S. Savannah is a human being after my own heart! She like many Poets comprehend that writing – true writing -- comes from crevices deep within our souls. Where beings go to explore; who they are, what their purpose in life is, what they are willing to allow others to do to them, how to survive atrocities we would not wish on anyone. I’ve known a myriad of creatives who have only survived by their passion via grace. Who have taken all the adversity in their life and distilled the expression that is the backbone of who their inner angel or demon has allowed them to be. People ask me all the time, “Why is CCIQ Press non-profit?” this is why, I have the opportunity to highlight writers whose work I genuinely relish the concept of exploring. Something that S. Savannah and I agree on, we have an endless supply of writers whose work we genuinely relish. To be honest, this interview houses the most highlighted indie poets, out of all the interviews I’ve ever facilitated. It’s amazing, I started to interview because I truly enjoy discovering the backstories of others – it makes me appreciate their work more. For more information on S. Savannah I suggest you follow her on Instagram @word_savvy.
RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you overcome it?
SS: I definitely have moments where I'm blocked. These moments were previously super frustrating, but I've learned that my environment is the biggest influence on my creative and emotional mood. Before my most recent move I could easily drive to different beaches in SoCal. Long drives to beautiful places and music are two of my favorite ways to help me pour words out. However, in the recent months I've moved to the south where beaches aren't tangible, so I find myself driving anyhow to different kinds of scenery and/or simply writing about the writer's block. Photography and sketching help if I still feel resistance. Visuals inspire me either way. Lastly, reading is always tangible if for whatever reason time and other obligations don't give as much flexibility to drive and explore.
RMMW: We all have an inner critic to contend with, how do you deal with yours?
SS: You ask good questions. I definitely needed more emotional maturity for my writing to evolve and for my mind to get away from the weight of that inner critic. I ignored committing to writing entirely for years because I just felt like I wasn't good enough. It took me a long time to reflect on my writing and efforts because of the turbulence in my personal life. I actually published at 19 years old, but the effort was minimum, and the thoughts and emotions were too polluted with everyone else. I strongly disliked the book! My inner critic was probably saying lots of harsh things back then because instead of growing I stopped writing. I didn't understand where I began and other's ended, so the inner critic was really hard to shake. Everything was too loud and too foggy for a long time. Fortunately, I started writing again. I based it on healing. I still have things come up that make me feel really inadequate, but I try to discern what it's telling me. Then, I transform it into healthy challenges that let my writing evolve. Also, I continue to seek awareness on my thoughts in order to avoid the inner critic from claiming a victory over my writing again.
RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?
SS: I've written some of my favorite poems after long drives. However, other than an open sunroof and music there aren't any specifics to elaborate on.
RMMW: What was the catalyst that prompted you to write?
SS: I started writing at 11 years old. I've been writing on and off since then. Writing saved my life. I absolutely needed to write to continue. We can't control what happens in our lives, but we can control how we utilize what we have and move forward. I've always had a love for language. When I was handed bad circumstances and found myself at rock bottom words were all I had. They may have been super dark and messy at first, but they were true to what I felt. Words helped me understand all of the chaos and shape it into something more than chaos and bad circumstances. I've been able to use writing to elaborate on social issues and progress in my own healing. This is how I repurpose. My writing has even helped me with my professional growth and in situations with clients that I've encountered during my time working in mental health. A memorized poem can work wonders. There was a long period of time where I stopped writing, but I started writing again while in therapy and it brought me back to life.
RMMW: Do you feel social media hinders or helps writers?
SS: Social media can absolutely help writers and/or hinder. It can do both, but it depends on the perspective. Personally, social media has helped me to evolve as a writer and person. I've found support on social media and formed amazing connections. I've also found a wide variety of inspiration as I read the work of many I admire here on IG. However, it can be discouraging as a writer if you approach social media with comparisons. Comparison is the thief of all joy and as a writer we can lose sight of our own vision and voice if we do this.
RMMW: What is your favourite time of day to write?
SS: I need to write when I feel it and most times this happens at night.
RMMW: What is your process? Do you go to the pen and parchment first or right to the computer or device?
SS: I keep a journal and I have a place for notes in my phone. My handwriting isn't exactly legible, but I definitely scribble when I can't look at my phone.
RMMW: What is your favourite poem written by you?
SS: This is easy, The Great Existence Experiment is my favorite. I think as humans we dig deeply and want to understand ourselves. We want to understand life. Yet, without a blueprint to navigate life we can only expect to do the best we can with what we have until we know better and evolve as we go. I described human existence here and touched on Freud's theories. There's a line describing Freud to be the clinical version of a poet's lyrical. It summed up emotion and life for me from the perspective of two very different points of view. I wrote enough for ten slides and elaborated on mental health, relationships, etc. I related to Freud in this piece as a poet and human who both stumbles and relies on the turbulence of life as inspiration. I elaborate on Freud. He is the perfect example of a searcher. Wounded. Curious. Foolish. Brilliant. This piece was inspired the day I dyed my hair blue. In SoCal wine is practically handed to you as you walk in the door at most salons, especially downtown. I wrote this sitting in my hairstylist's chair and then I read it for a tiny audience of potentially buzzed women. It was the greatest but weirdest day of self care that I've ever had.
RMMW: What themes do you relish exploring throughout your writing?
