“What are you reading?”

“Are you still writing?”

Hello Authenticitee Speaks Family!

I am incredibly grateful to those of you who reach out to check on me, when my blog goes mute. Yes; I’m still a reader with a voracious appetite and a consistent writer.

As I’ve said before, sharing in this space is inherently different than any of my other platforms. It’s more intimate and incredibly close to my heart. I’m constantly amazed that new followers are still joining me in this space almost everyday!! Thank you for being here. I’m humbled by your presence.

“What are you reading?”

I’ve been reading the book Dying To Be Free – A Healing Guide For Families After A Suicide by Beverly Cobain (cousin of Nirvana’s late lead singer Kurt Cobain) and Jean Larch.

It’s an extremely heartfelt and at times a graphic portrayal (trigger warning*methods) of those who’ve lost loved ones to suicide.

I definitely without hesitation recommend this book for those who have personally lost a loved one to suicide or to others like myself called to raise awareness.

“Are you still writing?”

Absolutely!

I definitely don’t post as much and consistently delete and archive my Instagram posts as usual because I bore very easily. It’s my personal preference to prune what I post quite frequently actually. Here’s a few recent pieces:

Love. I still believe.

Thanks for stopping by today and showing love, reading, sending messages and covering me in prayer!

If you or a loved one are suicidal, is in crisis or having a hard time coping at this very moment; PLEASE know that you matter and are not alone! If you need someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to reach out to the resources below!

The National Suicide Hotline

800-273-TALK (Veterans Press 1)

TEEN SUICIDE CRISIS HOTLINE- 800-852-8336 (Trained Teen Counselors)

The Trevor Project (LGBT Community) 866-488-7386

Trans Lifeline (Transgendered Community) 877-565-8860

Crisis Text: Text HOTLINE to 741741 ***If outside the U.S visit http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html for assistance.

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

As my Writer Crush Series comes to a close this 30th of September 2018, I take a moment to pause and reflect on the priceless moments experienced during this journey.

I have been so overwhelmed by the love and support of the Instagram Writing Community and fellow WordPress bloggers; that creating a platform where writers can meet other writers through this series just felt natural.

Engaging with countless poets, writers, artists, authors, photographers, entrepreneurs and fellow creatives has been an integral part of my life for almost 4 years. My words have literally traveled across continents and kissed the earth of places my feet have yet to trod. It’s been an unexpected blessing and honor to work with some of the best talent in the world.

My final featured poet in this series is an absolutely breathtaking writer.

I genuinely believe that her gift of writing is divine. Her words have encapsulated some of the most precious and richest moments life has to offer. And in addition to her complete understanding of the complexities embedded in the heart of poets, she is full of love.

Her love is further empowered by her desire to see the manifestation of love’s healing properties in the lives of others.

Meet Sana A. Rashid…

My name is Sana Akhtar Rashid and I am a 26 year old female British Pakistani. I am a primary school teacher, teaching children (who are 10-11 years old) a range of subjects. My career as a teacher has allowed me to progress quickly and for a few years I have been an English Leader at my school too. This job is wonderful and includes; ensuring a range of reading books are available in classes, English lessons are engaging, and eventually children feel they have the skills to continue their interest in writing professionally when they move to secondary school, college, University etcetera.

In addition to my career as a teacher, I have a love for writing, which is demonstrated in my professional life- but also my personal life too. The art of writing for me progressed in July 2015 when I began my Instagram page ‘@sana.a.rashid’. The purpose behind the account was really simple- I simply wanted to express my thoughts on a range of things. My best friend at the time encouraged me to present my thoughts through this platform; as I was filling most conversations with my deep thoughts and (after a great deal of hesitation) I finally plucked up the courage and went for it. Over time, my writing style became more distinctive and my interest in poetry grew. Writing multiple times in the day, and reading encouraging comments after I posted my material, was crucial in continuing my writing journey. Therefore, after 3 years of writing on my Instagram account, I continue to post my poetry online to this present day.

My poetry content and style varies,and I believe it is constantly shifting because my emotions change. For me, poetry requires feeling and it is a perfect way of channeling the words of the heart. When I write, I don’t think too much about the length of the poem, or the rhyme, or the stanzas, I let the mind and heart sync so that the feeling, whether it be happiness, sadness, guilt, excitement, sorrow etc is relayed onto a blank page. It is feeling the poem should convey, so I avoid the technicalities of the poems’ structure and let the feelings take precedence.

I have noticed that my poems relate to love, empowerment, feminism, dreams, belonging and personal identity too. The latter is as a result of my ethnicity as a Pakistani. Growing up in England, I was not Pakistani enough when I visited Pakistan and I wasn’t English enough when going about my day- to- day life in England. There were occasions when racist incidents occurred over the years, aimed at my parents, which made me question ‘belonging’ and who I was. I realise there will always be some (what I hope are) in minority groups who will always demean others based on their colour, race, religion, but what is important is that positivity remains with the belief that hate towards others because of skin will cease to exist… One day in the near future. This moves me on to hope. Sometimes my poetry sounds dreamy, my writing refers to things that may not be, but it would be wonderful if it could be.

