My dear friend Jennifer Grisham aka @alchemical.poetica -- who incidentally has a forthcoming poetry collection dedicated to my interviewee Kelly Pitt, entitled Equinox Ascending due out on All Hallows’ Eve, had taken a trip this summer from: The Big Apple to The Home Of The Blues.
That’s the first time I had seen Kelly and thought – this one is a total spitfire!! Kelly has wild amber red hair that totally reminded me of one of my favourite Disney Princesses, Merida. I noticed how it flowed in the wind, her jovial massive welcoming smile in the pictures -- that had been taken during that visit. I have a very odd gift; at times I let my imagination flow and see the most whimsical things in others that normal boring humans tend to miss. Merida, totally came to mind; she is willing to fight for causes she believes in – Kelly is the same way. I had no idea, until I read her honest poetry, how I would genuinely react to her work. One word could be talented -- yes. But most of all the pure expression that oozes out of Kelly regardless of subject – she is genuinely BRAVE – especially with sensitive subject matter.
I suggest ya’ll give her a follow on Instagram @blushing_poetry .
RMMW: I’m working on an empowering “I am” prompt piece myself, so far all I have is the title “I am not a succubus, I am Cerberus” Now, that being said, what is your "I am" prompt origin story? And, how do you think this specific prompt was reacted to by the poetry community on Instagram?
KP: I was trying to make a list of self-love and self-realization. I do not reflect on myself a lot and I wanted to try and construct an encompassing piece about myself. I wanted to write raw honesty and face all that is “me”. When I was finished. I showed it to a friend and she said “I want to do this too!” so I threw the prompt idea out there and told everyone if they wanted to do it they could. I was so humbled that people jumped on this with me. I have found some of my favorite people through this prompt and I am always so thankful for that.
RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you overcome it?
KP: I had a friend tell me writer’s block is not real. It is more of a “creative cycle” where you burst ideas and then your brain takes a break to recharge. I resonated with that so much. It took the pressure off of me to try to consistently impress myself with writing something I was happy with. When I do have these “creative bursts”, as he called them, I sit in a quiet room, listen to music, go outside, reflect on past experiences, etc. There is poetry in everything.
RMMW: We all have an inner critic: how do you contend with yours?
KP: I have so many poems, short stories, and unfinished novels that have never seen the light of day. Sometimes I do not believe they are good enough or maybe the idea did not translate as well as I wanted it to. Sometimes I will go back and revisit them to see if I have something, but that is hit-or-miss. I remember I edited a poem for a solid four months before I showed it to anyone, I just question myself a lot. I am a perfectionist and I will never think my writing is good enough. I am humbled by critique and craving the guidance of writers I believe are better than I am.
RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?
KP: I know it may sound “too modern” for some, but I write a lot of my work on my phone or a computer. Sometimes my thoughts fly faster than a pen and I would lose it if I didn’t catch them.
When I hone in on something I want to write about, I put myself in that memory or that emotion and I sit there. I try and remember the smell, the colors, the emotions. Writing about an emotion, whether it be a personal memory or a fictional one, helps me channel my energy and understand the emotions I’m feeling. It is absolutely therapeutic to purge my feelings; I always feel better afterwards.
Also, I write poems at traffic lights. For some reason, I think of everything and anything while I am driving, and I am pumped with ideas and there is just no safe way of getting those out.
RMMW: How do you feel your poetry has evolved over the years?
KP: I have always written from a place of emotion. I have many pieces from when I was 13 years old, where I believe I wrote well beyond my years. I did not realize I was so in tune with my emotions at such a young age.
Maybe I strive for more metaphors now, speak from experiences (because I have more of them), and really try for gut punches when using emotions. I believe good poetry should hurt, it should change how you look at the world, and it should leave you a different person after reading it.
RMMW: As a parent of a small child how do you manage your work life balance?
KP: Is there ever really a balance? All joking aside, I just “wing it” most of the time. I think, as parents, we are all just “winging it” and hope we do not fall off of the tightrope of this “balance”.
RMMW: When is your favourite time of day to write?
KP: I am not sure I have a favorite time of day to write. Honestly, if it hits me, it hits me. If I am getting toilet paper at the grocery store and I am struck with something I think might be worth something, I stand there in the middle of the isle and type it out.
RMMW: What themes do you pursue most of all through your poetry? And, why do you feel it is essential?
