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Interview with Olta Totoni

 

Q: When did you start writing?

A: My first poem dates back in 1994. I wrote a poem for my lovely mother. I was ten years old. I thought that this would be the biggest surprise for my mother on 8 March (which is the Mother’s Day in Albania). I did not write anything for a long time and my inspiration came back in 2002 when I began writing small excerpts of my life without the intention of publishing anything. It was in 2008 that I published my first article and since then my writings were published in the Balkans and overseas.


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: I have read many books and I have been introduced to many writers, their world perspective, their styles of writings and their experience. At first, I was fascinated by French Literature. Honore de Balzac, his way of describing the characters and settings, the messages he conveyed were real and down-to-earth. With the passing of the time, I was influenced by British and American writers. This influence came from my studies-British and American Studies. We were assigned to read one novel per week. I read Emily Dickinson and she influenced my writing of poems, without titles so that the readers can put their own titles in them. British literature is very special to me. I can mention here writers like Samuel Becket and Harold Pinter both “father and son” of the Theatre of the Absurd; Doris Lessing who is the voice of the British feminism. I also have translated excerpts from British literature and it has helped me in understanding their writings. Translation is also a way of rewriting the poems, short stories, literature in general etc. Recently, I have been acquainted to a new “love” and he is the prolific writer Anthony Burgess. Literature doesn’t have borders for me.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: Writing is a complex process that requires a lot of inspiration and concentration. Sometimes, the inspiration plays tricks on us, writers. There are periods in which you do not get a pen to write (even though I use a pencil). Sometimes, you keep on writing and writing and writing and none can stop you from doing this. Time and place is not important for me. I may be in a bus, by the sea, in a bar, at home, in the university, in the woods, at night, during the day. It depends on what inspires me. My imagination is infinite and I break the standard rules of writing.


Q:  Why do you write?

A:  Writing for me is an internal need. It is like the release of thoughts, ideas and feelings. It makes me feel better when I express my thoughts through writing. According to me, this is a way of communicating with others. You communicate through words and messages you want to convey. I believe in the power of words and I believe in the freedom of speech. I have never limited my thoughts. I write the way I think and that makes my writing genuine. I love the originality and purity of ideas. I write because that makes the readers reflect on their experiences, their lives and their perspectives. There is a triangle created between a writer-his/her writings and the reader. I write because the readers can get informed but not persuaded by my writings. They see with my eyes and they can see clearly.            

                                                  


Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: Throughout my readings, I have kept notes on the quotations that seemed very meaningful to me. Sometimes, after a long time I read them and see if they give me the same sensation they gave me when I read them. My favourite quotes are from the American writer Carson McCullers. She has written them in the novel “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”:

“I am a stranger in a strange land.” 

“All we can do is go around telling the truth.”                                                                                   

“She stood in front of the mirror a long time, and finally decided she either looked like a sap or else she looked very beautiful. One or the other.”

 


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: I would say to them to stay always motivated and never stop writing. They should not be discouraged by others. They should read a lot in order to write a lot. A good writer should have their mind focused on reading other writers. Sharing the experience with friends and family can be of great help. I was lucky to share my writings with my mother who appreciated literature a lot.

 


Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: Yes, of course. Recently, I have published the book “Diary of the Time”. It is a collection of articles published in magazines and newspapers. There are 29 articles and one interview (in English and Albanian). This book contains 14 articles dedicated to the British culture, literature and politics. There is an introduction that is dedicated to the future/aspiring writers and especially those that will be focused on British studies. It is a guide for new researchers that will go in depth of British Culture and academia.

5 Poems by Linda Imbler

A Groovy Life

 

I want a groovy life,

one not filled with ransom demands or imaginary slights,

or plots disguised as needy pleas.

 

But, one with:

Hope for gifts given freely,

with reciprocity never demanded,

instead, each given according to one’s heart.

 

Music – pure, innocent

lyrics both beautiful

and deep in their meanings.

 

A seat from which to watch

the loveliness of nature unfold,

early or late in the day,

letting imagination name the colors.

 

Lastly, time in which to fulfill these desires.

All I can do is ask.

 

© Linda Imbler


Beautifully Broken

 

I dreamt last night,

but never slept,

unfolding my story

as loose images,

without plot,

without resolution,

trancing along to the blur

of the ceiling fan above me.

 

The woeful shatter

of my soul,

felt and heard,

above the dissonant void

of this room,

as relevant tears.

