And my guest for today’s show is the absolutely wonderful betwixtthepages. One of my inspirations and deviantART idols, Elizabeth (Better known as Beth; and who camelopardalisinblue and I affectionately call Poetyface) here, for those that don't know, has been a bit of a mentor for me. She's taught me the ropes on how to really get started with things like DailyLitRecognition and has just been so supportive of me with all my endeavors. She's one of those deviants I'm so honored to call a friend of mine (A close one at that) and deviantART would be oh so totally different without her presence. She's one of my favorite people around for sure. Both as an artist and a person.
So I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with me for the series, Beth. It would've been near blasphemous to not have the person that was the first one to really inspire this series in the first place not be on here. Thank you for being a part of it. You add so much greatness to the show.
Oh, goodness. Well, let's see.... First and foremost, I guess, there are a couple of wonderful Lit people hosting contests soon who are looking for prize donations. Please contact either Nichrysalis or SilverInkblot if you're interested in donating (if you haven't already done so!)
Second, HELLO! I hope this interview gives you a better look into my dA persona! If you ever have any questions or concerns, need help, or just want someone willing to listen, please feel free to note me.
And onto my first question, Beth. You, to me, have one of the prettiest usernames of all writers on deviantART but I wondered where the inspiration came from. Why TwilightPoetess of all things?
Thank you! (Of course, Poety'.)
It's simple, really. I used to lurk on MSN Messenger ALL THE TIME...and I get bored easily, so I was always changing my handle to things like "Moonlit Fae" and "Rose Lady" and such like. It was during one of these transitions that I happened upon TwilightPoetess. I adore this time of day (twilight/sunset) and I'm a Poet, so it seemed fitting...and from there, became my handle on pretty much everything online.
For those wondering--NO, I DO NOT mean the Twilight Saga. Just the time of day. So please, don't confuse it, okay?
Secondly, you’re certainly a deviantART veteran as you’ve been around for about 6 years now (I believe your 6th dAnniversary came on June 14th). And you, yourself have made a huge impact onto the community but how has the community impacted you? Any shifts in the community that really hit you hard? Also, we’d love to know what your favorite parts of this community are and also what caused you to join deviantART in the first place.
Well, let's see. I was in a pretty rough place at the time I joined. I had taken a HUGE misstep in my personal life and was in a pretty bad spot (though I hadn't quite accepted this yet) and a friend of mine posted a link to his profile here. I was curious--I had been a member of another online poetry community in high school and was missing the interactions I'd had with other writers, so I followed his link and ended up creating my own account, and I've been here ever since! (Also, for those wondering, the friend I followed here is my husband. His profile is here: AzraeloftheRoses, though he isn't as active these days.)
That being said, I didn't REALLY start being active in the community until a few years ago; I'd been featured by DLD multiple times by this point and had started to discover and unveil the different layers of the lit community/figure out who the people here were, so I started trying my best to give back. Most days, I still don't feel like I hit the mark--the people of this community are wonderful, and have given me more than I think I could ever give back. People on this site come and go--I've seen and had many favorites leave after just discovering them--but you all go out of your way to be helpful to those in need. I love that about this community--a helping hand is always just around the corner.
Also, those of you I've had the honor of collaborating with? You all hold a special place in my heart, as well, for continuously challenging and pushing me out of my comfort zone. That being said, I'm always open for a collab--just note me if you'd like, WHENEVER you'd like, and we'll get something started!
I think the only shift that REALLY hit me hard in regards to the Lit Community was when DLD shut down recently. I was one of the first (if not THE FIRST) to realize what had happened and my mood shifted dramatically within seconds. DLD had become a figurehead to me--I joined the team to give back and had really found a home there. But, DailyLitRecognition started up soon after, and the transition, while hard at first, was something I think needed to be made, so no use lingering over old news, right?
And because of your wonderful community spirit and just overall fantastic talent, you were also made a Senior Member, not an accolade many deviants have. So how did you first feel when you received this great honor? And for those that don’t know, Senior Members are selected by the DCO (Director of Community Operations, fourteenthstar) and are given to certain deviants for a multitude of different reasons. To learn more, go here: How do I become a Senior Member?
Gosh, I was SO, SO shocked. I remember somebody--I think it was SilverInkblot--left a comment on my profile soon after the change occurred about my new symbol and I just stared at the comment for a minute in disbelief. "What? Me? No. No way." Sure enough, when I scrolled back UP and found my username, there it was--the little senior `. I thought for sure my heart was going to explode. Sometimes I still don't believe it really happened.
