. Also I have read that Morrison had grown tired to performing the song at Doors shows. I like the epic Doors songs; The End, When The Music’s Over, Celebration Of The Lizard; these show his poet side much more to me. What do you think of those pieces?
The End is a very powerful song. It's beautifully painful with slow melody and Jim's singing and then it goes into a dialogue, which is intense and complex. I'm sure I'm not alone on this; obviously, there are a couple lines in the dialogue that are shocking. It's where Jim is talking about his Father and Mother. And there are, I'm sure, various interpretations and opinions. It seems, somewhere, I read that Jim didn't spend much time with his family, Mom or Dad (not sure). I'm thinking, these two lines may have come from a place of anger or pain, not even with any meaning, directly, as the words were said. So, not literal. It's artistic creativity and what I read described as 'Theatre', by Ray Manzarek. No one has to agree, understand or like it. We all know if there's something we don't care for, we can move on to something else. Overall, I really like Jim's singing voice and the entire band's melodic work in this piece. When The Music's Over is a song whose lyrics seem to show a place for music as a haven and also some dislike for what happens in the world and with the earth. Celebration Of The Lizard is a song whose lyrics seem to talk about getting away from pain. I wish that Jim Morrison could have stayed with us longer. What further music or poetry he could have made. These songs are all very poetic and different people can interpret them differently. There are many songs of Jim Morrison/The Doors that I adore including, End of the Night, Wintertime Love and Riders on the Storm. Touch Me is sexy, strong but still caring and tender. This one, to me, is a song where Jim Morrison's voice seduces. The Doors/Jim Morrison had great poetic talent with their music. I do agree and have some kinship with what Jim Morrison sang - "This is the strangest life I've ever known."
What does Morrison’s line "This is the strangest life I've ever known” personally mean to you?
"This is the strangest life I've ever known." That line from The Doors song, Waiting For The Sun, to me, is quintessential Jim Morrison. He was incredibly intelligent, from all accounts, and this line is playful and surreal, like a riddle. I don't have his IQ but I know things in life often don't make sense. Each of us only know one life but this line presents itself, as if we each have another separate life that we can compare this one against. There's times when I've said, "I feel like I'm in the middle of a David Lynch movie." Life, people and situations, can be strange at times, to say the least. This line kind of says, to me, if I could compare a more settled, more normal, more stable, average life against the real life I'm living, then how strange the actual life I have would seem. We each have a story - the bad, the good and the weird. Personally, with regards to this line's meaning, I didn't know a normal childhood, haven't been married, children weren't in the stars, no current boyfriend/stable relationship, a black sheep (with relatives), I've had nightmares/night terrors for many years, etc. But we all live and go on the best we can. I'm blessed with a wonderful Mother, my brother (Ed) and sister (Della). They are the only ones who have stayed by my side and been loyal, when a lot of other people betrayed and/or didn't stay. I love them the world. We have each other's backs. Although I don't have any friends to share life with, in person (currently), I do have very dear friends that I keep in touch with by phone and social media. I'm always busy with something and as I mentioned, am a full-time caregiver for my Mom (for more than a decade) and help my brother. Living with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain is challenging but there's a lot of people who have it worse. If I get down, I get on with it. Writing is my haven and I squeeze it in, here and there, when I can.
What do you think Loreena McKennitt offers music as a lyricist and a songwriter? Her material is not easily accessible to the mainstream but it is miles ahead of most of what is ‘popular’ these days.
Loreena McKennitt had some mainstream success with 'The Mummer's Dance.' She has descriptive lyrics (likened to poetry). She writes with detail and can paint images with words. She offers a more vivid, lyrical expression. Some songs, by some other musicians, are repetitive and they aren't as intricate with word usage. And that's fine. Some songs have easier lyrics to sing along with, dance to and have fun with. Loreena McKennitt has eloquent lyrics and she delivers them with a lovely voice. Samhain Night, All Souls Night, Courtyard Lullabye and The Dark Night Of The Soul (and others) are all poetic. Dante's Prayer is very moving. It has an ethereal sound. It's beautifully sad. She is a wonderful artist.
