Author Of The Year 2023 Interview with Cindy Georgakas at Spillwords.com

Author Of The Year 2023 Interview

Author Of The Year 2023 Interview

Cindy Georgakas

We offer this exclusive Q&A Interview with Cindy Georgakas, Author of the Year of 2023, a writer whose multiple literary works have been featured on our Spillwords pages, as well as previously being Author of the Month of April 2023.

 

  1. Can you recall a pivotal moment from your early life when you recognized the power of language and writing?

I would have to say a pivotal moment was going to church at a young age when I discovered the power of words. I grappled with the age-old question “What is God” every week at Sunday School, much to the dismay of my teacher. The only thing I could wrap my head around that made sense were the seven synonyms from Christian Science which were Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love. I learned early on that there was power in words and that what you say to yourself matters. “Mind over Matter” was something I heard a lot, and I learned the importance of positive affirmations and gratitude to manifest our dreams.

I have no memory of reading books in my house growing up or in school for that matter nor did my parents read or read to me, which I confirmed when I called my mom to ask her. The “3 little kittens, they lost their mittens” nursery rhyme is one book I do remember reading: No wonder I love kittens and cats so much. I also can’t remember reading in school, though I must have to have gotten through. Yet, nothing catches my attention when I think about it, which is quite sad. What I do remember is being in the “yellow reading group.” I can’t quite remember if it was yellow or not but I have vivid images of flashing yellow in my head which read with words like slow, caution, careful, help, dumb, less than, unintelligent, and the list goes on and on. I don’t remember having a conversation about it, just the feeling of being different and not being able to track or remember what I was reading. There was no testing to find out if you had learning differences, which would have been a Godsend for me, but it was paint by number, look at someone else’s work, and cheat if you had to, to survive. It was embarrassing and I was mortified but I had the worst form of test anxiety which prevented me from realizing that I actually was smart. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered that, and all I needed was to learn in a different way. I still remember almost getting kicked off the rally committee, as the head song girl because I had 3 Ds on my report card. My mother marched into the Vice Principal’s office and pleaded with him saying “I’m going through a divorce and she’s having a hard time, so you cannot kick her off the team.” He didn’t, but I always remember thinking, what if he had, what if he noticed I had a hard time focusing on whatever schoolwork was in front of me, then what? Would it have made a difference in my learning? Perhaps it was growing up in a broken family that created a block in learning. I did however have a trusted journal I kept under lock and key ever since I can remember, where I wrote down my feelings and thoughts. Most of it was repetitive and documentation of what I did that day, but nonetheless, I wrote in it every day and developed a skill in writing.

When I went away to college, I started applying myself in a new way, got straight A’s, and got on the Dean’s list which I remember being so proud of. I don’t quite know how this happened, but I can only surmise that I didn’t have the turmoil that went with living at home. When I got certified in 1979 as a Life Coach at Motivation Management Services, I began reading books ferociously on empowerment and spirituality. My favorite books were: The Way of The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman which continues to be a favorite; The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran; If Life is a Game, These are the Rules: Ten Rules for Being Human by Dr. Cherie-Carter Scott; A Lamp in the Darkness by Jack Kornfield; Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather; Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki; Love by Leo Buscalia and Be Here Now by Ram Dass. Thich Nat Hahn, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Louise Hayes, Maya Angelo, and Don Miquel Ruiz are amongst my favorite authors and my list continues to grow.

Later, as an adult, I went to a learning specialist as I was taking umpteen more classes in my field as a Massage Therapist and was struggling with some concepts. He looked at me and asked, “You really can’t understand this?” and I said “No.” He said, “I don’t have to test you; You have the worst case of Dyslexia I have ever seen.” There was something so validating about hearing that I had a learning difference, and had in fact done a remarkable job at developing my own learning and coping methods to be top in my field. That one session validated what I knew deep down which helped me somehow make a shift inside and a lightbulb went on of acceptance.

  1. Does the act of writing invigorate you or leave you feeling drained?

I love writing and when things come through me it’s as though the heavens have opened and it’s as though the words write themselves and are being channeled through me. When this happens writing is truly magical and invigorating. Doors and windows open to my soul and light infuses me and it’s the most peaceful I feel. This is where “God” or a higher power writes through me, or at least it feels that way. I feel connected to a source. Of course, this doesn’t happen all the time, especially when I am on a deadline with a full work schedule and home life. There are those moments when I struggle to connect words and string them into a coherent structure like anyone else. The push and pull of wanting to write yet having to do other things is when there is a schism which can leave me feeling drained if I’m not careful. The organic process of writing is so joyful that I can easily get absorbed and lose track of time.

  1. How much time do you dedicate to writing each day, and if given the opportunity, how many hours would you spend on your craft?

I would say A LOT. My family would say TOO MUCH. Hahaha! I get up with the chickens early at around 4 or 5 a.m. so I can get a jump on the day before my family wakes up. These days there are times I write in the middle of the night since we have had a new baby in the house, and I’ve wanted to be available as needed. No matter what time I get up, so do my cats who think they’re humans which can be a challenge with their constant meows, jumping on my desk, walking across my keyboard, and chewing paper… sigh. I start my mornings in silent meditation and gratitude and connect with what wants to be shared that day. I give thanks, stretch, and then sit at my desk and just write what comes to me most days, that is unless I’m behind and need to write something that morning for a publication or my blog. Sometimes it becomes something to share and other times it goes right in the trash. I spend about 3-4 hours in the morning writing and reading other blogs and commenting. I probably spend about 6-8 hours a day writing. Left to my own devices and if I didn’t have a day job, I would most likely write all day. However, I’m blessed to have a career that requires me to move which is vital to our existence since sitting is the worst culprit for our bodies. I have a stand-up desk I vow to use more of this year. The good news about having animals, clients, and now grand babies is they’re a built-in alarm that gets me up and down a lot which keeps me moving. I tried writing when I was hiking but after too many falls, I had to put the kibosh on that thankfully.

