Thursday, May 10, 2012

Interview with Hannah Gosselin

Hi fellow toads and lily pond friends ~   Grace (aka Heaven) here for this interview feature of our member, Hannah Gosselin of Metaphors and Smiles.     

I read her lovely poetic response last Tuesday and wanted to know the writer behind the words.   So today, we are taking a road trip to Bath, Maine to meet her.     

I brought along my 13 year old daughter to watch over her two delightful boys Caiden (age 5) and Leland (age 18 months), while we women chat about writing over peppermint tea and cheese Danish.     

Grace:    First, I want to say, I adore your short hair.   Has it always been this short?   

Hannah: Oh, thank you, Grace! I love it short, truly! It is SO easy, literally a wash and go “do!” I had long hair in high school for a while but I’ve mostly had short-ish hair, it’s a bit longer now than pictured here, sort of a pixie style. 

Grace:    I like the pink background and design of your blog, Metaphor and Smiles.    How did you come up with the blog name? 

Hannah: I like that lay-out, too, Grace, it has sort of has an inspired flare to it with the arty swirling waves, similar to the traditional style art of the Orient.  A great poet friend of mine, Walt Wojtanik of Poetic Bloomings, suggested this title when I was brainstorming on ideas for my blog with him. This is what he said of it afterward, “The more I see your blog title, the more I have to smile. But not for the reason you think. It just fits you and what you do. Metaphors and similes go together like Gump’s “Peas and Carrots”. But the smiles are purely Hannah. You get the credit for that. It made the suggestion just an afterthought. Smile on, my Maine friend!”

I’ve sort of gotten a reputation for smiling! There could be much worse reputations to acquire, eh?!  Ha ha! I sign a lot of my comments with “BIG-smiles,” to my poetical peeps!

Grace:   You sure sprinkle a lot of *big smiles* in blog land.   What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?       

Hannah:   Well, as far as accomplishments go I wish to be happily writing along-side many inspired writers. This part comes to fruition daily! The other part of my desire in authoring this blog is that I hope to gather a body of work that represents me well and perhaps move forward to publish a book of my poetry.

Grace:    That is exciting and we look forward to the publication of your first poetry book.   Though your blog was fairly recent, Nov. 2011, you have been writing for some time already.   What inspired you to turn to writing?    Any poets that have served as your inspiration in the early years of writing? Do you have any formal training in writing or literature?   

Hannah: I wrote cards for family and such as a child, and in high school I wrote for a creative writing class, this sparked poetry that I dabbled in off and on. I’ve been writing more seriously since 2008 till present. I had a turning point after the birth of my first son, I was drawn strongly by a Presence and through a series of “God-incidences,” I arrived by chance to a group of very supportive strangers that became fast friends, a group of women that I meet with and study the Bible with.

During this delving in, my natural outpouring for written responses for these studies came out in the form of poetry. These moments of clarity brought to the forefront, the need for me to return to the craft of writing with diligence.

In my early years of attention toward poetry my heart piqued at the words of Maya Angelou, (I just found out last year that we share a Birthday ), I enjoyed the unique voice of Sylvia Plath and more recently I’ve fallen in love with the sound of nature resonating through the voice of the poetess Mary Oliver.

The only formal training I have (besides high school), is from The Institute of Children’s Literature, located in West Redding Connecticut. I completed and attained a diploma for the successful completion of the course: “Writing for Children and Teenagers,” on April, 19th, 2010.
Grace:    Do you enjoy writing in a poetry form or free verse?  What favorite poetry forms do you enjoy the best?   Can you share with us your thought process?

Hannah: I definitely enjoy the freedom in free verse writing but at the same time I enjoy the challenge of writing form poetry also. Form forces me to stretch my mind in ways that I wouldn’t normally and I feel that practicing this makes my free verse stronger and richer as a result. I enjoy the forced brevity of haiku and the technical details that exist in that form such as the seasonal word (or kigo), and the turning point that happens within, (the kireji or cutting word). I feel that this short, concise form really makes me look deeply at each word that I’m using to gain the affect that I desire from the poem. I really haven’t written very many forms yet but I’m excited that very recently I’ve been inspired to create two of my very own forms! This is something I thought I’d never say. 

