I was born and raised in Southern Rhodesia in Central Africa, which no longer exists, but is now called Zimbabwe. I grew up in a challenging post-WW2 era. Politicians and life moved me on to South Africa, where I lived and thrived for most of my working life. Following the loss of my spouse, I moved to the UK where I spent nine years working before ultimately retiring to the USA to be in proximity to one of my three children. I have a daughter in Australia and a son in London, which has allowed me to travel to experience life in those places as well.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
Home is wherever I hang my hat. The best part of every place I’ve lived is the freedom to explore and learn new things. As a child, my curiosity led me off the beaten path to collect insects, stones, and plants, fueling my passion for nature. I enjoy learning about the history and culture of each place in which I lived. In Washington DC, USA, I’m in my element as I explore the city’s art galleries, museums, parks, and history.
What turns you on creatively?
I am deeply drawn to nature and spirituality for my creativity, and so I keep my creative well full by continually filling it with the things that I enjoy. As a former exploration geological cartographer turned artist, I see my creative process as mining for gold nuggets in my experiences and observations. I love to observe people and the natural processes and seasons. Adventure stories and historical novels give me ideas and ferreting around in bookstores often turns up inspiring stories. I have a daily meditation practice which prepares me for the day. A visit to an Art Gallery can stimulate innovative thinking. I take abundant notes for future use, ensuring a constant flow of ideas.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
This is a tough question, as my word varies from year to year. I have a theme word each year and base a lot of my writing around that word. In the past, I have used vulnerable, margins and freedom – this year my word is reforesting. I can’t use that exact word in a poetic sentence, but it will most certainly be reflected in my writing theme. Poetic inspiration often strikes me in my sleep, prompting me to jot it down before it vanishes.
What is your pet peeve?
I have two. My first is keeping up with technology, which changes so fast. What was working for me yesterday no longer serves its purpose, and I have to keep on relearning how to do things. To me, it is simply a tool for accomplishing tasks, lacking the creative essence of a pen or paintbrush. My second peeve is politicians’ promises that do not materialize but are merely a ploy used to get the vote.
What defines Deryn van der Tang?
I have learned compassion and care through my own challenging experiences, so extend them to others. My unwavering faith in God grounds me and I feel a purpose in encouraging and inspiring others facing difficult circumstances. If I can help light the way for just one person, I am happy.
Deryn has retired from earning a living to living her passion for art and writing. Deryn publishes a monthly blog on her website Crossing My Bridges and her work has appeared in various Anthologies. Her published books include "Sunrise to Sunset: Eight Devotions Inspired by African Landscapes," "Who am I? What Has God got to Do with It? Does it Matter? Meditations on Psalm 139," "The Journey: Your Guide from Loss to the Land of New Dreams" and her first illustrated children's book "Who is Mouse's Friend?"