My professional life has involved a lot of scientific writing. I have my PhD in cellular and molecular biology and up until 3 years ago I was a tenured professor. I taught, did research and wrote a lot of boring scientific manuscripts that are published in journals that no one will ever read.
Three years ago, I retired from academia and began doing freelance editing in my area of research. This is a part time gig so I am now able to devote more time to writing poetry.
MM: What do you love most about writing? What speaks to you?
AP: I have always loved words. The sound of words. The flow of words. Descriptive writing has always been something that drew me in. And again that comes back to words.
My mother always read. As I child I remember seeing books of poetry on her nightstand. I remember the first time I snuck into her room and read her book of Robert Frost poems, I was in awe of the way the words seem to dance and sing themselves off the page. I liked the way he used semicolons and long dashes in his writing. I could FEEL the flow along with the pauses in the verse. That moved me.
MM: So, what have you written?
AP: I’ve always written poetry in secret. I’d never shared it with another soul until a few months ago. I joined Twitter at the urging of a friend who was helping me write an erotic fiction novella – mainly for fun. She told me there was a great writing community on Twitter so I thought what the hell, I’ll join. She was right about the writing community but what I didn’t expect to find was the courage and voice to start sharing my poetry. I remember the first time I tweeted a poem. I didn’t check my TL for a whole day. I was too nervous. And when I opened the app, I was just praying that I got at least one like. Just one, I kept saying to myself. Just one. That’s all I wanted…
And here I am now, a few months later getting lots of likes – more than I think I deserve most times.
And a collection of my cherita poems are going to be published in an anthology in the upcoming year. This will be my first published poetry.
MM: When did you know writing was for you?
AP: I have been writing creatively since I was a young girl. My first love of the ‘flow’ of written word came from song lyrics. As I teenager, I would listen to Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, Van Morrison and just get lost in the lyrics and the stories their songs told. When I stumbled upon Harry Chapin’s music and collection of poetry, I started writing my own songs. I can’t sing -at all- but that didn’t stop me from writing songs … and poems … and stories. I wrote about anything and everything that a teenager girl goes through (yikes). Most of those old writings are hidden away in scrapbooks and diaries in the basement of the house I grew up in. Maybe someday I’ll go searching for them. Who knows?
MM: What are you working on at this minute? What was the inspiration for it?
AP: I’m currently working on a collection of poetry. I haven’t decided if I’m going to go the chapbook or full book route. What I share on Twitter is often shorter versions or snippets of longer verse poetry I’m working on. I’ve spoken with a publishing company that feels like a good fit. But it’s still a work in progress. So wish me luck!
MM: What was the first story you ever remember writing, and what was it about? How does it compare to your writing now?
AP: I remember this so vividly. It was my 7th grade English class. My teacher’s name was Mr. Frasier and the assignment was to write a creative poem or story. I wrote a poem about a girl who had died and was looking down on her funeral as friends and family gathered to mourn her. A few days after I’d handed it in, I was sitting in class gazing off at a boy that I had a crush on when I heard my words being read aloud. I had not been paying attention but apparently Mr. Frasier had decided to read my poem to the class. He didn’t announce who wrote it. He just read it but within moments the class knew, because my cheeks were bright red. At the end of reading it he was emotional, to the point where his voice cracked. He said that when a poem makes you feel like this one did him, it’s special. I nearly died of embarrassment. Because. 7th grade. But now looking back at it, I’m grateful for his encouragement. That was my first poem and I didn’t stop writing them after that.
MM: Do you work to an outline or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you? Plotter or Pantser?
AP: With poetry, I just write. I don’t plot or plan anything. Usually I put on some inspiring music and just let it flow. When it comes to Twitter poems, sometimes I’m writing to a prompt and other times I’m just winging it.
MM: What draws you to flash-fiction, to #FP? What do you love and hate about it?
AP: #FP is one of the prompts I try to write a poem for every week. I love how Musae Mosaic usually writes a little poem to go with the #FridayPhrases and that drew me in right away. I like writing 140 character Twitter poems because I find the limit a fun challenge. I’m probably one of the only ones that doesn’t care if she gets 280 characters or not. But shhhh don’t tell Twitter Support that.