I have always wanted to be a teacher, and this dream has been achieved. Another dream of mine was to write a poetry book. This is another dream which is drawing near completion. I am in the final stages of re-drafting and editing my book. I want to release something that I am proud of and which represents me. However, I am my greatest critic, which is why the editing change is taking alot longer than I had anticipated. Soon, I will be contacting a few publishers and then the process of book publishing will begin.

The only active social media platform I use is Instagram. I am hoping my poetry book will be out in 2019.

e speaks…

You are absolutely fascinating Sana. How has being a teacher impacted your style of writing?

Sana speaks…

Since I was young, especially a bilingual teenager, I struggled with grammar. As a result of that, I wasn’t exactly presented with opportunities to build on my skills, and develop my understanding of grammar. It is only when I decided to become a teacher that I developed a love for writing. I had to read books, which would engage the children I taught, and eventually (through teaching), I was able to teach the art of the English language. Regularly, for the last 5 years of my career, I had to write passages, either in the form of short stories, diary entries, poems as example texts to support the learning of my students. Through regular writing in lessons, and reading, I have continued to consistently write in my own time, and trial different styles of writing too.

e speaks…

How have you found your voice in the midst of life’s most difficult challenges?

Sana speaks…

I think as individuals we tend to put aside things that sometimes hurt us. We tend to pretend it never happened, or that it doesn’t affect us, when in actual fact it affects us more than we realise. Running away from certain feelings and emotions, could be considered as a way of ‘dealing’ with the problem. However, I believe it is important to address it.

I have not always felt like I had a voice, or even a voice that mattered. I have felt an inferior, and therefore overcoming this mindset has taken years. Writing has allowed me to channel thoughts freely, because when a person reads words, they read for meaning. The reader never sees a colour, race, religion in front of them, but words. Poetry provided me with an outlet to address my feelings, my experiences, and my hopes for the future. Eventually, my poetry highlighted how I had a yearning for equality.  Equality, regardless of colour. Equality, regardless of gender. Equality, across the width and breath between each fold of humanity.

e speaks…

What would you say to writers who struggle with being consistent in both writing and sharing their writing?

Sana speaks…

I would say reading is really helpful. Over time, you will realise the style of writing you like, and you will start experimenting with such a style yourself. When it comes to writing, there is no right or wrong thing–you write what you feel. You write a message you want to convey. There are stories, poems, lessons, bursting in every single one of us, and I completely believe that anyone can become a writer if they believed in themselves.

In regards to sharing writing, there are a few things I have recognised over time. It is good to share your writing on a social media platform daily, or every few days a week, as it allows new readers to reach your content. This also acts as a reminder to write too, because after all–with no written material, you can’t share writing exactly, right? Over time, your readers can share what they liked or interpreted from your writing, and eventually when it comes to publishing then you already have a ‘fan’ base.

Sharing content carries risks too. When material is shared online, there is a risk of plagiarism. Moreover, poems might be shared, but not credited to you. Sometimes readers may find inspiration from your writing, and write a poem very similar to your own, and change the odd word. These are a few drawbacks of sharing content that I have noted, as I have personally experienced them.

I think the most important thing to remember is that writing is an art. There are times you will want to share your work, other times when you will want to withhold your writing. Social media doesn’t always value art, and artists therefore followings, and likes shouldn’t detract from your love for writing. Always write for you. Write from your heart. More importantly, believe in your writing.

e speaks…

You mentioned how your best friend encouraged you to join Instagram and how encouraging comments played a role in inspiring you. How important would say community is and what are your thoughts on the Instagram Writing Community as a whole?

Sana speaks…

Encouragement is so crucial. If a person is reminded everyday of how they can succeed then this fills them with determination to achieve. The Instagram writing community has been very supportive for me, and I can’t stress how much I appreciate published writers, and poets who read my work regularly. Seeing their love, and their understanding of my content, as well as the message that underlies it, makes me smile.

e speaks…

When I learned you were writing a book I couldn’t stop smiling I was so happy! As writers, our words are our legacy. Sana, what do you want your legacy to be?

Sana speaks…

I want Pakistani women to feel that they can do whatever they want to. Cultural expectations sometimes limit women, and therefore careers can’t always be perused, which is a huge shame.

I would like my work to add to the rising growth of female BAME writers. There is an under representation of female writers from this community, and as a British Pakistani, I think it is because there haven’t been enough opportunities presented to these women. It is important that books are written from a range of perspectives, from a range of cultures and backgrounds – otherwise books become limited and restricted in a sense, and don’t offer a portal to so many other worlds, which are still going unheard today. These voices, these words, these stories are so important to be heard.

e speaks…

My heart is so full. It is brimming with joy and a deep well of gratitude to Sana and every single writer that has blessed this series. To every person who has read, shared and taken the time to support myself and those featured in this space, THANK YOU FOREVER.

Remember to visit Sana A. Rashid on Instagram by clicking here and thank me later!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Sana A. Rashid and the photographers who took the photos. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Couldn’t wait to partake in what she was serving. Extraordinary poetry. An air of mystery. Passion. Fortitude. Fire. Creativity. Transparency. Love. Lots of love. Love for life. Love for humanity. And more than anything a deep love for words.

Christina Strigas has blessed more than my social media timelines. She has breathed life into them. Reminding me it’s ok to hurt. Inspiring me to remember I deserve to heal.

Inviting me to freedom and my words to dance…sometimes on the most difficult days….

And she’s incredibly kind….

