Monday, September 28, 2015

BLOG OF THE WEEK ~ AN UPDATE WITH DE JACKSON

This week, we are making a return visit to     to the talented and vivacious De Jackson, who writes at Whimsygizmo's Blog. De lives in Henderson, Nevada, which is just outside Las Vegas. We last spoke with her in an interview in 2012, so I thought it might be time to make a trip to the hot and dusty desert, to see how she is faring these days. From the sound of things, everything is going wonderfully in Henderson!


Me and my hubby in Utah last June


Sherry: De, bring us up to date with your life since our interview in 2012. Still living happily in the desert in Nevada? How are your wonderful husband and children doing? And how is the adorable Kiera-Kai? 

De: Goodness! Has it been 3 years already? Time doesn’t just fly; it falls. Let’s see…I was honored as a Poet Laureate for Writer’s Digest’s Poetic Asides (with Robert Lee Brewer) in December of 2012 – that was a huge highlight for me (the news came on the eve of my birthday!)

I’m still desert-bound in Southern Nevada, but happy to be surrounded by the people I love most in the world. My hubby’s good. We’re both writers, so there’s a lot of good old introverted silence around here, and some great word conversations. Both kids are in junior high now, so we’re navigating those lovely teen-and-tween years. And math classes waaaaaay beyond my scope of understanding.


Kiera-Kai. It always has to be two balls,
never just one. She's a crackup.

Kiera-Kai is still our furry baby – just enough terrier to be psycho; just enough chihuahua to be neurotic. She’s hilarious. And she’s been joined by a very large feline brother, Phantom Samurai, and a bearded dragon named Flint. Add in my son’s tarantula, and a dozen or so varied species of insects and arachnids, and the Jackson menagerie is (hopefully!) complete. 


Phantom Samurai

I do still pick up the occasional copywriting job. I don’t solicit them much any more, but when an old client comes calling, I usually accept the gig. I’m mostly focused on poetry these days.

Sherry: I know you love the ocean, especially Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast, where you were hoping to return for your anniversary. I recall your telling me “I breathe best near water.” Have you been back there since 2012? Still making your annual migration to Lake Tahoe?



Cannon Beach, Oregon, 2014
This photo makes my heart ache.
I want to be there.

De: Yes! I’m happy to say that last year, finally, for our 16th anniversary, we spent an incredible 5 days there. And as a family, we spent a full month away this summer – Tahoe, with a Carmel (-by-the-Sea) center. We have family in Tahoe, and we get to go back for a wedding in October, and then again for Thanksgiving. It truly is my Happy Place.


My Happy Place.
The north shore of Lake Tahoe.

Sherry: It all sounds glorious, De. And I know what you mean about your heart aching for the ocean. Mine does, too. 

In our interview, you told us you have been writing since you could first hold a pencil. In 2012, you mentioned hoping to put together a chapbook, and also to do some writing for children. How are those projects going, my friend? 

De: Hmmmm. Guess I better get on that, huh? Have I mentioned that I’m much better at “hoping to” than actually doing? I’ve written hundreds of poems since then (it all averages out to about one a day, and last May I even did 18 hours of a 24-hour poem-an-hour challenge). 

Sherry: WOW! That sounds highly ambitious! Good for you! I don't know that I could stay awake  that long, never mind write eighteen poems!

De: I’ve had a small smattering of success in various publications, both online and print. I’ve also entered a couple of chapbooks into challenges. I haven’t blown any of the dust off of my children’s book manuscripts. I haven’t figured out how to wrangle any poems into a book for publishing, self or otherwise. But I’m writing. And writing and writing and writing. It’s two different sides of my brain, really. And only the “write” side works, right now. I’m goin’ with it.


Nature is my favorite inspiration. God leaves me Valentines
all year long.


Sherry: That sounds perfect, kiddo. Recently, I really enjoyed your poem “This Poem Got Up On the Wrong Side of the Bed” and would love to include it here. Tell us a bit about how it came to be?

