Open the Heart – Words of Alchemy

Open the Heart

Nature knows not
Her beauty without us.
We know not
Our beauty, compassion,
And peace without her.
Oh beautiful tree
The lessons thou impart to me
Open the heart to be free
Grateful to you
I will forever be. – ©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.

An Emotional Connection and Soothing to My Soul – Words of Alchemy

Thank you to Jo of Jaffareadstoo for this wonderful, moving review for Words of Alchemy.

“What did I think about it..

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

Follow the link below to read the full review post …

https://jaffareadstoo.blogspot.com/2020/08/book-review-words-of-alchemy-by-camilla.html

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.

The Tipping Point of Pressing the Reset Button While Being Bold

I’m chattin’ with Haley at The Caffeinated Reader about my tipping point, bribing myself, being bold, and why I wrote free-verse poems for six years. Grab your coffee or tea and join us …

The Interview

1. So first of all, the world is a bit crazy this go-around of Indie Spotlight, have you had time to start any new writings? Read any good books lately?

Things sure have been getting stirred up, haven’t they? I think every single person has been touched by the pandemic or the calls to address systemic racism.

In January 2020 I realized I had reached a tipping point in my 15 year journey of emotional and mental healing. I decided that this would be the year of rejuvenation, a time to heal physically, to rest, to press the reset button, and to market my latest book published in December 2019. So I haven’t started any new writings, other than blog posts on my website. I have given myself permission to not write this year, if that is how it unfolds.

I’m reading three really good books at the moment. 

  1. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  2. Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
  3. me and white supremacy by Layla F. Saad

2. What’s something that helps with your writing process? Any certain playlists or maybe a certain time of day that helps to spur you along?

What helps me with writing is to first set the intention that this is what I am doing. Reminding myself not to get distracted, at times bribing myself …. You can check social media, or go for a walk, or whatever it is, after you write.

My writings are intuitive, with no planning, just being ready to receive and write whatever comes forward. Specifically in regards to my latest book, Words of Alchemy, the writings were inspired by going for walks, the nature photographs I took on these walks, and life experiences. Sometimes I would listen to Indian flute music, Tibetan singing bowls, Deva Premal, Stevie Nicks, or Van Morrison when writing, other times I would write in complete silence with a view of the trees through my living room windows.

3. Did you always want to be an indie publisher, or did you ever consider traditional publishing?

This was not something I thought about or planned for in advance. I knew that if I dwelled on what would happen after I wrote my first book, it would delay the actual writing of the book. With that, I dove into writing with the book being completed in about 3 months, and published in less than a year.

Once the book was written, I knew I did not have the patience to inquire about traditional publishing. The people and resources I needed to publish that first book seemed to just fall into place as needed. Review blurbs were offered, the cover art was donated, and the book design and editing were donated.

You see, I was not in a place where I could afford to pay for anything. Many saw the value of the story, and wanted to assist in getting it published. I made a ton of mistakes, learning as I went along, and used that for publishing the next three books. I’m sure that I still make mistakes, however, if I had held off until I knew what I was doing, I truly believe I would not have four published books currently.

4. What was the inspiration for your book?

I had no intention of writing poetry. I didn’t sit down and think, I’m going to write poetry for six years, and then publish a free-verse poetry memoir. When I visited Mount Tallac and Fallen Leaf Lake six years ago, something within me shifted. It was deeply moving, bringing me to tears, simply by being in the quiet of the lake, sitting with it. As I drove home, I made several stops along the shores of Lake Tahoe, equally as moving as she is breathtaking. By the time I made it home, I had written my first poem. (Picture included of Mount Tallac, Fallen Leaf Lake, and Lake Tahoe)Further poetry was inspired by nature walks and the photographs I took during these walks. Still further poetry was inspired by life events, as my way of processing what I was experiencing.

5. Is there something special you like to do when not writing or marketing your books?

I adore going for walks, being in nature with the trees, sky, clouds, bushes, flowers, birds, and wildlife. When I’m on these walks, I am intuitively moved to take photographs. I’ll get a nudge to turn around, look up, look down, and a further nudge to take a photo. Many times at a different angle or view from what one would expect. This brings me much peace and gives great enjoyment.

6. If you were stuck in quarantine with other authors, which ones would you want to be in quarantine with? 

Oh, this is a fun one! I’d choose to be quarantined with Elizabeth Gilbert, Toni Morrison, Glennon Doyle, Natalie Goldberg, Benjamin Alire Saenz, bell hooks, and Thich Nhat Hahn. Oh my goodness, what conversations we’d have, what fun we’d have. On another note, if you’d ask me this same question two weeks or two months from now, I would most likely list a completely different set of authors!