In her own words…

Christina Strigas, a trilingual, raised by Greek-Canadian immigrants, has been featured by CBC Books in “Your ultimate Canadian poetry list: 68 poetry collections recommended by you.”

Christina Strigas is an author of five novels, three poetry books, and one self-help/poetry book based off of her popular quotes that went viral on Twitter. She writes romantic love poetry in a stream of consciousness narrative prose. Her influences are Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Mary Oliver, the Romantics, and Pablo Neruda. Christina Strigas holds a BA in English Literature from Concordia University and a Teaching Certificate from Universite de Montreal. She teaches English and French in an elementary school, and at McGill University. She created the popular @ArielPoets along with Alexandra Meehan, where they inspire writers and poets to believe in the power of poetry.

When I held Love & Vodka in my hands, I loved the feel of the book and it’s design. The font was warm and the spaces felt like safe places to rest. I could feel her heart and greatly appreciate her mind throughout each piece. I was almost brought to tears because with the turning of each page, I began to hear her voice strumming within each verse.

She spoke to me as she poured

There’s an inner strength that sustains writers that have embraced the fullness of life.

Moments lived that releases wisdom and depth…

The invitation remains and is extended to you as well. From the library of her life, Love & Vodka is just one of several offerings for the mature palate. Christina recently introduced her latest book Chrissyisms which also available on Amazon!

Be sure to show her some love by visiting her Instagram page here as well as her other sites!

You can find her on Twitter: @christinastriga

Facebook: Christina Strigas Author

Tumblr: Christina Strigas Poetry

Website: http://www.christinastrigas.com

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Christina Strigas and the photographers who took the photos. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I’m a huge fan. There. I said it. And if you’ve not yet met her, you’ll understand why. Presenting to some and introducing to others, our Instagram Writing Community Resident Anomaly: Printed CED.

Printed CED speaks…

It’s so funny I feel like talking about myself is one my talents and one of my downfalls. I spent a lot of time just thinking about what to say about myself, how to summarize and I honestly didn’t think of anything grand. I feel like personally and professionally I’ve always struggled with the boundary of being honest, open, vulnerable and being overexposed. When I first started my Instagram page I was completely anonymous, no pictures, video, I didn’t even reveal my sex or allow those I knew to follow me. In the thin veil of mystery I felt protected, free to express my thoughts without a pre conceived notion. I certainly would not have done something like this. But I do feel that part of sharing is allowing yourself to be slightly exposed. I feel that’s where you develop true connections, so here we are.

I won’t reveal my name but many call me CED “seed”. I started writing when I was eight, it really helped me to cope growing up in troubled circumstances. I was raised in the Northwest, some of my favorite memories are writing surrounded by nature, escaping the noise and embracing my feelings. I felt safest in pen hidden away in a stack of pages… again that boundary. I was always the shy, awkward kid growing up, probably because I walked around with a journal and ate lunch in the library. Haha. But once I really started embracing who I am I was able to come out of my shell(mostly). I started sharing my work as a teenager and I was successful with it but honestly I just thought of it completely different back then. Now I see how much it’s given me and I appreciate it more. I always felt I failed to communicate and with writing I finally felt I could make myself clear and that is an incredible feeling. What was even more rewarding was finding an outlet that not only I could freely express myself but I could connect with other people that could relate to my experiences. Now that’s art.

e speaks…

I too can relate to finding that balance; often referring to myself as an extrovert with very strong introvert tendencies.

Printed CED speaks…

Glad you can relate. I definitely would never refer to myself as an extrovert but everyday I try to become more and more extroverted. I try to push myself to step out of my comfort zone.

e speaks…

It was great to connect a face with your poetic prowess. But what wooed you to anonymity and released you to step out of the shadows?

Printed CED speaks…

Thank you! Honestly, a lot of it was insecurity. I also wanted a safe place where I could express myself unguardedly without any predisposition. I suppose I became more comfortable with the idea of letting people closer to me. I found it easier to connect with others being a little bit more visible not to say I don’t still guard many things. I still don’t talk about my personal life such as my name or personal details but I do feel I found a better balance. Not to say there hasn’t been many successful Anonymous writers this is just something that was a natural progression for me.

e speaks…

One of the thing I’ve admired most about your writing is your ability to say so much in so few words. It’s as though you have in depth internal dialogue and methodically give the reader glimpses. It’s a gift in my opinion.

Printed CED speaks…

That is incredibly sweet and I’m humbled by your compliment, thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it described quite that way but I definitely have an internal dialogue but I’m not sure I would call it methodical. I really don’t have a writing process I just write what I’m feeling in the moment especially when I’m overwhelmed by that feeling. I’m a highly emotional person and I’m very introverted for me sharing my writing is a way to get out of my head.

e speaks…

The idea of your eating lunch in the library at so young an age speaks volumes about your charm. No food allowed yet eating there is a renegade move, yet at you were surrounded by millions of words speaking though silenced by the safety of pages. It speaks of strength to me.

Printed CED speaks…

Ha. You make it sound so beautiful but I definitely was no Renegade I was bullied a lot and I used it as an escape. I will say I never realized that those moments of feeling so weak would later make me feel strong.

e speaks…

You exude strength. When do you feel strongest?