 

I, beautifully broken.

 

© Linda Imbler


 

Jim

 

In the beginning,

he could speak in words and esoteric phrases

that explained all our strange days.

 

Near the end,

as his world spun sideways,

he no longer feared his visage

reflected from the whiskey bottle.

 

Finally, he morphed into some demented,

frustrated clown

who claimed his name as its own.

 

In the final few seconds,

those creatures he spoke of so long ago

took him to the desert

and put him on the blue bus.

 

This is the end.

 

© Linda Imbler


 

Silent Meal

 

Their relationship did not die

with shouts and tears,

but only from the silence

in response to his talk.

 

Her new-found love

birthed the deafness

which kept her from hearing

his voice and his still-beating heart.

 

Perhaps when he’s gone,

she can find a heartbeat app

for that phone that so engaged her

while he sat at the table with her, alone.

 

© Linda Imbler


Walking the Road On the Cool Side of Infinity

 

He walks along the rim of the highway,

this man with the Gypsy soul.

He trods the vagabond paths.

He hears his feet slap the pavement.

He feels his fingers tap, tap, tap along the side of his leg.

He responds to an inner song that he alone hears.

 

All his necessities have been expended

and his wallet feels thin.

But this mobile man doesn’t worry.

There will always be another meal

and another small job in the next town.

Endless time is never his enemy.

 

What would scare most,

(he calls them the ‘jammed-up’ people) thrills him.

These new pleasures make him feel alive.

They help him find joy in all new, foreign places.

This road, which is long, lean, immeasurable and serpentine is his pal.

 

The snapping of his fingers matches his footfalls.

There’s too much living to do to sit and contemplate the limited ‘back then.’

So he keeps moving within this expanse

to help him forget that empty house,

that empty bed, and that backyard

with the empty sandbox.

 

Therefore he rambles on and all is well. Cool!

The new town is in sight!

This transformed wanderer believes it’s time

for the next new adventure.

Bring it on!

 

© Linda Imbler

Interview with Ann Christine Tabaka

 

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I wrote my first poem at the age of 14.  It was for an annual magazine that my Junior High published.  The magazine published art, stores, photographs, and poetry of the students.  It was 1969, and the Vietnam War was very present on all our minds.  My poem was called “The Young Soldier.”  I wrote the typical rhyming love poems and loss poems as a teenager, but also quite a few darker poems that were free verse and intense.

 


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: I never was big on reading poetry books of the famous poets.  In fact, I hated to read until I was an adult.  Even now, I mostly read poetry books that have been published by my fellow peers.  I do like C. S. Lewis, but he is not considered a poet.

 


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: Any and all times of the day, whenever anything catches my eye or mind.  Although I do find myself waking up in the middle of the night and turning on the light to write.  I always keep a note pad and pen by the side of my bed, and carry one with me everywhere. 

 


Q:  Why do you write?

A: I started writing just to record my thoughts and feeling, like a diary.  I wrote to vent pain, sorrow, and frustration; to capture the beauty of nature, memories of past events, and love.  Within the past two years I decided that I wanted to share my words with the world.  I want a part of myself to live on in the universe after I am not longer here.                                            

 


Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”  Oscar Wilde

 


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: Keep your eyes and mind open to everything around you.  You never know when that encounter in the grocery store can end up becoming a poem (it did for me).  Always carry a note pad and pen with you.  Always write whatever comes to your mind, even if it is just one phrase or sentence.  When you go back to it later it can end up becoming the basis of something special.  Just write, write, write. 

 


Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: I have seven self-published books out, six of them are poetry books (two of those ae Haiku & Senryu), and one memoir about finding my family.  All my books are available for purchase on Amazon.  Overcast Mind, It is still Morning, When Angels & Dragons Collide, Everlasting, The Sound of Dragonfly Wings, and Reaching for Dawn.                        

https://www.amazon.com/Ann-Christine-Tabaka/e/B06XF2PWSK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1524918092&sr=8-1               

Ann Christine Tabaka has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry, has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from publications. She lives in Delaware, USA.  She loves gardening and cooking.  Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her most recent credits are: Ariel Chart, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, Oddball Magazine, The Paragon Journal, The Literary Hatchet, The Stray Branch, Trigger Fish Critical Review, Foliate Oak Review, Bindweed Magazine, Raven, RavensPerch, Anapest Journal, Mused, Apricity Magazine, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, Scryptic Magazine, Ann Arbor Review, The McKinley Review.

