Positive Ripple Effect of Packing My Energy Into Poetry – An Interview on Books and Wine Gums

In mid-June 2020, I was interviewed by Emma on her lovely Books and Wine Gums blog. We chat about deciding what goes into my writings and what stays private, found poetry, why I think poetry is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, what I “pack into” my writings, imposter syndrome, wine gums, and dark chocolate …

Hi Camilla. Let’s start at the beginning. Where does a new poem begin for you? Do you have an idea you wish to explore, or do they stem from an image? Or is it something completely different?

In the beginning of my poetry writing, new poems stemmed from being in nature. Following that, the poetry flowed from nature photos I took while out for walks. After that poetry began to flow simply from life experiences. Let me expand a bit.

The first poem was inspired about 6 years ago when visiting Fallen Leaf Lake near my home in Reno, Nevada, USA. I had never written poetry before this. The beauty of the lake, with Mount Tallac at its edge, stirred something within me, bringing me to tears. On the drive home, I made several stops along Lake Tahoe, deepening the experience. By the time I got home, the first poem had formed.

During walks, I take many photographs which I began sharing on social media. I would normally say a few words about the beauty of nature. One day when I was choosing a photo to post, a poem flowed instead of my normal few words. This began to happen nearly every time I posted a photo.

After the initial period, life experiences became meshed with the poetry that flowed from the photographs. The last phase happened during journal writing. Every once in a while, a poem would flow during my morning journal writing.

I suppose what I’m saying is that it was a progression and combination of experiences that inspired the poetry.

I love that idea, the way the process has evolved. In ‘Emerge’ you talk about a ‘darkness that / Has been necessary’ and you describe your new collection as a ‘free-verse poetry memoir’ – how do you decide what will go into your writing, and what stays private?

My writings are intuitively guided. It’s usually not a conscious decision. However, on my blog, there are times when I specifically set out to write about a certain topic. As far as what stays private, I try to let myself be guided by my heart and intuition, not letting worries of what others think deter me. I hold the belief that if I’m guided to share something, there is a larger reason than I may be aware, usually that others will benefit from reading of my experiences. I trust that there can be a positive ripple effect from the experiences that I publicly share.

I love the idea of shared experiences through our reading being something we then draw upon. Which other forms of poetry do you like to explore? Who are your influences?

I love Found Poetry. I collect books destined for the trash and randomly tear out a page. I then scan through looking for words and phrases that catch my eye and cut them out. Laying them on a clip board, I keep moving from one word and phrase to another until I’ve put together a mini poem (attaching a photo). I include one in almost every signed book I mail. Wikipedia defines found poetry as: ‘Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Found_poetry

I also like to write a Haiku here and there. I participated in a fun Haiki author interview a few weeks ago, and had to be creative with answering.

That is so cool! Why do you think poetry is enjoying something of a resurgence in popularity?

I’m not sure I have a solid answer for this. From my perspective, I enjoy poetry because it has the ability to be incredibly powerful without needing to be 300 pages long. Perhaps that’s one reason for the resurgence. We are experiencing deep, vital shifts in humanity. Poetry captures this in short and powerful bursts.

I absolutely agree. What would you like your readers to take away from your work?

When I write and take nature photographs, my energy is packed into the writing and photograph. When a reader closes one of my books, I want for them to have felt the energy within the writing, connecting with one or more pieces of writing. Connected in a way that helps them view differently, inspires them, opens their heart, and lets them know they are not alone. Or simply brings a smile, a laugh, or a tear. Every encounter with my writings or photography need not be deep. The connection is the important piece.

Describe the process you go through when puting a collection of work together. What’s the drafting and editing process like for you?

Beginning six years ago, whenever I wrote a poem, I posted it on my blog, correcting spelling errors, not really being concerned with grammar. When I decided last year that I would gather my poetry for the past six years for publishing as a book, the first step was to gather the poems into one place. Then I read through deciding on overriding themes. Once the poems were assigned a theme, proofreading and editing for spelling and grammar followed. Proofreading, proofreading, proofreading over and over again until no further mistakes are found. For final proofreading sessions, I read the material out loud, as for some reason, mistakes stand out when material is read out loud. For me, anyway.

What is the best part of being a writer? And the worst?

There are two aspects I find to be pretty amazing. One is the wonderful authors and book bloggers that I meet online. It’s quite the feeling to connect with like-minded people around the world, and just plain fun. The other aspect is the feedback received from my writings. Hearing how words I have written have benefited others is the most magical aspect of writing.

The worst part is actually one of the best parts once we recognize it. Imposter syndrome. I’m pretty sure just about every creative person experiences it. However, I didn’t know what it was, or meant, years ago. Not knowing what it is, self doubt can become crippling and depressing. Once I was made aware of what it is, it was easier to recognize it, let it be, yet, continue to move forward with creating.

