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.
Let’s start by talking about creativity — what does creativity mean to you?
Great question! Creativity means not knowing the end result but enjoying the delightful possibilities along the way. Creativity means the ability to follow new ideas and thoughts and explore my place in the world as a photographer, writer, teacher, friend, sister, daughter, and auntie. Creativity means using different forms of art to express various moods and inspirations. Creativity means recording, sculpting, and sharing with an audience I may know personally or may meet personally through my work. Creativity means the silence and precious time to pursue my passions. I think I could write about this all day, and in fact I did write a lot about creativity in my forthcoming craft book (Vine Leaves Press) for flash fiction and nonfiction writers; the subject of creativity is fertile ground, both individually and collectively.
How and when did you get started doing what you love to do? Who or what is your creative muse?
I asked for a camera for years and then the year I stopped asking for one, around middle school, my parents bought me a Kodak 110 (robin’s egg blue-colored) that I loved. I was more well-known for writing for the years of my schooling. After graduate school for my MFA in poetry, both online courses and digital photography blossomed and I began to explore the possibilities at a more-serious level. I took a very cool still-life photography course from a British photographer about five years ago that encouraged me and showed me just how much I had yet to learn and explore. I started to read quite widely about photography’s history and famous photographers of various schools, and I also began to photograph more regularly (before, my photographing was mostly to document family or special occasions). In the past five years, I’ve gotten very excited about the similarities between writing and photography– especially the evocative power of imagery. I have way too many creative muses to count– from the various regular-folks posters on Instagram (a cool source for flat lays and expanding techniques) to my darling nieces to landscapes and everyday objects.
What is your most memorable creative experience, if any?
This is a pretty funny one. One summer, while visiting my sister about ten years ago, we were driving down back roads. It was almost Independence Day, and we passed a giant, three-story purple gorilla-holding-a-stick-of-dynamite balloon in front of a fireworks stand. I asked for a turn-around, and the resulting photo was one of my first published photos. How often do you run across a giant gorilla balloon in your everyday travels? I love the spontaneity of photography.
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?
My other creative life is as a poet, writer, and teacher. I’ve learned to set aside time by literally scheduling it as I would any other important appointment. That said, I go with the flow and my writing time might be any time of day, although it most often falls in the late afternoon, in-between my various teaching gigs. I can take 15 minutes and make the most of it; I love the challenge of taking just a few items, a little pocket of time, and seeing what I can create of it. I’m taking an online self-paced photography lecture in food photography, and the other day, around 2:30 in the afternoon, I pulled out my camera, some delicious homemade butterscotch cookies from a local baker, a $7 marble slab cutting board from a discount chain, and a deep-purple mug with light swirl designs, and took about 40 photos from various angles. It was pure play and great fun. I’d love to break into food photography, and that’s likely where I’ll keep experimenting with expanding my skills alongside making still-life images. Oh, and I also love architecture, nature, and experimental narrative portrait photography. Clearly, my curiosity and imagination finds photography endlessly fascinating territory.
Time, Tips, & Future Goals
How do you make time to do what you love to do?
I’ve become handy at taking little pockets of time and writing or photographing it like the wind.
What tips can you give novice creatives about getting started on their creative journey and about submitting their work for publication?
Begin where you are. Don’t worry about having the fanciest or newest technology (I don’t; even my digital cameras are secondhand and more than a few years old). Focus on saying something new and uniquely yours. That said: read, study, and explore the images of published photographers, both famous and up-and-coming. Start a Pinterest, Instagram, or other online collection of images that inspire you or pique your interest. Find a person or group of people who are doing what you are doing or want to do and swap ideas, whether through a class, a seminar, or just meeting at a local coffee shop or living room or online to share ideas. Just keep going, no matter what!
What do you hope to achieve with your creativity? Where would you like to see yourself in about 5 years, professionally and creatively?
Another excellent question! One of my dreams is coming true– I’ll be teaching an online course in photography for writers in March 2018 through Women on Writing, and it’s going to be a blast to combine two of my favorite passions in one class. I’d like to take that class idea and turn it into a craft book for writers who also photograph. I want to break into food photography. I’d also love to do more book-cover photography. I’ve always wanted to create a book where I combine my poems and/or prose and photographs; I’m just continuing to look for a topic or theme that would do the idea justice. I will still create a few times a week, likely still teach, and still revel in the personal experience of making something evocative from basic yet meaningful tools. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to daydream specific details about a topic that I’ve already been considering more lately and for your support of my photos. It’s a pleasure to be a contributor!
— TWD Magazine 3rd Collection—
Melanie Faith is an English professor, tutor, auntie, and photographer. Her poetry is forthcoming in Poems in the Waiting Room and her photography series will be published in The Scene & Heard Journal (fall 2017). She was featured blogger at createwritenow with Mari in early November 2017, where she discussed “3 Tips for Creating a Fulfilling Writing Practice.” Her historical poetry collection was published by FutureCycle Press (September 2017) and a craft book about writing flash fiction and nonfiction will be published by Vine Leaves Press (spring 2018). Her article “Writer in Progress: The Writer?s Idea Book, Submission Notebook, and You” will be published in Fiction Southeast in May 2018. Learn more about her latest creative projects at: melaniedfaith.com.
View Melanie’s Photography In TWD Magazine 3rd Collection
“Photography (8 Images)” — p. 123