Printed CED speaks…

Thank you, I’ll admit I don’t always feel strong. For me strength is practice, it’s the repetition of behaviors and choices. I will say over the last few years I’ve liberated myself in many ways and that has lended to my strength, just simply accepting myself and my experiences the good and the bad makes me feel stronger. Hmm as far as when I feel strongest that’s definitely when I’m writing, alone, facing my emotions and myself boldly. I feel like over the years my writing has taught me so many things about myself and allowed to better my relationship with myself. What’s been amazing is being able to share my writing and having others connect to those feelings as well. That’s the gift I think. 🙂

e speaks…

I love that you started to share your singing on Instagram! It felt like a treat! Your eyes tell a story long before you speak. Which format seems to help you express yourself best? The written word, spoken word or songs and why?

Printed CED speaks…

Thank you! Sharing my singing on Instagram has definitely been fun. I’ve always wanted to do it but I never thought I was a strong singer and honestly I still don’t but it’s fun and it’s a really satisfying way to share my work. I think music is a beautiful way to connect with others and it allowed me to connect with a whole different set of people making my reach a bit more dynamic. I love all of them! Written word spoken word and songs I couldn’t possibly pick… next I want to start exploring more visual forms of expression such a short videos with an emphasis on cinematography.

e speaks…

Congratulations on your debut book Little Obsessions and Delusions! What are a couple of your favorite pieces and why?

Printed CED Speaks…

Thank you so much, I’m excited to eventually release a full book and I’m very proud of what I’ve already released. Little Obsessions and Delusions means a lot to me. It’s hard to pick favorites but Heed and Submit are both very emotional pieces for me, sometimes my voice still shakes when I read the words because I feel so attached to them. I really found myself, good and bad at that time in my life (when I wrote them) and it’s something I’ll always be appreciative of.

e Speaks…

What would you tell the younger writer in you to do differently, if anything?

Printed CED Speaks…

I would tell the younger me to believe in myself, have faith In others and except what comes to me. 

e speaks…

An exclusive I tell you! CED thank you sooo much for sharing your truth in this space!! Be sure to get your copy of “Little Obsessions and Delusions” on Amazon everyone! I got mine!

Click here to read more of Printed CED’s work on Instagram!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Printed CED. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

More than a gift to the Instagram Writing Community, Quinn B. Jones is an asset to humanity in a myriad of ways. There can be a staunch difference between what we write and what we choose to share as writers. But there is something to be said about the seasoned pen. It speaks; even when wisdom woos it to rest. Quinn however, has mastered the art of pause and press play. His writing is served to all but best appreciated by the palate of the insightful.

Quinn speaks…

I started writing poetry at the age of 14 when I found a poem that was actually addressed to someone else on my desk in my workshop class. I took the poem home and actually memorized it. I’m 42 now and poetry has become a stable in my life. Writing has pulled me out of my darkest nights and settled my heart, mind, and soul. The writing that I do now comes from a very personal place. Seeing what people go through in their daily life has made its way into my art and I draw inspiration from that. Also just an everyday conversation can be just the spark you need to create. With that being said I am a sponge of life and I return all of it to the world in my poems.

e speaks…

I am a huge fan of your writing. I love your range!

“Writing has pulled me out of my darkest nights and settled my heart, mind, and soul”. Tell me more about this. And what would you say to someone who has not yet  found that thing to pull them out of their darkest nights?

What are two of your favorite pieces that you’ve written and why?

Quinn speaks…

I am a huge fan of your writing as well. Many blessings and continued inspiration for you and all that you touch.

The first is because it speaks to the strength of all women. The woman who knows that in a heartbeat she can stop time just by walking into a room, and for a man to recognize that is seeing his own power being sucked out of him cause no matter how powerful that man is he is not stopping that foward progress of any woman.

The second poem is more of a story that shows death and the many reactions to it but from the side of the person that is gone…rather it be suicide or natural, those topics have to be brought to light. Also seeing how much hurt one can cause by thinking “If I wasn’t here”…Im here to say if you don’t want you here, I want you here, so please live for me.

e speaks…

Have you considered writing an autobiography? You strike me as a writer with so much more to say…

Quinn speaks…

I have alot to say, but I want it to be able to get the attention of people who really need it. I didn’t have anyone at certain times in my life who understood me and I want to let everyone know that they can hold my hand in and at anytime.

I am working on a Poetry autobiography…it will be called “1976” for the year I was born. It’s going to be very personal and dig up many things that I need to get out and actually see from a different view myself.

e speaks…

A perfect gentleman from day one; I have great respect for you and admire the way you carry yourself online. As an African American woman I salute you as an African American man of excellence! Do you feel there is a greater sense of responsibility? Has it ever crossed your mind?

Quinn speaks…

Being an African American writer crosses my mind with every word that I write down. I will forever be know as a writer but because America has to put a title with every single thing to make sure lines don’t get blurred or their history doesn’t get trampled I will also go down as an African-American Writer. But there is a silver lining in that…I used to did not see it. That silver lining gives me the privilege to stand with some of the greatest writers that are African-American…Maya Angelou, W. E. B Du Bois, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, Counted Cullen, Ta-Nehisi Coates, to let me know I’m not on this stage alone it’s beautiful to be reminded of such strength in a time when all they think we can do is be criminals. But my writing(s) include everyone, we all cry, we all have emotion and we all have a heart. Even if I’m never on that plateau of those greats I guarantee that I’ve inspired at one person.

e speaks…

I was talking to another writer about the beauty of community and how important it is to have support. Tell me a little bit about your support network and how the role it’s played in your life; both personally and professionally as an author.

