Hello Readers and Writers!
Today we would like to introduce you to a poet who is doing great things with her voice and platform! Taking her written words and turning them into CD's was just the start of her media offerings to poetry lovers. With two poetry collections to her name and a quickly growing YouTube Channel, this poet is spreading her wonderful representation of the spoken word far and wide!
Introducing Jacqueline Belle!
How did you get started as a poet?
Prior to publishing poetry, my writing experience was mostly in non-fiction. A few years ago, I joined twitter as @Moomii_Moo and eventually found the #WritingCommunity. I enjoyed many of the writing prompts and I found this community of authors to be incredibly supportive. Over time, I decided to share my handwritten poetry on twitter and with that, my confidence grew until I decided to submit a poem for publication. To my astonishment, it was accepted. My eyes widened and I began to think… I allowed myself to create more and I began to write…
What's your current work in progress?
I have several books I am working on. The first is a new poetry collection called, Synapse. This collection is different from the other two as it is not intended to be read from the first page to the last. Once the reader opens the book, they will realise that they will not walk a straight path. Their journey has the potential to be different each time they return to Synapse. I was inspired to write this collection of poems after watching people interact on Twitter. One simple post could inspire and trigger a multitude of tweets throughout a day, a week and even a month. Authors bouncing from one idea to the next. The ideas changed a little bit each time, morphing and influenced by the tweet preceding it. It reminded me of how the brain transfers ideas throughout the mind. This poetry collection is named after that little gap between nerve cells that becomes connected by an electric nerve impulse, allowing information to flow throughout the brain and body. That little gap of space between, that tiny pause where time stands still for just the smallest of moments; that is where we will pause. In this poetry collection, Synapse, we will travel from gap to gap and experience a different journey every single time we visit.
How do your poems develop? Please guide us through the stages of a poem.
I do not choose the poem; the poem chooses me. I can hear it coming. Like footsteps in the hallway, echoing off the walls. I can feel it approaching. I can feel its long fingernails in the back of my hair, scratching at my back, curling around my shoulder… sometimes, when I am busy, I try to run from the poem… other times… I succumb. Usually, a poem comes quickly, written in just a few minutes… other times it will sit out of reach and take months to complete. I am currently running from a short story. It is still far away but I can feel its presence pressing heavy on the centre of my back… when it arrives, it will come quickly and violently. This is part of the reason I cleared my schedule and stayed off twitter for the first few weeks of January.
Sometimes, I write poetry for other people. I tell their stories in my poems. It happens the same way as I mentioned above. Sometimes, all I need is a single word from them and it will come.
When I write poetry, I always handwrite the words. Once I have the words arranged how they should be, then I type them onto the computer. This changes the poem for me and often it becomes something new and quite different from the original. When I write short stories or non-fiction, I always use my laptop. For me, pencil and pen are reserved for poetry and revisions.
Tell us about your book, "When I Walk Upon the Earth".
“When I Walk Upon the Earth” was my first collection of poems and it is named after was the first poem I ever wrote. This collection was recorded as an album and released as mp3 and on Spotify. Later, my listeners asked for my poems to be published as a book so they could read along while they listened. So, I published the paperback version. Then I was asked for a physical CD and an electronic version of the book for listeners in countries that had difficulty purchasing a paperback copy. When my listeners and readers asked for something, I just provided it and over time, the number of formats available grew. This is a collection of eleven poems that capture a moment in life. Time is slowed down and together; we savor the experience.
You also released a CD for "When I Walk Upon the Earth". Tell us about the process of recording a CD.
As I mentioned previously, my Spotify listeners asked for something they could hold in their hands. So, the process of creating the CD started before I even published the paperback copy. It takes time and patience to create a physical album, even a short poetry collection. I had already released this collection on Spotify, so the audio component of the album was already complete. I am a voice artist, so I recorded myself telling these little snippets in time, these little stories written in verse. At that time, recording my own poetry with my voice felt very personal and private. Mentally, the process was difficult for me. It was quite simple to transfer the audio files to CD format, but I made many other mistakes. There are many rules and regulations, and I learned the hard way with many of them. But, in the end, the physical CDs were created and prepared for sale just before the beginning of the Covid-19 restrictions… I managed to sell some before the online store and warehouse closed. The CD is still available, but they must be purchased through myself and I mail them directly. It was a learning process, and it will be much simpler the next time I release an album.
How is your second release, "The Collection" different from "When I Walk Upon the Earth"?