MM: Who are your writing inspirations? How do they influence your creativity?
AP: I mentioned several songwriters above. In addition to them, some of my major poetic influences have been (in no particular order) Robert Frost, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, ee cummings, John Keats, Shakespeare and more recently I cannot seem to get enough of Michael Faudet and Lang Leav. Love love love their stuff!
MM: What is your favorite motivational phrase or musing on writing, and why? What about it really hits home?
AP: This is difficult. I have SO many favorites. I’m going to pick two.
The first is an Anne Sexton quote: “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”
I try to do this not just when I write but when I react. To anything and anyone.
The second is a Sylvia Plath quote: “God, how I ricochet between certainties and doubts.”
I realize that doesn’t sound very motivational, but for me it is. I think Sylvia Plath was one of the greatest poets ever. I’m in awe of her writing and I never ever tire of reading her work. That quote comforts me when I’m doubting my own abilities. I have it printed and hanging on the wall of my den.
MM: What is the hardest thing about writing for you?
AP: I suppose it’s finding time to be truly in the moment. I have two kids and a busy life. For me it’s not really a question of being motivated TO write. I’m always jotting stuff down in my writing notebook, which I keep in my purse or on my phone in the Notepad app. The challenge is more finding the time to sit down and concentrate so I can put all my thoughts into actual poems. The time I do find to do that, I cherish!
MM: What do you tell yourself every time it gets hard? Every time the stars stop aligning? What do you do when writer’s block knocks on your creative door?
AP: I look at that Sylvia Plath quote. Take some deep breaths and just keep on keeping on.
MM: Do you have any secret and wacky writing rituals that help the words flow?
AP: I am a HUGE pencil and paper poet. I have notebooks and pencils galore. I doodle and write and sketch and do everything by hand before I transfer any of my writing to the computer.
MM: What advice would you give to aspiring writers and poets, anyone who wants to free the art within? What helped you make it to this point?
AP: Read. Then read more.
Write. And then write more.
Share. And then share more.
Reading, writing, and sharing is the way to grow as writers.
MM: What genres do you find yourself most drawn to? In your books and in your #FP’s?
AP: My writing tends to lean toward the passionate and erotic. Sometimes light. Sometimes dark. That depends mostly on my mood at the time and/or what I’m going through in life. We write what we know. I’m no exception to that. I share shorter verse on Twitter but I write long verse, too. I love literary techniques and poetic devices. I always have. Which is probably why a lot of my work rhymes. I love playing with rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, assonance, consonance .. and the list goes on and on.
MM: Sooo … reading anything good lately? Any recommendations?
AP: I just bought a bunch of books from Amazon – Twitter poets. I recommend them ALL.
Love & Vodka by Christina Strigas – @christinastriga
Pulling Words by Nicholas Trandahl – @PoetTrandahl
Earthsong by April Green – @loveaprilgreen
Hush by Nicole Lyons – @LithChronicles
Abandoned Breaths by Alfa – @alfa_poet
MM: Any last thoughts for our readers?
AP: I would just like to say thank you for all the support and encouragement I’ve received from this writing community. You all are so talented and I’m humbled and honored to be a part of it.
MM: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
01 Barefoot by Amelie
i walked to the water’s edge
into the stillness
of her estuary, i waded
with a soft whisper to the undertow:
will i be forgotten?
i let the warmth
of words lost
in the space between
want and need
the water begged
-stay with me-
let’s get lost
in the shadows of my depths
happily sunk beneath
where our wounded hearts
are free to bleed
02 Vicesby amélie
these licentious vices
they were born of me
without a cause
i know, my handbasket awaits
03 Sanctuary by amélie
i worship the rhythm
and offer up rhyme
i get lost in the words
head fully immersed
the warmth of each verse
04 Proven To Kill by amélie
she was a beautiful mess
a wildflower caged
many had stopped to
marvel at her madness
from the outside
but precious few
ever reached in
and part of her
yes, she wanted to crawl
if only for a moment
just so she could
die a little inside
‘Shhhh’ she whispered,
one hand rested palm flat
against his bare chest
the other hand, slowly drifted lower
‘I want know what it’s like to feel dead inside, too…’