That’s an excellent way to deal with Imposter Syndrome. What other advice would you give to a new writer who is just starting out?

I feel the most important aspect is to just write. Not letting fear, or feelings of inadequacy stop you. Write every day. No one has to see anything you write. It’s for your eyes only. Until you decide it’s for other eyes. Write, have tenacity, and read books that inspire you and your writings.

Finally – wine gums or chocolate as your creative snack of choice?

Okay. I had to research wine gums. I had no idea! It would depend on my mood. If I’m feeling playful and silly, I’d go with the wine gums. If I’m feeling grounded and content, I’d go for a piece of lovely dark chocolate. Heavenly to even think about.

Go here to read the full interview …

An Interview with … Camilla Downs

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Throwback Post – Relaxes the Soul

**THROWBACK POST**

May 2014


(photo from Pixabay)

Ocean
Moving, Beautiful
Rushing With Waves
Relaxes The Soul Of Others
Water

Poem by Thomas Darnell (my son, at age 8 years old) … May 2014 …

The true love and happiness in this young man’s heart blesses me more than words can describe! xoxoxo

(I recently changed the hosting company for this website, along with all other websites I manage. In the aftermath, my draft posts got deleted. Oh no! Fortunately, they were in the back up and could be reinstalled. However, the original draft dates were deleted. I’m taking that as a sign that it’s time to do cleanup and housekeeping.)

Blessings,
Camilla

See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Brings Nature into the Heart of the Family – Words of Alchemy

“A beautiful and heartfelt collection that brings nature into the heart of the family in a very comforting way. The links to the authors children are very endearing and makes the whole book feel ‘real’, and the poems they collaborate on are wonderful. Recommend for fans of nature poetry, wellness inspiration and especially mothers. Personal favourite would be ‘Dance’, I love the short and sweet format and the almost fairy-like tone, absolutely lovely.” – Megan

Learn more here …

Words of Alchemy

 

The Second Week – Stay at Home Vacation and Social Media Break

I took a break from blogging and social media for two weeks, July 26, 2020 – August 9, 2020. I wrote about how this came about here …

Latest News: More on the Vacation Time

I was moved to share my thoughts and what happened for me during the first week of the break here:

The First Week – Stay at Home Vacation and Social Media Break

The second week went much smoother (August 2 – August 9, 2020). After taking the time to write about my experiences with the previous post, I was able to go with the flow better.

I began the week by giving Lillian a haircut. Thanks to our friend and hairdresser, Kathy, for finding the best “how to” video for me and for giving me tips. I think I did a good job as there was no meltdown afterwards and Lillian seemed happy with it, and still does.

I received a book that I’d won a couple of months ago. It’s a beautiful and informative book. That was a fun surprise to receive in the mail!

I went for several early morning walks by myself and several after dinner walks with Lillian.

Our local library is offering pick up of holds through the drive-through two days a week, for four hours each of those days. They haven’t yet re-opened. Yet, we are SO HAPPY we can now check out books again. I waited in the line on Tuesday to get our latest haul. So far, I’ve been going every other Tuesday so as not to have any of our holds returned to the shelf.

Me …. waiting, waiting, waiting … Haha!

Thomas and I visited our friends Barbara and Bill at their cozy and beautiful place in Washoe Valley. When we got home, Thomas said, “That was fun.” I agree Thomas! Love those two humans!

Another ‘to-do’ checked off during the two week break. Ordered and installed a new interior passenger door handle. After nearly a year, I no longer have to be a valet for Thomas! 🤣 Many times I forgot he couldn’t open the door, walking off and wondering why he wasn’t getting out of the car. He was not amused!

On Friday, the 7th, I listened to the Brene Brown podcast with Ibram X. Kendi and doodled while doing so. Another great and powerful one! I’m reading his book now. Titled, How to be an Antiracist.

Here’s the link for the podcast … https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-ibram-x-kendi-on-how-to-be-an-antiracist/

Next up … I finally got finished transferring Thomas’s book, Biggest Little Photographer, to KDP in my efforts to streamline things and for converting to an ebook. Proof is on the way. Actually, should be arriving today!

Last item accomplished on the ‘to do’ list …. Ordering and installing shelves for the projector. I had been using the keyboard stand, and Thomas has been wanting his stand back! There may have been loads and loads of swear words and sweating while installing these lovelies!!

They are installed where one would typically install a big screen television. I don’t choose to own a television, and haven’t had one since about 2008. We watch shows and movies using a projector, projecting onto the opposite wall. Works perfectly. Just need to figure out what to do with the cords, and add two or four more shelves to balance things.

