Goddess of Words

Recientemente entrevisté a Cynthia Dougherty, una mujer que vengo admirando desde hace mucho tiempo por su magia con las palabras y su personalidad tan humana. Aquí les dejo su entrevista en inglés y ojalá como yo pueda sentirse identificados con esta maravillosa poeta y se animen a seguirla.



Who is Cynthia? Tell us about yourself… 

I am a mother, sister, wife, friend, and colleague. I am a goddess, poet, author, and lover of creativity and art. I am a Hispanic Irish woman who is too white to be Hispanic, and too Hispanic to be white in the eyes of others. My own reflection is true to me, and I am imperfectly perfect to those who know and love me.


At what age did you began writing? 

Before I was enrolled in school, I loved stories. I loved hearing my mother read Mother Goose and other nursery rhymes. In school my favorite part of the day was story time and Library day. Books were my friends, and I wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first story at the age of seven. I still have it, and it allows me a glimpse into the child I was.  

Was there a particular incident that made you want to write?
Yes, I loved words, and creating. I don’t think I took it seriously or gave myself any credit though. To me it was a past time, a moment in my journal for my own reading pleasure. However, Mrs. Diaz, the head librarian in my elementary, guided me to poetry and her praise at my comprehension skills made my heart soar. I thought she was the smartest person in my school, and she thought I was a writer. She gave me the first push in taking my writing in a new direction, it has weight and resonance.  

Who are you favorite writer?
It’s hard to choose a favorite writer, some of my most treasured books are written by Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Robert Frost. I, like any writer and lover of books, can go on forever really, but these are a few at the top of my list.

 What are your writing process, rituals, and routines?   
I write when I can, every moment I can, if I can’t write because I feel drained or empty then I read. I read so that I can rekindle the embers of creativity. I don’t think I have any rituals, but I tend to carry my phone like an extension of me. It’s not necessarily for social media or apps, it’s because I am addicted to using the notepad on it. I write on my phone’s notepad or my journal. In social situations when you are expected to mingle and connect, I can’t drag out my journal but it has become acceptable to glance at your phone for a minute or two. In that time I write, a turn of phrase or a word or a thought that has flitted into my mind and I know that when I sit in my room late at night then that thought can turn into more.


Which topics are frequent in your writing?  

Anyone who has read my works knows I often reference goddesses in multiple cultures, my favorite are Greek or Celtic women of power. I sincerely believe that each and every woman has magic, an essence that should be cultivated and nurtured. No matter your age, class, sexual preference, or ethnicity a woman is a goddess. Embrace that light within that will give you strength and comfort you.

 What genre do you prefer?
I prefer dark literature, tones of murder, suspense, mystery, and definitely female empowerment. I am an eclectic reader and read almost anything that comes in book form, from science fiction, urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy, mythology, mythic fiction and more.  


What is your favorite thing you have created

I have one poem, which I have not released for public consumption, titled Mi Reina. It is a poem I have dedicated to my mother. I’m still trying to finish polishing it, my mother is a strong influence in my life and I don’t want to fall short of expressing what she means to me. My other favorite, really a writer can’t have just one, is my first collection of works. I put it together back in high school, and though I hope I’ve grown in my skill I know that it will always hold a special place in my heart.  


Do you consider yourself a creative person? 

Yes. We all are. I choose words, others choose crafts, math, science, research, or something else. I create and therefore I am creative. I admire anyone who dedicates themselves to their passion. It takes work, planning, and love to create something from nothing.


What are you trying to communicate with your art? 

I am trying to express my soul. I sometimes feel it overwhelms me, this heavy heart of mine. I am empathetic by nature, I try to be self-aware. I have my faults and cannot bear negativity, but the world will not support my bubble of light and I cannot grow if I stay stagnant. I write in order to purge, to cleanse, to process, and to breathe. I hope that those who stumble across my works can also connect with me on some level. You, the reader, are not alone in your pain nor your joy.


What type of difficulties have you faced when it comes to pursuing your writing career?
 
I haven’t always felt confident in my works, I still struggle with the public aspect of performing my poetry and reading my short stories aloud. Writing it time consuming, and being open to criticism can be daunting. I shake like a leaf every time I share a poem, story, book, or new idea. The niggling thought I battle to silence that says “who wants to read this, really”.


How have you dismissed your obstacles?  