And speaking of being impactful on the community, you also have a few series going on. The most prominent for me (and inspirational) being “A Call To Conversation:.” This series has inspired this one tremendously and I would love to know what inspired YOU to start that series?
A Call to Conversation was the first series I began. I have been around long enough to have seen my share of feature series (Friday Night Features, for instance) and interviews, but I hadn't seen many that strove to be unique. I love talking to people--I find their answers to certain questions interesting and, therefore, wanted to bring that to an interview format. I wanted to GET TO KNOW them, not just on the surface but on a more personal level--and therefore, I try my best to set not only questions about their specific crafts, but also questions that make them think or reconsider things. I also rather like silly questions--I think you can learn a lot about a personality from how people answer questions that don't seem meaningful.
You also impact the community by being involved with a lot of different groups. These include groups like BurdenedHearts as well as DailyLitRecognition. Can you tell our audience about each of these truly fantastic groups you help run and maintain?
While half the groups I admin have sort of fallen silent, the groups I'm drawn to tend to have the same goals: Helping others, bringing unknown artists into the light, that sort of thing.
DailyLitRecognition I already mentioned above--it is the new home of what used to be called DLD. We strive to feature 5 quality, undiscovered pieces of writing each day of the week; we have also branched out with other set features and activities for the weekends of the month.
BurdenedHearts was created by BloodshotInk, who sent out a mass note to others she thought might be interested in helping those in need. Our goal is to lend an ear and help others find people to talk to or who might help with their problems--it's a sort of support group, I guess.
dAy-Brighteners was created just recently by Aerode--the goal is to try to brighten the days of other deviants through a meaningful comment on their pages, artwork, or in notes.
lacoterie is a prompt group; we don't have many active members right now, and have been fighting to get membership back up, so if you like writing and you're drawn to a challenge, feel free to check us out!
Multhaiku is a group created by Nichrysalis ; we focus on unconventional haiku, tanka, and other such short poems.
TheTitlePage was created by SilverInkblot for a found poetry project she came up with--we use only the titles of other works on dA for fodder for the pieces. It's a TON of fun--but be careful, they're addictive!
Now onto poetry-centric questions. You have a very imagery-laden, beauteous, and distinct style of writing. Your voice is purely “Beth” and I wonder how you really developed your style the way that you have over the years. Was it just constantly writing or was it other things that affected the way you wrote (and currently write)?
Thank you! (No need to thank me, you deserve it!)
When I was in elementary school, we had a series of assignments in third grade for a writing contest and I remember I'd enjoyed them. It wasn't until middle school that I really started writing, though--a friend of mine started a poem, couldn't finish it, and passed it along to me.
Since then, my constant companions have been pencil and paper. I didn't really begin to develop my own style until high school, however--and it didn't become what it is TODAY without a lot of work. I read--a LOT--and doing so has allowed me to figure out things I like, things I don't like, words and phrases to use or avoid, etc. I think... You can't expect to find out who YOU are as a writer if you don't first discover OTHER writers who already know who they are, if that makes sense? It's hard, hard work, but it's SO worth it in my opinion, and most of the time it doesn't even feel like work anymore. It's a catharsis--I write to write because I love it. The fact that it touches others is a HUGE bonus, but it always surprises me that people keep reading.
And these fantastic writings of yours have gotten you a number of different awards as well as recognition spots. You actually have 5 Daily Deviations under your belt and I wonder, after receiving so many how do they feel? Does each award feel different? From the list of these 5, what is your personal favorite from this phenomenal group?
Anthropomorphism for BeginnersI found Grandma on the street today
reborn as a rock.
I didn't recognize her at first
without her turquoise-rim glasses
or her always-falling-out-in-public teeth;
she was standing in the gutter on her bald,
Mom tells me Grandma's gone to nag God into slaughtering spiders
and taking the farts out of vegetables,
but if you squint your eyes and tilt your head,
you can see Grandma's crooked nose--
the one that she broke
playing badminton last year--
and the way her eyes crinkle at the corners
when she talks about cheating
to beat me at checkers.
And it's just like Grandma to come back as a rock;
Mom's always called her a stubborn old crook,
and it looks like Grandma's holding a bag of stolen money
under her billowing Hippie-Days shirt sleeves
if you turn her just slightly to the right.
I think I'm gonna keep her in my bedroom.
Just in case.
Puddled GasolineHear me read it! Puddled Gasoline
Someone left the car on
with the garage door closed again;
streak the harsh winter concrete
as I breathe past the fumes.
at its finest,
or some other form of noise
I'm not familiar with.