During this second week, I made some decisions about moving forward with how I spend my time. I’ll post separately about this, as I am making a few changes with MeetingtheAuthors.com and other tasks on which I place my focus. Stay tuned ….

Blessings,
Camilla

See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

 

Words of Alchemy on Mai’s Musings

I was invited in May to share two of the poems from Words of Alchemy on the lovely blog, Mai’s Musings. I’d be deeply grateful if you have the time to visit Mai’s blog, enjoy the poems, and share, like, or leave a comment.

For my first visit, I shared the poem titled, Emerge ….

Words of Alchemy – Camilla Downs

For my second visit, I shared the poem titled, Love is Magical (written by myself and my two kids – it’s a fun one!)

Words of Alchemy – Camilla Downs (Part Two)

Thank you for taking the time!

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Throwback Post: You’re Doing it Wrong

**THROWBACK POST**

*Written sometime in mid to late 2017*


(from a June 2020 Walk – Taken by me)

The overriding theme of my childhood was that I was doing it wrong and not to trust myself. Therefore, I have struggled all my life with low self-esteem and incredibly low self-worth. Believing I am not worthy of having a beautiful and peaceful life, full of unconditional love is something I have always thought was not something I deserved.

I have spent the last 20 years learning to like and love my self, learning who I truly am, and for 2016 and 2017 walking into, connecting with, and releasing this darkness.

Indeed the children of our world and the future of our world strongly depends on not conforming children to the way it’s “supposed” to be done and always has been done. They come into this world (and we did too) knowing who we are, knowing the gift we brought with us, and trusting our self, our intuition. I feel each and every one of us came here to share Divine Love in our own unique way … to share loving kindness and compassion for one another, Nature, and animals.

August 2020 Update: This was originally written to add to another post that was published about the same time. It’s a letter written to my son, Thomas. Go here to read the original post and why I felt moved to add this additional note.

Dear Thoughts: I Want To Be Happy With Myself

I am in a much better place these days. I feel this is mainly due to the courage of walking into what I needed to do to heal myself. I still have days where I feel I’m doing things wrong, making wrong decisions, days full of guilt and shame. However, I’ve learned how to process and feel these emotions. They don’t ever truly go away. I’ve learned how to go to the core of the issue, let myself feel what needs to be felt, with the knowing that it is okay to trust myself.

(I recently changed the hosting company for this website, along with all other websites I manage. In the aftermath, my draft posts got deleted. Oh no! Fortunately, they were in the back up and could be reinstalled. However, the original draft dates were deleted. I’m taking that as a sign that it’s time to do cleanup and housekeeping.)

Blessings,
Camilla

See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

The First Week – Stay at Home Vacation and Social Media Break


(Photo I took on an early morning walk, Friday, July 31, 2020)

I was moved to write about the first week (July 26 – August 1, 2020), and now I know why. I feel so much better having simply gotten my thoughts out. I already know writing is therapeutic for me. However, that does not mean that I don’t fight it like mad sometimes.

Although I called the time away a vacation, if felt like anything but a vacation. The first day was fine. I read nearly the entire day. It’s been like a roller coaster ride of peaceful moments, moments of boredom, periods of sadness, and times of just not knowing what to do with myself.

I’m aware that each of these moments had an underlying cause. I’m still working through the why of all of it. Most times, I simply tried to let myself be with whatever I was feeling, as uncomfortable as it felt.

I really did not expect this to happen. I assumed I would have a lovely time, getting caught up on other tasks, and just taking it easy. For this reason, I am going to continue the break for the full two weeks. I popped into social media on Sunday the 2nd to respond to notifications, and did that a few more times throughout the week. However, I put off posting anything new until I returned fully on August 9th.

I did get much done that had been getting put off since January. Not nearly as much as still needs my attention. However, I have just felt too sad and not had the desire. Now, I’m sure some of this has to do with perimenopause.

I read a lot, deep cleaned the fridge and the freezer, mailed all 4 of our books to the Chromosome 18 Silent Auction winner, cleaned out and organized the coat closet, went for many walks (pictures will be posted on The Team TLC website), watched a couple of movies, and The Romano Duo came for a visit.

I found myself questioning so many things, about myself, about how I spend my time, my current parenting skills and style, my worth, my why, my what, my how. I’ve kept myself propped up for so long on the encouragement and accolades of friends, family, and connections. Along with keeping myself going, hustling like crazy, fueled by financial worries, and how to provide for my family. Thankfully, the financial worry has lifted. With both of these at play, I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing when that encouragement is missing from my life and when the worry and hustling is not needed.

