Welcome to another ‘Rewind Interview =” in my now weekly interview series. Ryan is a talented Australian poet, extremely amazing, so I’m excited to reshare his interview with you both on my own blog Mandibelle16.
Originally, I was doing this as a bi-weekly feature, only on my own blog. So in order to do this as a weekly feature on both my blog and on the Cafe, I’m going to be sharing some ‘Rewind interviews” as I think these writers are equally due recognition on both sites. Just to mention, since this is a ‘Rewind Interview’ some of the info might not be current.
Today, I’m excited and pleased to share with you the talented writer, poet, and bloggerRyan Stone of ‘Days of Stone’. Please visit the link provided to read more about Ryan and read his superb poetry.
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself?
The blood of the Irish runs deep in my veins but I’m an Australian born and bred. I was raised in a ‘man’s land’ of karate, fast motorbikes, heavy metal guitars, and football with Aussie rules.
My love of reading and writing was not readily accepted. Instead, I was forced to indulge my interests under my bed covers by torchlight. But the poets Seamus Heaney,Kenneth Slessor, Walt Whitman, and Maya Angelou — all have a way of asserting themselves in my writing.
Although I have no real love of uniforms, I’ve worn a few in my life so far: the combatfatigues of a soldier in the field and driving a battle tank; the torn black denim of a metalguitarist; and the turnout gear of a firefighter. I’ve been a rank-and-file cop, a detective, and a member of a plainclothes special duties team. When all the uniforms are stripped off, I like to think it is the writer who remains.
I have no formal credentials, only an observer’s eye and an insatiable appetite for books. I’m rough around the edges, but the right turn of phrase will stop me dead in my tracks every time. I love Metallica, Ted Kooser, and with equal passion, my closest friend in the world, my German Shepherd (don’t tell my wife).
“When all the uniforms are stripped off, I like to think it is the writer who remains . . . the right turn of a phrase will stop me dead in my tracks every time.” – Ryan Stone
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
The first time I considered my writing to be writing, was towards the end of highschool. I was blessed with an incredibly passionate Englishteacher who managed to channel a teenage boy’s angst and anger into something less destructive. When one of my poems earned me a kiss from a pretty girl I had a crush on, I knew writing was something I’d stick with.
I’ve never been much of a social media fan. But I reached a point where I became sick of waiting several months for editors to respond to my poetry submissions; I turned instead to WordPress. Along with all the great writing and posts, I’m able to read from other writers.
However, I’ve developed a wonderful, supportive group of friends, and readers, who offer feedback and advice in a much shorter time frame than editors. While I still submit to poetry journals, my year of blogging has given me a huge amount of enjoyment and satisfaction.
3. What Does Poetry Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
To borrow from my favorite quote by Anton Chekhov: Poetry isn’t being told the moon is shining – for me, it is being shown the glint of light on broken glass.
I love the way a poem can capture more than a photograph, can carry an image or emotion over time and space, and let me experience someone else’s worldview for a moment. I also like the way reading one of my own poems years after it was written can transport me back to a previous ‘headspace,’ for a moment.
” . . .Poetry isn’t being told the moon is shining – for me, it is being shown the glint of light on broken glass.” – Ryan Stone (borrowing from Anton Chekhov)
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation To Write?
Nearly all of my poetry begins while I’m running with my dog through the rain forest beside my house. Usually, a thought, a memory, or an observation takes root and nags at me until I jot it down. Sometimes, an unusual word or phrase will catchme the same way.
My dog has developed his very own ‘here we go again’face which he pulls each time I pause during a run so I can tap out a note or two on my phone.
5. Do You Find There Is a Time of Day You Most Like To Write?
Predominantly, I write at night, when my boys are asleep, and the house is quiet. I am frequently awake into the small hours of the morning and find my 2:00 am mind is quite adept at slipping out of the shackles my daytime mind imposes. During these hours, I can most effectively explore and develop the notes I jot down during the day.
” I am frequently awake in the small hours of the morning and find my 2:00 am mind is quite adept at slipping out of the shackles my daytime mind imposes.” – Ryan Stone
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have two fantasy novels I’m working on at present. One is about a princess who becomesa pirate queen after her parents are murdered, the other is about an orphan boy who becomes a magician and later, a king.
