Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Begin Writing? With Topaz Winters

As you know, guest bloggers appear on my site twice a month. For the months of August, September, and October, my guests will be discussing the same topic:

When and why did you begin writing?

This week we’ll learn a little bit more about Topaz Winters. Thanks, Topaz!

Inspiration Station with Topaz Winters: When and Why did you begin writing?

Something Real

It’s like this: there is a fascination I have, an obsession almost, with things that stay the same.

I’m talking about stories, the things that are real, the things that remain when the rest has willed away already to unknowing. Do you ever notice, in this peculiar fast-paced existence of ours, how many things change irrevocably in the quickest, softest moments? This, I have come to believe, is the nature of the universe. How it’s all moving, it’s never the same, you go to bed one night, you wake up the next morning & suddenly your own soul is a stranger, you’re making small talk with the deepest parts of yourself.

I want forever. I want eternity in an impossible, longing way. In a way, I could never hope to find.

I’ve been told this is what makes me a poet. I’ve also been told this is what makes me a sad person. I am not quite sure whether they are one & the same.

But there are enduring things. (And I have to believe this. And I have to remind myself this, my anxious & fast-moving head, this mind of mine that has never understood how to stop wondering, wandering, worrying, say it soft, like—there are some things that stay. There are always things that stay.)

I need those infinities, those rare constants I’ve found so fleeting in this existence. I need stories.

It’s like this:

there was a boy I loved who read me poetry at two in the morning when I was on the verge of a panic attack, and those words stayed long after the boy had drifted away. It’s like this: seven books are stacked high on my nightstand, and they’re all partially read, the way I revel in the reassurance that their contents will not change no matter the terror of the world spinning around them. It’s like this: yesterday I read a book from my childhood & it felt like coming home. It’s like this:

stories stay when nothing else does.

How they are the steadfast glue that holds together our uncertain panging myopic world.

This is a very romantic way of putting the fact that I am bone-deep heart-quake terrified of the piercing unknown. That this terror is natural is, of course, no help at all: I am only human, only like everyone else in feeling scared & alone & weightless in the universe.

See, I fall in love with writing—not just poetry, not just novels, but stories in all of their forms—because it teaches me that not everything is destined to leave. That not everyone is searching for an escape route.

There is nothing fictional about the infinity within the written pages. I treasure things that remain because so few do.

(And say stories like you say compass, like you say little black dress, the deliciousness of night driving, slow-drip honey Sunday mornings, like lucky penny & the boy next door’s cat who is ugly but beautiful if you ask him, say it like you’ll never fall out of love with the person you first kiss, like hopscotch & carousel rides & your grandfather’s homemade milkshakes & the exquisite pleasure of the song on the radio that never seems to be overplayed: that’s what stories are. The inevitability, the permanence of them. Something that never changes in a world that never stops changing.)

I have these fits of panic whenever I don’t write enough, deep in the stomach where the soul lives. I need the reminder of stories, I’ve learned. If I don’t hold onto it, if I don’t harness it & clutch it tight to my chest & whisper to myself, over & over, here is something endless, something real—I’m lost. Adrift in the sea of the ever-flowing universe—how you blink and suddenly the ground beneath your feet is gone.

But here. Take these stories.

And hold them to your chest & feel how they are solid, unshakeable. And let yourself forget the horizon you can never quite touch. And let the stories fill your vision, reach for them as a kind of knowing.

And everything could still change in an instant, and you are not free, and the sky may fall on your head at any moment, and there is no way of knowing the wonder or the terror that lies ahead.

But you can see the stories that stay when all else is left behind. And the stories, the stories, the ever-present stories—they have always been enough. 

Author’s Bio:

Topaz Winters was born in 1999. She writes big poems in small packages. She resides in Singapore, at topazwinters.com, and on Twitter @topazwinters.

Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Begin Writing? With Herminia Chow

As you know, guest bloggers appear on my site twice a month. For the months of August, September, and October, my guests will be discussing the same topic:

When and why did you begin writing?

This week we’ll learn a little bit more about Herminia Chow. Thanks, Herminia!

Inspiration Station: When and Why did you begin writing? With Herminia Chow by Rachel Poli

Thank you, Rachel, for inviting me to write about writing.

When did you start writing?

I started writing when I learned to pick up a pencil.

I started writing for fun when I was around 12 years old.

I started writing more seriously in high school.

Growing up, I used to read all the time. But I didn’t write much back then. If you asked me when I was a kid whether I’d read and write as much as I do now, I would’ve told you you’re crazy and should go to the doctor to get a check-up.

In elementary, I did better in math than in English for several years. Maybe it’s because my first language is Cantonese. Maybe it’s because math was an easier language to learn so to speak. Maybe it’s because I’m weird.

I used to sit with a girl who could spell much better than I could. And every time I needed to write out a word I didn’t know how to, I asked her. I guess I should thank her. Fortunately, the older I got, the better I could spell. I went from doing quite poorly on spelling quizzes and tests to doing just fine. I guess I should thank myself for reading every night, huh?

I also have to thank my parents for putting up with my trips to the library every few weeks. And later, they would put up with my trips to the bookstore.

At some point, things changed. Right around grade 4 or 5, I think. A teacher recommended I read Bridge to Terabithia. I didn’t have anything better to do, so I did. That book had such a profound effect on me. It’s a book I read forever ago, yet I still remember it. Around that time my grades in Reading and Writing started to change. For the better. I still fell short in Oral Communication. Introvert alert.