  1. In your opinion, does having a strong ego benefit or hinder writers?

For me, a strong ego would hinder my writing. My writing comes to me as expressions of my heart, and I ask “What wants to be expressed through me today?” I honor that and go with where it takes me. I’m mindful that ego is born out of perfection and an inflated ego can be a detriment if I fall into that trap. I luckily become aware of it right away and send it out to play. I would never get anything written with that mindset. The beauty of writing is to hone our craft and share where you are in the moment and learn as we grow. I find that we are our own worst critics, and most people are much easier on us than we are and are very forgiving. It’s important to keep a can-do mindset and stay disciplined if you really want to get your work into the world to share. There is a place for that and I’m certain my family wishes I would be a lot more private about my personal life (and theirs). For what are words worth that are stuck in a diary without sharing them with the world to be heard. My objective is for people to find their best selves, passion, and light in whatever way that is important to them which is my driving force behind all I write. Be you, shine bright, and sparkle. That is your birthright.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

I would have to say having so many balls in the air I juggle. My life is full with 4 children, now 2 grand babies, 3 parents 87-98, a business, family members with mental health challenges, writing, blogging, and managing a household. For the most part, I can compartmentalize these but there are times when the unexpected arise and I must shift gears and rally. It is something I am constantly working on, and time management is easy for me to support clients with but harder for myself. I’m good at letting go of what truly doesn’t matter but harder at sticking to time guidelines. The creative process requires empty spaces and if there are too many time constraints, my writing is hindered. Being a slow reader is also something that keeps me from reading and writing as many books as I’d like to review to show my support to all of those who have gifted me so graciously with their kind reviews and support.

  1. When it comes to inspiration, do you actively seek it out or does it naturally emerge during your creative process?

Creativity finds me wherever I am. I’m like a magnet or sponge when it comes to the creative process. My family teases me and says, “I can never do one thing at a time.” The universe always delivers a thought I might have. As an example, I might think “I need a painting for that wall” but I haven’t the time or money to look for one. The next thing I know, I’m walking into a client’s house who says, “I’m getting rid of this, do you want it?” The answer is usually a resounding “Yes, thank you!” When my mother shops she wants to get a parking space right in front and says “Expect my good” and sure enough a parking space appears. I have learned from the best. I’d say about 50 percent of my house furnishings have come to me exactly this way.

  1. How important is the encouragement and support of your friends and family in shaping your writing journey?

For the most part, they are supportive and encouraging. They might not understand why I write and think it’s silly, but they get this is what I do and how important it is to me. My mother is always encouraging although I don’t think she has any idea of the time it takes to write and the time it takes away from other things. I have to say my one daughter went through my blog and put all my poems into a book as a surprise which is how I managed to have my first unpublished book. It was one of the most touching, selfless gifts of my life which meant the world to me. Many of my friends and clients are super proud of me and let me know which fuels my inspiration and I am so grateful.

  1. Do you ever Google yourself?

Well, I haven’t until you asked but did just now. Wholly Molly, there is a lot there on there about me, and all good thankfully. Lol. It’s wild and quite fun to see your name there with a history of all that you have produced. I even found out some things that I had no idea of, which were good surprises. For some reason, I didn’t think my Good Reads was active but it has 22 reviews which was awesome to know. Yes, I’m actually learning technology.

  1. Could you offer any advice or tips to aspiring writers looking to improve their craft?

Keep writing, reading, and write every day, and dedicate yourself to a certain amount of time. Do writing prompts and set the timer for 7 minutes and write whatever comes up without editing it. You can google prompts or make a list of your own. Look at a picture or outside and write whatever comes up as well. Don’t critique your work, judge, and analyze it while you write or after for that matter. Participate in writing groups and workshops to hone your skill. Blogging is a perfect opportunity to write that is very supportive and encouraging. Rarely if ever, have I had anyone be anything less than gracious and kind. It gives you accountability. Having a regular schedule calls you to the table, forces you to step up to the plate and write what’s on your mind. Have fun and enjoy the process and keep putting your word out in the world. Words stuffed in a box, or the encyclopedia of your brain will never be heard and there is someone out there that needs to hear them.

  1. What does being recognized as the Spillwords Press 2023 Author of the Year mean to you personally?

It means the world to me, and I can’t thank Dagmara K and her team enough for this honor and all of you for supporting me. To be recognized as Author of The Year by my peers is an indescribable feeling and is only something I dreamt of winning. It is truly so satisfying knowing that when we have a focus, set our mind to it, the sky’s the limit, and everything is possible. It inspires me to keep writing and reminds me to keep sharing my words with the world and follow my next steps, staying open to what reveals itself. I am so thankful to all of you, and I am beyond humbled to stand with a group of authors who inspire me every day to show up as the best version of myself. I have new eyes to see and I’m hopeful to create more opportunities, and I can make an inroad into mental health in the future. This year, I hope to return the gratitude I have received to my followers and peers the way they have me. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

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