The Collection" begins with a short story and then proceeds with a series of poems intended to be read in order. Some of the poems are very brief moments in time, some are ponderings and others are extended stories written in verse. Both collections are an emotional journey but "The Collection" sits very close to my heart. In regard to both collections, the reader sees what they want to see, but "The Collection" seems to have the broadest set of interpretations. This year has taught me to not be surprised by what people see when they read or listen to my poetry; I have learned that each interpretation is a wonderful gift, and I try to be grateful for each one.
How do your books and poetry rebel against the status quo?
This is an interesting question. Do my books and poetry rebel against the status quo… I think they probably do. I never do anything the way it is supposed to be done. I walk my own path; I do my own thing and I follow my gut instincts when I create. I think this is noticeable once you understand how my first poetry collection unfolded and became published.
My poetry and my narrations never follow a standard beat or style either… they move to their own music and the cadence is never set to a steady beat. Clocks tick to a steady beat, but without a clock, time can seem to move in mysterious ways. I like to play with time in my poetry… stretching and contracting it… slowing it down and speeding it up. When we put clocks and routine aside, we can feel time pass in very unpredictable ways. I like to think about my poetry this way. My poetry is not confided by rules of punctuation, grammar, or timing… I allow my poems to exist how they need to be in order to communicate the story the way it needs to be told and if that is rebellious… then so be it.
You host a beautifully presented series on YouTube called Storytime for Grownups. How did you come up with the idea for the series?
Thank you so much Tiffany. Storytime for Grownups happened by accident. At the beginning of covid-19 restrictions, many of my friends and followers found themselves without employment and isolated alone. This was a new and humbling experience for many people. One day, a friend told me they had not heard another human voice in weeks, and they asked me to read them a story. So, I recorded a story for my friend, then I recorded another and another. I began to share them with #WritingCommunity on twitter via my YouTube channel. Sometimes I recorded my own poetry, sometimes I recorded for other authors. I began to realise that people enjoyed hearing these recordings and I noticed that the authors felt a boost from hearing their work recorded and when they saw the positive response the listeners had to their stories. The number of Storytime for Grownups authors grew. We became a wonderfully diverse family of writers that come from all levels of experience, writing styles, backgrounds and we are even spread wide across the globe.
As the project grew, so did the amount of time required to maintain it. This is when Daniel Lacho @GuruArtOfficial from Guru Art Lifestyle Entertainment started to help me with the back-office support, promotional material, and planning. In Series Two, we decided to introduce more complex videography and music. These collaborations are so beautiful and so valuable. To be a part of one of these collaborations is so special and, most authors could never have an opportunity like this without Daniel’s generosity. I have no experience with this aspect of production so for me, it has been a wonderful learning experience. It is magical to have your thoughts and ideas come to life on a screen. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with such a talented videographer and producer.
We have many new and exciting plans moving forward that stretch beyond Storytime for Grownups and we look forward to sharing them with you later this year. Watch for our new #GALECrew production, The Full Moon Series 2021 which will begin Jan 28, 2021 and release on every full moon in 2021. Also, in early 2021, Storytime for Grownups is releasing a print and eBook Anthology of the stories from Series One and Two as well as a sneak peak at Storytime for Grownups Series Three which begins Feb 4, 2021.
Talk to me about the path you choose in publishing.
I am indie author and for near future, I will continue with this path. My main objective in 2021 is to create and for now, I need to be free to create with multiple media types and be able to work outside the box. Strangely enough, I am also working on a prototype of something that stays inside box and I can’t wait to share it with everyone in 2022. For now, being an independently published author and creator gives me this freedom and flexibility.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to write and publish poetry?
My advice would be to just do it. Every time you write a poem, publish an individual poem or a collection, you learn something, and it becomes easier and you become more efficient and wiser. So, put pen to paper or finger to keyboard and just do it.
What are you reading currently?
I chuckled when I read this because I am currently reading submissions for Storytime for Grownups Series Three. Other than that, I am reading Sacrilege by Barbara Avon and I am listening to the audiobook, Winterhouse by Ben Guterson.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
I have been experimenting more with my writing for the last six months. I am writing more short stories and stories in verse. I am trying new genre and I am becoming bolder in my themes and ideas. So, my readers should expect the unexpected from me this year. I would like them to read my work with an open mind and my hope is that they will grow with me in 2021. I am looking forward to sharing this exciting new journey with everyone. Thank you so much Tiffany for this opportunity to share my work and for spending time with me today.