TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Anne Valentino — 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 The Creative Process

What does creativity mean to you? And what does it mean to be creative?
Creativity, for me, is about tapping into those previously hidden or perhaps inaccessible parts of your mind and spirit and transforming them into something that others are ideally impacted by, or entertained by, moved by, even saddened by. So I guess in a nutshell, creativity is connection; it is that which allows you to cultivate your relationship with the world, whether via the page, the painting, or the poem. Anyone can be creative. It just takes a willingness to put yourself out there in a raw, down-to-the-bones kind of way. Find the art within, draw from the passion that maybe you didn’t even know you had, and see what starts to take shape.

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?
Definitely an early bird. I’m a Gen-Xer, meaning in my forties now, meaning by 7 pm my brain is shot—if not already asleep. Courtesy of my dogs, I am up by 4:45. Honestly, this is my absolute favorite time of the day. I walk outside and watch for hints of the sun. I live out in the country and so the quiet is a given, save for my neighbor’s roosters of course. And it is this atmosphere that allows me to let my mind go to that creative place.

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?
My writing is me—I personally don’t see a conceivable way to separate the two, not while still creating something genuine and authentic. Even if the subject matter is quite fantastical, there’s still that element of you which brought it to life: the voice, the style, the underlying emotion. Regardless of what type of persona or character I am working with in a given poem, I always interpret the situation through my own eyes first and then creatively adjust from there.

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

I am inspired by writing, all writing. I read novels, biographies, poems, plays. For me, it’s about trying to understand someone’s process while they created their work. Process is absolutely fascinating when you think about it. How did someone come up with an idea? How did they craft it into fluid prose or a provocative poem? How did they get to the beautifully polished end result? These are the questions that intrigue me as I approach any work of art, fiction or non-fiction. And so, it’s really beyond just what I am reading or looking at, but more fundamentally, how it came to be.

What/who inspires you the most?
Everything from soulful music, to epic novels, to clever memes inspires me. It’s so hard to narrow it down to just one influence or writer. As far as poetry, my two favorites are about as far apart on the artistic spectrum as you can get. I have read just about everything Anne Sexton has ever written, likewise for Alexander Pope—now there’s a combination.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?
Keep writing. I know it sounds cliché and really isn’t some profound insight, but it’s true. It’s about doing the work. It’s art, don’t get me wrong, it’s creativity, it’s experimentation, it’s inspiration, but it is also work. The more you write, the better you get. And the better you get, the more confident you begin to feel in your words. There is a great deal to be said for confidence, especially in an arena where rejection and the corresponding heartbreak are givens.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?
I would love within the next couple of years to publish a collection of poems. I am also working on a hybrid journal/novel/comic book/poetry collection (haven’t quite categorized it yet) that offers a sarcastic and still heartfelt look at a life through a forty-something, single mom’s eyes. I have a little experience with that.


About Anne

Anne is a self-professed over protective mom to two teenagers, a devoted companion (and servant) to three dogs and a freelance writer—in that order. A former English instructor, she has previously published literary criticism and is now venturing into the vast emotional landscape that is poetry. Her words are influenced by the powerful peculiarity inherent in the ‘everyday.’

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