Balance, as simple and as complicated as that. I try to balance the loves of my life, my husband, children, family, friends, and my writing. I work full time as a public high school English teacher as well, and each aspect of my life is important. I try to remind myself that I am important too. I take care of that which takes care of me, and my writing is therapeutic. I don’t think I dismiss my obstacles, I handle them and conquer them. It all requires balance and planning. Don’t lose yourself in the process of taking care of all your responsibilities.


How do we see Cynthia in the future
?  
I see myself as an award winning author/poet. I want to build up my loved ones and love unconditionally. I hope to see my name on the shelves of others.

What’s your plan? 
I plan on writing, singing, loving, living, and being. God laughs at the plans of humans. I live in the moment and dream about the future. Nothing is for certain, and I’m okay with that. All I can do is work towards my goal, and thank the heavens for each day gifted.  

How can we find more of your work?

I am in the process of creating a centralized author website, but in the meantime I am on Amazon, Goodreads, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and in my hometown. At this point in time my works on Amazon are “Bleeding on the Page: My Soul Exposed” and “Looking Into Infinity”. I also have the honor of being included in a collection titled “The Rising”. I’ve been published in a wonderful publication called Indie Affair, and I have a few more works out there in the world. I love when my readers contact me, email me, message me. I am an open book about my writings.  

Any advice for new writers? 
Be tenacious, don’t drown in another’s negativity. Your expression, your writing is needed in the world that is drowning in apathy. Share your soul and never give up.

Books:
Looking Into Infinity on Amazon
Bleeding on the Page on Amazon 

Social Media:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
My street team: C. Dougherty’s Goddesses
Blog

Interview by Hola, Rita

I have the pleasure of being interviewed by hola, rita., and I am so excited that she took the time to learn more about me and my creative process. The honor is mine, Carmen, it feels so good that we support each other. Please go read the interview, and in the mean time follow her blog, she is really amazing. Read the interview in here.

Tuve el gran honor de ser entrevistada por hola, rita., y me siento tan entusiasmada que ella tomó de su tiempo para conocer más de mi proceso creativo y de mí. El honor es mío, Carmen, que bien se siente que nos apoyemos unos a los otros. Por favor vayan a leer la entrevista, y aprovechen para seguirla en su blog, en verdad ella es increíble. Lean la entrevista aquí. ¡Gracias!

A Creative Soul

Photo by Adrianna Calvo

 

Each time I do an interview it reaffirms a very important thing; there’s so much talent out there that one cannot close its eyes and not be inspired. I have the pleasure of interviewing Vicki Gabow – writer, painter, poet, a wonderful woman that speaks in volumes with her creativity, contagious smile, and unique personality that’s shows even in her writing. I hope you guys take the time to learn about her creative process, read her work, and become a fan of her like myself.


 Tell us, who is Vicki Gabow?

I guess at heart I consider myself a creative; I tend to dabble in many different art forms and often feel pulled in various directions with my creative endeavors. Some days I write poetry, or paint, and other days I crochet or work on mixed media pieces. I lean in the direction that most satisfies my soul on any given day. I believe in trying to make the world a kinder, gentler place, and I hope that my existence contributes to that ideal. Lest you think I take myself too seriously, my sense of humor is some mixture of self-deprecation, mild sarcasm, and immaturity and my favorite breakfast cereal is still Lucky Charms.2. 

Writer, Vicki Gabow

When did your first start writing?

The first time I remember being vaguely interested in writing was in first grade; we had writing workshop days where we went to a room filled with typewriters (I know, shows my age a bit) connected to the library where we could draft and type up our own stories. I remember always being excited for those days. However, it wasn’t until I was in sixth grade that I found a voice through writing poetry. My teacher, Mrs. Cohen, encouraged me and gave me positive feedback. I realized that I could express myself through words and as a preteen that was a really powerful discovery.

What are the most constant topics in your writing? Do you write anything else besides poetry?

I write about what I feel and see; my everyday experiences and the people I come into contact with are my biggest inspirations. I write about nature, relationships, creativity, and as an outlet for the emotions that overwhelm me.

I also write personal essays and creative non-fiction pieces from time to time, but I feel most at home in poetry. It holds an old jeans and a T-shirt type of comfort for me that I don’t find in other genres of writing.

Who are your favorite writers?

