Thursday, January 31, 2013

Increase the Light--An interview with Kim Nelson

A sampling of works from Kim Nelson.  Image copyrighted, Kim Nelson.

By Kim Nelson

I see the flare
of illumination,
the semi-auto sparks
I hear dark silence set in,
move toward me
as anxiety arcs
I smell the fat
from too-lean bodies
burning a block away
I taste death
acrid, biting, bitter
this cold January day
I feel the trigger
of my M4, comfort,
in a frightening way
I envision
the future, just minutes ahead,
know a choice can now be made
I settle the muzzle
just under my chin
squeeze hard, my last card played
Empowered, I didn’t let them kill me.

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 CompanionSouthwest Kitchen Garden,  Mommy I’m Still in Here and Woman’s Evolution are available at her etsy shop and at  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.

Photo from Kim's Studio.  Image Copyrighted, Kim Nelson.

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.

Photo by Kim Nelson.  Image Copyrighted.

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)?

Kim:  Clearly.

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!


Isadora Gruye said...

A great many thanks to Kim for providing me with her time, humor, and insight! Viva la

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Izy, thank you for choosing one of my favorite poet/artists for this interview. You hit all the right buttons.

Kim, I'm with you - SO with you - on 50 Shades of Grey. If I want bodice-ripping erotica, Lex and I will stay home and invent our own! Took a stroll through a few pages at Barnes and Noble and left it on the shelf.

I've never thought of you as a Pollyanna, and I hope that's not the feedback you get. You are a substantial woman with opinions and a wealth of visions... you seem to me to be the spiritual being I would like to be. You stick to a schedule, you are a wonderful writer, and you are TRUSTWORTHY and supportive where others are concerned.

The gift was from the two of you to us. Thank you and bless you both, Amy Barlow Liberatore

Mary said...

Kim, you are a talented poet; and not only that, you are so supportive of others' creativity. I am so glad you are embracing your optimism. You said these things in the interview....

" 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.” " And I love those qualities about you. And I DO think you increase the light with your VERY positive presence everywhere you are in the blogosphere!

If I could add one more word to what I appreciate, I would say 'authenticity.'

You are a talented painter too. I do love your work...

Grace said...

Another fantastic interview Izy ~

Kim, thanks so much for sharing your painting and words ~ I appreciate knowing your journey and learning more about you ~

Thanks for the painting which I received yesterday ~

Kerry O'Connor said...

I want to come along on that road trip too...don't leave me out!!!

I love your vision in both art and poetry, Kim and I'm in awe of your commitment to both - it takes a whole lot of discipline to paint and write each day.

Thanks to Izy for her excellent interview style, and to Kim for sharing with us on Real Toads.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I loved this interview! Kim, you are such a positive force in the 'sphere. I love your sense of humour and loved your description of a Sunday evening. That sunset is spectacular! I admire your dedication to your art, and your writing, and look forward to enjoying much more of both. Thanks for allowing us "in" for this visit:)

Kay L. Davies said...

Kim—I love you for Louis Armstrong, Pollyanna, Vancouver, Atticus Finch, Jane Eyre, and Margaret Mead. A few of my favorite things!
I admire you for painting, no alarm clock, making notes, writing and/or painting every day, not losing the magic, and for increasing the light.
Izy—You are a great interviewer. I loved reading this.

Ella said...

Wonderful interview gals!
I want in on the coastal trip. I am from Maine and use to live in Pensacola-I know where to go, lol.

Wow, Kim I always have this serendipity alignment with you! My name means light and I am working on a chakra project! I love your attitude and that you inspire light and optimism! Powerful and published-wow~ Yes thanks for highlighting Kim! Izy your interview are fab~ :D

Unknown said...

I feel blessed to be a part of this community; and I appreciate the support I always receive from my fellow writers and artists. I live in "the sticks" so finding community within a reasonable distance is not always easy. This online crew is ideal for me.
And Izy, you are a wonder. Your questions easy to answer and your kindness over the top. I SO enjoyed this experience. Thank you, all of you!

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks so much Izy and Kim for the amazing interview. It so intrigues me to know someone who can create in more than one art form. Your work always delights me. I am thankful to be in the garden with such talented women. It makes me strive to be better at my own art.

Jinksy said...

Once again words and pictures wrap another mind in equal balance - like you can't have one without the other?! LOL. I'm with you a hundred percent on the 'shit' swearing, too. What other expression is needed? None! Hehehe! Thanks for the interview, peoples...

Laurie Kolp said...

Wonderful interview! Kim, I value your optimism... it shines through your work and leaves me feeling happy each time I visit your blog. Thanks for being you, my friend!

Hannah said...

Oh, Kim and Izy, what a joyful read!!! So revealing and inspiring...I'm so glad to get more insight on you, Kim, as an artist and poet. Thank you both so much!!♥

Susan said...

Interview is an art you excel at Izzy, so it is no wonder that this dialogue is art as well--I'm thinking of Lily Tomlin's soup/art comparison--Kim, I am so happy to see you here in the Garden and at Poets United. You very much increase the Light with your arts and your openness. It is a wondeful world (Armstrong) that has such people in it (Shakespeare's Tempest).

Marian said...

what a great interview. i have been a big fan of Kim's for quite some time (which i hope she knows, wink) and this is terrific. Kim, you know i so much want to visit you in AZ! one day. also, just seeing the words in black and white, that you can make a living (even a meager one) from writing and/or from visual art is inspiring. i can't even imagine, but for the fact that you say it is possible. if only! xoxo

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

What a wonderful interview and Kim, it is a pleasure to get to know you better--

Tarang Sinha said...

Lovely words, paintings & photo by Kim Nelson (Multitalented she is!)! And interesting interview!:)