Writer Showcase: dl clay
Why do you write?
I write to have a voice and I write to share my voice and connect to others. That’s the quick answer. The truth is that I don’t always know why I write – basically I have thoughts, reactions to something I am experiencing and as a way of processing and understanding I write things down. Sometimes these things are a few words, sometimes they are sentences and paragraphs.
I think it’s about exploring the essence of a particular experience via story and then to interpret, sculpt, paint and connect words in different ways in the same way an artist creates a piece of art.
What are your preferred genres?
I am a writer of poetry and short prose. I am not able to identity a genre though for the most part I’m sure my pieces aren’t mysteries, romances, westerns or science fiction though they might have some elements. Perhaps my genre is mixed media creative fiction/non-fiction – that sounds like it might cover it!
What started you writing?
Reading made me realize that writing was a tool and an art form. There is a power in putting words outside of yourself so they can be viewed/reviewed. Writing for myself helped me process what was going on in the world and it still does. Writing poetry and fiction happened as I began experimenting with words. I realized the way I put the words down - in what order and with what other words and word sounds - could change the way something was read and experienced. For me that’s the art of writing.
What was the first piece of writing that you were really proud of?
I entered a short story in a “late bloomers” writing contest, maybe 20 years ago. It won honourable mention. Except they forgot to tell me. I read it in the magazine in their “in our next issue” blurb. There was my name and the title of my story. I didn’t quite believe it until the next issue came and I saw my name on the cover. I did a lot of writing as a teen sometimes handing in a long poem as a book report. In grade 10 I had a very supportive teacher that encouraged my writing but it kind of backfired when she posted my work on the bulletin board for all the class to see. Way too much exposure. My writing went into hiding for quite a while.
When did you realise that writing was going to be an integral part of your life?
When I realized I couldn’t not write. And I did try to give it up – I switched from English to Biology and then to Social Work as my major in university. The poetry kept creeping back.
What is one thing that is unusual in terms of your individual style?
We are all unique. I was going to leave this section with that sentence but thought perhaps this is the place to say a part of me thinks I don’t have a story to tell and another part is insisting on telling all kinds and shapes of story.
What are your long term goals as a writer?
To keep at it. I want to go public with poetry. I daydream about chapbook guilds and combining poetry and art.
Why did you choose this particular piece to post on showcase?
The poem “in hand” was published in first print anthology in 2014. It holds the push-pull I have about writing and being.
from calloused hands, garden dirt and shoeless feet
can come a clean lightness of being
from hum song softened by ocean's lap
can come a lined blue horizon
from thoughts tempered in morning light
can come new terrain
held by the rub of damp loam and a view
of an ocean awakened to the possibility of
being walked upon
on horizon’s edge
hold to the sharp crease of it to unravel
seasons of meandering thought
splintered with regret and grief to erase
or release pages of unspoken words
that man in the book had something to say about it all
I must not come lightly to the blank page
that woman in the book made demands
what will I do with my wild life
here is my light
offering of time and blue lined voice
cupped in unrecognizable hands
here are my pages
littered with the markings of passersby
out of years of compost and ferment
original ink stains my fingertips
what is in hand for me
a disturbance of strangers voicing
what I could have said
a book without
my name or with
if not me who writes
the next line if not me
with an exchange
finally spoken intended
as seeds for tomorrow
by my hand intended
to show me