Both novels began as short stories which expanded and grew during a couple of National Novel Writing Months (NaNoWriMo). As well, both novels are over hundred-thousand words and in need of serious revision. As with everything, time is a killer.
Poetry wise, I’m writing a chapbook with one of my closest internet mates (Ajay) who lives in India. It is loosely based on flowers and cultural differences. I’m currently editing a collection of my Senryu (5-7-5) poems, with the intention of self-publishing a small e-book of one-hundred Senryu poems, in the next few months, unless a publisher comes along sooner.
7. Have You Published Any Writing or Are You Planning To Publish Works Of Writing In The Future?
I’m fortunate enough to have had many poems published in a number of online journals, print anthologies, and poetry magazines. I never thought anyone other than my mum would enjoy my writing and rarely submitted my writing anywhere until recently.
A few years ago, I wrote a poem called “Unburied Hatchet,” which I thought had a chance of being published, so I submitted it to a couple of places and was rejected each time. On a whim, I sent it into the monthly competition in Writers’ Forum Magazine (a magazine in the UK to which I subscribe).
I was blown away when my poem won first prize and £100 (quite a lot of money with the Australian exchange rate being what it is). That first win gave my confidence a much-needed boost and I’ve been submitting ever since.
“I wrote a poem called “Unburied Hatchet” . . .I sent it into the monthly competition in Writers’ Forum Magazine . . .and was blown away when it won first prize and £100.” – Ryan Stone
8. Can You Briefly Describe The Process You Went Through To Publish or Are Going Through To Have Your Writing Published?
All my publishing to date has been by submission, so I’ll talk about publishing by submission. Whether it’s a print journal, online review, magazine, blog, or something else, the rules are always the same:
Read the publication first, to gain an idea of what style of writing they publish. While it doesn’t hurt to offer something fresh, I usually have a fair idea of an editor’s likes and dislikes before I submit.
Read and re-read the submission guidelines before you hit send. An improperlyworded subject line can be enough for an editor to discount the submissionwithout even reading the poem. Some publications request everything in the bodyof an email, others prefer attachments. Decent editors are inundated with submissions which meet their specific requirements and most, won’t waste their time with substandard submissions.
Take rejections gracefully. Analyze any critiques subjectively and apply critiques if you think they are warranted.BUT DON’T GIVE UP – submit, submit, submit. There are a million homes for poems out there and because a poem isn’t right for one editor or magazine certainly doesn’t mean it won’t be a prize winner for another editor or magazine. While I’m realistic about my own writing, I generally look at rejections as a case of a bad fit, not a bad poem.
9. What Is Your Writing Process Like?
Almost exclusively, my writing begins as a note or two on my iPhone (often while I’m running) and later develops on my iPad. My writing environment is incredibly vital to me and the Mac/iPad writing program — Ulysses — puts me in an excellent creative ‘headspace.’ I tend to write the first draft quickly once idea forms and then I’ll put it aside for a week or two, before returning and revising a poem over and over and over…
I am incredibly fortunate to have found a brilliant first reader. She’s an amazingly talented poet in her own right as well as possessing editing skills second to none. For some reason, I’ve yet to understand, she seems to enjoy my writing and conversation and has nurtured and developed my poetry to no end. My first reader’s input is a huge part of my process in developing a poem from initial idea to finished piece.
“I tend to write a first draft quickly once an idea forms and then I’ll put it aside for a week or two, before returning and revising a poem over and over and over . . .” – Ryan Stone
10. Do You Prefer Certain areas of Writing or Reading Styles or Genres?
When I’m reading a novel, it is usually fantasy and almost always a series. StephenKing’s Dark Towercollection is a favorite, as are Game of Thrones, Magician, TheBelgariad, Lord of the Rings, and Bernard Cornwell’sArthurianbooks.
I also play a great deal of electric guitar which draws me to music biographies as well, anything rock or metal is fair game. Additionally, I love short story collections: Italo Calvino takes first prize there, and I read as much modern poetry as I can get my hands on.
Originally, my love of poetry was nurtured by Maya Angelou, Kenneth Slessor, JimMorrison (The Doors), and Jewel Kilcher. When I first discovered Ted Kooser a few years ago, my own poetry made a huge leap.
