Artist Writer Mashup: Questions

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Who are you?

Who am I? Chelsea, simply, put. I am a 31 one-year -old woman who has spent her life in various stages of creation, or perhaps I should say becoming. Both these processes churned out the person sitting here sipping coffee typing the answer to this question.

When I was a young Chelsea I had ideas of the type of grown up I wanted to be. I wanted a life where I could create and help people. Those were my two main requests of my life. Simply put yet again. Today, this is what I do.

Simple does not mean easy. The process of committing to a life of art was hard-earned. At times I was full of fear and doubt. For a period I didn’t want to share my work. Though, time spent in the vacuum of creating was never fearful. I have been following this thread in my life for quite some time. I don’t plan on stopping the path of forging the authentic life in art that is who I am.

What is your experience with writing?

My “experience” with writing is central to who I am. Writing and I began our relationship a long time ago.   For Christmas I received my first journal from my aunt and uncle. I was 9 years old.  I remember the feeling of putting pencil to the page in the stillness of my room ( I still wrote in pencil in 4th grade.). I loved the physicality of pressing words on the page. The sound of the graphite sliding over paper. I loved the silence of self. Claiming a space only for me. It was a safe place. A place I would return to again and again. Perhaps it was and is an addiction. Perhaps writing is my salvation.

Twenty-two years later I continue to write. In two more decades I will still be writing. This is a lifelong journey, a commitment. For the past seven years or so poetry has taken over. There was a time when I wrote essays, fiction, creative nonfiction and plays. Maybe there will be a return to this?

I have discovered much of who I really am through writing. Writing is how I think and process the world. Writing is truth.

I sometimes think of what my younger self would say about where I am in life. Today, I think she would smile. She would say thank you.

How Did You Find Lamplighter?

I found Lamplighter magazine through the wonders of Facebook. I spend a decent amount of time investigating on Facebook other musicians, artists, poets, venues, publications and the likes. I search not only for myself as an artist but also for the Ministry of Artistic Intent. The MAI has both a Facebook page and a community forum group page. These pages include MAI events as well as information on events run by other individuals and groups and opportunities for MAI artists. One day I was digging and happened upon Lamplighter magazine. A terrific find, indeed. Lamplighter was launching the music chart. As a musician I was rather excited. As a head of an organization I had to share with our community. I continue to admire the work of Lamplighter magazine and keep my eye on their happenings.

What do you expect to accomplish while participating in the project? 

 I expect to write. I went through a heavy period of writing this past summer and fall as I was working on my manuscript for my MFA in Poetry. This halted, as my father was rather ill for several months through the bulk of winter. I haven’t looked at my manuscript or written a poem in since December when I decided to close my notebook and walk away from my desk. Life shifted into tending family mode and I needed a bit of  distance from the mass of writing that has been accumulating since beginning the MFA program. The Artist Writer Mash Up popped in my Facebook feed a few weeks ago as life was returning to normalcy. And I thought this is a way to begin again. I am drawn to ekphrastic poetry, as I am also a big fan of collaboration. So, this project fit the bill. I don’t have hard expectations or a bar set to hit. I simply expect to write again. And for me, that works.

When working on the manuscript I thought to myself How could I ever not be writing or revising poetry daily? When this stopped I thought How am I not writing? Life gets in the way sometimes. And sometimes you need to walk away.

I expect to learn about my process in a new way through this project. In my MFA I had a goal to write 8 poems a month. And I wrote 8 poems a month, sometimes more. I wanted to accumulate as much writing as possible to have full control and choices in putting my manuscript together. Now, I want to write 1 poem in 30 days. I want to sit with this piece of artwork. I plan to order it and have it at my desk. I expect to slow down, to meditate and enter the process of uncovering. This I think will prove valuable to my continued learning as a poet and working with craft. So, I suppose I expect to learn.

I expect to also learn much from the writers participating in the project. We have each embarked on a journey. And the neat thing about this project is that we get to read and watch each others process and discuss in the Facebook group page set up for us.

(I suppose, too, at this point I expect to have a full-fledged blog up and running by the end of April.   By post three I dig the whole thing. Ironic, as I never viewed myself as someone who would blog. And I really don’t like the word blog? Blahg. B-log. Can we remain it? Add that to the list. I expect to rename “blog” by the end of April, too! )

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