Get to Know Me – What Movie Can You Watch Over and Over?

I’m a member of an author/book reader facebook group, and the admins ask great questions. I decided to turn some of the questions into a “get to know me” series. I would also love to hear your answers to the questions posed in the series. Thanks Helen for asking such fun questions!

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

True to my nature, I can’t list just one. These are just a few.

Casablanca

Harvey

You Can’t Take It With You

It Happened on 5th Avenue

It’s a Wonderful Life

The Avenger Movies – especially Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2

There are many I’ve seen once, and have on my list to watch again.

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 19 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 15 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

A Life Changing Visit to South Lake Tahoe – James Interviews Camilla

Several months back, I was honored to be a guest on JQM Literary Chat with James Quinlan Meservy. James and covered where my first name originated, my roots, poetic words bubbling to the surface, and a life changing visit to South Lake Tahoe. Join us …

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:

I’m Camilla Downs (pronounced like Pamela, but with a “C”). I was named after Camilla Sparv, a Swedish actress in the 1960’s and 70’s. I’ve been told that I’m the great great grand-daughter of a full blooded Chickasaw Indian and Irish immigrants (haven’t researched this yet, it’s on my to do list for this year).

I have lived in Reno, Nevada, USA for the past 14 years, moving here from the Seattle, Washington area in 2006. I spent my first 18 years in Jackson, Mississippi and Houma, Louisiana. I love walking. I am out for walks anywhere from three to six days a week. Nature is partly the inspiration for my writings and poetry. The other part is a desire to process my life experiences; to give them an outlet through writing.

I have been single parenting fourteen year old Thomas and eighteen year old Lillian since Thomas was 1 year old. Lillian has a chromosome deletion simply called 18p-. This means she is missing the short arm of chromosome #18. My kids and I call ourselves Team TLC to correspond with the first letters of each of our names. During 2015-2019 we were tiny home dwellers, living in a 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 810 square foot apartment. That was one heck of an adventure!

WHAT INFLUENCED YOU TO WRITE YOUR GENRE(S)?

My latest book to publish is a poetry memoir of the last 6 years of my life. It was largely inspired and influenced by Nature, and the many walks I took during the time it was written. About six years ago, I visited Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe, California. The beauty was quite overwhelming, bringing me to tears. As I drove home, I made several stops along Lake Tahoe, sitting to take it all in. While doing this, poetic words bubbled to the surface of my consciousness. This was the beginning of a six year journey of being inspired by nature with poetic words, then later, inspired by life events.

My first book is a memoir of my journey to acceptance of myself, and acceptance of becoming a single parent to two children, one with special needs, one a genius (who is most likely on the spectrum). The influence for this book was born of a desire to share my life with others, in the hopes of letting them know they are not alone. In addition, the feedback I received for life experiences I shared on my blog and in social media, fueled the desire to share in a published book.

The second book, for which I am simply a contributor, is my daughter’s book. I collected her writings, organized them, wrote the introduction, edited, proofed, and published the book. Her book was intentionally not professionally edited so as to share her unique view with the reading world. A photo I took of her was used for the cover of the book. It is in the fiction genre as it is a collection of her short stories and poetry from 5 years old to 15 years old. The influence for this book was a desire to help Lillian have something that showcases her unique talents and skills. She and I had talked about publishing a book ever since she was about 5 years old.

The third book, I am also simply a contributor, as it is a photography book of photos my then 8 year old son took. I organized the book, wrote the introduction, and he and I chose quotes to pair with the sections of the book. The influence for this book was a promise I made to 8 year old Thomas. Before he began the 365 photo a day project, I told him that he he followed through and finished, we would publish the photographic journey as a book.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?

I don’t know that I have a favorite author, book, or literary character. I love to read authors and books that enlighten me in an interesting or fun way about life, topics, events of which I am ignorant. I like authors and books that involve my emotions, books that I can’t stand to put down. The majority of what I read is nonfiction.

However, I do love reading fiction if it covers a topic I want to learn more about, or it has an inspirational message. I also enjoy fiction books that have a character solving a mystery, as long as the mystery to be solved is not someone’s murder or crime related.

Here are a some of my latest reads: On Writing by Stephen King Untamed by Glennon Doyle Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz Star Crossed by Barbara Dee The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee The Library Book by Susan Orlean

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH POTENTIAL READERS?

What I’d like to share are words from readers, rather than myself, from blog reviews and Amazon reviews …

A beautiful testament to the love and dedication of a mother to her children, and her personal transformation using nature as a guide and companion. I was instantly transported to zenlike mindfulness by the melodic prose in this beautiful collection. Poems like “Released” will remain with me as a reminder of the healing strength of our connection to nature. The rich imagery and natural metaphors make each piece a standalone daily meditation. – Michelle S.