Quinn speaks…

There is nothing greater than community it’s bonds and binds like a glue. Community keeps you writing. From a personal aspect it gives you and your art life. There are days when you can read my poetry and know that I’m arguing with someone or that me and my wife just made love or that I am going through a personal feeling of a rush of emotions. All of that is encompassed in my art, you may have to read between the lines a couple of times but trust me…it’s there.

As far as professionally, everyone keeps me on my toes. To seeing where these words, My words can take not only me but people that I see I can help make it to the next level. I get excited when I see a new writer come to Instagram and they have that fire to lead a whole new generation of writers, creatives, and artist.

e speaks…

I follow both of your Instagram pages and the content and formats are completely different on each. You seem to be a limitless reservoir of words Quinn! What influenced your decision to create another poetry account?

Quinn speaks…

The funny thing about that is my first account is on my tablet. Now my job at the time didn’t have great WiFi so I was stuck  with writing all these ideas but just as you said it was completely different from what I was sharing on my tablet. I get the grand idea to make one on my phone. I thought that not a single person would even think about liking let alone reading even more of my poetry but here we are two trivia pages of art one that is great in exposure and another that is great at being personal. But it is not because of me at all. As I said I’m not up here alone.

e speaks…

Absolute perfection Quinn thank you for being here! Thou rockest!! If you want to see and support more of Quinn’s work, his books (The Angel Room, Opal Remains and The Chronicles of Hurt) are available on Amazon!

https://www.instagram.com/quinnbjones_just_poetry

https://www.instagram.com/quinnbjones_just_poetry_2

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Quinn B. Jones. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

(Sigh) … if you have followed Authenticitee Speaks for any length of time, you already know this woman is my heart.

Featured in this space on more than one occasion she is by far the most supportive person of my every work after my mother.

Facts.

Here’s a peek of our special moments here on Authenticitee Speaks!

And Then There Was @KittOMalley @Robrt_M_Goldste & @_thenewsexy

MEET MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE KITT O’MALLEY! 

And it was only fitting that she was my first guest on the first season of my debut radio show Inspiration With E last year!

Click here to listen! Kitt’s interview begins 20 minutes in! (Language & content advisory).

Kitt’s incredibly profound thoughts on language over 30 years ago as an undergraduate:

“Language frustrates me. Because of it, I think in distinctions; I draw lines where they do not in fact exist; I categorize and differentiate. All this I do to simplify, to impose order. All this so that I need not think or feel or know too much. All this so that I may function in a complex world. Otherwise, I would be overwhelmed. Or so I believe. But, in actuality, my attempts to simplify, to order the world around me, make my world more complex. More complex because I distort. More complex, for language is inherently imprecise. And, I get caught in my errors, in my ignorance, and in my arrogance. I err when I oversimplify. I close my eyes to what is really going on when I ignore subtleties that elude definition. And, I arrogantly play God when I try to control my environment, imposing on it an order that is not necessarily there. Still, I convince myself that making these distinctions somehow empowers me. But the definitions, the distinctions, the categorizations I make become cages, and I find myself, not the objects I define, behind the bars. For in limiting what is limitless, in trying to contain what will not fit into any box or cage, I limit and imprison myself.”

Yep. I love me some Kitt O’Malley😌

See, prior to posting my first blog on January 10, 2015 , I had no idea what a blog was; let alone the blogging community. Kitt however along with Rob, Kelley, Robert, Sean, Gina, Scott, Marquessa & a few others soon played a pivotal role in how I governed myself in cyberspace. I credit them for opening my eyes and heart to the power of interacting with other writers.

Our first of many conversations…

So when I decided to relaunch my #WriterCrushSeries this time around, including Kitt was a given; especially considering her recent milestone of becoming an author!! I just received my copy of Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health: Kitt O’Malley last week and I can not wait to dive in!

During this special edition of the Writer Crush Series, it was important to me to not just share about Kitt; but share what was important to Kitt. Because she is that important to me.

e speaks…

Kitt you are so amazing to me! I love how you are always looking out for others! I want to highlight volunteers on my blog from time to time so please tell me…where do you volunteer? What’s the name of the organization?

Kitt speaks…

The National Alliance on Mental IllnessNAMI for short. I volunteer for my local chapter NAMI Orange County.

e speaks…

How long have you been volunteering there?

Kitt speaks…

Since September 2014, when I participated in their local NAMIWalks fundraising effort following my completion of NAMI Peer-to-Peer, a mental health recovery course for those living with a mental health challenge. Peer-to-Peer introduced me to the concept of mental health recovery and offered me HOPE! You can learn more information on at NAMI Peer-to-Peer or contact your local chapter.

e speaks…

How often do you volunteer?

Kitt speaks…

A few times a year I participate in NAMI Provider Education. The first time I taught the course was January 2016 following my mother’s stroke in November 2015. Before my mother’s health crisis, I had reactivated my California Marriage and Family Therapist license. Though I haven’t practiced as a psychotherapist since I was 30 and I’m closing in on 55, my education and training shapes how I look at mental health. With my license, I can serve as the Provider Education panel’s mental health practitioner with lived experience.