De: Sometimes when I get stuck, I simply type the words “This Poem Is…” and then freewrite.  For this poem, we were asked to write about poetry itself, and I was having a particularly “stuck” sort of week. Thus, this: 

this poem got up on the wrong side of the bed 


this poem
is a lost soul, waiting
to be chased; a loose tongue
that can not erase
the things it’s said.

this poem wanted to be in
-digo, until i stained it
slightly unblushed pink.
i think it’s mad, but
it’s hard to tell.

this poem is a spell
without a witch, which
ticks it off so much it just
might twitch its own damn
nose and make you
all dis
-appear.
this poem is a smear, a
smudge, a too-small aching
nudge toward something
greater than all this
stupid
skin.

this poem knows
how to begin, but never
where to end.
it’s a fair-weathered un
-feathered friend, a hopeghost
bird with only a small strain
of song.

this poem is empty,
full
of longing,
loss
and lies.

to love the poem,
you must release it, crease
it in two. hope
it flies.

Sherry: I absolutely adore this poem-come-to-life. Especially it making all of us disappear. 

DeIf you like this idea, Hannah Gosselin takes it even one step further with a cool form that inspires. You can check it out here.


Sherry: I adore Hannah's Boomerang Form! Are there a couple of other poems you would like to include here? and tell us something about each one?




My daughter is a poem! 


De: Since I’m a desert-bound soul who longs for sea, and there’s that “grass is always greener” thing, I assume perhaps mermaids feel the same way about land:


Cordelia’s Cottage for Wayward Sea Maidens



If you crave legs,
girls, just crawl aboard
this verdant shore.

A roof made of more
than salt and wave?
Come, be saved by
copper, and balsa
and sunlight. Feel
the blades between
your hungry toes
and know that
this world is made
of more than shim
-mer, sway.

Stay as long as you like
but when you go, take
a piece with you
back to sea and leave
         (weave)
something in its
   wake:
a sapphire scale, a trinket,
a finely finned tear.

Every storm steals some
-thing, leaves something
else behind.

Mermaid drawing by my daughter Abby


Sherry: How I love "this world is made of something more than shimmer, sway." And your daughter is a talented artist already.

De: This one was written for Poetic Asides during the May Poem-a-Day Challenge. (I’m one of those twisted souls who loves fractured fairy tales.)

cutting off your hair (and other unconventional 
uses for a sword) 


nobody knows she feels small
in the wee hours of the morning,
watching the moon fade
in this world of magic mirrors and
tower cages and identities tied
to golden tresses
long
enough
to
climb.

nobody asked her if she wants
to marry a prince or be a gleeful
pauper or feel the dirt between
her unslippered toes.

nobody knows she dreams
of dragons, armor,
distant shores and un
-furled sails, a place where
nobody endlessly calls
her name.

nobody’s seen her
since tuesday.



Sherry: I love fractured fairy tales the best! I love the realness of the princess nobody knows.

De: An extra/different poem:

Tryin’ to throw her arms around the world 


Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.
                                                        - Brian Andreas
Teach it to sing
in perfect harm
-ony; teach it to dance
like no one’s watching.

Tell it a story,
some sign of hope.
Carve your name somewhere
on its surface, I was here.Buy it a Coke, then use it
to burn all the crap off
of a dirty penny, so you
can once again feel
the raised words
In God We Trust. 
Thrust it further out
into the atmosphere,
test gravity and rocket
science and quantum
something or other
until the equation
adds itself back up
to the sun. 

Teach it the significance
of scars below
or stars above, but
above all else, just
teach it to love.

Sherry: Oh, this is one of my favorites of yours, kiddo. I adore the quote that it sprang from....and "Teach it to love." What a wonderful vision this is.

What other interests do you pursue when you aren’t writing? (And driving kids around to their various activities? I know they are at busy ages right now.) 

De: I’m a voracious reader, when I remember that I am, and make time for it. I swallowed several authors whole this past winter and spring. 

I'm blessed to be part of the gorgeous publication The Phoenix Soul each month, among some incredible artists and writers.

As a family, we love to hike and explore, and we travel as often as we can. We volunteer at an animal sanctuary about an hour from us, and we’re all involved at our church. I’m a big fan of gettin’ outta dodge with my hot hubby. We play a ton of Scrabble. Add in the whole parenting-of-teen-and-tween thing, and there’s little time for anything else.



The boy in his element: fur, scales, antenna

Sherry: It sounds busy and wonderful. Bless you for your work with rescued animals, and with the Church. De, you have been a loyal member of Poets United for several years now. Thank you so much for sticking with us. Is there anything  you’d  like to say to our members?



Coffee in this mermaid mug = morning muse


De: First, THANK YOU. Those of you who take the time to read and comment really do make a difference. Writing can be such a lonely craft, even for us introverts. And please, keep writing. I’m so inspired by all of you. Some of the most amazing up-and-coming poetic talent in the world is right here, in you guys. I’m so thankful to be part of it.

