Thursday, May 24, 2012

Interview Series

Interview with Shanyn Silinski

Hello fellow Toads, it’s Hannah here and today we’re going on an adventure to the Smilin Coyote Ranch in sunny south eastern Manitoba, Canada to visit with Shanyn (aka Mystic Mom) her beautiful family and amazing animals!!!

Hannah: Hi, Shanyn, thank you SO much for inviting us to your home, do you mind if we walk down to the barn and chat for a while? I LOVE animals!! 

Shanyn: Thanks for coming Hannah, excuse the dogs, the four of them are VERY friendly!  You’ll love the barn, and we can walk on the ridge to visit the cows and horses.  We have highland cows and riding horses.  Abby, Anna, Feathers and Sarah are our dogs, Buddy over there just comes to visit from who knows where!

Feathers, intent on a squirrel because the cows, cats and swallows were not available.

Aurora and Lazarus

Hannah: Oh, they're wonderful, I love their names! Tell us about your family if you would be so kind, Shanyn? Do you have any children? Does he/she enjoy living on a farm? What are his/her hobbies?

Shanyn: We are blessed to have our son Luke, who is going to be 7 soon, and he loves farming, riding horses, doing jiu jitsu, reading and playing games with his Dad.
Winter Farm Fun:

Hannah: He is so handsome, what a cute lil' man! Did you grow up on a farm, Shanyn? I love your name, it’s interesting, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it before. Do you have a story behind it? Are there any special memories you’d like to share with us about your childhood? 

Shanyn: I grew up on a ranch in Alberta, which is a bit different from a farm because we didn’t grow crops except for hay.  When I was young I changed the spelling of my name to a way I liked better.  I remember always   having animals to play with, horses to ride and other strange pets like salamanders!  My best friends were almost always animals and books – probably why I have so many of both as a grown up.

Hannah: How cool that you changed the spelling of your name, Shanyn, and such a fun sounding childhood! Do you hold a memory of the first time someone told you, “good job,” who was it and what had you accomplished, how did you feel? 

Shanyn: That is an interesting question Hannah, I remember a lot of times being told I could do better or to try harder.  I’m an encourager by nature, so I remember encouraging more than I remember encouragement! I do remember feeling good when people admitted that they underestimated me and that I had impressed them, or surprised them.  I like doing that.

Hannah: I've noticed that you're great at encouraging, thank you!! What’re your most favorite things to do, Shanyn? Do you have any hobbies? I notice you take gorgeous pictures; would you like to tell us about this? 

Shanyn: I am a voracious reader, I always have a few books on the go, so reading is maybe more of an obsession than a hobby?  I love scrapbooking and gardening.  And yes, I do so love photography!  I’ve been taking pictures since I was very young, even won some awards, and love seeing different ways I can take a photo.  Some days I will take 100 photos, so picking a favorite can be tricky.  My favorite of today is this one though.

Hannah: That is such a wonderful capture, Shanyn.  I’ve really been enjoying your pictures and poetry, Shanyn! How would you describe your writing? Do you have a particular poem that you feel best represents you as a writer? Do you have any others that you feel speak specifically from your heart? 

Shanyn: My writing is very much from the heart.  My poems come to me almost fully formed, just waiting for me to type them or write them out.  If you want to know me, you can find out lots by reading my poetry.  I have been writing since I was very young.  Most recently the poems that have become personal favorites are:

There be wolves

It is good and right to fear the predator,
those who are made of tasty meat.
Stay on the path and out of the wood.
Keep your head down, eyes narrow’d.

Shuffle, shuffle, stay hunched over
Ready like rabbits to dive into cover.
It is good and right to fear the wolves,
and lions and bears and shadows and night.

Stay close to the houses, don’t wander off.
You could be gone like the smoke, poof.
Keep your arms pulled in really tight
Stay tense and afraid, ready for flight!

Foolish little sheep, staring at the woods,
not knowing the dangers are closer to home.
Your keepers are scavengers, they prowl.
Blaming the darkness on us who howl.

Watching them would be wise, you know,
they have no loyalty, no code to show.
Silly little sheep, staying on the paths
not seeing the monsters shadowing behind.

Wearing mansuits, singing woman songs,
looking ever so much like here they belong.
Your tender meat to your own kind too,
they know you are sheep as well as I do.

Ghosting along through your dreams and tales
the wolves and their shadows cast darkly, long.
Fear the woodcutter, witch, merchant and king.
Our howls make you tremble, what a thing!

When their soothing voices are more deadly still,
and their soft hands sharply diving for the kill.
There be wolves, it is true, and you know it so
don’t be afraid of the dark woods at night.

There are greater innocence eaters than we
they surround you every day, you hardly see.
Telling lies and tales to keep you close by
“Stay out of the woods” be wise, wonder why.

Faerie tales are warnings, from the wildness
for the tame ones, like them, like you and you.
Listen closely, for the daemons you fear the most
are those who live, breath, eat and touch closest.

Dance in the moonlight, fear the darkness not
unless of course you are their sheep and get caught.