Which of your poems were the first to be published when you seriously pursued writing as a career?
I haven't been published in print. I guess I first published myself on a website I created (it was years ago and it’s no longer up). There are a few places on the internet where my writing appears. Viktor Aurelius did an online radio show, where he did a fabulous job reading some of my poems with sound effects. And we did a phone interview. The radio show is called 'Whispers in the Dark.' I appreciate him taking the time to feature my work. I maintain a blog at kayirvin.blogspot.com. My work is there. And I make graphics, where I add my poetry/lyrics to make an image that can be shared on Facebook. I've been serious about writing since I was a teenager. Everyone has that dream job. My dream is to one day work with composers as a lyricist. I hope to be good enough for that to happen. And not necessarily make huge money but it would be nice to achieve some success and income. I'm a full-time caregiver for my Mother (85 years young) and help my brother (both have health problems). I work on writing, here and there, in between taking care of things. I'm planning on looking into publishing a book (CreateSpace may be an avenue). I'm trying to get my work out more. Hopefully, people will find some of my poetry and lyrics pleasing.
How much of your work did you get to discuss on your radio interview at Whispers In The Dark? Do you know how many people heard it when it aired?
That was right at a year ago, in August of 2014. Viktor Aurelius (host) and Jeff Niles (co-host) spoke with me for about an hour. During the interview, Viktor played recordings of approximately five of my poems and afterwards we talked about each. As I mentioned earlier, he recorded the words with sound effects and spoke in a spooky voice. He did a wonderful job. I was nervous and he made me feel at ease. At a later date, he recorded five more of my poems and added them to the site. The poems are all Halloween/Gothic related. I don't know how many people heard the interview when it aired. I did share the recordings on my blog and on Facebook. The links, interview and recordings are still there and can be listened to and downloaded. I want to extend an invitation for anyone who might like to listen to it, to check the site and links.
[interview with me - after Debbie Harmon]
Scan down the page to: Horror Poetry #2
There are many writers, there, where their works have been recorded.
Which of your poems did Viktor play during the interview and after the interview? Did those poems receive any feedback?
During the interview with Viktor, I believe the poems/lyrics he read were 13, Wolf Song, Necromancer, Oblivion, Devil Horns/Crescent Moon and Midnight Anthems. After the interview, he recorded The Witching Hour, Samhain Night and Halloween. I don't know what or if there was any feedback. Viktor and his co-host, Jeff Niles, were very gracious with feedback and said very positive things about my work. I appreciate their kindness and comments.
Do interviews on podcasts help writers get their work around more efficiently than print fanzines and webzines? What are the pros and cons of all these outlets?
I don't know for sure. Some people probably prefer podcasts. But others probably prefer zines, where they can read interviews. I can't say which would help a writer get their work out more efficiently. A writer can submit to both and reach people on both preferences. Pros of podcasts, probably, are that people can stream and listen or download, save for later and listen while they're busy doing errands, working out or doing things around the house. Con is, maybe, there are those who just don't like to listen to audio recordings. Pro for the zines could be that some people would rather visually read. Con could be that it's not a form that can be listened to, through speakers, headphones or earbuds. With tablets and smartphones, both ways are portable and can be taken anywhere. So, again, a writer could submit to both.
How much of your collected writings are available for reading on your official blog? How many visitors do you get each day?
My blog has most of my writing (approximately 200 poems/lyrics). I do have things in the works and a lot of older material that I need to edit and add. I don't get a lot of visitors, probably around five a day. But I'm thankful for the visitors I do get and always welcome people to visit. I hope they might find something there.
How long have you been collecting your written work for posting on your blog? On what basis did you choose the poems for it?