I have always loved Camilla’s writing. So glad she put it in a book for me, for us, to always have on hand. Her poem form is original and real. I get release and comfort in reading the selections. Godspeed to her and thank you. – Amazon Customer

Words of Alchemy is warm and personal, like being invited to sit on the author’s couch and listen to her talk to family and friends. Intimate and loving, these poems are a celebration of family, of friends, of life, of nature, and of adaptation. – Amazon Customer

What a joy it is to read this gem of a poetry book. Full of beautiful free-verse, a memoir about friends, family, relationships and the love of the nature. This is for you if you enjoy the natural world, (as I do,) if you appreciate poetry that delves into the heart and doesn’t hold back. In many ways it is an intimate and brave expression of the author – Camilla Down’s – thoughts and feelings. – Marjorie M.

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 Camilla’s 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.

Follow the link to read the full interview on the JQM website …

JQM LITERARY CHAT WELCOMES 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 19 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 15 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Get to Know Me: What Weird or Useless Talent Do You Have?

I’m a member of an author/book reader facebook group, and the admins ask great questions. I decided to turn some of the questions into a “get to know me” series. I would also love to hear your answers to the questions posed in the series. Thanks Helen for asking such fun questions!

Before sharing this with writer’s facebook group mentioned above, I had NEVER shared this with anyone other than my two kids. Vulnerable post upcoming …

When they were very young, 2 years old and 5 years old (now 19 and 15), we didn’t have the money for anything other than the necessities.

I was always on the lookout for ways to help us laugh. So … I began to speak gibberish and entire sentences whenever I belched. They thought that was the best, and funniest thing in the world. It became a habit. I still do it to this day. I call my daughter the burp whisperer as she translates what I say. Good lord, help me! 🤪😂🤣 Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t have a partner. 😂🤣

Within the facebook group, someone commented how much they appreciated and liked what I shared. I replied:

Here I was thinking I’d become famous for my eloquent words or beautiful photography. Alas, the universe works in mysterious ways. “Here lies Camilla Downs. Sure, she was an author, loving mom, and spreader of loving kindness. Yet, she was famous for her unique ability to belch gibberish, words, and entire sentences. We will miss her and her belching talents.”

I love sharing, being authentic. Sometimes the things we think will turn people away from us, are the things that turn people towards us. Life’s funny, isn’t it? Sending you hugs, not belches.

What about you? What weird or useless talent do you have?


(2015 Team TLC)

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 19 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 15 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Artistic Creation and Mindfulness – Writer’s Life Podcast

Several months ago I was a guest of Nancy Christie’s on “Living the Writer’s Life” Podcast. I’m behind on sharing these types of events, yet, here we are!

Nancy and I explore the role of mindfulness in artistic creation and the connection between art and nature.

Nancy and I didn’t get to explore all areas we had intended so I’m including my notes for anyone who is interested in knowing more.

Topics to explore:

How do you find time to be still and mindful, especially during these difficult times?

I’m on a sabbatical for this year from many of my typical practices, after having been on a nearly 15 year healing journey, alongside providing for myself and my 2 kids.

I don’t work a traditional job, with traditional hours. 20 years ago when my husband, now ex-husband, and I decided to start a family, we also made the decision that I we would transition into working for ourselves so that one of us, could always be home with our future kids. I stuck to that once we divorced when the youngest was 1 year old, now 14 years old.

We don’t own a television, freeing up much time that would otherwise be spent watching it.

Going for walks and swims is a priority.

I knew and know that solitude, quiet time, was (is) vital for my sanity.

Does the environment where you live (Reno, Nevada) help foster your creativity? What do you do to reconnect with nature? How can those in very urban environments connect with nature

For me there was a natural flow from nature to my creations, whether that was photography, poetry, life narratives, or artwork made using rocks, limbs, or other items found in nature. I had to learn how to listen to the internal nudges when I got them:

Nature photos: During walks, I get a nudge to stop, turn around, kneel, lay flat on the ground, or some such thought. I had to learn to listen to this, look around, and take the photo.

Poetry: Closing my eyes and letting the words flow, not hesitating, not worrying about grammar or spelling. I had to learn to let my thoughts and heart direct my fingers.

Walks: It took much practice to learn to listen, look, notice, smell … using all of the senses.

Reno and the surrounding area, Mt Rose, Lake Tahoe, Washoe Valley, definitely help foster my creativity.

To reconnect with nature, I immerse myself in nature. This doesn’t have to be extreme, you don’t have to travel to a forest or national park. Just go outside. Find something of nature, and focus on it. Touch it. Smell it. Notice it. Ask nature what you need to know, what she has to share with you.

If you live in an urban environment: Nature cannot be stripped from the places we live. She is there. You may have to look longer and be more observant. Flowers, bushes, weeds, trees, rocks, birds, insects, the sky, clouds, rain, sunshine, the moon. Try to become detail oriented with nature.

Thich Nhat Hanh is a great resource for mindfulness and stillness, and he brings activism into it as well, There is no need to ignore our world while being mindful and still. Although, it is okay to give yourself permission to do just that.

What are some of the messages that derail the creative process?

I think all messages that derail the creative process stem from imposter syndrome. Those thoughts that tell us we don’t know what we’re doing, no one wants to hear what we have to say, who are we to be doing this, etc, etc, etc.