2011 Copyright Shanyn Silinski

Written @ Kerry's Wednesday Challenge
A slight tongue in cheek response from a wolfish poet to this challenge.  Remember, the predators are always stalking but you sweet tender sheep are always looking at the wolf when the slaughter man comes.  Watch carefully little sheep, keep your Shepherd close, and trust those dogs. Don’t listen to the stories that lead you astray.

Links to some favorites:

Once Upon a Time-(my ideas on fairy tales)

Talk This Way- (how people think of how I think and talk) 

Chasing Windmills- (what if Quixote wasn’t mad?  What if I’m not? ) 

How Many Stand Silent-
(a poem I wrote speaking out against animal abuse and it became a poem that spoke to all survivors of abuse) 

Get Out of the Boat-
(a poem of faith) 

Hannah: Shanyn, those are all stunning, thank you. I notice that you seem to have a beautiful faith and a strong connection with nature. Would you tell us how this influences your writing and what other possible elements influence your writing? 

Shanyn: God’s creation influences many things in my life, most things probably.  My faith is my foundation, I would be nothing without it.  I have a blog dedicated to my faith journey 
Strawberry Roan.

Being in nature, seeing the wonder of an amazing animal or flower, the magic of a sunset or fog after a rain just inspires me. Sometimes I have more poems flowing than I have the ability to put down.  I think I miss so many because they come to me when I can’t capture them.  
Other influences are the things I care about: family, friends, faith, animals, advocating for those who suffer from abuse, and of course other writers inspire me.

Hannah: I can tell what a strength in faith you have through your words and I can so identify with the feeling of not being able to get down on paper all the poems that flow. So, I noticed on your blog, Sunflower Poetry, that you have a few different blog sites, would you tell us the names and purposes of these blogs, please, Shanyn? Also, do you have any books published?

Shanyn: I do have a few blogs, Sunflower Poetry is for poetry, Mystic-Mom is for some poetry, lots of photos and our ranch life.  Strawberry Roan is my faith blog.  Chore Time is my animal advocate blog and my abuse survivor blog is Scarred-Seeker.  

I did write a book of poetry, and am working on my second (any volunteers to help narrow down the poems to include?). The first was called Rainbows of my Heart.  It is available through me, and it was done a few years ago.  My new book is going to be called Broken Wings & Second Chances.

Hannah: Oh I love the name of your new book, you have beautiful blogs and what great causes you stand for. Do you have any short term/long term goals for your writing or in general that you would like to share with your fellow Toads today, Shanyn?

Shanyn: One big goal is to get my second book of poetry done, and on shelves and in Kindles!  That is a big goal. I’m about ½ to 1/3 of the way through writing my first novel and have some ideas for a collection of short stories.  My life goals are to live life fully, embracing each day and writing, photographing and laughing my way to the end.  I’ve done a lot of things in my life, and while some I wouldn’t want to repeat, they have all made me who I am today.  And I like me.  I love my family and they are such a blessing to me!

Hannah: Wow, Shanyn, your ambition, drive and positive spirit are more than half the battle. The best of wishes on your endeavors! So now this, ha ha!! Now I’m going to ask you a bunch of random questions for fun!! My favorite color is green!! What is your favorite color, gem-stone, animal, flower and sport? What is your favorite season, Shanyn and why?

Shanyn: I love random!
I love the color purple. My favorite gem is an opal.  Love all animals (well 99.9% cannot really love some like horseflies, skeeters and nasty biting fish).  My favorite flower is a black iris or a pansy, or a sunflower. Really love my sunflowers, they mean a lot to me.  My favorite sport – jiu jitsu, rodeo and monster jam!  Favorite season is early spring and late fall.  My favorite thing in the whole world though is being Mama to my son and best friend to my husband!

Hannah: So this has really been such a fulfilling glimpse into your life Shanyn!! We really have enjoyed getting to know you better!! I have one more question for you; I think you’ll like it! If you were to write a message and put it in…hmm, let’s say a bottle to cork tightly and wistfully send out to sea what would be the important message that you would hope to arrive on a distant shore for someone to find and read?

Shanyn: How intriguing – a message in a bottle.  I think my message would be to always live each day fully.  Don’t plan on getting to the end of your life in ‘show room’ condition, get there laughing and worn out from the great ride of LIFE! Don’t lose faith in God because of the actions of people.  Remember faith, hope and love – the greatest is love.

Hannah: I love this, "laughing and worn out from the great ride of LIFE!" and you've picked a gem in your closing line, one of my absolute favorites! Thank you, so much again, Shanyn, it has been such a pleasure to spend this time with you. I shall treasure it always!! 

Fellow Real Toads be sure to hop about the lily padded links for Shanyn poetry and blogs to explore a bit! 

Have a wonderful day, warm-smiles to everyone!

All of the poetry and photographs are the work of Shanyn Silinski and are copy right protected. Please do not distribute her work without permission. Thank you.


Kerry O'Connor said...

One thing that strikes me is the gumption, Shanyn had in changing the spelling of her name. I'm a bit confused by the Shanyns - I always read it as ShanynS(ilinski). Am I wrong? Anyway, what's in a name, because a sunflower by any other name would smell as sweet.

You girls have been super busy, this week, putting together both personal challenges and interview. Thank you both so much.

