Author Neve Talbot and I both have stories in “Mechanized Masterpieces 2: American Anthology” (Xchyler Publishing, 2015). Mine is “Nautilus Redux“. Hers is “West End”: A heartbroken Theodore Laurence follows the siren song of steam to Jamaica, where love and law collide with explosive results.
1. What is your favorite word?
Serendipity. It has a sort of tinkling sound to it, don’t you think? Like wind chimes. It conveys a dichotomy of fate and self-determination: there’s a little bit of magic working in your favor, but it’s up to you to capitalize on it. Combine the meaning and the aural stimulation and it’s just shiny.
I’m also particularly partial to “snicklefritz.”
2. What is your least favorite word?
Fair. Specifically, used in the whine “it’s not fair.” It conveys a sense of both helplessness and entitlement which I think can be debilitating. Nothing is fair. Ever. Get used to it. Fight for justice and equality. Work to elevate others. Strive to fulfill your potential. Don’t sit on your hiney until life suddenly becomes fair. That makes you a victim because it’s never going to happen. You are what you make yourself. Start becoming, especially that part of yourself that reaches out to help others as you improve your own situation.
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Emotionally/spiritually: beauty. My family is the most beautiful thing in my life. I find the greatest joy in watching my children and grandchildren finding joy in each other, strengthening their friendships, creating unbreakable bonds. I believe people take photographs because they want to capture the way that they feel at that particular moment. My phone is full of pictures of my family.
I also get hung up on sunsets, stormy skies, water, sweeping vistas, tall skyscrapers/cityscapes, the stunning beauty of faces cragged with life experience, and the faces of babies.
Creatively: in all honesty, turmoil and stress. One part of my brain gets so frustrated and closed in, I escape into my head, creating worlds more hospitable, while the other part thinks, “oooo. This would make a great story,” or “here’s a great stumbling block to throw in my MC’s path.” I think I’d be bored to death if life were simple.
4. What turns you off?
Dealing with business. The sight of a bank statement churns my stomach.
5. What is your favorite curse word?
Don’t even get me started on curse words. Professionally, I believe good writers put into words those things their reader feels but cannot convey. Since people use curse words because they lack the vocabulary to properly express themselves, a writer defeats their own purpose when they resort to the same language.
Personally, some things just baffle me, like how did the f-word become an adjective or a noun? How did it become something so pervasive? Do people even consider its definition? I mean, it’s angry and aggressive and violent. It’s the synonym of rape. What if people started substituting “rape” instead? Would society be just as blasé about its use? I’d like to think not, that people would take offense, but something tells me it wouldn’t make a difference.
To me, words both spoken and on the page are objects of power. The words we use create our own personal world. That creation then spreads and co-mingles with the worlds of those with whom we interact, like watercolors on paper. What color do we want our world to be? Bright and clean and clear? Vibrant and alive? Or bleak and muddied and dark?
6. What sound or noise do you love?
Children’s laughter and play sounds. I’m particularly fond of opening doors, followed by “Nana!!”
7. What sound or noise do you hate?
Leaf blowers and lawn mowers at 7 am. I’m a night owl.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
If I weren’t a writer, I’d like to be an artist.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Customer service representative or telemarketer. The work lives of those poor people must be miserable.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
When I envision meeting God, there’s not a lot of talking but immense expressions of love and acceptance. Lots of gratitude expressed. Sometimes words fail.