The key for me with the “noise” has been to notice it. Recognize it’s there. Give it space to be. When we resist, it grows. Don’t give in to it. Just notice it, and let it pass through. Rumi’s, The Guest House, is a good reminder for this. I keep it on the fridge as a reminder.

Has writing helped you work through the challenges you have experienced in your life? What advice do you have for others who are struggling for a way to deal with adverse situations regarding using some form of artistic expression—writing or artwork, for example—to release those emotions?

Writing has absolutely helped me work through challenges and life experiences. It has been vital. It has been therapeutic. I have processed deep healing over the past 15 years, and writing has been what got me through, provided solutions, reassurances.

I would write my feelings and emotions and then ask what do I need to know, and then write more. I would always get a response that was helpful. This could be accomplished with artwork too, a painting, with pottery, creating anything. Infuse it with your emotions and feelings, step back and say, now, what do I need to know, then finish the piece with your answer.

My advice: Listen to your intuition. It knows what to do. Do you get the feeling you need to go for a long drive? There is a reason. Do it. You will not be disappointed. It will open you up to continue moving forward. Do you get the feeling you must go for a walk. Do it. Do you feel like you must touch a tree, hug a tree, smell a flower. Do it.

Go here for the podcast on Nancy’s site, and to explore other topics she covers … https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-vmjj4-effbe0

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 19 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 15 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

A Writer’s Crystal Ball – An Interview with Stefanie on The Magic of Wor(l)ds

I’m chattin’ with Stefanie on her magical blog about a writer’s crystal ball, Tibetan singing bowls, and having tea with Elizabeth Gilbert, Glennon Doyle, and Michael Singer. Check it out …

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

My name is Camilla (pronounced like Pamela, but with a C). I have lived in Reno, Nevada, USA for the past 14 years, moving here from the Seattle, Washington area in 2006. I spent my first 18 years in the Jackson, Mississippi area and Houma, Louisiana. I’m mom to two kids, 18 year old Lillian and 14 year old Thomas. Lillian is special needs, having a chromosome deletion called 18p-. I’ve homeschooled both of them for the past 4 or 5 years, with Lillian graduating June 2019.

I became an author with the publication of my first book in 2012, D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance. I don’t recall wanting to be an author as a young child. However, I don’t remember much of my childhood, so I may have wanted this. In 2011, I simply knew after the events I experienced that I was supposed to share my life with others by writing a memoir, showing how I processed and moved through things.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?

I can’t remember all of them. But, I do know that I enjoyed Beverly Cleary and the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew series.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?

I can’t say that there is a writer whose brain I’d like to pick for advice on writing. However, I would love to have a writer’s crystal ball to help me know what and how to write the next book(s). Do you happen to have one?

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?

I’d like to invite several non-fiction writers for tea or coffee to chat about life, digging deeper than what they’ve written about in their books. They would be Elizabeth Gilbert, Glennon Doyle, Wayne Dyer, Susan Orlean, Mary Oliver, and Michael Singer. I’m sure I’m leaving out some authors.

In regards to fictional characters, recently I really enjoyed the main characters in all of Phaedra Patrick’s books. I would love to meet them in their hometowns, spending a couple of days with each of them exploring the locations in the books, and getting to know them better.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?

When I wrote my first book, I began to get up 30 minutes earlier than usual, take my coffee and laptop to the patio, and write with Mt. Rose as company. I did not write the chapters in order, as this is an A-Z book (A is for Acceptance, B is for Better, D is for Different … ). I wrote each section as I was inspired, with the book being written in 2 months time.

In regards to my second book, Words of Alchemy, a free verse poetry memoir; I did not sit down to create a book of poetry. One day 6 years ago, poetry just began to flow. Much of the poetry was inspired by nature photographs I had taken on walks. I would look through the photographs with the intent of landing on one that would inspire a poem. Many times, I would listen to Indian flute music, Tibetan singing bowls, or Deva Premal while the poem flowed.
With all of this being said, nature is definitely at the root of any ritual or habit while I’m writing.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉

Since I write non-fiction, my ideas come from my own life experiences. I’m still working through how to write about people or events that may be uncomfortable for those who were a part of it. I suppose I’ll have that figured out by the time I’ve completed the next book. HA!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?

I’m neither of these. This may be due to the fact that I write non-fiction. I write as I’m inspired. This may also be why I’ve not written fiction yet. HA! I would love to try my hand at writing a creative non-fiction. I’m pretty sure that will be the genre of one of the next books.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?

I do things so different, I’m not sure I have solid tips I could share. I will say the two main ingredients are to write, and have loads of tenacity. Oh, and a third tip … WRITE, just write, no matter what comes out.

What are your future plans as an author?

I’m taking this year to let myself not write, to press the reset button, to rejuvenate myself. I’ve been on a rather long, 13 year, healing journey. I’m due for some rejuvenation! After that, I do plan on writing and publishing more books. I really won’t know until I get focused on it.

Follow the link to read the full interview …

Words of Alchemy – Camilla Downs @CamillaDowns , an #Interview #QandA

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.