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Interview Q&A with Gabriela M
We offer our first and exclusive Q&A Interview with Gabriela M, a writer whose literary works have been featured on our Spillwords pages as well as being Author of the Month of April 2019.
- What does it mean to be selected as Author of The Month?
It is an honor and a pleasure to join the ranks of so many poets whose work I admire. I am humbled and grateful to the Spillwords team, and to everyone who voted for me. When the news came, for several minutes, I was stunned. “Author of the Month”? I did not believe that it would happened even when I saw my name on the voting list, and I asked my blog followers and my Facebook followers to vote for me. It felt awkward to ask. Yet, I did it.
Now that I am “Author of the Month” I am overcome with joy. A silent joy that forces me to reconsider many things.
- How have your friends and/or family influenced your writing?
My very few friends who know that I write are very supportive. I am deeply grateful to them. Yet, it would have been impossible to write without the support of my family. Some days, immersed in my own inner world, I am absent for hours. The understanding my family shows me is beyond anything for which one can hope.
Yet, influence is different from support. I grew up immersed in poetry. However, I‘ve never thought I would write poetry. I do not know what exactly influences me. There is a river of feelings inside me. That is from where my writings come.
- What inspires you to write?
Inspiration! I cannot rationalize that, and I do not think I want to. There are some things that are better left untouched. I do believe, as surrealists do, that rationalism suppresses imagination.
A while ago, I read somewhere that Freud - maybe it was Jung (with respect to the clear differences between the two of them) - asked a series of writers where they got the inspiration for their characters. The answers were invariable “I do not know.” I am fully aware that plenty of great writers are influenced by nature, by their line of work, by their love for that someone special. When it comes to me all I can say is I do not know. What I do know is that there is an inner need which pushes me to write. I do not want to understand that need. Understanding will equate with dismantling, and looking at piece by piece. It will equate with measuring every piece and labeling it. No, that which is rational, has nothing to do with my writings. It has everything to do with my academic career, but not with my fiction.
- What was your writing catalyst?
Pain, devastation, suffering. That which I overcame and that which is waiting to be overcome.
- Tell us a little bit about your writing process?
I have a very busy life filled with responsibilities. I am aware that I am not the only one in this position. Yet, getting up at 5 am and writing till 7 am does not work for me. Inspiration strikes when it pleases. I try to do my best. I quickly scribble words on whatever I find at that moment. Sometimes I record myself on my iPhone. In the evening I go back and try to recapture the feelings that made me write that particular thing. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Some things get lost forever. Some don’t.
- What would you say is most fulfilling about writing?
Being with myself and at the same time being myself which in most cases means overcoming the constraints which our society imposes upon us. I am aware that my answer may have a flavor of French anarchism. Jacques Derrida is one of my favorite philosophers. On the other hand, my answer comes close to some branches of the Indian metaphysical thinking. For me writing is a sine qua non requirement for liberation. I am like a yogi who tries to reach Nirvana. Being able to write is my Nirvana. It may appear strange to lump post-modernism with, broadly speaking, the main theme of the Indian thought. Yet both fight for liberation: the first through resistance, the second through renunciation.
- Does the addition of imagery help to tell your story?
Imagery is the heart of the story. The plot supports it. I know most people will claim that is the other way around. Yet, the plot comes from the mind. Therefore, it speaks to the mind. So do mathematics and physics. Imagery comes from the realm of the unknown. It speaks to the soul. It is imagery that transforms everything that it touches into art.
- What is your favorite reading genre?
I respect all genres. Good writing is good writing. That said, my favorite genre is located somewhere at the intersection of surrealism, symbolism, and post-modernism. Some time I think my name is intersectionality.
- What human being has inspired you the most?
My mother. Since my mother left this world, I've carried one of her pictures in my purse every day. This year, during the Easter Mass her picture fell out of my purse. When I picked it up, I noticed, for the first time, the inscription on the back:
“a tear on the tomb of a dream
Mama was only 18 years old when that picture was taken.
- What message would you have for the Spillwords Press community that voted for you?
I am beyond grateful to everyone who voted for me. During this summer I will try hard to get to know as many Spillwords writers as I can.
- What would you like your legacy as a writer to be?
Ha! I wrote a year ago or so a poem entitled “neuroses.” It contains the following lines:
“i knew a poet who once said
i want to die unknown on Rio de la Plata”
“Knew” means here “read.”
I do not know the answer to your question. I am still thinking about while that particular line “i want to die unknown on Rio de la Plata” haunts me every day.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Once again, my sincere thanks to everyone who voted for me, and to the Spillwords team. And good luck to everyone who writes. May everyone have a fabulous journey in the writing world.
Her poem “come back to me” was included in the anthology America’s Emerging Poets Southeast Region (Z Publishing House, December 13, 2018).
Gabriela M. blogs at Short Prose.
Christina Schwarz, the author of the New York Times Bestseller “Drowning Ruth,” on Gabriela M’s poetry:
“With lush language and lavish imagery, Gabriela M. evokes a fantastic world ripe with emotion.” - Christina Schwartz