I decided I wanted to write a novel in grade 8. 12 years old me must have thought I was too god for fan fiction and short stories. Obviously, I had no idea what I was doing. I couldn’t pull off a short story back then, much less a full-fledged novel. But you live and learn. In retrospect, I have no regrets. I still hope no one ever reads anything I wrote prior to high school, especially that novel. It took me about 2 or 3 years to finish the first draft because I put it away a few times. I guess I just couldn’t wait to create my own characters and worlds. However, when I got into the project, I felt a bit overwhelmed. But the experience is one I will never forget. And if you ask me about my most memorable accomplishment, it’s finishing the first draft of my first novel.

Why did you start writing?

I used to read other people’s work all the time, not just novels but newspaper articles, magazine ads, and everything in between. I loved words. I still do. Reading about fictional characters in fictional worlds inspired me to not only imagine my own but to get them down on paper as well. So I started to do just that. I haven’t looked back since.

Reading and writing were also an escape. I’d be lying if I said I had a perfect, happy childhood. Both allowed me to escape to a different world, if only temporarily.

I write because I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I don’t know how I would pass the time if I couldn’t create or consume good content.

I don’t always feel like writing, but once I pick up a pen and start putting words down on the page, I usually don’t want to stop. It’s insane to think that the characters and worlds I’ve created didn’t exist before. Isn’t it incredible to think that a blank page could turn into a beautiful story?

I almost always seem to lose track of time too when I’m working on a project. Like right now while writing this post. I can’t say the same for other activities.

Creating something is the best feeling. Getting to share it is the cherry on top.

Once again, thanks Rachel for everything. And thank you for reading. I hope you keep writing!

Author’s bio:

Herminia Chow resides in Canada where she is fond of curling up with good books (and bad ones too), obsessing over her blogs (on WordPress and Tumblr), and coming up with new ideas for stories (or thinking about them). She hopes to major in Book and Media Studies while doing a minor in Writing and Rhetoric. Herminia is a creative writer, a brief blogger, a recreational dancer, and an avid reader of all things.

Connect with Herminia:

WordPress

Tumblr

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Begin Writing? With Charles Yallowitz

Inspiration Station is back, but in a new way!

As you know, guest bloggers appear on my site twice a month. For the months of August, September, and October, my guests will be discussing the same topic:

When and why did you begin writing?

This week we’ll learn a little bit more about Charles Yallowitz. Thanks, Charles!

Inspiration Station: Guest Charles Yallowitz with Rachel Poli

First, thank you to Rachel for asking me to be a part of this guest post series.  I was asked about the when and why behind me being an author.  This is always a fun question to answer and it requires me going back enough years that I feel old.

The when actually goes back to 2nd grade, which might sound like me pulling a fast one on people.  We had learning stations and I loved the writing one because I got to make my own books.  Usually about animals or jokes, but I tried to tell a few stories.  I would do anything I could to stay at that station, which included hiding under it one day to keep working while the math lesson started.  I got in trouble, mistook it for me needing to stop writing, and only told stories when project guidelines allowed it.  Never thought of it as more than a hobby that kept me occupied.

Things changed in 10th grade when I read ‘Book of Lost Swords’ by Fred Saberhagen.  I’d already read some Narnia and all of the big Tolkien books.  I was getting into Dungeons & Dragons too, but this book series triggered a desire to be an author.  You would think I went right to fantasy, but I was big into comics at the time.  So, I designed a story about four young immortals with magic weapons and super powers that protected the universe from a group of evil immortals.  I developed alien species, uniforms, various stories, supporting characters, and created a big world and history for this.  Then, I started college and found that I was more interested in fantasy.  Windemere was created and things kept rolling along after that.  Seems like a sudden jump at the end, but it really did click after I played in a D&D game that was more than hacking and slashing.

As for why I became an author, it’s because I love telling stories.  The creation of characters and worlds that didn’t exist before is exciting.  Not just putting these things on paper, but being able to transform the stories in my head into the minds of readers.  It’s a special world that I love to share with others, especially if it makes them happy or at least less stressed than when they started reading.  I see storytelling and reading as a form of escapism for both the reader and the author.  We get to step out of our skin and into the role of someone else or, at the very least, witness great events beyond the real world’s limits.  For me, this can be rejuvenating for my energy and help me get through a rough period, which is something I’d like my stories to do for others.

This part stems from me using books to relax when I was younger, especially if I had trouble sleeping.  I’d read until I passed out, which is probably why I can only read for 15-30 minutes before I doze off.  It isn’t that I’m bored, but I’ve trained myself to relate reading to sleeping.  My mind kind of wanders off into the story too, so it’s more of a trance at times.  Anyway, this is a big reason why I write.  Not the putting people to sleep thing, but as a way for people to relax and let their real world problems go for even a moment.

About Charles:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Connect with Charles:

Legends of Windemere Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Website
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Page

5 Quotes by Dr. Seuss

quotes by dr. seuss rachel poli

1. “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”

2. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

3. “Only you can control your future.”

4. “Be awesome! Be a book nut!”

5. “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

rachel poli sign off

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Grammar Check: Who Vs. Whom

Who

–Used when speaking about “he” or “she.”

Example:
1. He said he would do it. (Who will do it?)
2. She found the remote. (Who found the remote?)

Whom

–Used when speaking about “him” or “her.”

Example:
1. I told her to vacuum the living room. (Whom did you tell to vacuum the living room?)
2. Should I tell him? (Whom should I tell?)

“Who” and “whom” was always something I got confused with. I don’t think I’ve never used the word “whom” in my life because of it. Everything was “who” for me because I deemed that to be the right way all the time.

Of course now I have no excuses not to use these words the right way. And neither do you.

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