Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Not a lot to tell. I served as powder monkey aboard the ship Endeavour before our captain was eaten by cannibals and I was castaway on an island where I was forced to become a student of English literature.
When you create, what inspires you?
Primarily art. I have a terribly visual imagination and I can trace nearly everything I have ever written to a series of images. Sometimes these images are my own, but often enough they come from an artist whose skill is far more remarkable than mine. Tim Burton and Scott Gustafson are two of my favorite visual inspirations. But there’s no topping what’s outside the window.
Tell us about the specific inspiration behind one or each of your accepted pieces.
Both poems come from similar yet separate sources. “Crow’s Nest” was written when I was very homesick and working out that pain in rhyme. I was taking a course on the Romantics at the time, and William Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” and “Daffodils” set the pattern. There is difference in tone, I don’t say there isn’t a divide—but his love for familiar nature and resilience in remembering was my anchor.
“I Am with You” is one of my favorites. Music has a high hand in setting the tone of my poetry, and these words came to me listening to Julie Fowlis’s lovely “Eilean Uibhist Mo Rùin.” It’s a beautiful song in Scottish Gaelic and though I don’t understand a word—well, perhaps a word—of the language, I could at least try to capture the sentiment in my native English. It’s an interesting exercise, hearing another language and trying to preserve not the original meaning but the emotion of the source in your own verse. When I wrote this poem I was at a crossroads in my life and this strange little piece has been a comfort to me.
What is your medium of choice? Why?
I love poetry, prose, and art all three. Honestly, art is perhaps the most frustrating because I can never perfectly capture what I see in my head, but the same can be said for words as well. Each has its frustrations and greater reward. Creative talent is a powerful kind of magic and I wouldn’t put one over the other.
How did you first discover your love for creating?
Hmm. Now that’s hard. I think I discovered it the instant I realized imaginary worlds are real.
fēlan is old English for feel. What makes you feel courage?
It may seem paradoxical, but looking to the future keeps me optimistic. I am not the kind of person who easily lets go of things, a place or person, once loved. Sometimes parting is inevitable. Still, art and literature have an enduring beauty that transcends the artist, and the same can be said for life. I take courage in remembering that life and art are not so divided as they might seem, and the beauty of words, imagination, laughter and light, are fragile in concept but eternal in existence. There were two trees I was terribly fond of, the “Crackersnap” and the “Whistling Tree.” The “Whistling Tree” had a funny puckered face on him and when the wind blew just right you could imagine he was whistling. When I moved away, I lost them both but am certain, for all it might be laughable with trees, I’ll see them again. That’s a light example of the hope that keeps me brave. I’d be a terrible coward without it.
Please feel free to add anything else you think is relevant.
Thank you truly for publishing my work. It’s a delight and a wonderful encouragement.