Sherry: I agree, there is a lot of talent among our members, including you. We are so happy you are here! Keep cranking out those wonderful poems, and we'll keep reading! And thanks so much for bringing us up to date with your busy life.

Well, kids? Wasn't this a lovely visit? Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you! 



52 comments:

  1. This is indeed a lovely interview Sherry. De is clearly a unique and taleted writer. I enjoyed all her poems and admire how she incorporates fable and whimsy in her clever writing. I'm so impressed with the richness of her full life. Thanks Sherry for once again letting us peak into the lives and interests of one of the poets at PU.

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind comments, Myrna. :)

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  2. My pleasure, my friend. Happy Monday, everyone! De, thank you for the beauty and colour of your poems and photos, and for sharing your happy, busy life with us! It is such a pleasure to read your words.

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    1. Thank YOU, again, Sherry. You make the process so easy, and fun. I'm so blessed to know you.

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  3. Wonderful interview, De and Sherry! Really enjoyed De's photos yesterday, and now being greeted with this interview today really was a treat. I love the poem "This poem got up on the wrong side of the bed." Made me smile...especially the part about knowing how to begin but not how to end. Ain't that the truth sometime! I do hope you will get busy on that chapbook. And..I agree that, in the blogosphere, making a comment here and there really can make a difference!

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  4. My computer just blinked (gulped?) and swallowed my comment! So this one will be shorter (what's shorter than nothing?). LOVE!!! Especially the hearts everywhere and the uses of a sword. As a high school teacher I often found such hidden life revealed through my students work. I am curious about how much you share your writing with members of your family? Thank you for posting with us and for the many delightful short poems you post throughout the week. Thanks again, Sherry, for doing interviews that matter.

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    1. Sorry 'bout that, Susan. (Mine gets the hiccups.) ;)

      My blog posts go to my Facebook page, so any family member or friend who chooses to can follow my writing. My husband is my biggest fan. When I write something funny, I sometimes show it to my daughter, who also likes to write. I also have a feeling my amazing mama stalks me, but quietly. Even on Facebook, she just silently follows people, no commenting. I think she's afraid she might break the internet. ;)

      Thank you for your sweet comments.

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    2. LOL, I can relate to your mom being afraid of breaking the internet - whenever there is a glitch - and Blogger has many, I am discovering, I am always SURE it is my fault. You are lucky your family reads your work. That must feel very nice.

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    3. My amazing mother, who used to comment on everything, has gotten too frustrated with lost posts to continue now that she is past 90. I'm going to friend you on Facebook.

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    4. Thanks for the be-Friending, Susan. I'm happy to know when you've written something new!

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  5. Ha. I think I like the fractured fairy tale the best.
    I think what I like best about you De is your creativity. In presentation,
    line and word breaks. If feel you on the teen and tweens,
    we are there as well. So I am curious, what does your hubby write?

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    1. Thanks so much, X. And I'll take all the empathy I can get with the kids. Whew.

      By trade, my hubby is the creative soul behind an awesome team of creators and teachers with Central Christian Church, working hard to make the Bible real, relevant, and yes, FUN. On his own time, he has written three young adult fiction/fantasy books (for genre, think C.S. Lewis' Narnia series). They're amazing, and he's just beginning the process of looking for a publisher for one of them. In addition to starting on another one. He's kind of astounding, really.

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    2. Wow, how wonderful when two writers get together. I wish your husband success - that is a popular genre, there is a demand for YA books, if he rights the right publisher, he might find himself with a hit series. Keep us posted.

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    3. Thank you, Sherry. I will tell him. We actually met because we're both writers. We signed up for a "writing team" to help create the Christmas program one year. Guess how many were on that writing team? Two. ;)

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    4. FINDS the right publisher. Sheesh. But there is a demand for YA and the fantasy genre is the rage right now. There is a young woman in my town who supports herself entirely by writing YA novels.

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    5. How wonderful that you are fans of each other! I hope both of you find publishers soon so I can read your writing. (I love the story of your meeting. Sometimes there is no mystery to the way God works.)

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  6. Good Evening, dropping in to see who is featured this week. This interview was a delight to read. I like the fractured fairy-tale and I have to like a tale about someone dreaming of dragons. It sounds like she has a spirit that needs to be free.

    De , Hope to see you around the blogsphere...keep writing as I enjoyed reading your poems.