7. What’s a writing project you haven’t gotten around to that you hope to write someday?

I’ve got several that come to mind. I deeply want to write a creative non-fiction. This has been brewing for a while, and I hope it comes to fruition soon! I’d also like to write a book with my kids. I’ve published a book with each of them, however, I’d like all three of us to contribute to a book. We shall see if that happens. I know there’s at least one more memoir, if not more. And, perhaps a fiction lurking in the imagination, too.

8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

I would say the most important aspect is to just write. Write, no matter what comes out. No one has to see it. Write every day on any topic just to get into the habit, waking your imagination in the process. After that, plant deep roots of tenacity, and keep going. Oh, and read, read, read books that speak to you.

9. And finally, what is the thing you’d like readers to know most about your latest book?

This collection is from the heart, with my energy infused into each poem, of what I was feeling at the time of writing. Words of Alchemy was not written for a specific reader or audience. These free-verse poems were written to assist me in processing life, with many of the poems written to remind me that I am loved. It is my hope that the collection do the same for readers, that you connect with the writings, bringing a laugh, a tear, a nod of the head, or simply a knowing that you are not alone.

To read the full interview post, follow the link below …

Indie Spotlight #8

Liberation of this Soul – Words of Alchemy

Liberation of this Soul

She was tired.
Tired of trying to figure it out.

Tired of trying to make things work.
Tired of manipulating circumstances
to make things work.
Tired of trying to control situations to make things work.

Tired of living in confusion.
Tired of the suffering
created by way of her thoughts.

Tired of the chains that
bound her to the suffering.
Tired of dragging those
invisible chains through life.

Tired of not loving herself.
Tired of not being loved.
Tired of the responsibility of it all.

Tired of questioning her every decision.
Tired of hiding the Truth from herself.
Tired of running from her own self.

Tired of the darkness within.
Tired of the pull of the ego.

What she craved.
What she desperately needed.
Was … FREEDOM.

In desperation she dropped to her knees.
Crying to the all knowing,

Take this tired body,
Take this tired mind,
Take this confusion,
Take this suffering,

She let it all go.
She released it to the divine.

She asked for liberation
from her self-induced suffering.

Liberate this soul.
Liberate this heart.

Allow this heart to open.
Allow this heart to
receive and know unconditional love.
Allow this mind to know Clarity.

Liberation to the graceful
place of Knowing Freedom.
Liberation to the Place
of letting go.

Letting Go
And saying Yes
to Life. – ©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.

Nature’s Classroom – Words of Alchemy

Nature’s Classroom

The one supporting the many,
The many supporting the one,
This interdependent relationship you share
A lost art to we.

It’s clear to see,
The disconnect coming forth,
When the wild is taken from you,
Mirrored in the forests
Of the society of we.

Oh Mother, what a sweet
And beautiful teacher you Be. – ©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 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

An Outrageously Determined Trailblazer – Spotlight on JQM Literary

Much thanks to James for having me on the JQM Literary Spotlight today! We’re chattin’ about an outrageously determined, trailblazing, heartfelt, warrior woman and how I became an accidental poet. Join us …

FIRST, LET’S GET TO KNOW YOU A BIT. TELL US SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT YOURSELF:

I cheated for this one as I felt too close to myself to really nail down my uniqueness. So …. I asked my Facebook connections, what they think is unique about me. Here’s what they had to say: It is unique that my two kids are published authors, along with my two published books. Thomas’s book was published when he was 10 years old and Lillian’s when she was 16 years old. They are 14 years old and 18 years old now. Here’s the rest of what they had to say … I’m a heartfelt warrior woman, who is an Earth Mother, resourceful, creative, a problem-solver, and who is outrageously determined; trailblazing with patience, creativity, strength, perseverance, and altruism.

WHAT IS THE GENRE AND AUDIENCE FOR THIS BOOK:

Nonfiction/Free-verse Poetry/Memoir …. Any age who enjoys free-verse poetry

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK:

I began an incredibly deep and profound healing journey after my divorce in 2007. A major part of the healing was going for walks, lots and lots of walks, allowing nature to help me in healing. When in nature, poetic words would simply bubble to the surface of my thoughts. That was the original inspiration. Following this, I began to receive intuitive nudges to take photographs while on these walks. So began the practice of taking nature photographs and posting on social media. One day I sat to look through the photos, choosing one to share, and as I began to type the accompanying message, a poem landed on the page! It was incredibly magical. I didn’t even set out to write poetry, an accidental poet, perhaps?

Go here to read the full spotlight …

https://jqmserv.wordpress.com/2020/07/13/jqm-literary-spotlight-presents-words-of-alchemy-by-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 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Latest News: Words of Alchemy – Camilla on Chat and Spin Radio

I was recently on Chat And Spin Radio, an Internet Radio Station based in the UK. My interview begins at 1:35 if you’re in a hurry. They play awesome music, too!

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.

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.

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

 

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.