NAMI Provider Education is a class for line staff at facilities providing mental health treatment services. The NAMI Provider Education class is designed to expand the participants’ compassion for the individuals and their families and to promote a collaborative model of care.

(https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-Programs)

e speaks…

What led you there?

Kitt speaks…

April 2014 I attended The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church at Saddleback Church. I wrote about the experience on my blog. While there I felt a calling to volunteer for NAMI Orange County, so you could say that God led me to NAMI OC.

e speaks…

What’s been the most challenging moment?

Kitt speaks…

My personal life is pretty full and can be challenging. I live with bipolar. My son gets migraines, and connected to his migraines, social anxiety and depression. My father had dementia until he recently passed away. My mother lives with vascular dementia since she had a stroke just before I began volunteering in NAMI Provider Education.

e speaks…

How did you overcome it?

Kitt speaks…

When I’m too overwhelmed by my life, I bow out. I do not overdo it. If I’m not up for volunteering, I don’t. As simple as that. My mental health and the health of my loved ones comes first.

e speaks…

What’s been the most rewarding moment?

Kitt speaks…

Training the staff for the opening of Children’s Hospital of Orange County‘s (CHOC) pediatric psychiatric unit — the first inpatient psychiatric unit for children under age twelve in Orange County. The entire staff attended the inservice, which was incredible. CHOC’s staff blew me away — so much LOVE! They were great.

e speaks…

What would you advise new volunteers?

Kitt speaks…

Take care of yourself and your loved ones first and foremost. Do not deplete yourself. Recharge. Exercise self-care.

e speaks…

Thank so much for being here Kitt! It meant everything to me!! To learn more about Kitt please visit her at http://www.KittOmalley.com.

*I humbly dedicate this piece to Kitt’s beloved Labradoodle Thumper who passed away yesterday. Much love Kitt. I thank God you’re in my life. You mean the world to me and I have learned so much from you. I pray that you are granted the comfort, strength and peace of mind that you extend to so many.💫e

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Kitt O’Malley. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I study the writers I choose to feature. It’s important to me to marinate in the pauses between their words. Words are powerful and those who are not afraid to stretch them beyond their original intent fascinate me. Kindra Austin is not afraid and she fascinates me.

Previously unfamiliar with Kindra’s work, I couldn’t have been more thrilled when she was recommended by one of my favorite poets; Devereaux Frazier! I had the honor of interviewing Devereaux a few months ago; so I knew I was in for a treat. Wise beyond his years he has a mature palate and sure enough the strength of Kindra’s gift “had me at hello”.

Kindra speaks…

Kindra M. Austin is an indie author from Chesaning, Michigan, USA. Her debut novel, “Magpie in August” was published in April, 2017, and her book of poems and prose, “Constant Muses” followed in December. Other publications include several poems featured on SpillWords, and an essay advocating for LGBTQ rights, printed in the Mansfield Pride magazine. She is currently working on a second collection of poetry and prose, and a novella (“For You, Rowena”) to be released at the end of August.

Austin has been writing for over twenty years. In 2008, she began blogging under different pseudonyms while briefly moonlighting as a writer/editor/internet radio personality. She’s the founder of Poems & Paragraphs, a founding member of Indie Blu(e), and a writer/managing editor at the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective (Sudden Denouement Publishing), including Blood Into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar. Later this month, she will launch a blogsite as a companion to her infant imprint, called One for Sorrow. Austin’s goal is to one day own and operate her own micro-press.

e speaks…

Tell me a bit more about “Magpie in August”. I’m interested not only in the backdrop and title choice but also the journey that led you to taking the leap from writer to indie author!

Kindra speaks…

Magpie in August is the narrative of Magpie Carey, a young woman on a soul searching journey. Her little sister Renny (Wren) died at the age of ten—she drowned in Lake Huron on her birthday. Every August, Magpie and her mother travel to Tawas, Michigan, to spend the anniversary of Renny’s death at the lake. Magpie despises the lake, and blames herself for Renny’s death. At its core, this novel is about forgiveness, and accepting the truth.

The concept for Magpie was piloted by my relationship with my mother. In 2012, she moved back home to Michigan from Texas, where she’d lived for twelve years. Her return was an adjustment for me, as I had to relearn how to function with an alcoholic mother living within close proximity to me. I began writing about my feelings towards her, and memories of my childhood. It seemed natural to turn these writings into a memoir, however, I began asking myself questions, and playing with ideas: What would someone else have done in my stead? What if my mother had made different decisions? How many others out there have lived lives similar to mine? It took a couple of years for the story of Magpie and her family to take real shape, and I didn’t sit down seriously to write it until mid-2014. I self-published in April, 2017.

e speaks…

As a poet, which of your earlier pieces resonates most with you and how would you say your voice has changed, if at all?

Kindra speaks…

Eternally October

In his dreams, she dances

In and out of shadow and luminescence.

Her liquescent movements are reminiscent

Of a languid flame that once danced for the rose candle,

Which now sits cold, useless—

Dead since late October.

He breathes deeply scents of

Sandalwood and rose, the essence of her hair.

He tastes the redolence of gin and tonic,

And the tang of menthol ciggies cleaving to her tongue—

Senses living, ever

Lasting in October.

