Today it's my pleasure to welcome author Camilla Downs to the blog to talk about her book of poetry Words of Alchemy.
Hi Sharon! Thank you for having me on your lovely blog. I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi and Houma, Louisiana, moving to the Seattle, Washington area when I was 19-years-old. The next move in 2006 took me and my two kids to Reno, in Northern Nevada, where we currently live. We absolutely love living here. I enjoy going for walks, writing, reading, and taking photographs of nature.
I loved writing when in elementary school, but I don’t remember being incredibly encouraged by the teachers and adults around me, perhaps even discouraged with the red marks and comments on my writings. So, I did not pursue it, except for writing in a personal diary. I had several traumatic occurrences as a child, and I must have intuitively known that writing in a diary would help in some way.
When I divorced in 2007, something told me that I needed to learn about this popular online writing tool called blogging. This began my journey of learning all I could about blogging, blogging platforms, and social media tools. At this time another shift happened, in that I felt an intuitive nudge to begin sharing my life experiences publicly via blogging and social media. I began to write and share life narratives, with a shift to free-verse poetry beginning in 2012.
What attracted you to writing poetry and where do you get your inspiration?
I didn’t set out to write poetry, an accidental poet, perhaps? I began an incredibly deep and profound healing journey after my divorce. A major part of the healing was going for walks, lots and lots of walks, allowing nature to help me in healing. When in nature, poetic words would simply bubble to the surface of my thoughts. That was the original inspiration. Following this, I began to receive intuitive nudges to take photographs while on these walks. So began the practice of taking nature photographs and posting on social media. One day I sat to look through the photos, choosing one to share, and as I began to type the accompanying message, a poem landed on the page! It was incredibly magical.
What do you think are the ingredients needed for a good poem?
I don’t feel I’m the least bit qualified to answer this one, as my poetry is free-verse, not fitting a textbook definition of poetry. Before gathering the six years of poetry I had written, I spent a few days researching the “definition” of poetry and what makes a poem a poem. There seemed to be much argument, with firm beliefs about what is and what isn’t poetry.
I will say that the main ingredient for writing poetry, for writing of any style, is to simply write. Let go of judgment about what comes out when you write, and just write. Write, write, write. The second ingredient is tenacity. The third ingredient, write.
Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you first started writing?
This is going to sound pretty crazy …. In the past, I have not read much poetry. I know. It doesn’t make sense that I would write poetry for six years, and not be reading it. However, that has changed. My eyes have been opened to the beautiful world of poetry and I have been choosing to read it more often.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to try writing poems?
I’m not sure I’m one to hand out advice on writing poetry, since my experience was quite different. Except to say, if you want to write a specific style of poetry, to read as many books of poetry in that style as you can get your hands on. Read them until they soak through to your very core, until you’re sweating, bleeding, crying, laughing poetry of that style. HA! Whether you want to write free-verse or a specific style, write daily.
What is the first poem that you read that made you think; I would like to write something like that one day?
I cannot recall reading a specific poem that caused me to think this. However, the more I immersed in nature during my walks, the more nature poetry moved me.
And finally, what can we expect from you next?
2020 is the year of rejuvenation for me. The past 13 years have been intense. I will continue to market all of our books, nurture myself, and will focus on family issues, taking time to do some of the things we’ve all wanted to experience and have not been able to experience, due to financial constraints.
There will be more books at some point. I get the feeling the next book will be authored by all three of us. We shall see. I never really know until I become focused on the book’s creation.
Thank you Sharon for having me and thank you for putting so much thought into these questions. I have enjoyed answering them!
The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love … in one beautiful book.
In Words of Alchemy, Camilla Downs invites you to walk with her to share her love of Nature and Life through a heartfelt free-verse poetry memoir.
During her daily strolls she is mindfully present as she delves into life in the raw and experiences her heart’s observations.
Camilla embraces what happens when she opens her heart and invites the written words to flow. The Alchemy of Love and Healing is what happens.
Camilla is the founder of MeetingtheAuthors.com and lives in Northern Nevada, USA with her two kids.
Family Website: http://theteamtlc.com
Facebook: Camilla Downs Author
Words of Alchemy: If you're in the U.S. and would like a personalised, signed book - free shipping! (I will ship internationally, if the reader would like to pay the international shipping fee): http://camilladowns.com/books/words-of-alchemy
Amazon - Words of Alchemy: mybook.to/WordsofAlchemy
Amazon Author Central: amazon.com/author/camilladowns