TWD Magazine 3rd Collection Interview: Danielle Christine Hastings — Poetry Contributor

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As an extension of The Black Lion Journal’s mission, The Wire’s Dream is a semi-annual magazine that values community, life perspectives, and different worldviews. Contributors were asked to complete a set of mini interview questions with the purpose of sharing with the readers and their fellow submitters a bit about who they are and about their creativity. All questions were the same for each contributor; and each answer given is unique, open, friendly, and candid.

About Creativity

Let’s start by talking about creativity — what does creativity mean to you?

I think it’s like a reset button. To me being able to create is like pressing reset on the world. We all have the capacity for creativity, we just find it in different ways. For me, being able to reset my world allows me to reflect on what is outside of me, and comprehend what’s happening around me. It allows me to create new worlds, and lay old ones to rest.

How and when did you get started doing what you love to do? Who or what is your creative muse?

I’ve always told stories. My mom used to tell me I’d be telling her stories while drawing them out to her, and scribbling my closest approximation of what words look like. I am dyslexic, and that has impacted my life from the moment I began expressing myself. It impacts my writing, reading comprehension, math, and other areas of my life. I’ve always had to work harder than my peers, and I think it’s because of those challenges I can appreciate and see the hard work someone else puts into their creations. Between my mom, and a handful of tough but caring teachers, I was really pushed to continue practicing and practicing, and writing constantly. I really wouldn’t be where I am without them, without these people who made me feel valid and heard. Because of them, when I write, I write and try to be the person I needed for someone-anyone who needs to feel valid, and that their truth matters. When I write, I write for people, they’re my muse.

What is your most memorable creative experience, if any?

Being on and writing a group poem with my friends, my poetry family. Joe Limer is my friend and poetry mentor and my former college professor. Palomar College had the honour of hosting the AIDS quilt a few years back, and I was honoured and privileged to work on, help write, and perform a group piece with Joe, Karla Cordero, Kelsey Fieser, Rolland Tizuela, and Sherwin Ginez. Joe is a spoken word poet and Poli Sci professor, and has traveled all over performing poems. He’s been on many of SD’s slam teams, one of them being the 2013 team which Karla was one as well. Rolland founded Glassless Minds, an open mic in Oceanside CA, and Sherwin is a long time poet who’s recently founded Snoice open mic in SD. It was such an amazing experience performing all together, the energy was so high that when we finished the poem it was as if I had woken up from a really good dream.

People approach creativity in such different ways! What about you? What is your creative routine? Do you know of any quirky habits or creative superstitions?

I think my quirk would have to be that I do not have a routine. It’s really bad, I am super not disciplined. I do my best writing in my head, and when a line or thought plays on repeat, I know I have something to roll with. Sometimes the creativity is there, but sometimes if a poem doesn’t want to be written I let it lie. I try not to think of it as a creative block, but as myself or the world trying to tell me I need to spend some time listening and experiencing rather than over analyzing every little thing. When I first transitioned from page poetry to spoken word, the quiet spells really terrified, as if I’d never have anything to say again. But my poetry family, and my family is there to remind me I’m valid, and to just say my truth.

Time, Tips, & Future Goals

How do you make time to do what you love to do?

After my mom passed suddenly in 2012 while I was still a student I had to begin working full time. So I work, and attend university full time currently. It’s very difficult to make space for myself to be creative. So I steal moments where I can, a few minutes at work, or before class. Sometimes it’s not easy, and other times it is necessary to press a hard stop on time, and take the opportunity to allow myself to rest and write and live my own life.

What tips can you give novice creatives about getting started on their creative journey and about submitting their work for publication?

Write, draw, create what ever it is you love doing. Always always always, even if you don’t like what you’ve made, there is someone out there who needs it. It may not seem like you’re getting anywhere, but there will come a time where you share what you’ve made, and even though you don’t like it, there will be someone who comes up to you and says thank you, I really needed that. Be the person you needed, it’s okay to not like everything you do. Some times that story or piece isn’t really for you, it’s for the version of you that needed it. And always remember, you are the only person that can tell your truth. No one else can, no one else knows your truth.

What do you hope to achieve with your creativity? Where would you like to see yourself in about 5 years, professionally and creatively?

Fairly lofty dreams, I have. I would love to write a novel, and to publish a poetry book. I am aiming to make SD’s slam team someday. I’d also love to be able to compete at Women of the World Slam. But what I would really love to do is apply poetry professionally in the classroom. I am going to finish school and be a high school teacher, and I really want to bring creativity with me into the classroom. My goal is to be the person I needed when I was a kid, and to bring all my experiences to bear, all the tools I gathered and adapting I did because I learn and experience the world so differently, I want to offer all of it to my students. I want to prove that people with learning disabilities or intellectual disabilities are just as valid as anyone is. I want to show kids that if I could fight my way through everything, that they can too. And that they’ll not be alone, that I’ll be there cheering them on.

— TWD Magazine 3rd Collection—

About Danielle

TWD Magazine 3rd Collection Interview: Danielle Christine Hastings — Poetry Contributor
I’m from North County, San Diego California, and attend CSUSM as a single subject History major; I’ve struggled and overcome dyslexia in order to be here, and am eternally grateful to the teachers and family that helped me along the way. I’ve always loved writing, but given the nature of my learning disability, I was too shy to share. In sophomore year of High school, I was lucky enough to have a teacher who really believed in my talent, and would encourage me to share new poems every class period. In 2012, my 5th and nearly last year at Palomar Community College, I met a Professor who taught me the additional lesson of finding my own value in my truth, and sharing that truth on the stage through Spoken Word (Performance Poetry). Now, as I approach the completion my bachelors, I am hoping to take the lessons I’ve learned and the love from the people who’ve taught me the value of my words, and apply them in the classroom so that my future students may also learn to value their truths.

You Can Find Danielle Here

Deviant Art / twitter / tumblr

Read Danielle’s Poetry In TWD Magazine 3rd Collection

“2012: The 1st Draft of Dying” — p. 23
“Seventh Day, Absence” — p. 56
“You Leave So Often” — p. 57
“Joy Rolls Off His Laugh” — p. 117
“The Game” — p. 118

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