I’d have to say I greatly admire and enjoy reading works by Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, Robert Okaji, Shane Koyczan, Heather Barnes, David Sedaris, Lois Lowery, Beverly Cleary, D. Watkins, Bill Willingham, and Garth Ennis. My bookshelves are fairly eclectic.


How do you begin a poem? What inspires you to write?

What inspires me to write? Being alive. My writing focuses on my interactions with my environment, so my poems usually start out with some experience depositing a seed in my mind. It rarely ever starts out with me just sitting down and saying to myself, “Okay, let’s write a poem now.” Usually, I find myself rushing to grab a pen and paper, my laptop, my phone, a piece of junk mail, or even a napkin; I only have a limited time to plant that seed in firm soil before it dissipates into the ether, I will write on almost anything. Like many people, I think my best ideas form while I’m doing some mundane task.

How would you define your writing style?

Free verse is my preferred poetic form. I love playing with imagery, symbolism, and sound devices, and I hate end rhyme. Does that constitute a style?

Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems? What is poetry for you at this present time?

I think my perception of poetry has changed over time. In the beginning, I figured it was just about flowery language, an overabundance of adjectives, and end rhyme. Thankfully, I progressed beyond that stage. As I got older, poetry evolved into a means of self-reflection; as a result, I very rarely shared my writing with anyone. Now, I also see it as a powerful tool for communication and connection with my fellow human beings who might take comfort in knowing they’re not alone. Overall I have a greater appreciation for the power of words. If you think about it, my concept of poetry has evolved to accommodate my changing needs at each stage of my life.


What obstacles have you faced as a writer? How did you overcome them?

I’ve been my own worst enemy. My fears have held me back so many times; self-doubt can be paralyzing. It has taken me a long time to acknowledge myself as a writer. I’ve been writing for years, but up until this past year, my husband didn’t even know I wrote. I hid it like a dirty little secret. I still struggle sometimes to believe in myself and my abilities, but I am fortunate enough to have a fantastic support network of friends and family.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Writing can be an isolating pursuit; I’d encourage anyone who wants to write to seek out other creatives and work to support each other, and I’m not just talking about other writers. It can open up so many new possibilities. Immersing myself in culture and my local writing community has helped inspire my writing. Also, don’t be afraid to share your work. Go ahead and submit your writing; yes, you’ll get rejections, but that’s okay. Sometimes you’ll also get feedback or acceptance.

What are your current or future projects?

I’ve been working on a chapbook, and I’m hoping to see that published in the next few months. Also, Because of a Word, a collaborative poetry collection that includes two of my poems is now available in print and e-book format on Amazon. As far as future projects, I’ll be opening an Etsy shop this summer where I’ll be working towards my goal of combining my love of poetry and mixed media art to create some unique original pieces; I’m excited to see where this concept leads.

Vicki, where can we find more of your work?

 



 

Spoken Word Artist – Poetry in 3D

Photo 

The internet is a great place to meet talented artist, people who put their souls in what they write. I have the honor of interviewing Massiel Felix.  She is a Dominican mother raised in Washington Heights, a spoken word artist, writer, and a creative person who devotes herself to this craft. I hope you guys follow her in this journey of creativity and allow yourself to be induced in what she believes is “poetry in 3D.” 


Who is Massiel? Tell us about yourself…
I am a 38 year old mother of two who grew up in Washington Heights with her fellow Dominicans and now resides in Staten Island. I direct an after school program and summer camp for a non profit organization by day but all of my free spaces are occupied by writing. It’s my greatest passion.

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Massiel Felix

At what age do you began writing? There’s was a particular incident that made you want to write?

I was never a fan of spending summers at home all day and often elected to take extra classes in summer school while in HS. One particular summer there was a writing workshop being offered and I thought it would be fun to attend. I still remember the first poem I ever wrote in that class. At the time I was afraid I was with child and was having horrific nightmares about undergoing an abortion. It came out on paper, and it turned out I wasn’t pregnant, which was great! Lol. In college I slammed often at the Nuyorican and was invited to join their team in summer of 1998. We competed in the Love Jones festival in ft. Lauderdale and won! I fell in love with the release of emotion writing allowed and I haven’t stopped since.

Who are you favorite writers?

I am a huge fan of Marquez, Neruda, Nikki Giovanni, Toni Morrison, Zora Neal Hurston and Saul Williams to name a few.