Kooser’s book, The Poetry Home Repair Manual, was full of ‘Aha!’ moments for me. Most recently, I’ve lost myself in the brilliant BuddyWakefield and Richard Hugo’s:The Triggering Town.
11. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Writers?
I’m not really big on dishing out advice, as everyone writes uniquely. What works for one person, won’t always help another person; but I can certainly share what works for me.
The important thing is to write, write, write and keep writing. It doesn’t have to be good. I have loads of writingwhich will probably never see the light of day; however, once the first jumble is out of my head, the writing that follows is much better.
I don’t edit my first draft as I write. I write it all down and worry about cleaning itup later. If I’m only editing a word or two, then I’ll delete and replace. If I’m editing a whole line or large section, I cut and paste in a new version – v1, v2, v3, (etc .) and keep each version in the same document. I find it’s much easier to revise without the fear of losing words or ideas I may want to later reinstate.
Once I’m happy with a version of my work, I put it aside for a few days and return to it later with ‘fresh eyes.’ I find it much easier to spot weak points, sticky spots, doubled up words, bad rhythm, (etc.) when I’m reading it fresh.
The poem is more important than the truth. When I’m writing a poem based on an actual event, I find it easy to place value on a thing because its memory is significant to me. Often, I don’t want to let the thing go from the poem. This can become a weak point as the particular thing doesn’t make the poem better and doesn’t hold the same value for the reader. Once I let the poem dictate what to keep and what to cut, rather than trying to stay one-hundred-percent true to my memory, my poetry comes together far tighter.
“Once I let the poem dictate what to keep and what to cut, rather than trying to stay one-hundred-percent true to my memory, my poetry comes together far tighter.” – Ryan Stone
12. Is There Anything Else You Would Like The Share With Us Which You Think Is Pertinent To Writing or Yourself?
An honest first reader who will tell me what works and what sucks without worrying about my feelings is worth her weight in gold.
13. Can You Please Share With Us Few Links Of Your Favourite or Most Loved Pieces?
Until I saw those wasted hands,
brittle as chalk, I hadn’t thought
how fast the years make ghosts.
I heard them once called brawler’s paws.
For me, they were always more:
cobras, poised to strike.
But his brawling days are gone now;
I could kill him with a pillow,
if I cared enough to try.
Thin sheets press tightly to a bed
more empty than full, his body broken
like the promises of childhood.
Haunted eyes betray last thoughts
of a dim path, spiraling down.
He hopes to make amends.
“Forgiven?” he croaks,
barely there, as always,
and I’m wishing that I wasn’t.
With the last rays of day as witness,
I turn my back with purpose
and hear the silence roar.
In a late-night bar, I catch my reflection
swimming in a glass of bourbon;
but I’m staring at a ghost.
First published in Writers’ Forum Magazine issue 163, April 2015 – first place
Thank you so much to Ryan Stone for doing an interview for me. I appreciate his time answering the interview questions a great deal. I would love tointerview you too. Please let me know if you’re interested in sharing yourself and yourwriting on my blog. You can reach me on my Contact Page.
I’m Sangbad Mitra from India. I live in Kolkata, West Bengal which is also known as the Cultural Capital. My blog name is Thoughts of Words. Kolkata is one of the major Indian cities. I live in the south of the city which is popularly known as ‘South Calcutta’ or ‘Kolkata’—however, you take the name of a country. There are malls and colleges in this portion. There is also a bypass in front of my home and there is a National Highway two kilometers away.
2. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging? Was there a Reason you Did? What Do Blogging and Writing Mean to You?
I’ve been writing for more than a decade. Teacher’s Day will be the thirteenth year of my writing spree. Most of these years, I’ve been a closeted author/poet, until this November. After my last and my first true relationship ended abruptly. I needed to vent my feelings in order to remain calm. I started writing to deny the call of addiction such as alcohol and drugs. And I re-embarked on my writing journey. Before that, there was a gap of two or three years where I hadn’t written anything. It was a relief to write the world a few stories and poems again.
