By Gareth Vieria
This artist profile is about fellow writer, poet and friend Lindsey Woodward. We used the “Paris Review” format of question and answer which I think best reveals the thoughts and ideas of this particular creative soul.
There is a story behind the story and between the lines written by Lindsey Woodward. Beyond her thoughtful answers provided here, beyond the truth and honesty of our discourse, there emerged truth about the passion for writing articulated between long stretches of rollicking laughter which we could hardly contain while compiling this artist profile. Lindsey has a laugh which nurtures the soul and feeds the heart, it is the best kind of medicine when you are down. She is a genuinely good person who strives to do her best in everything she sets out to do. She is very humble about her successes and very determined to be better, not than her contemporaries, but better than herself.
Lindsey’s writing, whether it is poetry or prose, speaks unapologetically about her own life experiences, and her gift is expressing her experiences in a way that resonates with others. I hope you seek out her poetry collection, I hope you set aside some time to read it, and my wish for all of you at the start of this new year is that you have a Lindsey Woodward in your life too, because, in the end, we all are better for meeting people like this, who invite us into their lives and help us to unwrap the treasures within ourselves.
Lindsey’s chapbook is priced at $8 but she is willing to reduce the price on a ‘pay what you can’ basis, as she says, I’m not looking to profit, just share my words.
I haven’t found anywhere locally to sell them as of yet, most likely local bookstore’s would be the most ideal, however people can email her for copies at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question & Answer
On growing up in Port Hope and its effect on her as a writer: “I feel any environment I could have grown up in would have been equally supportive, as far as being a writer is concerned. Most of my material comes from within… I don’t tend to write about my external surroundings”
On her initial beginnings as a writer: “I always enjoyed writing, although as a child, I primarily wrote stories. I was given the opportunity to send some of my work to a published Canadian author, I can’t recall the name, but their constructive criticism actually deterred me. I was used to being praised. Little did I know that accepting and making use of criticism is an integral part of being a writer”.
On her brand new self- published poetry collection: Resurrected: “Resurrected is is a collection of poems, some written as early as when I was 19, and others as recent as a month ago… the book is divided into two parts – the first is called Dark. A lot of these poems are bleak, whereas in the second part entitled Light, all the poems may have an inherent darkness, but they have endings that are more hopeful or demonstrate a shifting perspective. The idea behind the book and the manner in which I assembled the poems is kind of mirroring my own life experiences. 2017 was a big year for me… it’s a way for me to process all the things that happened, all the huge changes that I have undertaken”.
On her her blog: “I started my blog a few months ago as a platform to share the stories I’ve submitted to the website The Mighty that were rejected, but I felt needed to be shared. I’m very open and unapologetic about disclosing my struggles. It’s part of trying to smash stigma surrounding mental health and partly a way to fuel my personal healing journey. The link is ladylindslazarus.wordpress.com. ”
On who influenced her as a writer: “As far a poetry is concerned, I was first exposed to the Oxford Anthology when I was 15. Poets like Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound were who I most admired. I discovered Sylvia Plath in my mid 20’s and I’d have to say she remains my biggest influence. I think the reason I connect with her so much is because we have some similarities, both circumstantially and poetically. I love all the Confessional poets… how raw and honest and brutal they are. I’ve always had a special affinity for writers whose lives ended in suicide or struggled with mental illness”.
On the value of reading for your writing: ”Reading is essential. I never try to actively emulate any writers, but I see how their influences bleed out into me. Reading is as essential, to me, as breathing or eating and if I don’t do it, then I don’t feel like a complete human being”.
On certain themes she returns to in her writing: “It is never intentional, but upon reviewing my poetry for Resurrected, I see death as a recurring theme, writing about my mother, writing about relationships that were not healthy, those are the things I see resurfacing time and again”. Leonardo DaVinci said, “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen”, what do you think about that? “I really like that quote. It resonates with me. I believe that great poetry paints a scene in your mind, not just an image, but an image that evokes emotion, and conversely, the truth is the same for great works of art. In my opinion, a great work of art should be more than aesthetically pleasing; there should be something provocative about it”.
On writing prose most recently for the online magazine, The Mighty:
Do you plan to collect these pieces too? “Yes I do. It is a very recent thing that I have started. I have been writing about my personal experiences and struggles with mental illness, as I know it. By elucidating my own struggles, I hope to shed some light for others that might be going through similar things”.
On receiving feedback from her published works: “It is almost surreal, because like anything in my life, I feel like nothing is ever good enough and to actually get validation that my work is affecting people, that they are reading it, from all corners of the globe, and getting something from it is revelatory. And it is motivating me because I tend to take on people’s emotions, so doing that through writing I am able to reach out without expending more energy than I have, so I can save some for myself” On the purpose of writing/art.”
Why do it?: “I do it because I am compelled to do it, but if I sit and think about what I would like to achieve, the compulsive aspect aside, I want to be able to affect people, to make people feel something, think something, that’s the idea, but then again it’s mostly healthy compulsion”.
On the writer’s craft: ”Writing is something that happens naturally for me. Poetry more so than essays – it’s almost like I’m channeling, I get into a flow and it’s just pen and paper or fingers on keyboards. It’s during the revision period that craft comes into play, but if I try to bring that into the actual writing process then everything gets sullied and I’m not going to get anywhere but frustrated”.