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RMMW: I remember one year for Christmas, I wanted a pen so badly, something fancy that I could use to write with that would create great poetry… Wow! I was totally the dreamer in my formative years as I am now… What is your first writing memory?
GW: I have been writing for as long as I could! I remember writing a fiction story in first grade about a dog, where we drew pictures and made a book out of it. I remember it made my mom and my teacher both cry because they were so moved. I don’t remember the content but understood that I was making an impact and was very encouraged to keep writing.
RMMW: It’s so funny how so many of us started writing out stories about animals, I totally love it… Who are you reading now?
GW: I am reading Irvin Yalom’s Love’s Executioner, which is riveting and hilarious. I am a Psychology graduate student, and he is one of my heroes from the existential psychology lineage. I’m also reading a lot of Clinical papers for classes, and always opening Neruda, Or Oliver, or scanning my Instagram for new poets I don’t know yet or ones that I've been inspired by before. I’m about to start Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning.
RMMW: I used to enjoy clinical reports as well, they at times can be quite fascinating, I should make a note to myself to look up the work of Irvin Yalom – the title sounds very compelling… Tell us a little bit as to why you started a monthly poem offering?
GW: I wanted to share with my friends and family what I was up to, and from there it just grew as others showed interest and is now something I will send to anyone!
RMMW: It’s a pretty cool concept, I subscribe to it as well, love receiving your poems. As a counsellor how do you decompress at the end of the day?
|Photo Credit -- Jasmine Amara Beaghler|
RMMW: Counselling can be quite stressful – how do you clear any negative energy that may enter your aura as you are tending to someone else’s spiritual needs?
GW: I find that if I am grounded and clear I don’t really absorb others energy. I can just let anything go, and not hold on to other’s stuff. I work a lot to ground and clear before a session, so I can be as present as I can with my client. There is this idea that I need to clean my own mirror to be a good reflection for the client. So, it takes a lot of self care, and self work to be in this line of work. But I love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When I do feel stuck or unclear I have different energy clearings I perform on myself. I sometimes do Chakra work, bringing up earth energy into each chakra, then pulling down spirit, or light energy from above and through my chakra system. I find this is both clearing and grounding. Sometimes I just need to scream or dance or cry. I follow my intuition on what is needed. I also connect with my ancestors and ask for guidance and support in letting go of whatever is ready to be let go of.
RMMW: You are right, it takes a lot of self care to maintain such a job… Tell us a bit about your book Moon Studies and what the reader can expect when they read it?
GW: It is deeply vulnerable, as well as magical. It is written from the lens of a white, 20 something, West Coast American woman, who is a queer witch finding her place in the world as an adult. It is a coffee table poetry book, with 40 poems and beautiful photographs taken by the brilliant Jasmine Amara Beaghler, who is from Bishop, CA. It is a retrospect on relationship, sensuality, death, magic and love in the years of my 20’s. I would say as a poetry book, it doesn’t follow all the rules, but it is beautiful and well thought out. I don’t really believe in following all the rules in creativity, just the ones that make your craft beautiful, moving and approachable. The poems are all real, approachable and deeply connected and reverent towards the magic and the mundane of the world.
RMMW: Oooh, sounds lovely… I’m curious about this bus of yours, do you find simpler living happier living?
GW: Simple living is only simpler in certain ways. When it comes to the systems of our home (water, wood stove, electrical, propane) it is more complex than living in an apartment rental. We chop wood, start fires for warmth, often the pipes are frozen, we have to refill the propane, and when our neighbor and us pop the breaker each week for using the minimal electrical we go outside in the snow to turn it back on. So, in theory it’s simpler, but in practice it is more work. But the place is ours, and we take it wherever we go, so it gives us permission to do as we wish. We will never be without a home. It is happier sometimes (like when it’s warm out), and sometimes more difficult, but leads to more satisfaction and alignment with my values of life.
RMMW: Wow! That does take a lot of work, but, it sounds equally fulfilling to be engrossed in this lifestyle… What inspired you to say – ok, I’m going to take this bus and turn it into a home? (I think you might like MICROTOPIA if you’ve not see it yet – it’s totally brilliant and speaks of living smaller but a fuller and larger life – takes balls to do what you did.)
GW: Well, I’d wanted to live in a bus since I was ten years old. It was just a matter of time before I did it. When I was about 25 I started seriously looking for the bus I would buy to convert and made a decision I would see it through. I wanted to learn to build with my hands, live in a small space that was all my own, have the freedom to bring my home anywhere I wanted, and to do it in a way that felt sustainable and in alignment with my ideals for life. I was tired of renting from strangers, paying their mortgages, not feeling ownership over where I lived, and wasting money. I also have a longer-term dream of owning a community property where folks can come and live or stay in these smaller dwellings. The bus will be the first one on that property. It was both a short term and long-term investment for my future.
RMMW: That is certainly ambitious and quite lovely… Do you have any artists rituals before starting a new piece?
GW: Often I feel a piece coming through for a day or so. I open to it and ask my muses to support me in communicating it well. Then I just wait, and when the inspiration strikes I write it down as fast as I can.
RMMW: Oh me too.. lately my muse has been playing hide and seek with me… We all must deal with our inner critics; how do you contend with yours?
GW: I like to think of my inner critic as a younger, more insecure version of myself. When she comes up in my head, I like to give her space to be insecure, and assure her it’s okay. A sort of self-parenting and self love. I try to soothe her and let her know it’s okay to feel insecure.
RMMW: Awe, nice that you can self soothe – that is good advice… Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you get out of it?
GW: I think sometimes I’ve been scared I will get creatively blocked. But I see creativity as more of a river, sometimes its rushing, sometimes it’s slow or seemingly still, sometimes it’s a nice steady flow. If I’m not creating new content, or finding time to edit newer content, I know that there is probably something else taking my creative energy, and have to decide on my priorities. If I am in a slower writing phase and I am wanting a more gushing river, I will make a date with myself to an antique shop or somewhere with vintage furniture, or take a drive somewhere beautiful. This seems to get the juices flowing. Or sometimes I will invite my muses in to support me write about a particular topic or feeling. The river inevitably starts to flow. Even when the river seems still, there is movement going on below the surface.
RMMW: Awe, being creatively blocked can be quite painful I’ve heard. I’ve never experienced a block but can imagine it to be harmful to one’s psyche especially if they want to gush emotion and work. If you had a superpower what would it be?
|Photo Credit -- Jasmine Amara Beaghler|
RMMW: I totally love that answer. There are things at times that takes time to understand with regards to the individuals in our lives. Thanks for the fabulous interview Gwen, I really appreciate it.