” I started writing to deny the call of addiction such as alcohol and drugs. And I re-embarked on my writing journey. Before that, there was a gap of two or three years where I hadn’t written anything. It was a relief to write the world a few stories and poems again.” Sangbad Mitra
3. Where do you Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing and Blogging? What is it important to you to continue with your writing and blogging?
When I began my blog, I used to write out of nemesism mostly. But, in April, this changed. I participated in the National Poem Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). On the first day, the prompt was to write a poem such as Kay Ryan wrote, and I wrote a poem. It was called “Crow.”
The next morning I saw that my poem had been featured on the NaPoWriMo prompt website. This made me think and change my view on life. I stood in front of mirror asking why I had been writing what I had been, before. That’s when I began I writing what I wanted to write and not what other wanted me to write. When I write poetry, now write to express my thoughts and my view, all because my poem about my pet crow was featured for NaPoWriMo.
As well, my writing became a cathartic process. In my new phase of writing, my inspiration mostly came from my broken relationship. I wrote to keep thoughts of her out of my mind, to ‘forget’ about her. Before, when I used to feel depressed or low, I wrote using my experiences, writing what others would like. That was my purpose in writing. Nonetheless, I was satisfied with the changes in my writing after 1st April and NaPoWriMo. Now, I write what is on my mind, directly, and this is freeing.
Another thing that inspires and motivates me is my city, Kolkata.The vibrancy, the vibe, the beat of my city inspires me. I also have a section on my blog for writing about my city, under the Anthology section of my blog.
4. What are your Writing and Blogging Habits? Where do you Most Enjoy about Writing? Is there a Particular Time of Day you Prefer to Write?
I don’t have any particular writing habits. You may find me on the subway and writing on phone or do the same while taking the bus. Standing and writing on my cell phone is pretty typical for me. I use the WordPress app to write on. Although, at night, I maintain a diary.
Additionally, I like writing about the citizens of Kolkata. I write about people such as my Lady neighbor. She’s a recurring character in many of my Kolkata series poems. As well, the neighbor’s Neem tree also is the topic of some of my writing. There’s a poem called “Neem, my Neighbor” about this tree from NaPoWriMo.
“Another thing that inspires and motivates me is my city, Kolkata. The vibrancy, the vibe, the beat of my city inspires me. I also have a section on my blog for writing about my city. . .” -Sangbad Mitra
5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects with your Blog and Outside of It?
Right now, for my Thoughts of Words blog (I just call it my “Thoughts” blog), I’m writing a novella Captive which is in hiatus state now and will continue in August. Outside of this, I’m also writing stories which I’ll share once a week beginning next month, in place of my serialized novel Fables of Time. I’m also writing more fables for this series and will share them on my blog when I’ve written considerably more of them.
These fables are something I’m also writing, outside of my blog. Other projects I’m working on outside of the blog include preparing my Chapbook for self-publishing. A portion of this chapbook will be the poems I wrote for NaPoWriMo. There’ll be forty poems in the book. A third project I’m working on outside of the blog is an epic novel.
6. Have you Published Any Writing or Poetry Before your Recent Plans to Publish your Writing? Can Your Briefly Describe Your Writing Process?
No, I haven’t published any of my writing at this point. By the end of the year, I aspire to publish the Chapbook.
When am writing a poem, I write my piece and then I read it few more times before putting my signature to it. In the case of writing a story, after I complete writing a chapter or a short story, I set it aside. It reread my chapter or short story and then after a few days, I rewrite the portions I’m unsatisfied with. I also rewrite parts of the story I feel is not what I want them to be. In the case of essays, I write them over a day or two before finishing the final draft. So, it’s writing, rewriting, reading, and re-reading.
“When am writing a poem, I write my piece and then I read it few more times before putting my signature to it. In the case of writing a story, after I complete writing a chapter or a short story, I set it aside. It reread my chapter or short story and then after a few days, I rewrite the portions I’m unsatisfied with.” – Sandbad Mitra
7. Do you Prefer Certain Areas of Writing and Readings Genres?
I’m much inclined to reading old Bengali classics than writing in the English language. As well, I prefer reading Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay over Mark Twain. For genres, I prefer to read/watch thrillers for the most part. In the past few months, I’ve read the Travelogue of Marco Poloand now am reading story collection of Kafka.