Grace:   You have to share those two forms with RT one day.  Have you written a poem that you think best defines you? Can you pick three of your favorite posts and tell us why you like them?    

Hannah: Well this one that I’ve chosen defines part of me as far as a bit of my process of writing and the style of it is a good fit for what I feel represents me.

These are the lingering days of
slow-stolen morning moments,
appropriated before the break of dawn.
Words wearily bent against their will are
tweaked and turned, gathered and mourned;
yet still, sadly, render not their full meanings.
Held captivity in so much sticky silk
they’re poised and pondered,
grabbed greedily, pilfered and mangled,
squeezed, they’re shaken and shaped
pulled from their habitat and placed
in uncomfortable verbal situations.
Now they’re wound and they’re bound
they’ve been robbed of all sound
as stealthy string silences all meaning;
their flailing fits have ceased
they’re finally devoured, finished
by the well intentioned mother.
This Spring spider, all lengthy limbs
stretches with skill, this scrim of web;
her hollow home hails verbiage
silently, she waits patiently, hungry 
for the next resounding set of words.
© H.G. @ P.A. 4/29/12

I really enjoyed writing recently a poem titled “Invisible Walls,” it was a picture prompt and a word assortment that I employed also but the depth within and personal meaning that it holds is the essence of its special feeling for me; a gathering in again of true self within.

I wrote “Higher Places” as a response to a truly life changing book that I read that is described and linked on my page but the importance of this poem is of relevance to my spiritual growth as an individual.

This last one is a poem that I worked on for a few days and I never do that so I feel some of this poem in my heart when I think of my past poetry. This was one of the kind of poems that I feel stretched me and grew me a bit, I can’t put my finger really on how but the prompt which is linked to this post would explain the mental process explored in order to arrive at one’s desired poeming outcome. The poem is titled Of Names.

Grace:    Those poems are gems, thanks for sharing them. I noticed the strong nature themes in your posts. Where does your intense connection with nature comes from?  

Hannah: Yes, Grace, I really do enjoy nature. I feel at peace when I get to greet the woods or gather sand in my hands, I gain a deep reverence from visiting mountains and in the same instance I’m awed by the smallest of creatures. Even the texture of the slimy, yellow slug body and its cute little retracting antennae’s amaze me! I grew up on an island called Georgetown in Maine for the majority of my most formative years and I believe this is where my true connection with nature comes from.   

Grace:   Aside from nature, what other themes do you write about or would like to write about ?   
Hannah: Aside from nature I like to write short stories that pack an emotional/moral/spiritual punch in the end of the piece. In writing these I hope to reach out to people, to show them something in a different way that maybe they hadn’t seen before and ultimately bring some level of transcendence or clarity. I need to hone my skills though and as with form poetry I feel that the short stories, when I take time to write in this way, that my poetry is strengthened as a result also. I feel it sort of keeps my brain from hardwiring into too strict of a poem path and that this will hopefully keep my wordage more unique.    

Grace:   You certainly have a unique voice.  If you were given another opportunity to revisit a part of your life, like talking to a younger you of 5 or 10 years ago, what would you tell your young self?  Has this insight influenced your writing?    

Hannah: I’d tell myself gently, “Hannah, stop worrying about what may or may not be, just live and love fully. Pour yourself into your true calling every day and soon you’ll open your eyes to see, that you’re precisely where you’re meant to be.”

This insight has impressed upon me within these last few years, Grace. Every experience is fodder for growth, each moment holds choices, we can either grow or wallow and our happiness lies in our own hands.