He will not hear me screaming
when I tug open the door
and you spill out like a puddle
onto my freshly-buffed shoes,
because I will not be screaming
For the first time
in almost twenty years of marriage,
you've silenced me.
Harvest MoonThree a.m. moonlight
across lazy dust motes; a
tree scrapes the window.
Your arm weighs on my hip like
whispered promises of love.
Fragile--FFM Day 7Lindsey Stirling blared from my ear buds and I bobbed my head, furrowing my brow. My hand was shoved deep into my purse, searching for my keys. Instead, I found receipts from the Stone Age, a collection of seashells from last year's vacation, and enough pepper spray to blind at least twenty bears.
Frustrated, I dumped my portable landfill on the welcome mat; lipstick tubes and loose change bounced across the wood and disappeared, lost beneath the porch. Spreading objects out with my hands, I sighed. No keys. "Damn it all to Hell and back ag--"
Glancing up, the box near my door caught my eye. Wrapped with neon-colored paper, a large skull-and-crossbones bow held a handwritten "FRAGILE" note in place. The colors were garish, clashing with the ivory siding.
Wrinkling my nose, I pulled the package toward me, keys forgotten. The paper was slick, slipping against the pads of my fingertips like silk. Examining the box, I flipped the "FRAGILE" note over--and gasped.
Yanking the ear
Fragile Magpie MoonsIt's only spring when you first wake up,
two magpies and the dull ache of menstrual cramps
tapping on. Death's window
sleeps in all our bones,
a dripping water faucet.
Brittle things--like love,
a jar of not-quite-nothing--
small and fragile and ours
are the presences we carry
while running from the moon.
I honestly... Every single one was SUCH a surprise, particularly the last two. The second-recent was a Flash Fiction piece I did last year and never ever in a million years expected it to be received the way it was, because it didn't necessarily feel, to me, like one of the better pieces I've done. And the last one--well, it's a title poem, and while I'd seen other title poems being recognized as DDs, I never expected it of mine because, again, I didn't feel like it was deserving. I strive to make my title poems work together and flow seamlessly, but I like--no, LOVE--the really weird, out of place titles people come up with. I'm drawn to titles that make writing a poem difficult. I appreciate every one of them, though!
If I'm honest with myself, I'd say that my favorite one out of those is Puddled Gasoline. It was around this piece that my writing style changed (again--it tends to change every few months, in some way or another) and I was very, very proud of the piece and the statement it made.
And with you being a person who consistently and constantly puts out such fantastic literature for the masses of dA (Her works are truly, truly amazing.), what is your writing process? What really gets you inspired to sit down and write? What’s your inspiration?
My process.... Uhm. It's really nothing spectacular. Lately, I'll spend a good portion of the day or days leading up to a piece thinking about what I want to write. An idea will stick, or a line will pop into my head, and from there it's just a "sit down, grab pencil and notebook, get it written" thing. Sometimes it takes longer--sometimes I get something written and realize I hate it, so I scrap it and start over, or take from it the lines I like and rework them. Sometimes I do research as I go if I'm not well-versed on what I'm portraying. It really depends on the piece, usually.
As for inspiration. EVERYTHING. Literally, everything. Other people, other writers, life events, things I hear or see, animals, the moon, nature, songs or music--everything and anything. People sometimes ask me how I come up with certain ideas, or images (I had a professor ask me once, actually, during a class) and the best I could come up with is, there's this little room in the back of my head with a HUGE amount of filing cabinets FILLED with things I've seen or heard or read or WHATEVER that I rifle through as I write and pull out as needed.
With you being someone who is SO deep into the literature community here on deviantART, how old were you when you first began to write? You exhibit so much loving altruism, zeal, and passion with everything you do here with this community and I’d love to know when you first began your literature journey that helped get you to this point with literature. Anything that truly sparked your love for lit.?
Well, as I said earlier, I was in sixth grade when I REALLY started focusing on writing, so that would make me...12? Something like that?
It was just before class started. A friend of mine (who people got me mixed up with rather a lot in school, despite the fact we look nothing alike and have VASTLY different heritages and names) shoved a piece of paper into my hands. "I can't finish this, YOU take it!" It was a scrap of a rhyming poem, and for whatever reason, it spoke to me.