When it comes to writing, I prefer to write whatever it is I want to say. It may be words against terrorism or it may be words describing a summer night. The only genre I feel I’m incompetent is erotica, although, I’ve written few. Recently, I post one on Saturday’s if I’ve been able to write one.
8. Do you have Any Helpful Advice for Other Bloggers and Writers?
My advice is to never stop writing. Write, share, and listen to what others are saying. Don’t get down or agitated because readers are useful as teachers to writers. Also, don’t be vain or self-proud. Pride can be the worst enemy and causes the greatest of writers to fail. I like to hear my readers’ views. Comments make me happy along with receiving ‘likes.’
“Write, share, and listen to what others are saying. Don’t get down or agitated because readers are useful as teachers to writers. Also, don’t be vain or self-proud. Pride can be the worst enemy and causes the greatest of writers to fall.” -Sangbad Mitra.
9. For fun, What Are Your Top-Three Favorite Blogs? What Do You Like About Them?
Top three…there are more than three…but there are these two bloggers to whom I always remain indebted to in my blog journey. Both Meenakshi Sethi (my Elder Sister’s blog) and Gina Gallyot’s blog: SingleDust. I call her LoveDust. Both these women are my oldest followers but are also always pushing me to write whenever I want to quit. I read their reviews of my writing and I change my mind. Sometimes I also ask them how they tolerate my nagging and they inspire and help me despite my flaws.
10. Please Share with Us Some Pieces from Your Blog: My First Post: The Morning That Was Serene and Melancholy
The Featured Poem that Changed My Writing Perspective: Crow by Sangbad Mitra
Thanks to Sangbad for agreeing to interviewed and providing insight into his writing and life. If you would like to be interviewed for your writing, blogging, or cause your write or blog for, you can reach out to me through my contact page. See You Next Week!
Our friend Sailorpoet, S Francis, had the idea of a time at the cafe called “After Hours.” These hours, for me, are some of my favorite in the day. I am not really a morning person, and need that caffeine to get going, but staying up late–I’m good at that. You never know what things can happen in the After Hours, and believe me, I have had some interesting late nights or simply observed some interesting scenarios.
So After Hours will take on a bit more of the sensual/erotic tone of the cafe–my favorite tone. The poems tonight are some I have previously written on Twitter under @midwestfantasy. So grab a late night Kahlúa and coffee and free your senses and imagination…
Good Morning All! I’m reminding you I’m still on break from my regularly scheduled Tuesday Writer, Blogger, or Cause interviews. Also from ‘Rewind interviews, those done since I began doing the interviews series on Mandibelle16. I’ll be back July 18th with those. I needed some time to think and write and relax. Unfortunately, as I’m sure you all find, there’s never enough time to write all that you want and need to write!
Anyways here’s this week’s poem:
Credit: María Victoria Heredia Reyes via UnSplash
You cannot undo what you have done,
In your storm of compulsions.
Scattered actions, swinging fists, words of blame.
Never believing my voice,
More defeating blows.
Bruises are bleeding, inside all is seething,
Breathing in and out, controlling breath.
Words annihilate, split bones.
How can you say, it’s good to make a woman cry?
For rain to pour down and drown her;
Just so she understands?
Failed miscalculations in pharaoh’s heart of stone.
Comprehending what you do not,
With words far sharper — iron talons that saw.
Beat her with sticks and stones without pause,
Psychologically busted, mental health rusted,
You’ve no understanding,
No attempt to listen.
No proof, just a tone of voice that belittles.
Never noticing the best a person can do,
Yard stick smashing, she doesn’t measure up.
Spots or crumbs, minute details,
Hyperbolized, your thoughts gone awry.
An illusion of fantasy, to the decay of time,
To a world that’s perfect,
Exactly how you like.
Turn the handles three times, walk three steps.
Uncurl your mind, a labyrinth to roam,
Midas the king becomes the Minotaur,
A maze of hell engaged.
Punching red stones,
Hands deepen ruby tones.
The best is never enough,
She cannot jump high enough to cross the bar;
Pole vaulting isn’t her sport,
So she hides, a sad girl cries.
Trying to manage, find respect,
But told to shut up and listen to threats.
