I was born in Southern California, grew up in rural Massachusetts and I have lived in the greater Philadelphia area since 1990.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
The opportunities! I grew up in the middle of nowhere in a town with no grocery store, no movie theater, and more dairy cows than people. I have lived in Havertown, Pennsylvania for the last 13 years. I love that it has all the advantages of suburban living like friendly neighbors, real yards with trees, good schools, small local businesses and decent public transportation while being just a short train ride to a wealth of cultural, culinary, and educational opportunities in Philadelphia.
What turns you on creatively?
My writing is primarily inspired by what I am feeling or experiencing in the moment. Writing is my confessional, my diary, my prayer, my therapy and my meditation. It is how I process what is going on in my world. Inspiration is everywhere. I can be turned on creatively by a piece of music, a striking image or even a single sentence that starts to bounce around in my head. I always keep a notebook nearby so I can jot down words or phrases that I want to come back to later. Currently “plot kittens” is scrawled in my notebook, waiting for me to play with. I love the mental image of kittens who won’t stay where they are put and keep wandering away from the main storyline.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
There are so many wonderful words out there. How could I possibly choose just one?! I love the words “acoustic” and “texture” and applying them in unexpected ways that transcend the way we normally think of how we interact with the world, such as the “acoustics” of silence or the “texture” of darkness. There is so much to be learned from listening into the silences, the spaces between the heartbeats. The acoustics not of what is said, but what is left unsaid and ripples between us. Or to touch the darkness of the night with our fingertips, feel its texture, velvet and rich against our skin.
What is your pet peeve?
My writing pet peeve is improper use of commas. I used to proofread a lot of doctoral dissertations and was always amazed at how many people either use them far too often or not nearly enough. Another of my pet peeves is thoughtlessness, which tends to go hand-in-hand with a lack of empathy. So many misunderstandings, hurt feelings and arguments could be avoided by remembering who we are interacting with and how our messages might be received by that specific person.
What defines Christine E. Ray?
I am brave, I am passionate and I believe fiercely in social justice. I am someone who found my writing voice late in life. It has been transformative to cut through the silence I maintained for so long and finally tell my truths. I have always wanted to have impact and I believe that empowering others to find their courage, their voices, matters. I have been called a feminist badass. That works too.
Christine E. Ray lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A former Managing Editor of Sudden Denouement Publications, she founded Indie Blu(e) Publishing with Kindra M. Austin in September 2018. Ray is the author of the award-winning Composition of a Woman and The Myths of Girlhood. Her writing is also featured in SMITTEN This Is What Love Looks Like: Poetry by Women for Women an Anthology, We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art, Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective, Swear to Me, and All the Lonely People. Read more of her work at Brave & Reckless.