For this week’s blog, I interviewed my friend and fellow writer Sue Rutan Donald. Sue is a contributor to the Mighty.com, writes poems for friends and family, and has her own blog, Some of Sue’s Thoughts.
First is a sampling of Sue’s poems and my interview follows.
Even in the rain and gloom,
I love how still the flowers bloom,
They stored up sun from other days,
To continue sharing in their own way,
The hummingbirds still flit and sip
The nectar there as around they flit,
Let us then be flower-like,
Presenting, still, our sunny side.
HEART OF SUMMER
Here in the heart of the summer,
Some of us think it’s a bummer,
We have frizzy hair,
Due to air you can wear,
Less humidity sure would be funner!
The sun comes up,
The moon retreats,
Time for stars to go to sleep,
Our eyes open,
Alarm clocks ding,
In the shower,
Some folks sing,
Hot brew’s ready,
Juice is cold,
Off we go now–
Be brave! Be bold!
You are hot!
Some of us like that a lot,
Some prefer dear Autumn’s ways,
With cooler air and shorter days,
But Summer now that you are here,
You’ll go too fast is what I fear,
I love your sunny, longer days,
And in the twilight how fireflies play,
I will enjoy the parts I like,
But Humidity can take a hike!
Friday morning rain
Makes things a little hard
Drivers do not like it
But it is good for the yard.
1.) Q: Sue, when did you start getting interested in writing?
A: For as long as I can remember I have written little rhymes and kept a journal. I always loved writing stories in elementary school and used to submit poems to the school newsletter. I began writing stories for myself in high school.
2.) Q: What inspires you to write your poems?
A: The poems that I post on Facebook are inspired by my desire to find common ground with everyone. There is so much negativity and things that divide us, especially lately, and I wanted to add something positive that is relevant to daily life. Many of my poems celebrate the mundane, such as looking forward to coffee in the morning, feeling unready for the workweek on Monday, and complaining or expressing pleasure with the weather. The poems that I keep for myself are more emotional in nature and are inspired by what is happening in my life; both the good and the bad.
3.) Q: Which poets have influenced your own poetry?
A: I’d have to say that Robert Frost influenced my poetry and also Dr. Seuss! Robert Frost seems to be the poet for the common man and woman, and I love the sing-song rhyming and made up words that you find in Dr. Seuss books. Both of them get their point across in a pleasurable manner.
4.) Q: What time of the day do you usually write?
A: I don’t really have a set time of day that I write, it’s usually just whenever the opportunity presents itself in between work, my family, and household responsibilities. The little Facebook rhymes are usually written in the morning and many of my blog posts are written early Sunday morning on my old iPod touch, believe it or not. Other writing, such as an article for The Mighty or some writing exercises are typically done in the afternoon between getting home from work and my daughter coming home from her day program.
5.) Q: You have a blog “Some of Sue’s Thoughts.” How did you decide to begin this blog?
A: I started my blog because I had all these stories written and no place to keep them, plus I wondered if I was able to get my point across to others with my writing. The blog seemed like a good place to share them.
6.) Q: What do you write about on your blog?
A: My blog isn’t about one specific thing, as the title implies, it’s simply whatever I feel like writing about at the time. It contains stories about everything from my life with my daughter with special needs, my other daughter, my husband, memories from my childhood, to poison ivy, poetry, spiders, and technology. The most read post on my blog is “I’m Not Always Gracious” which is short, but is about my feelings when my youngest daughter graduated from middle school. The least read is the very first post “Broken Shells” which is about both my daughters and is also my favorite.
7.) Q: We are both members of the same writers group. How does this group help you with your writing?
A: The writers group keeps me motivated to keep writing when I get into a funk and I think that everything I write is garbled nonsense. It also has helped me learn some writing techniques and gives me feedback about whether or not I’m successfully getting my point across to the reader.
8.) Q: Do you have specific writing goals for this year? If so, what are they?
A: My writing goals for this year are to submit and (hopefully) publish four articles on The Mighty and also to find one other publication that will use my stories occasionally. I also am trying to be more consistent about posting on my blog once a week.
9.) Q; What is your favorite part about writing?
A: I like focusing my thoughts on something and then exploring different aspects of it when I write an article or a story. With the poems, I like that I am connecting with people and am not above a rhyming challenge. I love to play with words and their order and try to say something in a way that has some rhythm and rhyme.
10.) Q: I know a German company saw one of your articles in the Mighty.com and used it for a promotion. Can you tell us about that?
A: I wrote a story for The Mighty about the ways that my youngest daughter, who has multiple disabilities, is the same as neurotypical people of all ages. A few weeks after being published I received a message in the comments section of my blog from a representative of a German based production company. They wanted to know if I would give them permission to use some of the points of my article and the pictures of my daughter and me that were with it to make a short video to raise awareness of disability issues and specifically the ways in which we are all the same. After doing some research on the company I gave my permission and they sent me a link to the finished product. It was in German and was about 30 seconds long, but they did a nice job and credited both me and The Mighty as sources. It was a surprise when it happened.
11.) Q: Would you like to conclude the interview with some of your thoughts?
A: I’d like to thank you for interviewing me, and for sharing your publishing journey with me and the members of our writers group. Writing is a good way to exercise the mind, and I think it’s fun to do. The way some people feel about buying shoes is how I feel about notebooks and pens–that is, every pretty or unique one I see I want to have. Nothing is more pleasurable than opening a brand new notebook or journal and writing in it with a brand new pen.
Keep writing, Sue! You brighten your readers’ day with you wit, keen observations, and rhymes.