Not accommodated when she asks, “Please don’t corner me.”
You were warned, chose to press the red button,
Thoroughly flawed, in judgement uncouth.
A cadence you might understand,
If you chose to see her beneath,
Your misguided thoughts.
I don’t have to meet your expectations,
I have to live the life God granted, with my entire soul.
Each day can be a struggle,
You fail to look beyond your knowledge,
To try to understand.
Defeat the discrimination engrained,
Reasons you don’t believe the truth.
How hard people strive for you,
How you throw it in their face.
Never realizing how insides are carved,
Painfully outward to improve, to fail . . .
Small achievements scattered,
Pieces worth hours upon hours.
Stained glass art,
Unseen by those who lack appreciation.
Her work has no value,
Your imply, she does not do —
Precisely as you would please.
Use someone else to prop up your ignorance,
She fights on her own, keeps telling you,
Don’t make up excuses, don’t put up a front,
But you always do it as you always have;
A ‘united front of lies.’
Speak for yourself without implication,
Your plethora of jumbled words,
You trap yourself by your own merits.
Words digging into her heart walls,
Blood spurts and puddles.
A girl cannot even depend . . .
You don’t even see it, you only imagine,
Your perspective of what life is supposed to be — unchallenged.
Ignoring the writings on the wall,
It’s never enough for you, will never be.
So kill your expectations,
They are no longer my prison;
I do not owe you, you made choices too.
It’s love that drives my helpfulness,
Though little you think of it.
I am only myself already,
Back broken, so carry your own burdens;
They are not mine to bear.
You act old and rusted,
Frail by attitude.
Not understanding true fatigue,
You have no concept, just grudges;
A case of eggs cracking.
Instead of belittling words,
For those of you expecting an interview, ‘Rewind or new interview,’ I apologize. I’m taking a two week- break to rest, relax, do some reading, put together a few interviews, and finish off some work projects. I’ll be back on the 18th with a new interview with Sangbad and Christine, two baraista’s on The Go Dog Cafe, with their consecutive interviews.
For now, enjoy an older piece of poetry I’ve written and rewrote. I’ll have another piece next week, during my holiday.
Thanks for your understanding!
Credit: Aimée Volgelsang via UnSplash
Once you were,
The light that lit my path, flames scorching,
Warmth that kept the chill at bay;
I knew that you were it.
Now you’re forever down the path,
Where ‘the green grass grows;’
Beside you, her, your forever girl.
I’ve tried to stop seeing your face,
The one I yearn for,
Eyes that make my body melt;
A suffusion of want.
I don’t know what’s in me that loves you,
Only do I know,
The expressions of your face.
The flare of your pupils, eyes sharp and meandering,
Gleaming stars memorizing,
Your volcanic stare.
You’re hers and cannot be mine,
I don’t long for you;
I don’t want you.
Yet you remain,
Forever a shock to my system,
A singular epileptic convulsion of my heart.
A glitter and glimpse of mad love,
Where love, hate, and ambiguity twist in synchronicity.
Love is love and first loves don’t fade,
Or dissolve into something worth keeping.
My mind sees your long figured hands composing,
Your smooth words causing,
The crowds hystarical laughter.
I no longer stand out, I’m a faceless person,
With heart raw from yester-years’ emptiness;
Your scarring fire.
Eyes sparking my heart with sapphire dreams.
Little girls, oh,porcelain dolls,
Never give your love away,
For a handsome smile and hungry eyes.
Little girl never love forever —
When you are not loved in return.
Love unrequited, the one that got away —
Tears a permanent hole;
Malice an unintended repercussion.
You’ll search for years to fill that hole,
To discover that contentedness — she gives him.
Stars don’t alighn, the planets are skittering,
Ping-ponging across the universe.
Pulse racing madly,
Unrequited love, searing.
Stitches holding wounds together,
The foreboding wale of brokenness caged.
Forgive and forget — move on.
Wasn’t it supposed to heal?
And now I realize far to late,
That I must stand alone.
Princess fighting my own dragons.
Memories of the past,
The most fearsome beast of all.
A wicked shard wedged in my heart,
Yet, maturity has revealed:
I am my own girl to the last;