Interview with Poet, Lesley Worthington


Lesley Worthington is new to the world of poetry but; not one lacking insight.  The way she scribes open reflections of various human emotions and different subjects is quite beautiful.   One doesn’t have to have spent the better part of years writing poetry for it to count as Lesley has shown us.  The whole purpose of writing and self expression in the first place fuels with our level of study, which grows as all we have ever wanted to do is simply prosper our poetry muscle -- Lesley included.  For more information on Lesley I suggest you give her a follow on Instagram @worthywrites .

RMMW: We all have to contend with an inner critic, how do you contend with yours?

LW: Because I am so new to writing and because I have all kinds of other ways to define myself and a pile of life experiences and accomplishments under my belt I am not too caught up on whether what I write is "good" or not. I don't need my writing as a feather in my cap to feel accomplished so it makes it a lot easier to convince myself that "this is all for fun and every time I read or write I learn and grow and that's good enough for me". Also, because I'm so new I am extremely well aware that my writing is very underdeveloped, so I am not expecting myself or others to be piling on the accolades at this stage. The main thing my inner critic says to me at this early stage is "Why aren't you writing? I thought you wanted to get better"

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked, if yes how did you overcome it?

LW: Not really. I have a lot of projects on the go so it's easy for me to "procrastinate" on one that is giving me a hard time, by switching over to another one for awhile.  I just know I have to keep writing...something, anything...and the ideas/words will continue to flow.

RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?

LW: So far, none that I've noticed unless you count the fact that I am brutally resistant to finishing a current project. I race through 95% of it and then draw out the final 5% finishing touches. I assume that's because I realize soon after that I'm going to have to make a decision about which of my next projects moves to the front of the queue.

RMMW: What is it about writing poetry you relish?

LW: I absolutely love the challenge of seeing what I can do with words. I am soaking up as much knowledge as I can and experimenting like crazy.  Admittedly, I don't read a lot of poetry....yet.  I write poetry everyday as a sort of warm up activity for my brain before I dig into my other writing.  I especially love being challenged to come up with a piece using specific prompts as I am fascinated by how creativity works and am always stunned by what I end up writing - as 9 times out of 10 it was not what I had planned to write.

RMMW: At what age did you start writing?

LW: A few years ago.  I'm 53. I stumbled across a book by Natalie Goldberg called Writing Down the Bones, when I was 50. Soon after that I learned of Julia Cameron's Morning Pages and began doing them consistently. This resulted in a mid-life shift just as my youngest child was heading to university and a realization that writing feels like what I should be doing.  Although even now I'm not sure what that means. I began on IG in November 2017 and that is when I tried my hand at little IG sized poems.  I have written two books of poetry On Words and On Optimism and more recently a book of prompts and writing exercises and other goodies, called Unblocked.

RMMW: Who's your favourite poet?

LW: I think Mary Oliver, although I am embarrassingly unread when it comes to poetry.

RMMW: What's your favourite poem written by you?

LW: I just submitted a poem to the CBC Literary Contest which I am very proud of. It is a longer poem about the multi-generational non-white (and later, mixed-race) immigrant experience in Canada and I feel it captures not only the experience of my family and in-laws and my children but also of a large portion of the Canadian population. It is about fear and courage and love and hope. 

RMMW: What themes do you enjoy exploring within your work?

LW: I love writing about life and the human condition.  But also, nature and the world. I love making people laugh. And I love using words and ideas in unexpected ways. I am still very experimental in my writing and the projects I have on the go right now are incredibly varied both in theme and in style/form.  Mainly I just want my writing to either make people feel they are not the only ones who think or feel a certain way.... or make people think in ways they never have before.  I write as though I am writing for one person....and then I hope at least one person is reading.

RMMW: Where do you enjoy writing most?

LW: Truly, anywhere.  In my bed, desk, kitchen table, car, Starbucks, changing room at the gym.  Wherever inspiration hits is where I write.  But my daily chunks of "sitting down and writing time" typically happen in a chair I have had forever, in my living room.

RMMW: What's the most valuable lesson you've learned as a writer?

LW: Write. Don't judge as you go. Get it down first and then do all the hand wringing afterwards.  And, let it go wherever it wants to go without forcing it where you think it should go.

RMMW: What do you think good poetry ought to do?

LW: Make people feel, or think, or laugh....and preferably all three.

RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?

LW: I wish I was artistic…  in the drawing, painting type of way.  I feel like if I had a more artistic and imaginative personality my writing would be a lot freer. I am very much constrained by my scientific, practical, common sense side and have a hard time getting my head around fantasy or science fiction even to read, so to write in that way feels next to impossible.

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