What are your writing process, rituals, and routines?

I tend to jot down ideas as they come. Some I develop into full blown spoken word pieces, others remain single stanza pieces that have the strength to stand alone. I use writing prompts to get the juices flowing at times and love participating in prompt challenges on instagram lol. I wake up half an hour early and write down the first thing that comes to mind. It can be a new thought or the continuation of a previously started project. The point for me is to write daily and often to keep my pen flowing.


Which topics are frequent in your writing? What genre do you prefer?

I write about life and everything that encompasses. The easiest thing to ever write about is love- who hasn’t been affected by it really? Lol. I enjoy challenging myself and writing outside that comfort zone to talk about things like identity and race for example. My first love will always be spoken word- I refer to it as poetry in 3D.

What is your favorite thing you have created?

That is a tough question! Lol. I always feel like I haven’t written my favorite piece yet but I do have a couple that I refer to ever so often. If I had to choose though  I would say it is a poem entitled “No Inbetween.” It is the first piece I wrote that had nothing to do with love and relationships, it’s a nod to my Dominican heritage and speaks to the awkwardness of trying to fit into societies boxes and retain your identity.

Do you consider yourself a creative person?

I absolutely do. I have always tapped into the right half of my brain. I enjoy drawing, interior decorating and also have a passion for event design.


 What are you trying to communicate with your art? 

I’m honestly just trying to quiet the noise in my head. If I don’t write I feel heavy and burdened. If someone happens to relate to what I write it is a huge plus.

What type of difficulties have you faced when it comes to pursuing your writing career? How have you dismissed these obstacles?

I have just recently devoted myself to making a career out of my art so there hasn’t been much time to come across obstacles. I am my own worst critic though so I can see that being the greatest obstacle I will have to overcome in the long run. My hope is that with continued growth I will outgrow the fear of inadequacy and failure I harbor and push through to success.

How do we see Massiel in the future? What are your plans? How can we find more of your work? Any advice for new writers?

I see Massiel as a published poet in about a year or so. I am currently working on growing my contingent of supporters on the Instagram page I have devoted to my art : @ihavepoetry and also working with fellow poets to put together and participate in showcases throughout the city. My biggest piece of advice would be to trust your voice, it is like no other and that’s what makes it special. Read read read! Anything you can get your hands on to grow your vocabulary and expand your minds horizons – then let it out on paper. Make time to write daily- schedule it in like you would a meal! Lol.



 

Ficción Latente

Una Artista con Visión Mágica


 

En tierra caribeña nació una escritora con pluma visionaria, amante de la lectura, que captura con su alma el reflejo que se pintan en sus ojos. Su nombre es Natalia Alonzo, escritora y fotógrafa que hace del arte un tejido de su vida y desea inundarnos con su fantasía, realismo, y visión mágica.

Al comenzar esta entrevista le pregunté quien es Natalia Alonzo, y su repuesta aclaró que su descripción no tiene un limite o definición absoluta, entonces, me sorprendió su humildad.

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Natalia Alonzo

“Uno nunca encuentra las palabras perfectas para definirse y en más de una ocasión he leído esa frase de Wilde que dice que definirse es limitarse, por eso he optado por no encariñarme dentro de una palabra o dentro de un adjetivo, sin embargo debo decir que Natalia Alonzo no es más que una persona con aspiraciones como muchas otras, con gustos y una personalidad un tanto cambiante y peculiar”.

Su pasión por la letras también comenzó cuando era pequeña y hoy en día tiene grabada en su memoria esa sensación hacia la lectura.

“Muchas personas recuerdan con exactitud el primer libro que leyeron y les marcó, en mi caso es difícil mencionar ese libro que fue el primer que me atrapo así tal. Pero si recuerdo, más o menos a la edad de 9 o 10 años, tener en mis un libro titulado “¿Dónde está papá?” y el deseo que crecía dentro de mí con cada palabra leída, era como si quisiera entrar dentro del libro y vivir allí”.

La autora le encanta con locura la ciencia ficción y la fantasía, pero recalca que puede sentirse bastante cómoda escribiendo ficción general. Me llamó mucho la atención su interés por la ficción, y decidí preguntarle de donde vino su inclinación, la cual han definido su forma de escribir.

¿Cuáles son los autores o personas que influyeron con tu estilo de escribir?