As with all that I share, I do not share for sympathy. I share to be real, to be authentic. Life’s a bumpy ass ride at times. It’s not always smiles and joy. I choose to share as I prefer a world where we’re all much more real and authentic. So, I start with myself.

This morning I received a review of my latest book, Words of Alchemy. This review has moved me to go back and read my own book. I’ve not read it since it was published. I proofread my books, out loud, over and over until there are no errors. This ends up being around 15 – 30 times. After that, I’m done reading it for a while. I’ll leave you with the review. Perhaps it will encourage you to reread one of your favorite books, or to finally start reading that book you’ve been meaning to read.

“During this global pandemic I find that I am turning increasingly to the healing nature of inspirational verse to help to me stay grounded.

Words of Alchemy is a collection of expressive free verse in which the author shares her intimate thoughts and feelings about life, love, friendship, family, the natural world and does so with a light touch and an almost ethereal longing to be heard.

I find poetry collections intensely personal, as what seems so relevant to the poet can sometimes get lost in translation, but throughout this interesting memoir collection I felt an emotional connection to the thoughts and feelings expressed by this contemplative poet. Written over a number of years this collection is the author’s very personal journey through some of her troubled times and how she found inspiration in mindfulness and observing life around her.

Words of Alchemy is easy to read either all in one sitting or, as I did, dipping into sections at whim but guaranteed always to find something beautifully written and soothing to my soul. I found the whole collection quite charming and a pleasure to read on one of those scary days just recently when the world around me seemed such a very dark place.” – Jo of JaffaReadsToo

I also listened to Brene Brown’s podcast about shame and doodled while I did so …

(Link to the podcast … https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-on-shame-and-accountability/)

I’ll post about the second week in the next few days. It went much more smoothly.

Blessings,
Camilla

See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

 

Gentle Courage that Unfolds into a Celebration – Words of Alchemy

Featured

“This is an exceptional collection of endlessly expressive free verse poetry, extremely moving and inspirational in a variety of different ways. It speaks of nature, healing, family, heart, unconditional love, joy, harmony in oneself, mindfulness, vulnerability and genuine acceptance of ourselves.

Camilla has approached her life experiences with a gentle courage that unfolds into a celebration of the important things that mean the most to us. Despite all of our negative times and troubles we have to endure, life has so many positive experiences to offer. Camilla navigates her own trials and tribulations when it comes to pain, heartache and sorrow, yet still weaves the words into something incredibly beautiful with every single poem she exuberantly spills on to the page.

Whether her poems are long or short, each one packs so much heartfelt emotion in their exquisitely, passionately sculpted words that you will want to read it a few more times, to absorb its essence and appreciate the purity of words that touch deep within your own soul.

My favourite poem in the collection (it was such a difficult choice, since all of the poems within have something unique to recommend them) was the one written by Camilla with her children Lillian and Thomas (Love is Magical). I had to re-read it a couple of times, as I marveled over what was written and by whom. It was exhilarating how well their different writing styles meshed together and at that point, I could really feel the bond of family between them all.

Buy this book and get taken on an enticing emotional journey that you will never forget.” – David E.

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Throwback Post: The Ghost of Smallness

**THROWBACK POST**

I think this is from 2017 … It has not been corrected for grammar.

The Ghost of Smallness

Look into the
face of anxiety.
Stand with anxiety,
knowing not fear
for anxiety is
a ghost of the past.

Anxiety haunts,
Lurking in the shadows.
Hidden and simply
waiting to emerge again.

Causing the grip of
freedom to be lost
and smallness to
settle once again in
its rightful place.

Knowing to be looked at
and felt with no fear
would surely
be the end.

And the one looking
Would regain
the grip of freedom.

As you are faced and felt,
you would be no longer
Dissolve you would
as you are faced and felt.

As the host
remembers that
I am light and love
and light and love
bring alchemy and
transform both of us

allowing me to see myself as the divine sees me
and allowing you to become love and light
and haunt me no longer.

(I recently changed the hosting company for this website, along with all other websites I manage. In the aftermath, my draft posts got deleted. Oh no! Fortunately, they were in the back up and could be reinstalled. However, the original draft dates were deleted. I’m taking that as a sign that it’s time to do cleanup and housekeeping.)

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Makes You Consider Your Own Life – Words of Alchemy

“This book is full of beautiful, inspiring, thought provoking poems about love, nature, acceptance, joys, fun, mindfulness and gratitude! They really pick you up and make you consider your own life and the changes you could welcome to lead a happier, fuller life while reading about Camillas passion and love for nature, family, friends and all the small things that a lot of us take for granted! It’s emotive, and lovely and just a stunning read for a day when you may be feeling low! It’s a feel good collection of poems that really will brighten your day!” – Lynne P.

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.