I've collected my written work since approximately 1997. I did write prior to then but didn't keep very much, if any. Several years ago I started working on my writing by computer and now, by smartphone. It's portable, I have a great notepad app and I can email myself a copy of any completed work, straight from the app. I always send a copy of what I write to my email in order to have a time and date stamp recorded/proof for each piece. I do most everything by mobile, such as post to my blog, go on Facebook, read news, access the web and correspond through emails. I use image editing apps to make graphics, where I add my poems/lyrics on top of a background and then, I share those images on Facebook. It takes less than five minutes to make a graphic, so it's really nice. I chose quite a lot of my older works to add to the blog, if they were edited and finished. Five years ago, I started adding newer works. My blog's been up for a little over five years. I work on new poems and lyrics all the time. Everything is submitted to the Copyright Office, Library of Congress. Once something goes on the blog, that's when I make a graphic/image for that piece and share it on Facebook. It has the possibility to then go out to hundreds or thousands of people through groups and page shares. Some pages (where we hit the like button and then get their posts in our feed) can have five thousand, thirty thousand or more people that receive the posts that's shared out from that page. My writing isn't everyone's cup of tea and some people don't like poetry, quotes or writing at all but it is a chance to get my work out. I add a copyright notice on the image and my blog address, in case anyone might like to visit my blog.
Some of my writers including Rich Orth have collaborated with other poets and artists for my other zine Autoeroticasphyxium. Is this something you would consider doing in the future?
I would enjoy collaborating with other artists. Maybe, in the future another writer and I could collaborate on a poem. Also, maybe a musician/band and I could collaborate, where they compose the music and I write the lyrics. There may be some lyrics I've written, already, that could be put with music.
Do you know of any bands of musicians who would be interested in having you write lyrics for them?
I don't know any bands or musicians. But I do hope to one day collaborate with some and be involved in the process of making songs. I'd want to talk with them about how they create music, share and discuss what way we could make the best songs. And it would be great for all involved to have some success and income with our endeavors. No matter what, I'll always write. I've done it for many, many years. It's a release and therapy for me. It keeps my mind busy and there's always something to write about. I've hoped to be able to be paid one day. It would be the dream job; doing what I love and making some income with it. Most people who write, paint, draw or who are in a band put everything they have into it, for the love of their art. But if any of us could eventually make a living doing what we most enjoy, it would definitely be welcomed.
What can you tell the readers about the book you are compiling at present?
I would like to try and start within this year. There are avenues, such as CreateSpace. I would take my time and add a large portion of the writing from my blog but also ten new, unpublished pieces. Any work I do would have to be done around the things I take care of, day to day. I do have a title in mind for my book: "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night". My Mom, Brother and I say this all the time. We enjoy the rain, thunder, lightning, snow and the storms we get here in Oklahoma. It can be eerie and creepy and I mad-love that. The title fits with most of my writing style. I've received positive feedback through Facebook. The graphics I share with my poems/lyrics have been received well, overall. I'm thankful for that. Several friends from my Facebook family have been encouraging me to write a book and they've also mentioned wanting to see music put with the lyrics I write. It means a lot to have their support. I'm grateful for them.
How well are you hoping the book will do when it’s released? How do you plan to promote it? Anything you have in mind afterward?
I'm hoping it will do well and people will find something in the work that they can relate to. It would be a mixture of hauntings, vampires, wolves, seasons, the Victorian era, holidays, Wiccan related, nature and subjects of love, romance, anger, depression, breakups and more. But among it all would be some element of Gothic. I also hope it may open doors to other things. I would promote my book on my blog and share the release on Facebook, through groups, pages and with my Facebook family. Afterwards, I'll just have to see what happens. I'll definitely be writing more and sharing life with the people I love and those who love me back. It would just be a good feeling to get one book done, as far as the not too distant future. Some people might find themselves at home some cold, rainy evening and maybe, they would choose my book to curl up with on 'a dark and stormy night.'