*(a complete list of publications is available upon request)

 

Interview with Roxana Nastase

 

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I started writing poetry when I was around ten and prose at around fourteen.


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: As I have always been reading a lot, it is a bit difficult to say who is my favourite writer, but I  can remember in detail St-Exupery’s books, as well as Victor Hugo’s.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: When I start, I write all day long and well into the night. For instance, the other day, I started at 7 a.m. and finished at 1.30 am. I know I have to learn to pace myself, but as long as I have inspiration, I don’t seem able to stop.


Q:  Why do you write?

A: It’s a compulsion, if you want, or the result of a very active imagination. I have a lot of projects lined up and too little time, unfortunately. My fingers won’t move as fast as I want on the keyboard and, of course, everything must be reviewed at least five times if not more.


Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: Of course, especially from St-Exupery and Oscar Wilde. I could mention: “I have no right, by anything I do or say, to demean a human being in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him; it is what he thinks of himself. To undermine a man’s self-respect is a sin.” (Antoine de St-Exupery).


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: Never give up. The beginning is not great but you won’t get better if you don’t persevere.


Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: Yes, a few. I wrote a few crime novels under my real name. In the McNamara series, I have already published two stand-alone novels: Mayhem on Nightingale Street and Scents and Shadows. The novel A Churchgoing Woman is not part of a series for the time being. I have already published two stand-alone novels in MacKay – Canadian Detectives: A Suitable Epitaph and An Immigrant. I also wrote a play, but only in Romanian because it is about a historic event from my country’s past. In June, the third novel in McNamara Series will be released: Relative Bonds.

Under my pen name, Rowena Dawn, I have a paranormal romance series, The Winstons, with two stand-alone novels: Becka’s Awakening and Matt’s Dilemma; a suspense romance series, Perfect Halves, with two stand-alone novels, Double-Edged and Eyes in the Dark; a clean wholesome romance, Mr (Almost) Right, a romance novel, Leap of Faith. Soon, the third novel in The Winstons Series, Jay’s Salvation and the third novel in Perfect Halves, Pulled In, will be released.  

 

Interview with Gary Glauber

 

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I have really been writing from the time I first learned to write: poetry, stories, plays, songs, journalistic accounts, and more.  It was always something I have been motivated to do. I was an avid reader, and aspired to write.


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: This list would require more space than this site might afford.  I have thousands of books in my library, and yet I’m always reading more.  Here are some (but certainly not all): James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Haruki Murakami, Lorrie Moore, Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler, Phillip K. Dick, Don DeLillo, William Trevor, Thomas Hardy, Ann Beattie, William Faulkner, Mark Twain,  Ernest Hemingway, David Foster Wallace, Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, Jennifer Egan, Alice Munro, Kenneth Koch, John Koethe, James Tate, W.S. Merwin, Richard Ford, David Mamet, William Shakespeare, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Andy Partridge, John Gardner, Seamus Heaney, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice Adams, Amy Bloom, Amy Hempel, Jhumpa Lahiri, Anthony Burgess, Robert Frost, Thomas Mann, Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and countless others.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: By nature, I am a night writer.  I enjoy getting lost in the process and not watching the clock.  Now that I teach, that schedule proves impossible for most of the year, so I have become more of an afternoon writer. I am not a morning person – even with a good cup of coffee to help.


Q:  Why do you write?

A:  It is part of my DNA by nature, rather than a conscious choice.  If I had to ascribe reasons as to why I do it, I suppose to maintain my sanity.  Through writing, I am able to encounter my inner demons and fantastical notions, access my emotions, and exercise my literary skills, all toward the next creation. It helps one deal with the enigmas of daily life; it’s a coping strategy that might also educate or entertain.  I write because I like writing; I write because I must.  Some sharks need to keep moving; some humans need to keep writing.

 


Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A:

“Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.” – G.K. Chesterton

“Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is

supposed to be doing at that moment.” -Robert Benchley

“It is human nature to think wisely and act foolishly.” – Anatole France

“It is the beautiful bird that gets caged.”  – Chinese Proverb

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the

intelligent full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell

“Every act of rebelling expresses a nostalgia for innocence.”  – Albert Camus

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: Read plenty, write often, never give up on yourself, even in the face of occasional rejection.  Writing is a process, and an often-difficult one – still, try to enjoy the journey!

Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: I have two collections and a chapbook available on Amazon or through the respective presses: Small Consolations (Aldrich Press), Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press), and Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press).  Here is a link to my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B012BMLL3E


Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist.  His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. He champions the underdog to the melodic rhythms of obscure power pop. His two collections, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) and Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press) and a chapbook Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press) are available through Amazon. This past summer he read selections from his most recent collection at the 2017 NYC Poetry Festival. 

5 Poems by Ankita Anand

Against the dying of the light

When empty rhetoric boasts
You have to brace immodesty
And raise a few toasts
To a nobody like yourself, and to the noble souls punished for their quiet honesty.

xxx

i have
cried
ached
sweated
bled
for my country.

everything,
from the calluses on my feet
to the etched sun on my face,
bear witness to it.

and while i realise
that all i did were selfish acts performed for myself
because so many of our interests are tied together,
and while i know,
it is a mere drop
from the ocean
i am capable of giving, hope to give,

I shall not stand at ease and pay attention
As you spout forth on how I should love my country, how I should bay for others’ blood to prove the purity of mine
But remind you that I have held by breath to be able to hear its cries
When you were busy talking down to it.

© Ankita Anand

 


Crushed

 

The sun trapezed over my knuckles

When I picked up warm wheat

By fistfuls

Put out to dry by my grandmother

After it was washed and scrubbed.

 

It would leave in me

Heat, imprint, smell.

 

Now our packaged flour

Slips right through

The gaps between my fingers.

 

Those birthed by the earth

Do not hold each other any more.

We maintain sanitized contact

Mediated by steel and plastic.

© Ankita Anand


 

Deal

 

“Oranges are expensive all around this year.”

When the fruit seller said this,

I quietly accepted his price.

 

No, I am not so naive

That I wasn’t infected

By a glimmer of suspicion.

 

But my apprehension about being duped was negligible

When faced with the fear

Of losing my ability to trust.

 

© Ankita Anand


 

Heroes must fall

No room for those who perform
“nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love”
And, at times,
Are human enough to err

We’d rather sculpt heroes,
Carry them high above our heads
So we can pretend we can’t reach them,
Can’t do what they do.

As the burden grows heavier,
And we, as they,
Falter under the weight
We drop them by the wayside as sinners.

© Ankita Anand


 

Modern day presidential

 

Hands,

Hands are crucial.

 

Hurricane hands

Grabbing pussies,

beautiful pieces of ass

Building walls

Tearing through gloves,

insisting on getting themselves dirty

Trashing women cards

Fidgeting around nukes

Ruling the world

Rocking own cradle

 

© Ankita Anand

 

Interview with Scott Thomas Outlar

 

Q: When did you start writing?

A: Once upon a time…

That statement is both sarcastic and true. Humor can help provide a bit of sweetness sometimes when one is busy biting into the bitter realities of this world. I’ve been oh so serious of late, but am now beginning to work (diligently) to regain the shape of my aw-shucks smirk. The ability to shrug shoulders when things turn sour will not be far behind. For sure.

But I’ve danced around this opening question for long enough. Now it is time to let my bird loose from the cage so as to sing. Thankfully, spring is the perfect season for just such an action.

I began writing as a child, inspired by Nintendo characters. Stories about Mario, Luigi, and Link battling the rotten villains that weaved their wicked spells of bad mojo on every level of the game. Trying to save the Princess is essentially a metaphor for returning divine feminine energy to its proper balance so the dualistic nature of life isn’t all out of whack. I think I knew from an early age that there was something strange about the way the scales were being weighed out. I’d have to say that certain things still seem pretty fishy. Answers dwell beneath the sea. We must evolve our fins and dive deep.

Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: I’ve been considering how to approach this question for a few days. Wondering what a unique answer might look like on the page. But suddenly it arrived in the air instead. A bright red cardinal flew in front of me on the walking path, landed on a low branch, and placed a kiss on the beak of his mate, then they both flew away. Presumably in search of worms; or sticks and feathers with which to build their nest so spring can serve its fruitful purpose. These sorts of surprising scenes are what keep me inspired. Present moment miracles in the making. The amazing grace of nature as events continually unfold. After the fact, all these words used to try and describe the past pale in comparison to what actually happened. But they also point toward how cool life can be when eyes are kept open and focused on the beauty all around.

Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: In a certain sense, writing is one of those habits/hobbies (compulsions/lifestyles) that is always taking place even when it’s not. Every thought, dream, conversation, and idea that rolls around in the head is helping to fashion the words that will eventually land on paper. It also makes it sound like a really cool and important occupation that one is dedicating their time toward. Always on the clock as it were. Of course, it’s quite preposterous (and a bit pretentious). But living in illusion and imagination is also a calling card of poets.

To actually answer this question, I write at random moments throughout the day whenever inspiration might happen to surface. I also have several routines that come out to play during different seasons. One that always seems to bring me the most satisfaction is sitting on a bench in the woods at my favorite park and scribbling out things such as this answer.

Q:  Why do you write?

A: To fill the hours with words between this life and the next. In the blink of an eye, these karmic cycles shift and turn. The moments are fleeting. I write to capture them in crystalized sap so they might stand the test of time. Though one hell-bent fire or heaven-sent flood can erase every letter of every language in a flash. So actions do speak louder in the end.                                        

Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: The quote that helped inspire me most when I first began to submit my work was from Hunter S. Thompson. I am most likely paraphrasing because I don’t remember where I read or saw it originally:

“If it isn’t published, it doesn’t exist.”

It was a necessary way of thinking for me at the time in order to spark motivation and get this journey underway. It still serves a purpose in my understanding the business side of affairs, though I trust that making a positive impact by inspiring other people is more important than the bottom line of finances.

Which brings me to this second quote. It is from the Gospel of Thomas in the Gnostic texts. I believe it encapsulates the most important message any human being can meditate on:

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: Take deep breaths. Spend ample time in nature unplugged from all electronic gadgets. Realize that even if you think your writing is what matters most in life, it isn’t. Your relationships are what define you. With yourself. With family. With friends. With lovers. With strangers you meet. With God. When your priorities are put in place, your truest voice will then be expressed much more effortlessly on the page.

Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to answer these questions. It’s been a pleasure. Yes, I have four collections available at the moment, and I’m currently working on two other nearly completed manuscripts set for future release through Alien Buddha Press.

Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press, 2015)

Chaos Songs (Weasel Press, 2016)

Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing, 2016)

Poison in Paradise (Alien Buddha Press, 2017)

Calm (2)

5 Poems by Ethan Goffman

Out of Touch in Trump’s America

 

My friends and I

clinging to part-time and temporary jobs

are so hopeless

that we don’t even grope and harass women.

What a bunch of losers we are!

 

© Ethan Goffman


Melania

Seeing Melania Trump on TV the other day, I realized with a gasp that she’s beautiful.  I’d never really noticed.

It’s as if Princess Leia had married Jabba the Hut.

 

© Ethan Goffman


 

A Thanksgiving Prayer

 

We give thanks, O Lord

for the land we stole

from its rightful inhabitants

 

allowing us to dine

on this righteous feast

of indigestion.

 

© Ethan Goffman

 


 

Proverb on Turtle’s Back

We did not borrow this world from our children,

We stole it from the Native American ancestors.

 

© Ethan Goffman


 

A Strange Dream

 

I had a dream,

or read in a science fiction book

or saw a movie

 

In which a black man

with a Muslim name

was President

of the United States

 

But that couldn’t have actually happened, could it?

 

© Ethan Goffman


 

Ethan Goffman has published only one poem, in Mad Swirl.  However, he has ample publications as a staff writer for Mobility Lab and the SSPP Blog, and as a freelance writer for The Progressive, Buzzflash, the Baltimore Sun, Grist, EarthTalk,and other publications.  He also has one book, Imagining Each Other: Blacks and Jews in Contemporary American Literature (SUNY Press, 2000).

Interview with Shirani Rajapakse

 

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I don’t remember exactly when I started writing, but it was a long time ago. I wrote for myself, and at most times I didn’t even bother to save my writing. Later on, after I felt more confident in my writing I began saving them in files, returning to them infrequently to edit.

I started publishing in 2011 after my debut collection of short stories “Breaking News” was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award in 2010 in manuscript. It was published by a small press in Sri Lanka and following the publication I began submitting and being published by literary journals around the world. Last year I self published my poetry collection, “Chant of a Million Women”.

 


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: I think my biggest inspiration was Enid Blyton as I read a lot of her stories as a child. Growing up, her books along with the Nancy Drew series influenced my love for reading, as well as the classics like Austen and Bronte. 