Kay L. Davies said...

What a beautiful interview, Hannah, and your responses are even more wonderful, Shanyn.
I love Highland cattle. I used to live near a farm with "wee Heeland coos" in BC, and I smiled every time I saw them, especially the adorable calves.
I agree with Hannah about "laughing and worn out from the great ride of life" — and I love the first part of that sentence, too: "Don't plan on getting to the end of your life in showroom condition"! I can attest to that. LOL

Laurie Kolp said...

What a wonderful interview! I love the question about the message in a bottle, Hannah... and Shanyns, your response is so amazing I think you need to write a poem about it. I have always admired your poetry and pictures. We share a strong faith and love of nature. You are an inspiration!!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh great interview! I enjoyed it SO much. What a wonderful life you have, Shanyn. The photo of Luke with his dog is absolutely a heartwarmer. Your photography is fantastic and I love the full rich loving life you have made for yourself and your family. Luke is one lucky little boy. Great interview, Hannah! Such fun to read, and so upbeat and happy. Lovely.

Lolamouse said...

Great interview ladies! I absolutely love your "There Be Wolves" poem. Very sinister and dark but oh so true!

Mystic_Mom said...

:-) Thank you all! Oh my I'm so honoured by your reading this, and so thankful Hannah took the time to make this interview, and the challenge too, such a pleasure to read! Bless you all!

(Kerry - My name is Shanyn, the 's' at the end is for Silinski and for some reason WordPress kept that even after I tried to change it! :-) )

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Shanyn, I didn't know you live in Manitoba - I grew up there. Good to hear all about your farm and family, and your writing process as well. I always enjoy your blog.

Mystic_Mom said...

Kay - I do so love my wee coos! :-)

Laurie - we do have a lot in common, and yes those words could be a good starter to a poem. That's a great idea!

Sherry - thank you! He is fun to photograph and his dog loves the camera! She comes running when she hears the auto focus!

Lolamouse - that is what I wanted it to be, I get so frustrated when people blame something natural, like a wolf, and ignore the predators in their own midst! :-)

Turtle - what part of Manitoba? Let's play the Manitoba game! :-)

Carla Anne Coroy said...

Great interview and a beautiful peek into the life of a beautiful woman! And such amazing photos!! Love it, Shanyn! :)

Mystic_Mom said...

Thanks Carla Anne! Great to see you here!

Patricia Singleton said...

Shanyn, Glad you shared this interview on Twitter. I enjoyed getting to read more of your writing and discovering more things about you and your family. You are an angel that I am honored to know and call my friend.

Marian said...

aw, Shanyn, what an adorably family (of people and animals) you all are. really enjoyable interview. thanks so much for sharing!

Hannah said...

WOW!!! It is so nice to read all of your comments!!! Shanyn was such a joy to work with and ISO enjoyed getting to know better the awesome woman behind the words and photographs!!

Thank you, Shanyn and thank you every one for reading and sharing the love!!

Warm Smiles all around!!! :)

Hannah said...

P.S. I was confused about your name too, but I went through and fixed!! Smiles!

Herotomost said...

Hoy pun That seems like a pretty fantastic existence and Shanyn you and your family seem like wonderful people. And as for your writing....terrific and down to earth, I love it. Hannah...such a great interview. You should both be proud, I know I am.

Mary Ann Potter said...

Oh, what a wonderful interview!!! I enjoyed the photographs as well; those Highland cattle are absolutely adorable! The Lord has blessed you with much, Shanyn. Thanks so much for sharing your joy with us!

Grace said...

Lovely interview Hannah ~ great job ~

Shanyn, I like your honest and down to earth writing. I envy your piece of heaven, including the loves of your life. Thanks for sharing with us a part of yourself ~ Lovely to know more about my fellow Canadian ~

Mystic_Mom said...

Patricia - love you! You are so sweet...and I'm so honoured to call you friend.

Marian - thanks! The interview was a lot of fun.

Fireblossom said...

What an absolutely delightful interview. I like Feathers!

Ella said...

This was wonderful! I so love how you have embraced the world you live in! enJOY the ride, love your last line, we can all hope for that great ending! Great job ladies! You have a beautiful family and a beautiful soul :D

hedgewitch said...

Just the sort of interview I would have expected from you both, Hannah and Shanyn--warm and full of light hope and love--an inspiring read. Liked the Wolf poem a lot.

Susie Clevenger said...

Such a beautiful interview. I am so tired from my trip to see family that I needed this break of hope and love. Thanks Hannah for your wonderful questions and Shanyn for a lovely look into your life. Your photography is beautiful!

Daydreamertoo said...

Wonderful interview again. You have a lovely life with your family, farm, animals, faith and love Shanyn! You are blessed.

Other Mary said...

What a great interview of a wonderful person and poet! Thank you both.

Unknown said...

Loved getting to better know Shanyn and learning about her bucolic life. Lucky woman! Thank you, Hannah!

Mystic_Mom said...

Wow everyone your comments are a ray of sunshine for me tonight...and I needed that today! Bless you all for your love and encouragement. I loved sharing a peek at our world with you...!