A quick welcome to my guest today, Laurel Garver! I recently had the opportunity to read her collection of poetry that's releasing NOW.
One word: awesome.
And so, I invited her here to find a little more about her writing. Who doesn't love getting to the core of what motivates a writer, eh? A quick bio:
Laurel Garver is a magazine editor, poet, and writer of faith-based fiction. She enjoys quirky independent films, British TV, and geeking out about Harry Potter and Dr. Who. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.
Welcome, Laurel! Have some cheese, eh? First off, how did you get started writing poetry?
In my angst-filled teen years, poetry was a way of channeling negative feelings. But once I began to really study poetry in AP English, I was struck by how it can succinctly communicate the most moving and profound ideas. Poems are too powerful to waste on wallowing—that’s what a journal is for.
I completely agree. Poetry is awesome! So, where do you find inspiration?
I’m drawn to the weird and off-kilter—things not usually thought of as poetry fodder, like derelict factories, evil chickens, Goth girls, leash-trained gerbils, pica. There is a certain beauty in weirdness, and it has the power to break through our ordinary ways of thinking and being. I also like to explore those small, pivotal moments when we have glimpses of grace or divine presence acting behind the scenes.
LOL! In high school my friends and I considered "weird" a compliment. ;) So, along those lines, can you tell us the back story behind one of the pieces in your collection?
“Sixth Story” is a piece jam-packed with the beauty of the weird. It’s about an actual suicide attempt on a Christian college campus where I was a student. An attendee had a psychotic episode and was threatening throw herself out an upper floor window to escape snakes she saw pouring out of the walls, bidden forth by demons that resided in the hallway. One group after another tried to talk her down, to no avail. Her rescuer, a sort of Christ-figure in the story, played along with her delusion, saying he’d locked up the snakes in handcuffs and she was now safe. The incident epitomized for me how religious communities often deal poorly with mental illness when what’s most needed is simple loving compassion—a core value religion is supposed to embody.
Now that's a story. And now, every writer is influenced by someone else. Who has had the strongest influence on your writing?
Madeleine L’Engle’s work has been the most influential in helping me discover and trust my own voice, and to boldly keep my faith at the center of what I create.
She is amazing. For fun, you’re stranded on a deserted island. What 3 things would you take?
A Swiss Army knife, a water filter and a Bible. I’m sure I could figure out how to write on palm fronds if I weren’t starving and dehydrated (thus the first two tools). And if forced to be a hermit, I’d want to be equipped to get the most spiritual benefit from the experience.
That's entirely too practical. I'd be taking a magical cheese producing machine. (The scientists in my basement are hard at work on that one.) And speaking of cheese, if you could only have one type of cheese for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
It’d be content with an extra-sharp English-made cheddar (though I’d pine for Cotswold).
Mm... Now I'm hungry. Thanks for joining us today, Laurel, and here's wishing you all the success in the world with your wonderful poetry!
About Muddy-Fingered Midnights:
This thirty-poem collection is an eclectic mix of light and dark, playful and spiritual, lyric and narrative free verse. In an intricate dance of sound play, it explores how our perceptions shape our interactions with the world. Here child heroes emerge on playgrounds and in chicken coops, teens grapple with grief and taste first love, adults waver between isolation and engaged connection. It is a book about creative life, our capacity to wound and heal, and the unlikely places we find love, beauty, and grace.
Check out her book here.
And how about you? What cheese would you choose if you could ONLY have one for the rest of your life?