I don’t have a particular favorite writer as I’ve had many favorites at different stages of my life. As a teen I liked to read detectives and books about espionage and thrillers. When I was an undergrad studying literature I liked some of the writers I was introduced to such as Forster and Hardy, even though I would not have read them if not for being ‘forced’ to read them as they were in the syllabus.

I think I tend to read and/or like a particular genre or author at a particular time in my life, but soon outgrown them after a while. It’s not to say I don’t like those writers or would never read them. I think it’s more about identifying with something at that moment in time and enjoying the writing for what it is. 

However my all time favorite poets are Keats, Dickinson and Frost and have been for quite some time.

 


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: I write mostly at night although since recently I’ve also started to write during the mornings when it is quiet and the only sounds are from nature or the occasional vehicle. 

 


Q:  Why do you write?

A:  That’s hard to explain. Sometimes it’s because I see or hear something happening around me, maybe in my immediate vicinity or even somewhere far away that I have not even visited but feel inspired to write about what I’ve just experienced. At other times I find inspiration churning in my mind and I want to bring it out; give it life.                         

 


Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: Write with your heart. Edit with your head.

 


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: Write your story the way you want to tell it. Not the way other people want you to. Don’t be afraid to fail, but also don’t publish work until you are very sure of it as you can’t take it back once it has gone public. 

 


Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A:  Chant of a Million Women (self published 2017) Available both in print and as an ebook.

https://www.amazon.com/Chant-Million-Women-Shirani-Rajapakse-ebook/dp/B074SHHJYY/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 

Breaking News is available in print at my Amazon author page. The ebook  will be out soon. Check it out here later in the year. 

 https://www.amazon.com/Shirani-Rajapakse/e/B00IZQRAOA  

 


 

Author Bio

Shirani Rajapakse is an internationally published, award winning poet and author. She won the Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest 2013 and was a finalist in the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards 2013. Her collection of short stories, Breaking News (Vijitha Yapa 2011) was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award. Her poetry collection, Chant of a Million Women was self published in August 2017.

Rajapakse’s work appears in many literary journals and anthologies around the world. Rajapakse read for a BA in English Literature from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka and has a MA in International Relations from JNU, India.

Take my advice…I’m not using it

My soul mate                                                                                               May 17th, 2018

By J.M. Strasbourg

Ok, this isn’t the usual “piece of my mind” advice post. I just wanted to share something personal and inspirational to me. I hope you like it…

I was watching the movie, Good Will Hunting. In one scene, Robin Williams’ character, Sean, asks Matt Damon’s character, Will, if he feels alone. And then Sean asks Will if he has a soul mate. Because of the context of the question, I began to think about the meaning of the term. What does it really mean? I think that most people feel like they have found their soul mate when they find the love of their lives. Others may think it means that they have encountered their destiny; the person that the universe has deemed to be their partner. Dictionary.com lists the term soul mate as “Noun, 1. A person with whom one has an affinity, shared values and tastes, and often a romantic bond.” I suppose the definition is true, but I believe there is more. After all, what is our soul but our very being, our essence?

Can we place extrinsic or intrinsic values on our souls? I have an affinity with many people, as well as shared values and tastes. Romantic bonds come and go, and fade as people grow. I don’t believe that you can describe a soul mate in such simple terms. Since my soul is my essence and your soul is your essence; to have our souls meet and mate, there must be a more profound connection between them. There must also be a more profound meaning in the term.

When the universe connected us, there was an instant recognition of attraction. Not just to her beauty, but to her being. It’s hard to explain in mere words how strong it was. As time went on, we came to feel that attraction grow into a bond of spirit and essence. Her soul merged with mine and mine with hers. In eight years apart, our connection couldn’t be broken because of that bond. I believe our love sprang from sharing a soul, and that once a soul is combined with another, love follows with ease. I have a wonderful feeling of oneness with her, my soul mate. My affinity with her, our shared values, tastes and romantic bonds are only the human manifestations of something much harder to explain, and much deeper in meaning. I thank her for taking my soul to hers and for giving hers to me. To be alone in the universe must be what hell is; and this, this is heaven. I am blessed to be here with her, not alone, two souls one.

As the sun begins to set on my life

I recall its arc across the sky

And how it looked down on my part in the play.

The light cast me a shadow so I wouldn’t be alone

An image, mirroring my every movement.

And then, one sunny day in spring,

While the sun was directly overhead,

You rose to forever take my shadow’s place.

My role was changed from that day on

Now we walk together and cast but one shadow

And I watch the sun set on my life with you.