It is not surprising to admire the strokes of a famous oil painting such as Girl with a Sunshade by famous painter, Jules Bastien-Lepage that captures powerful emotions and imagery within each stroke.
However, it is also rare to find a poet with unique style of words who expresses sensitiveness, thought provoking analogies and symbolism as fellow poet and writer, Christy Birmingham.
Christy is an author and a freelance writer residing in Victoria, BC, Canada. Since Christy’s elementary days, she has been using her creative thinking and surroundings to write poems and short stories.
The most intriguing part of Christy’s written words is her acuteness to dig deep inside her mind, heart and soul from past regressions and abuses. She magnificently takes the readers to her inner most thoughts along with sharing the beauty of nature.
I am fortunate to interview and also, delighted to introduce for my Arts and Entertainment Feature, Christy Birmingham who I personally admire both as a writer and poet.
Tell us about yourself?
Firstly, thank you for having me over to visit, Hadel! I live in Victoria, BC, Canada, where I am a writer by profession. I am so proud to talk about my career as I acknowledge it has taken hard work to get here. I work as a freelance writer; I write business articles, blogs, press releases, and web pages for companies and entrepreneurs around the globe. I am also an author and working on my third book right now. While my first two books were poetry, the next one will be fiction.
So, as you can tell, I love many kinds of writing. My admiration of the written word dates back to elementary school when I wrote poems and short stories. I have not always been full-time writing, though, and that route has involved long hours of work, missing activities with friends to meet deadlines instead, and talking to my parents about being exhausted. Of course, the wonderful moments have kept me going, as has my determination to make a living as a writer. Highlights so far in my writing career include publishing each book, having CBC come to my home to interview me, and meeting amazing creatives who live around the globe (virtually and in person).
When I am not writing, I enjoy sharing smiles with family and friends. I like to dance, read, and go for walks in nature. I am thankful in many ways and every morning I make a point to take a few moments and remind myself of it.
You are an author of two poetry books, Pathways to Illumination and Versions of the Self. Where do you get your inspiration to write your poems?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Like many writers, I primarily draw on life experiences I have undergone. While some of these memories are hard to think about, I find the courage to tap into the difficult moments by remembering that sharing about them might help a reader someday. So, in a way, my motivation comes from my desire to help others who have gone through similar situations. By sharing tough times, I can show them that “Hey, I got through it; it wasn’t easy, but I did, and you can do it too.”
I also draw inspiration from the world around me now. So, not every poem is about the past. There are wonderful images all around, if only we pay attention closely to them. There are words to be found in nature, as I walk on the Galloping Goose trail, watching Canadian geese on the water to my right and people on bikes to my left. Inspiration is everywhere, in photos, quotes, artwork, and numerous other things. The possibilities are endless if you live in the moment and take stock of your surroundings rather than just going through the motions of getting through the day. In other words, be alive, rather than just living.
Do any of the famous poets or poems influence your style of writing poetry?
My answer is yes and no. Let me explain. While I admire certain poets and their published works, I do not find myself emulating their style of writing. Instead, I want to be my unique self, both in how I behave in life and in the writing I produce online, in books, and elsewhere. Every person is original at his or her core, and so I tap into that core with my writing. If it does not feel genuine, then you will not read it. Given that no two people are the same, my poetry will not be the same as those poets whom I like to read regularly.
As for which poets I adore reading, my top choices are Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Robert Frost, Sylvester L. Anderson, and Sylvia Plath. It was tough to pick just five names, so please do not make me choose my favorite poems from such talented writers! There are many great ones to choose from, including Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” Okay, there, I picked one!
Tell us about your two published books?
I will start with my first book. Pathways to Illumination tells a story in the poetic form of a woman who has recently broken free from an abusive relationship. The book touches on many topics, such as control, self-esteem, depression, and hope. The words weave around despair on one side of the coin and optimism on the other side.
The second book, Versions of the Self, features poems that assume multiple types of selves exist in the world. Each chapter looks at one kind of self, such as the singular “I” and romantic interactions between two people. The different selves relate to each other in unique ways, and the book explores the effects these relationships have on one another.
How did you become an author? Share your story.
I made the jump to publishing my first book after taking an emotional fall that left me feeling hollow inside. When someone close to me suggested that I journal as a way to work through the difficult time, I decided to do exactly that, and soon I discovered that the poetic form, with its short lines, worked well for putting my thoughts to paper. As I began to write more poems, it occurred to me that sharing them might help others who were struggling with the after-effects of abuse, still in abusive situations, or coping with mental illness. Eventually, the poems became published by Redmund Productions as the book Pathways to Illumination.
Is it possible to share a sample of one of your published poems?
Yes, here is a portion of the poem “You, Colors, and Realization,” published in Versions of the Self:
You were once here.
Today, your colors fall to a wooden floor,
While I run a paintbrush under the kitchen tap
To clean the bristles and
Paint a new day,
Made of colors that I alone choose.
Where can we purchase your books?
Thank you for your interest in my two books and the interview today, Hadel! It has been wonderful talking with you. You can find Pathways to Illumination in the Redmund Productions Bookstore and Versions of the Self via Amazon.