He hears her breath, rhythmic

Against a backdrop of fall rain. Soft sputters

Splatter gently upon the cold windowpane—

The melody of October unjust, justified.

Song of amour, ever

Low, ever fleeting…

He awakes in the night.

She is there in the black, low-slung and callous—

Phantom in the guise of a satellite,

Casting her hateful white light through the thin window shade,

Ever mocking, ever

Static in October.

© Kindra M. Austin 2016

This poem was written after a terrific break-up, and published a few years later on Poems & Paragraphs. I believe my voice has since grown steelier, darker, and more self-aware. I now write mostly in first person, as I have shed much of my shame—I’m no longer afraid to speak my truths.

e speaks…

What a stunning piece! I applaud your confidence as you walk in your truth!

So I love your aspirations of owning and operating a micro press but can’t say it’s a term I was familiar with until now. Does entrepreneurship come natural to you or do find that as a creative the need to develop business savvy is inevitable along the way?

Kindra speaks…

The answer is both. And both are necessary to the indie author, whether their goal is to own a press/imprint, or not. It takes an entrepreneurial mind-set just to promote, market, and manage royalties/expenses.

e speaks…

Finally, what advice would you give to new writers? Especially those trying to decide if their writing is just a hobby or some thing worth exploring beyond an occasional poem here and there?

Kindra speaks…

To those writers who question whether or not their writing is more than a hobby, I pose these questions:

1. Do you feel a sense of incompleteness, stress, or any other uncomfortable emotion if you’ve gone more than a couple of days without writing?

2. Do you often find yourself thinking about writing while you’re working, or involved with other activities?

If your answer to either of these questions is no, then you are most likely a hobby writer.

My advice to writers who have big goals:

1. Write. A lot.

2. Write your own truths, and don’t bend to fads.

3. Read. A lot.

5. Open yourself to experimentation. Sometimes it takes a while to discover your voice/style.

6. Grow comfortable with editing.

7. Interact with other writers—join a writing community and build relationships.

8. If you want to see your writing in book form someday, build a platform.

9. Don’t write for accolades alone. If you do, you will lose your truth. No one likes a pretentious prick.

e speaks…

Thank you for being here Kindra!! Be sure to support Kindra by visiting the following sites:

https://poemsandparagraphs.com/

https://indieblu.net/

https://suddendenouement.com/

https://suddendenouementpublications.com/

https://bloodintoinkpressblog.wordpress.com/

https://whisperandtheroar.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kindra.m.austin1978/

https://www.instagram.com/kindra_m_austin/

https://twitter.com/@AustinKindra/

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Kindra Austin. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

He was recommended by previously featured wordsmith anomaly Ilona Gaspar. A woman I found so fascinating, I interviewed her on my former Inspiration With E radio show. So I readied myself to read the work of someone whose pen embodied great depth and I must say; David Thomas of Instagram’s Unsociable Dave, did not disappoint.

ELECTRONIC PRAYER

Realise

Your craving heart

Will crumble to dust

Along with all those things

You hold so tight inside.

Sinuous roots cling

To the fear of the past

Tendrils of assumed strength

A constraining anchor.

Sloped shoulders carry

The burden of woes

Dragging dead weight

Sandbag feet hauled

Across parched earth

Losing sight of the wonders

That you are here to witness.

Naive eyes fixated upon

Wealth, success, image.

A thrashing feeding frenzy

Of starving egos

Piranhas, hysterical

In the bloodied waters

Of digital illusions

Craving chaotic attention.

Young souls enticed

By lies of the new paradigm

Hunger for untrodden

Instant hit, quick fix

Social media circus.

Numbers, numbers, numbers

Oled halogen flat widescreen

Existence in virtuality.

Force fed subtle lies

Swallowed down

Through dilated eyes

Diving into the matrix

Deep in electronic prayer

Searching for a sense

Of enlightenment.

Knowledge

Is not

Wisdom.

He speaks…

I was born under the grey skies of the north east coast of England, longer ago than i care to admit. My family life was a bit of a mess and i grew up pretty introverted and stupidly rebellious. I have always been a bit of an outsider, misunderstood and pretty self destructive, throw in a big bunch of anxieties and good old depression and here i am, struggling to find balance and happiness in a world that is dangerously off kilter.

I’ve always been a lover of words, my mother always encouraged me to read and i have written in one form or another for most of my life but returning to poetry after an extended hiatus felt very natural, although i never imagined I’d ever show anyone.

I enjoy the aesthetic of well crafted sentences and see my writing as pictures painted with words. I write meditatively, and i rarely approach a subject, the subject approaches me, i often don’t know what I’ve written until i stop writing, of course i then spend days tweaking and editing until i feel comfortable with it. I feel it is a purging of my subconscious, allowing me to discover myself, as corny as that sounds, and it is my therapy.

e speaks…

A therapy I believe he wants to share. Needs to share. Called to share.

TODAY

Today

The sun barely awoke

In the dull off-white

Bedcovers of the sky

That fell across

Wet mud, dead grass

Yellowed and trodden.

Soft earth beneath

These weary feet

Could barely support

The tracks left

In passage

Nor the weight

Of the motionless

Heavens that bear

The solitary

White disc

A tempered eye

A memory of hope

Wandering between

Hoary stratus pillows

Without concern

For such trivialities

As simple beings

That draw life

From its waning heat.