This, now that I think about it, turned out to be my first collaboration--and sparked my love of words. Since then, I haven't gone more than six months (my longest bout of writers' block) without writing. Aside from THAT, I think... I was brought up by my mom and her emotionally abusive girlfriend. Because I was the oldest child, I was put in charge of three youngsters LONG before I should have been...and then I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in third grade. All of this sort of meshed together and left me very UN-childlike. I spent many of those years with my nose stuck in books, or with my head far far up in the clouds. If anything, it was my imagination and the pressures of my life that really sparked my love of literature and all things like it.
And since you’ve been around deviantART for such a long time I know that you have seen plenty of literature and writers over your time so I would absolutely love it if you could highlight some of the users you feel don’t get as much attention as they deserve! Let’s start changing that fact!
OH GOODNESS! Let's seeeeeeeeee--
SleentheBeast I discovered a few months ago; his writing is on the edgy, almost disturbing at times, side, but he strives to always make a point and leave the reader thinking, which is great;
StarlightComet is, again, someone I recently discovered, but I'm really digging her questioning, in-your-face writing;
sunshinegypsy has a distinct, unique style that I simply ADORE;
somewhither is a fairly recent find, as well, has imagery to DIE for and has been making my favorites folder a lot lately.
Keep in mind, these are just a FEW--some others I COULD mention are:
muscularteeth, kathleenfergie, callerofcrows, alternativemeanings, setmyworldintomotion, WizardHowl10001, someonesecho, palaeochannel6, thesquareroot, and Braxton-T-Rutledge.
Now that we’ve gotten around to some of your favorite deviants, what are some of your personal favorites in your gallery? What are a few of the pieces you’re most proud of?
From my own gallery, I'd say the following are pieces I'm immensely proud of:
Things I would Tell Her--C. --This is actually a collaborative effort with Nichrysalis, who I adore. He wanted to write about rape culture in a tactful way, and we worked very hard to make the message subtle while retaining its impact on readers.
Discarded Dolls (TW) is another piece that tackles a heavy-handed, touchy subject which I am IMMENSELY proud of, as I don't normally write pieces like it. It was an experiment for me, and I'm glad to have done it.
The Heat of the Night I have always rather adored, though I can't tell you specifically WHY.
Burning Rabbits, lastly, is another prose piece I'm very fond of--my own take on the zombie apocalypse.
Finally, I would love to know what continues to inspire you on a daily basis. With all that you do around the community and literature-wise, what inspires that and what inspires your amazingly wonderful attitude? Even when things can be a bit bumpy away from dA, you always seem to be in-tune with the community.
I have, for the last few years (since getting back together with the hubby, honestly) done my best to live every day with a positive attitude. Things happen to everyone--there will ALWAYS be bumps in the road--but I firmly believe that what goes around, comes around--and that we should always, ALWAYS, treat the rest of the world with respect. Lately, I've gotten VERY into the idea of giving back--it's good for karma, but also, it's good for the soul and it makes me happy. I have ALWAYS loved making others smile or laugh, so I do my best to do so whenever I can. Plus, being positive? It's a very hard habit to break.
And when I have off days, such as the one I had just last weekend, I know YOU ALL are here to lend me a hand. You all stepped up to the plate when I asked for help and sent me wonderful comments, links to AWESOME artwork, or just lent me a smile--and it helped set me right when I most needed it. It's people like all of you, who I interact with and talk to everyday, who I read and comment and see around the community being wonderful--that inspires me to keep my head up and to keep pushing on. People come and go...but you all make this place home.
And to everyone that took time out of their days to tune into another episode of “Adjusting The Antennae,” I give you my most gracious thank you. Also, for those of you that are new here, “Adjusting The Antennae,” is the show where we try to shift the focus of dA to the greatness of poetry and prose. Of course, it is my biggest pleasure to have gotten this far with you all and I hope you all know how much I love and appreciate everyone’s support of me, my works, and this series. I also hope that you all enjoyed this special episode of “Adjusting The Antennae” and I hope all of our fellow Americans enjoy Independence Day. I also hope to continue to have plenty more installments in the future to come for you all. I love and appreciate everyone’s support of me, my works, and this series.
I also want to give a huge thank you to the absolutely phenomenal betwixtthepages for taking time out of her busy, busy schedule to share more about herself and her gorgeous literature with this fantastic community.
On one last point, if you know of a writer who deserves more attention or a writer you believe would make for a good interviewee, please comment below or note me with your suggestion(s)! You're also more than welcomed to add questions along with your suggestions, too. Also, if you enjoyed this interview, please show Elizabeth some love, spread the word on this series, or just let your thoughts be known on this with a comment!