When Kerry offered to let me choose a member of Real Toads for my first cyber-interview, I chose photographer-artist-poet-cook-baker-wife-mother Ella of Ella's Edge because I like her style. I not only like her writing style, I also like the way she looks at life. Her outlook and enthusiasm are infectious—in fact, downright contagious. She might not have had all her wants handed to her on a silver baking sheet all her life, but, to use her phrase, she "bakes and makes" the best of what she's got—and that's a lot!
This is what Ella has to say on “the gift of poetry”.
I think of photography as visual poetry, a frozen moment, a recaptured mood. I see poetry in a smile, in one's hands, in a caress. Poetry, for me, is a way to paint with words.
Isn't that beautiful? And so is Ella.
Here she is:
Kay: You recently said your favorite high school teacher thought some of his students should be writers, but you never thought it would happen for you. At what point in your life did you decide you were a writer after all?
Ella: Writing re-entered my life in April 2010, when I joined the A-Z blogging challenge hosted by Arlee Bird. I found the challenge at the end of the first week in April. The idea is to blog a letter of the alphabet 6 days a week, with Sundays off. It was fate, I found this challenge. It forced me to come up with a theme for each letter. I thought my catch up post was clever. I went to the garden section of a home improvement store and did a combined post. I could have done the whole alphabet, but didn't. X was a real challenge, but I pushed through it. I met some amazing writers and made a lot of new friends. It was an eye-opening experience. This is when writing came more into focus for me. I did the 2011 challenge and I am considering writing poetry for the 2012 challenge.
Kay: Do you think writers are born, or made?
Ella: Ooh, good question. I am going to say both. I do think some people are born with a natural gift and others have to develop the skill, by reading, experiencing life, and writing.
Kay: You sell your photos in your Etsy shop—have you considered using any of your poetry for Etsy items, in greeting cards, for instance?
Ella: Actually, I am working on some craft ideas incorporating my poetry. I started a few journals. I would love to do cards, not sure how the response would be. I won't know till I try.
Kay: Your response to Kenia’s challenge to write a poem based on a metaphysical question seemed (to me) effortless. Do you think the apparent effortlessness is part of your writing style? Or are you prone to thinking in a metaphysical way?
Ella: This makes me laugh, it wasn't effortless, but thank you. I love nature and think of the ripples in our pond called life. Yes, I guess I do write in a metaphysical style. I hadn't thought of it in that way, thank you! :D
Kay: On your blog’s sidebar, you say you’re considering culinary school. Is it still a serious possibility, or have you decided to be content with cooking up poetry instead because you do it so well?
I’m not suggesting you can’t do both, so this doesn’t have to be an either/or answer.
Ella: Thank you, I would love to make'n'bake a book!
I still would love to go to culinary school, but I don't think it is in the cards. I have a business degree, but have always loved to bake. I started baking at age 7. I used to have a store on the weekend and sell my baked goods, to the kids in the neighborhood.
I need a physical signed off for culinary school. I go every year to the Dr for the review, but I have a back injury that won't allow it. I guess cooking up poetry is enough for me. My kids tease me about putting a cooking show on Youtube. I'm still considering it, lol. What would my name be? The Poetic Pantry or perhaps Metaphysical Meals.
I am now considering taking some writing courses to see where this may lead.
Kay: I was so impressed when I read about you inheriting your mother’s extraordinary gift of recall. Does your superior memory help or hinder you in your writing?
Ella: My memory is more autobiographical. I tend to remember things that happened with emotional impact, good and bad. I can remember in great detail, what I wore, who said what. It can be a help, but it also has haunted me a bit.
Kay: I know what you mean. I call them “memories with all the feelings attached.”
Now, you mentioned your son has the kind of memory you inherited from your mother—are your children like you in any other way? Or are they like their dad?
Ella: My son is writing poetry. I was so pleased and impressed, when he showed me some of his poems. He also is working on a book. He is still in college studying Industrial Technologies, so this part would be more like his Dad. My daughter is expressive in music. She has written a few stories. English is her favorite subject (more like Mom). I have noticed she has moments that remind me of my memory, so the deciding factor is still out.
Kay: When did you start blogging? And why? When did you start contributing to Real Toads? And why?
Ella: I started blogging in May 2009. I thought of it as a birthday gift to myself, a way to express my voice, my creativity. I had no idea where it would lead me.
I joined Real Toads as a way to push myself. I think trying new things, sharing ideas is a great way to push through boundaries. I like being with people who understand and appreciate my efforts.
I still need to go back and try some of those prompts that I hesitated to try.
"All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience." —Henry Miller
Kay: You are a college grad—what was your major? Why? And is it still of use in your life?
Ella: I majored in Business Management, so not me. I am more the creative thinker, the marketing type. It was useful in my last job; I was an AssMan (think Seinfeld's lingo) Assistant Manager at a Curves facility. I loved my job, but I wasn't going to move up. The owners were the managers, all six of them. It was the best, worst job I have ever had. I loved the clients, and getting paid to work out, but trying to please all of the bosses, just dreadful. I didn't want a business degree, but my Dad talked me out of becoming a starving artist (his words).
To find out more, click on this link to Ella's November 17 post on the subject “Who Am I?” In my humble opinion, it answers questions about Ella that I might never think to ask.