As the shimmering falls

With countless

Deathly crystals

Spinning swirling

In the centre

Of the ashen despair

I beg of you

Hold on.

The day

Is dark enough

Without another loss

The world needs

Your warmth.

I need your

Light.

Today.

e speaks…

Do you have a topic that is most close to your heart as writer? And if so why?

He speaks…

I write a lot about depression, self doubt and anxiety, my biggest trigger has always been loss, so it tends to veer in that direction, goodbyes and solitude are prevalent themes. I was diagnosed bi-polar in my 20s but the medicine didn’t suit me so i decided to try to deal with my issues rather than hide from them. I’m in a better place now but it’s taken a long time, the lows still happen and writing through these periods helps me understand what’s going on in my head. I think that these negative states of mind need to be discussed, there are too many people who feel isolated and alone, too many people who don’t understand their feelings and think they are the only one going through it. I can’t give answers or comfort, but i can give my story, and hopefully that might help.

e speaks…

As a writer, do you feel as though reading the work of others inspires or hinders you at times?

He speaks…

To be honest, i don’t read as much as i should. When i was younger i used to read a lot of horror and fantasy novels, Stephen King touches a part of my psyche that fills me with unease, as do Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman, i like that feeling, I’d love to be able to touch upon the primal darkness that they do so well. These days i read more philosophical works, such as Osho and Alan Watts, they definitely influence my writing and my life, in a positive manner.

As far as poetry is concerned i try to avoid the clichés, they creep in more often than I’d like, but i suppose reading other peoples poetry gives me some kind of measure of where i do and don’t want to go with my writing. I can’t say that reading other people’s work has ever hindered me, i think that all experiences can be inspirational on some level, especially when we can relate to them.

e speaks…

I believe healing comes in many forms. Which of the pieces you’ve written has brought you the most comfort?

He speaks…

There are several pieces which are very dear to me, they may seem desolate and dark but they are commentaries on my state of mind at the time. However, the one that holds the most comfort for me is a piece called “Rot”. It is inspired by the period of life before i knew the terms “depression” and “anxiety”. I was very self-destructive and hid from myself behind drink and drugs in my search for escape, for happiness, for some sense of peace and balance. Of course the drugs really only exacerbated my issues, cheap, nasty chemicals that left me utterly empty inside. I had barely had enough money to eat, and i was living in a state of mental flux, they were dark times for me. Reading it back now allows me to peer over the edge of the chasm in safety, a reminder of how far i have come, and how far there is to fall before i hit rock bottom.

e speaks…

Finally, as I gift you with one of my favorite pieces written by David and continue to savor all that he has shared, I want to pause to honor his transparency. There are many who can relate to his story but will never speak of it. Some because they are quiet and others because they have been silenced. Thank you David allowing the fullness of your freedom to liberate others.

HERITAGE

Push back the world.

Spread those vast wings

That you have hidden

In the folds of your fabric

Lifetime after lifetime

And cloak the infinite sky

That draws every heart

And transfixes every dreamer

Who dares to meander

Into those hypnotic heavens.

Ebonise the raging sun

With the dark portentous grace

And thunderous voice

Of an angelic heritage

It is time to peel back

The slumbering lids

Of the lower waveforms

Awaken them from their comas.

Unplug the derelict children

From this deceitful machine

That restricts their minds

And watch them stumble

Into the bright unknown.

Enshroud this paradigm

In your golden divinity

Wrap us in your immortal reality.

You have the power within.

It is true.

It is you.

Forevermore.

e speaks…

Thank you for being here David!! Be sure to follow David on Instagram @unsociabledave for more riveting writing!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All poetry, excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of David Thomas. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

thief

i was aloof.

thought love and lust were the same

that passion and persistence

insured mutual affection

was paying him no mind

he was a married big brother in the Faith

but here he was in the church hallway

telling me about the perfect discoloration

of my lips in front of others

the look on his face when he realized

i had never noticed or even thought about

it challenged me

surely you knew that

he smirked

surely i should’ve known that

i thought

maybe that’s the day when everything

changed well one of many

the day a grown man taught

fully clothed 19 yr old self

that I had superpowers

minus the cape

************************************

Thank you for being here!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Featured Image: Google images. No copyright infringement intended.

When I’m into a book. It goes everywhere with me. I intentionally pace myself when arrested by strong lines and reading Sips of Poetry with KI was no different.

Ki (pronounced Kai) considers herself an introvert whose voice speaks volumes through her pen. I came across her work as a fellow writer in Instagram’s writing community. She was always very different. Her kindness and sincerity was apparent on every post and with every comment. It was as though she too, cared more about the person behind the post than product of the pen itself.

A woman who deeply loves family, she even shares creative space with her brother in Sips of Poetry with KI.

Often referencing the sweet and at times sour intricacies of romantic relationships, the book takes a turn as she shares a very personal and powerful moment with her readers:

I felt honored to hold this book. It felt like a labor of love and the first of many to come. You too can hold this in your hands and catch the heartbeat of this beautiful soul. For purchase inquiries: Visit her on Instagram @waves_of_rae or email kileo@bourbonwhiskeyandink.com.

All photos and photographic content used in this piece are the sole property of Ki Leo. No copyright infringement intended.

Thank you for being here!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.