|A sampling of works from Kim Nelson. Image copyrighted, Kim Nelson.
By Kim Nelson
Greetings Garden Dwellers:
We were first introduced to Kim Nelson a few weeks back for a Sunday Mini Challenge, wherein we learned of her creative process and were privy to some of her poems and paintings. Kim Nelson is the award-winning author of dozens of magazine articles as well as three non-fiction books and a poetry collection. A Desert Gardener’s Companion, Southwest Kitchen Garden, Mommy I’m Still in Here and Woman’s Evolution are available at her etsy shop and at Amazon.com. Also a visual artist, Nelson works with various media including encaustic, acrylic, watercolor and pastels. To view currently available pieces visit her website,Kim Nelson Creates, or her etsy shop.
Today, Kim has stepped into the spotlight once again to answer my pesky and meandering line of inquiry. Without further ado…l present to you a conversation with Kim
Izy: First round is on me, what are you having?
Kim: I love it when someone else pays for the first round. I’ll take a Gin Ricky on the rocks with a salted rim… YUM!
Izy: Free drinks truly are the start of a great friendship! I can’t wait to learn a little more about you. I understand you live in Tucson, Arizona. Can you give us an idea of why you have chosen to live there?
Kim: The Good Husband has a good job, and nearly 20 years ago he was told he could keep that good job if we left Southern California and moved to Tucson. Needless to say, we moved. After a few years the place grew on us.
Izy: Your profile states, “Give me words and some hues. Magic will ensue.” I admire your confidence! Would you care to expound on this? How do you know the magic will ensue?
Kim: The magic has never disappointed me, so I simply know. I believe. And it’s not so much confidence, Izy, as it is faith in the process. I don’t claim that the final product will be wonderful, marketable, or even good; but I do know that the process of creating, either visual art or with written word, is magical. I become centered. I am in my own best place as my best self. I AM creator. If others like the product, even better.
Izy: I see! One can accomplish amazing feats when they believe in their own abilities. You are an accomplished painter and writer, can you speak to that duality: in specific how do you know when a painting is a painting and not a poem and vice versa? Also, which medium (writing versus painting) do you prefer at the moment?
Kim: The word “accomplished” gives me pause, but I thank you for the compliment. I have both written and sketched since I was very young. Words seemed more powerful, so I honed that craft and have been lucky enough to work in the field. I know I could support myself, albeit meagerly, with my writing; but I also love to make art.
A few years ago I yearned to paint again, and pulled out the set I received from Santa when I was about eight. I committed to an art journal practice that required a daily creation. After a few months, I realized the visual art often prompted a poem, so I began combining the two. There is never a confusion or question about which method of expression a piece requires. My ideas (compulsions?) seem to categorize themselves.
Now, as has been the case my entire life, I write every day. I keep small Moleskine notebooks everywhere… in the car, in my handbag, my nightstand… so as not to lose a line or whisperings from the muse. I paint nearly every day as well. I am currently focused on a series of female muses for each chakra color: Good old ROYGBIV.
Izy: Moleskine is also my preferred journal of choice. The little folio in the back where I can stash my scraps and scribbles is my favorite feature. I am always impressed when artists can keep a daily routine. Coming from someone who does work “in the field”…love your phrasing of that...In the best case scenario, what will a reader take from your writing and why?
Kim: I’ve been called a Pollyanna or an Eternal Optimist for most of my life. In my youth those labels made me uncomfortable, felt negative. As I got older I embraced the role. With that in mind, I want others to feel hope, comfort, and encouragement when they read my work. I want them to feel understood and appreciated. I want to uplift and enlighten. I believe, and I know this sounds hokey, that it’s my role to “increase the light.”
Izy: “Hokey” is more a word I associate with velvet Elvis paintings, not someone‘s personal artist vision! Lately, in job interviews, I have listed my top strength as fearless enthusiasm…you’d be surprised how unhokey it can sound when said earnestly. In the best case scenario, what will a viewer take from your painting?