SS: I write about social issues more than anything else. Writing equates healing and advocating at the same time for me. I'm super transparent about past experiences relating to trauma. I pour sorrow into most of my work relating to my own experiences, loss, and diagnoses. Domestic violence is at the top of the list for causes that I'd like to see more awareness on, and family preservation is right beside it. I also put emphasis on mental health and healing/recovery in just about every piece. Nonetheless, a common theme is social issues that range from substance abuse, poverty, mental health, domestic violence, sexual assault, etc. However, I can write lighthearted pieces. In earlier pieces I explored sensuality and those are always a pleasant surprise. AND on the complete opposite end there's also a ton of poetry and art I create for my children where I've written about elephants and pandas. My children love Dr. Seuss and there are still three books I can recite word for word that have inspired plenty of children's poetry. Also, on that note I'm very in touch with the rhymes in general. There's also quite a few paintings and drawings related to whatever animal or cartoon that makes them smile that have inspired poetry as well. I've shared two or three pieces like these on my page. I put healing and my causes as my primary themes, but I remind myself to explore variety whenever possible, the wise Peter Merriot once told me that "Tragedy is not wrong; and tragedy is not all."
RMMW: How does writing make you feel?
SS: Writing makes me feel empowered and lighter. I can only imagine how flustered I'd feel if I had to walk around unable to express everything that I have in my heart and mind. Writing makes me feel like evolution of humanity is possible every time someone relates to something I write, and I experience mutual compassion. Writing makes me feel grateful.
RMMW: Who are your favourite indie writers to read?
SS: There are way too many! I can't deny that I celebrate those raw pieces so many people have braved to release a bad experience because I do. I'm definitely a fan of those honest but vulnerable pieces that conclude with glimpses of resilience. It's empowering to see the evolution of healing and processing. It might not be balanced or fair to name too many here, but I'll try. These past 9 months gifted me the privilege of reading so many words. Let's try to not go overboard but here we go. First, @undermeyou has my heart with every piece she writes. She has a breathtakingly beautiful way of gut punching her readers. You definitely feel the emotion. @jle_word is someone I admired early on when I started on IG in April of 2019. This woman is strength and talent in the humblest of ways. @confessions_of_sophia writes so beautifully and I love seeing how she brings prompts to life. @thetasteofmypen is someone who I've seen have fun with prompts as well and she also pours her heart out on and I respect her honesty. @unfilteredflame has a way with words and she's revealing her heart through more and more pieces. @beacolorfulyou is a woman of action and support. I love how she's used writing in the most empowering of ways. @thebiancarose has a way of hitting her audience with her words. @spswords encourages her audience with her writing but it's also like venturing through personal experiences. @_drewkowski_ is both a great writer and great person. He especially has a way of ending his pieces with a boom. I'm almost always surprised by where his mind goes and how he conveys it. @our_hollowed_bones has, a way of creating this rollercoaster and writing it gracefully. @sageandspirits is a new favorite and her book lured me into her heart in such an honest way. She's talented in more ways than one. She's someone who posts, and I read it several times because I love it so much. @bugxwords is beyond words creative. Hearing her recite her poems is an entirely different experience. The girl is crazy amazing. @alchemical.poetica is impossibly poetic. She's inspired everyday, honestly. @irene_writes is, super creative and has a way of really pulling you into moments with her @petermerriot is a brilliant man. His pieces really convey a lot of thought and creativity. @heykevkev really has an amazing page. His spokens are especially fantastic and his pieces have a way of being fun to read and deep at the same time. It's weird! @nakedwithahangover is raw and dark. Her words cut deep but they're so honest. She most definitely had my attention right away. @wetpetalspoetry is someone I've been following since I started, and she puts emphasis on mental health. Her words are brave. She wrote this piece on recovery in November and I recommend everyone reads it. @the_word_burn is a visual treasure and her creativity is undeniable. @shees_spirit inspires me and has given me many positive affirmations in her words. @romconfan is ridiculously talented! @riggspoetry is one of a kind and I love seeing him share new words. I've only recently started following his work closely but he's become a new must read @document_ary is in my top five favorites. I think she gives her readers a lot to take in all at once. I hang on word by word because I never know where it's going and when it finishes my head is usually spinning. I could go on for pages, but I'll end with
@m.marlowe_ @juanspeaks @twinksfly @daniel.moreschi @musebeneath @cargoshippoet @inktswords @poetry_shmoetry @zilliam_poetry who I believe are phenomenal storytellers and creatives.
RMMW: Do think there is a correlation between writing and cathartic release of your work?
SS: Yes, one hundred percent. I believe this connects to psychoanalysis and expression in terms of my own healing, but I won't bore you with anymore Freud rambles. However, I can honestly express that I feel irritable whenever I can't process the feelings enough to release them in writing and I do recognize a decline in my mental state/mood. Writing has been a primary part of healing for me. I honestly created a home in writing. I've been unsafe and unsettled in so many other areas of my life that pieces I write have been that constant sanctuary where I find comfort. Recently, I've processed so many of the complexities of past experiences. This was remarkable to me but what was even more amazing is the support and feedback I've gotten from creative peers. I've also received messages from women transitioning out of abusive relationships after reading one of my pieces. My healing has evolved in writing and my writing has evolved in healing. It is a gift to know it has also impacted others positively in whatever magnitude. In writing I've had grace for brokenness and pursued sanctuary. There's absolutely a correlation! :)
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?
SS: That's easy, time travel would definitely be my superpower!