KP: I have been told I am a “confessional poet” and I wear that term with pride. I write about being raped, mental health, and my experiences with love and heartbreak. There are so many people that can relate to sexual assault and mental health and I think it is important we bring awareness to topics that are considered “taboo”. Many feel ashamed to talk about these topics for a variety of reasons and I have an outlet where people read my words. How could I not show them love and support?
RMMW: Do you feel social media hinders or helps writers?
KP: I have talked to many writers about this very topic. I think it both hinders and helps.
It hinders writers because of the immediate validation they seek. If there is not much response to a piece, they feel defeated and frustrated. Plagiarism is another topic that is brought up. A few others are predators, advertising on posts (commonly called “autobots”), buying followers, disingenuous followers, etc.
I think it helps in so many ways. We often forget that there are REAL humans behind these handles with REAL emotions and responses. Most writers, in general, are passionate, emotional people. Also, a lot of writers have mental illnesses — no matter how much it impacts their life or writing. This is real life. These are their confessions, experiences, secrets, emotional releases, etc. I know many writers on here that are anonymous, because they do not want to tell their family or friends they write. They are afraid of what they may think. I was one of those for about four months until I decided I wanted to own what I said. I wanted people to be able to look me in the eye and see a real person staring back at them; look at me as a human being who was raped, has PTSD, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and real emotions. I wanted to make them feel like they were not alone.
I have met some of the best people through this Instagram platform. I did not have any “poet friends” before I joined this community and now, I am surrounded (digitally) by them.
Not only have I met some of the best people, I get to read such a vast range of writing everyday. There are so many talented voices with so much to say here and a lot of them do it well. I have learned a lot about writing, people, and most importantly, myself. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the love people have for each other here, it really does feel like a little community, even if we are spread all over the world.
RMMW: What do you feel are some of the struggles of contemporary poets?
KP: I think some of the struggles could be the fear of being relevant years down the road, having original ideas, unique writing styles, plagiarism having more accessibility through the internet, etc.
RMMW: Who are your favourite indie poets?
KP: Honestly, I am not sure I have favorites. I do have favorite poems though.
RMMW: How many unfinished manuscripts do you have? And do you think you will ever bring them to publication fruition?
KP: Can I say all of them? They are all unfinished, because I do not have any. I have been asked when I am going to publish something, but it just is not a priority to me, plus I am lazy. I am in full support of my fellow poets who publish their own work or have a publishing company behind them. Maybe someone will come and grab all of my lackluster writing when I am long gone and think it is worth something, maybe not.
RMMW: Do you think your creativity has expanded or decreased being a parent of a young child?
KP: Honestly, mine has expanded in every way possible.
I was diagnosed with postpartum depression after my daughter was born and struggling with that was the worst two years of my life. I get emotional thinking of all of the time I lost. The time I lost being the mother I could have been.
I started going to trauma therapy a year after she was born. I was raped when I was 17 and I never adequately dealt with it. Opening myself up to therapy has done a great deal of healing for me. I feel comfortable talking about my trauma and talking to others as well. Awareness is something I am really passionate about.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder earlier this year and it has really changed my life. I was hospitalized in January and I was severely depressed. Originally, I was afraid of the diagnosis and afraid of having to take medicine the rest of my life. I was afraid of living with an illness I could not cure, but I had to make a decision. I was not going to see her turn three if I did not get help.
Getting better mentally and directing therapy through writing has really been helpful after she was born. It is not necessarily her that inspires me, and I know that sounds odd. I have tried to write about her countless times; there are so many unfinished poems about her. Honestly, my words are not worthy of her. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me, she is my reason, and she has changed how I love entirely. How could I ever give metaphors that explain her beauty, her strength, her wit, her determination. These emotions do not fit on paper. There is not enough ink or paper for her. She is my greatest love. How could I ever condense that down to a poem?
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?
KP: This is a hard one. I have been asked this question countless times and I don’t think I have ever answered it the same. Invisibility would be awesome to sneak into places I otherwise could not, witness conversations I would not be a part of, find out the secrets of Area 51. Teleportation would also be nice, because I am impatient, and I love traveling; I would never be late, and traffic would be a breeze.
Honestly, if I really think about it, I think I relate to the Hulk the most, though I am not a mean person and I am not easily angered. I know it seems like a contradiction (I am a walking contradiction), but he is a polar-opposite superhero. His alter ego is a brilliant scientist and physicist. The intelligence factor is always a winner for me. He has superhuman strength and a regenerative healing factor. He is my perfect superhero. He speaks volumes to my bipolar disorder.
I know I did not answer that question like I should have, but I very rarely do anything I should.