Kim: I want others to look at my visual art and feel. I don’t really care what they feel, I just want my paintings, collages and encaustics to cause a bit of a physical shift.
Izy: I know you don’t want to use the word “accomplished,” but I do want to point out you have published a book of poetry and three other nonfiction works. What are the biggest misconceptions about your writing that you have encountered?
Kim: Biggest misconception? Probably that I am simple or simpering. That my work is fluff, not edgy, not pithy enough, and therefore less relevant.
Izy: Speaking of less relevant….it’s time for my quick fire questions where we learn more about you in form of ridiculous hypotheticals or one word answers!
Izy: You are about to drive from Tucson to Bar Harbor, Maine, on a cross country trip. You can take 2 Literary characters with you...who are they are why?
Kim: First, I’d invite Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird because the lively discussions of society, justice, aide and empirically proven solutions to problems would be expansive, educational and exciting. Then, depending on who was available, I’d include either Janie Crawford, from Their Eyes Were Watching God or Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Each of these women possesses an ability to retain dignity and integrity despite great challenge. They also understand the value of love and honest relationships in this existence. Oh My Freaking Heck, we’d never stop talking!
Izy: Let’s hope there’d be a camera crew a long, I’d want to watch the entire thing. What is your favorite curse word?
Kim: Shit! Nothing better suits the stubbing of a toe, a bad college basketball play or tea spilled on the work table.
Izy: Do you write rough drafts in pen, pencil, or electronic format?
Kim: All of the above. A bit of a hermit, I spend a lot of time in my studio, so I usually have my computer open to a new page or post, just in case. But I also jot notes in pen and pencil ALL THE TIME. They are, as I suggested earlier, everywhere.
Izy: An alien race has invaded earth in order to learn more about poetry. Which poem of yours would you share with them and why?
Kim: I’d offer up the poems I’ve tagged with the word Gram. By reading these, they’d experience the better aspects of humanity, of relationships, of living in this realm.
Izy: Sugar coma or sleep deprivation?
Kim: Sleep deprivation. Sugar coma would be preceded by extreme bitchiness, neither rational or productive.
Izy: What is your favorite thing to do on Sunday evening?
Kim: Glass of wine in the right hand, The Good Husband holding the left, sitting in the cabana as the sun sets, painting the Sonora sky with shades of unbelievable intensity.
Izy: I have a brand new Mustang and 1,000,000 Marriott reward points....where are we going?
Kim: We’ll start in Vancouver and follow the Pacific Coast down to San Diego. Then we’ll take I-10 to Pensacola before heading north along the Atlantic Seaboard. I want to see every inch of coastline and try the food and drink in major cities along the way. And we’d write about it.
Izy: Alarm clocks-- don’t use one, hit snooze repeatedly, or wake at the first chime?
Kim: Don’t use one. Never have. When I go to bed I decide what time to get up; and then I do.
Izy: Another planet is going to crash into earth. You have time to play one song, what is that song?
Kim: Louis Armstrong’s “It’s A Wonderful World.”
Izy: What is your favorite word (non-cussing variety)?
Izy: What was the last book you read that you really hated?
Kim: The Fifty Shades trilogy. Despite the intriguing subject, I could not get beyond the shitty writing.
Izy: What is your least favorite day of the week and why?
Kim: Wednesday. Because none is really out of favor, but all the others have brighter highlights. And I have to drag out the garbage dumpsters.
Izy: Three things you never write about?
Kim: Domestic cats, instructions for destruction, and ingrown anything
Izy: One quote you’d like to end the interview with?
Kim: “Never underestimate that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.” ~ Margaret Mead
Izy: Lastly, anything I haven’t asked or anything you’d like to discuss?
Kim: Just want to say thank you. First to you, Izy, for your interest, enthusiasm and kind support. And to this international, virtual community which has expanded my vision, enriched my life and encouraged me to do what I want to do. Those are huge gifts!