I do feel that these kinds of thought influence my writing. I often find myself arriving at a profound realization through a piece of writing that I’m working on without really purposely driving for the particular point. Almost as if the poem had written itself. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a deeper inner conscience at work, in special times as those.
Grace:   I like if the poem had written itself.   You also co-host another blog, Flashy Fiction. What is the purpose of this blog?   Do you write a lot of fiction?       
Hannah: Yes, I’ve stepped in to help with this blog, once a week I post a prompt (Fridays) and the purpose is to inspire short fictional stories from the masses. I’m glad that I was invited to join in this endeavor because it has gotten me to write prose again and I do think that is important. Unfortunately, I don’t write it as often as I’d like to because it’s time consuming and requires more mentally as far as grammatically and plot-wise etc., but I find that when I’ve completed a piece like this the joy and fulfillment attained is a nice perk. This is one that I feel drawn to share with you all, I hope you like it!     Of Fences…one of my Friday Flashy Fiction Photo Prompts.

Grace:   I will definitely check out the prompts there.   Now, when you are not writing, what do you for fun on a weekend ?   

Hannah: My work life consists of the up-keep of the home, managing of household bills and loving the kiddos and hubby to the fullest. I enjoy getting out in nature with the littles (my two boys), I like to capture what I see with my camera while we venture. A lot of times I pair the images with my poems, which is fun! I like to make beaded jewelry and crochet in the winter time, watch the snow falling and feel as though I’m encapsulated in a life –sized snow globe. I really want to start kayaking again in the summers, something I loved to do from the good ol’ G-town days!

Grace:    Kayaking for summer sounds really fun.   If there were no limitations, what would your life look like and what kind of writing would you pursue?   Any short term writing goals?

Hannah: This is a hard question, Grace! First I keep thinking about the house on the water that my grandfather designed and built with my father that I grew up in…I’d like to have that back and be able to afford the huge land taxes of waterfront property. I’d like to be able to travel with my family and see lots of amazing worldly sights but not all year just a trip a year. I would love to write words that settle into the fiber of people’s hearts wide spread. I don’t know what form that would take but I know that’s the shape of the longing I taste. Short-term, I’d really like to gather the best of my poetry with the most me-ness in it and have it published in a book all together.

Grace:    I heard that you cook and bake very well.    What is the one dish that you are proud of and would like to share with us today?      

Hannah: I do like to cook! Baking has its “sweet,” rewards though! Ha ha! One of my favorites is a cookie recipe that I like to call “Everything-but-the Kitchen-Sink.” It is a basic cookie recipe only I add lots of extra goodies! 

Oh, and I don’t really use a recipe…as usual, I just add 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of Oats, ½ cup of ground flax seed, teaspoon each of baking soda, powder and vanilla, 2 eggs, like a ½ stick of melted butter, 1 cup of organic sugar or honey, or maple syrup, or some of each, dark chocolate chips is a must, raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds, blueberries or raisins or both, oh yeah I usually sprinkle some cinnamon in there or the handy pumpkin pie spice if I don’t have any cinnamon. Mix the dry together separately from the wet, add them together and make dough spheres, drop them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake them for about 15 minutes or so. This will yield quite a few cookies! ;)  

Here try some ~ I know this recipe is pretty haphazard but they DO turn out yummy! What do you think?   

Grace:   This taste so yummy ….(takes another cookie and another one).   For sure, I will try this one.          

Well Toads, we are going to call our children now for another round of cookie baking and more women gossip.   In the meantime, check out the lovely work of Hannah in Metaphor and Smiles.  Happy day and big smiles to everyone ~    

Please note that all the pictures here are copyrighted to Hannah Gosselin.   Please don't use it without her express permission.  


Mary Ann Potter said...

What a delightful interview! Hannah, I too love your short hair and wore mine that way for many years, so when I see such a cute style again it makes me wonder why I grew mine out! Your boys are adorable. Growing up in Maine has obviously been a benefit to all of you. I'm going to re-visit your poetry today. I know I'll enjoy it again and again! Have an exceedingly blessed and bountiful day.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I enjoyed the friendliness which this interview exudes - we are truly lucky to find ourselves able to sit down and chat with people who means something to us and discuss a topic which is close to everyone's hearts on RT. Thank you both so much for your effort.

Herotomost said...

I am up for some of those cookies...I am starving this Hannah, you seem like such a lovely soul and your writing is definitely top notch. Grace...super interview with a great tone. thanks to both of you, great job.

Fireblossom said...

I'm glad Hannah has come to blogging and to Toads!

Unknown said...