“Debo mencionar a mi querido Bradburry, que definitivamente alimentó con cada una de sus palabras los pensamientos que hoy en día concibo. De igual forma admiro a Tolkien, creo una de las personas que más admiro en todo el mundo, porque leer El Señor de los Anillos y no darse cuenta de la complejidad que es crear un mundo como aquel es imposible”.

¿Cuáles temas son los más constante en tus escritos?

Tengo dos grandes proyectos: en uno de ellos hablo de personas con poderes especiales, habilidades psíquicas, en esta novela existe una rivalidad muy marcada entre la mente y el cuerpo. La otra es sobre hombre lobos, unas de mis criaturas mitológicas favoritas, trata mucho sobre deseo ferviente de poder y lo que esto puede provocar en las personas”.

“Pero a nivel de ficción general me gusta mucho tratar como las persona procesan el dolor, desde un hombre perdiendo a su esposa hasta una mujer golpeada por su marido”.

Natalia, como toda artista, también tiene varias meta con el arte, eso nos cuenta.

“Llegar a otros, que otros puedan entrar en esos mundos que he creado y que conozcan otras realidades. Además de marcar una diferencia, en mi país no se aceptan las artes con facilidad y tomar la iniciativa de tomar un lápiz, papel y plasmar una idea hace una diferencia abismal dentro de un grupo que sigue el mismo patrón”.

Natalia, aparte de escritora es fotógrafa. Ella nos menciona que fue entre los 17 a 18 años de edad  que se interesó por el arte fotográfico, aunque dice que no hasta cumplir 20 años obtuvo su primera cámara profesional. La autora, como toda persona con diversos talentos no tiene preferencia entre escribir y tomar fotografías. Alonzo dice que ambas actividades las disfruta, y las ama con la misma magnitud. De esta manera tiene un gusto indefinido con cuestión a que le gusta capturar con su cámara. 

“Me gusta bastante realizar sesiones artísticas, utilizar pinturas, telas, flores y todas esas cosas. Pero llévame alguna ciudad con hermosa arquitectura o a la cima de alguna montaña, llévame a la Costa o al bosque y me harás más feliz”.

Se ha presentando con dificultades al desarrollar su arte, pero entre estos obstáculos ha descubierto lo que en verdad quiere.

“Como dije ya en mi país no se aceptan las artes así de pleno, a tal punto que dure un tiempo en entender que quería yo para mi futuro, que deseaba hacer con mi vida. Sucede que mi mayor obstáculo todo el tiempo he sido yo misma que me limito, que me pongo impedimentos y que me auto criticó, si bien es cierto que mirarse introspectivamente es sumamente necesario también lo es que el menosprecio hace daño”.

“Dure bastante tiempo de mi vida queriendo cumplir con lo que yo creía que los demás querían de mi, sin darme cuenta de que eso era lo que yo pensaba que ellos querían no lo que realmente ellos demandaban, hasta que un día que me di cuenta que nadie me exigía que estudiara una carrera X y que de mi dependía ser feliz con lo que yo deseaba hacer”.

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Foto por Natalia Alonzo

La artista dominicana cree en el arte, y el uso de ella para el desarrollo humano. Ella define el arte de esta manera:

“El arte es una forma de expresión, un sentimiento, el arte es vida, el arte es la gente, el arte es pensar. Todos los artistas se expresan de una forma diferente y ese de esa forma en la que uno conoce a la gente, sus pensamientos, sus realidades, sus culturas”.

Vemos a Natalia Alonzo, la mujer que es apasionada y creativa con varias metas. Ella menciona que tiene planes ambiciosos y lo que más desea es trabajar para que se cumplan. Dice que se ver como escritora, que se va enseñando y puede verse también hasta editando.

“Por el momento tengo habilitado el primer borrador de mi novela Mentes Poderosas: El Secreto de los Clanes en Wattpad (Wattpad.com/user/nmalonzo) y mantengo un Diario Literario en tumblr donde habló de los libros que leo y subo algunas de las sesiones que realizó (tres-cool.tumblr.com) También pueden encontrarme en IG donde soy muy, muy activa (Instagram.com/nattalonzo)”.

Espero que hayan encontrado una historia de sobrevivencia de la mano de esta artista, y se atrevan a seguir a esta mujer con dones de alta calidad, que la acompañemos en su viaje mágico, y aportemos para que llegue donde debe estar.