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  7. Thanks Sherry for the lovely feature and update~ De is so talented and I love her word breaks & creativity ~

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  8. I love this:

    "And only the 'write' side works, right now."

    What an engaging interview, De.

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  9. Thank you De for sharing your interesting life with us and those wonderful poems..thanks Sherry for another great interview....

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    1. Am happy you enjoyed it. Sumana. I certainly enjoyed putting it together.

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    2. Thank you so much, Sumana. :)

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    1. Love backatcha, Gillena. Thank you.

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  11. An inspirational interview - thank you both...teach the dragon about the scars above and below..but most of all teach it to love - resonated for me...even if we are our own dragons...etching our stories however we can...beautiful...as is the heart leaf (still) and your tender joy, wisdom and contentment which filters through your poetry and every photo - a privilege to share!

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    1. Jae Rose, I just love how much "slant" a reader brings to a poem. The original thought was teaching the world those things (flowing from the title.) I absolutely LOVE this take, especially with the thought of it being our own dragons. What a beautiful picture...taming our own dragons. Thank you so much for your kind words. Like anyone, I have some past dragons...some slain, some tamed. I'm thankful that the joy and peace I've been given now shine through those old cracks.

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  12. What a delightful interview and how great you look, De. I loved all of your poems and glad you are still writing. Getting poems together for a book is a lot of work and I am in the middle of it too, collecting poems I have written about my husband. I wish you luck and how great you live in such an interesting area. Your dog is adorable and so happy to see you are all together and happy!!

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    1. Thank you, Barbara. I'm so glad you're writing about your sweet husband. Writing heals so much. Please let us know when the book is available!

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  13. This is such a wonderful interview :D thank you Sherry and De for taking out time and sharing this treat with us all. Gosh.. you seem like a lovely person De.. I enjoy your poems and style of writing :D The mermaid picture by your daughter made me smile and feel like dedicating my poem "Mermaid" on my blog to her.

    I love your poem "This poem got up on the wrong side of the bed" its so moving!!

    this poem knows
    how to begin, but never
    where to end.

    These lines resonate a great deal with me.. often it is that when we compose a poem.. we don't really know how to begin.. let alone where to end.. there is just so much to express isn't it? :D

    Wishing you all the happiness in the world and lots more success to come your way :D Bless you!! :D

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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    1. Thank you so much, Sanaa. I have so been enjoying your work these past few weeks, as I see you in the blogosphere. I write about mermaids, often (which is why she drew it for me.) I will try to find your poem on your blog. Thank you for your kind words.

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  14. Yes, that was great! I especially love the mermaid poem. In fact I'm a great admirer of De's brilliant talent altogether. This interview felt full of life and joy – many thanks to you both.

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    1. You're so kind, Rosemary. Thank you.

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  15. I love the interview, and it's so great to know more about you. Many years ago I spent a year in the desert, and it does affect you a lot. I have always loved your writing. It seems like the life you have in Nevada is a truly wonderful one..

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  16. Wonderful interview, Sherry !! It is such a joy to learn more about De.... What a gift you have given us with your amazing rescue efforts and your writing! Thank you so much for sharing both!

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    1. Thanks, Panchali. We don't get to the animal sanctuary as often as we'd like. If my son had his way, we'd be there every weekend. They really are an amazing organization.

      Thank you for your kind words.

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  17. This was a real treat De and Sherry....I was so pleased to get to know you more De and read these incredible poems. A big thank you to both of you!

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  18. Thank you De for opening the window a crack for us to see into your magical (and blessed) world. So much to be inspired by (children, animals, life.) Enjoy the journey...

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  19. I'm so happy everyone enjoyed getting to know De better - such a joyous heart, you have, De. Thanks for sharing a lovely glimpse into your happy life with us.

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    1. Thank you, Sherry-my-favorite-color-of-Sky. ;) You're a delight.

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  20. De, you brought a smile to my face~ So, nice to learn more about you and your lovely family~ Your poems take me to the corners of my heart-thank you~

    A lovely interview, ladies!!

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    1. Thank you, Ella. What a thoughtful comment.

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  21. Such BIG love swells and spills from my heart for you, de!! I love every part of your amazing life...each beat and breathing being and bursting poem...every time I see mermaids and turquoise ink I think of you, too!! ;) Thank you, Sherry and de for this wonderful interview - thank you, de for mentioning the boomerang!! You're inspiring and I'm so happy to know you in this poetic life! ((hugs))

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    1. My Hannah! I adore you. Thank you so much for your sweet words.

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