What a smooth-flowing interview, and cookies too!

Mystic_Mom said...

What a wonderful and personable interview. You two did very well and oh how I wish we could have all sat down for that visit and those cookies! I feel I know you both better through it.

Marian said...

hey new england!! yippee!
so glad you are here, hannah. i enjoy your writing and it was terrific to read more about you... and i love the photo of your boys.

Ella said...

Wonderful view! Great job Hannah and Grace! I didn't know you were from Bath, Maine. I use to live in Brunswick, I'm originally from a coastal town, Searsport! Your view and boys are precious~
I feel warm and comforted by visioning you in my favorite part of the world and those cookies~
I so hope you write a book; I love the magic of your words~ :D

De Jackson said...

Wonderful interview with one of my very favorite poets. Hannah truly is a natural...with her love of nature, and her ability to weave words. She inspires me daily, with both her talent and her encouragement, and I'm beyond blessed to "know" her. I desperately want to share a cup of coffee and one of those cookies with this poetical friend I've loved reading since 2009. Hannah, I adore this:

"Just live and love fully."

You do, girl. And we all benefit from the words this philosophy births. THANK YOU.


Laurie Kolp said...

What a pleasant surprise to see Hannah twice in a week. She and I have a lot in common. I can't wait to see what's next!

Grace said...

This week is all Hannah ~

Glad you enjoyed the interview feature ~

Maude Lynn said...

Lovely interview! I'm really enjoying Hannah's work.

Susie Clevenger said...

Great interview..makes me feel like I got to sit down and chat with Hannah..Love your work Hannah. It is always an inspiration. Fantastic job Grace on the interview!!!

Hannah said...

First: Grace!! Thank you for the lovely job you did on putting this together and for the thought-provoking questions!! Oh, and thanks to your daughter, the boys loved her!! ;)

Second: I'm so truly humbled by the words of each of you!! I have been so lucky to find this corner of the blogging world! Every one of you are such amazing people and I'm so blessed to poem along-side you all!!

Third: DE!! Just a shout of gratitude for this very special bond we've grown over these years. I'm so glad that you pointed me in the direction of this garden, recently! And you KNOW you inspire me daily, too!! :)

I'm so honored to have had this time to sit and talk about a topic so dear to each of our hearts,there's SO much behind the passion of this craft that we share. Also, thank you for reading my poetry and trying my cookies, I told you they'd be good!!!

BIG warm "Hannah," smiles to each of you!

Daydreamertoo said...

Lovely interview. Well done Grace. It's a pleasure to get to know a little more about you and your life Hannah. I've really enjoyed everything I've read of yours so far. You have a busy life and live it to the full with your family too but, your love of it all shines bright and happily.
Lovely interview and insight into you as a person Hannah.

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Marie Elena said...

How on God's green earth did I miss this interview?! My Sweet Hannah is one of my very favorite poets/women/spirits/gifts, ever!

I've told you this before, Hannah, but your gift has grown mightily in the last year or so. You completely amaze and stun me with every reading.

Grace, thank you so very much for sharing Hannah with us!

Peggy said...

I enjoyed reading this very much--I love getting to know more about the poets who hang around in cyberspace. How you manage to be so creative with the two little ones--pretty amazing. I hope you are having a glorious spring.

Anonymous said...

Hannah, I feel we were cut from the same cloth, then patched onto the furthermost borders of the United States. You in Maine, I in California. I connected with so much of what you said in this interview, and your likes and interests in poetry and life are eerily similar. I also completed a course at the Institute for Children's Literature when I was feeling out the field of writing. On another note, kayaking isn't something I've done, but paddle boarding is. Oh, and thanks for the cookie recipes! And smiles!

Anonymous said...

Hannah, I feel we were cut from the same cloth, then patched onto the furthermost borders of the United States. You in Maine, I in California. I connected with so much of what you said in this interview, and your likes and interests in poetry and life are eerily similar. I also completed a course at the Institute for Children's Literature when I was feeling out the field of writing. On another note, kayaking isn't something I've done, but paddle boarding is. Oh, and thanks for the cookie recipes! And smiles!