First, let me say thank you to the entire Spillwords team for giving me the opportunity to talk about me. It is a pleasure and an honor. I was born in Europe and I lived in different countries before I came to the US. I call America home. I call my formative years ‘the European period.’ Europe is the place in which my soul hides when things get tough; the place where my creative juices first started. A magic place filled with beauty and pain. A place to which I return very often. These days I think of myself as a European and an American at the same time. I think at myself as a mix. But then I say to myself: “Wait, Gabriela. A mix? That is the definition of an American.”
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
America’s diversity of cultures. America’s resilience. Of course, America is a beautiful country. We all know that. But most fascinatingly America is a country of dreamers. We are all dreamers.
What turns you on creatively?
Pain, suffering, love. Things that I can never forget. John Fowles’ words are tattooed in my soul: “Forgetting’s not something you do, it happens to you. Only it didn’t happen to me.” (John Fowles, ‘The Collector’).
I love oceans and islands. I love tropical climates. I love green. Everything is green in the tropics. There are so seasons. As I wrote in one of my poems: “Your love, eternal summer with no births and deaths.” I was thinking of the tropics when I wrote that.
I have very few moments when I get stuck creatively. Usually when I am extremely tired. Then I turn again and again to the writings of my favorite novelist: Lawrence Durrell. His books are all over the house. I pick one and start reading from somewhere in the middle. After a while, it feels like somebody pours inspiration in my veins. I get transported in another world. A world in which creativity flows in all directions.
There are other writers that have almost the same influence on me: Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, Federico García Lorca, Arthur Rimbaud, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
My favorite word? I have many. One of them is ‘dream’.
A poetic sentence?
“You is always I Even in a dream”
Those lines are part of a poem that I wrote called ‘Dream’
What is your pet peeve?
Injustice. Abuses. Lies. As Voltaire wrote: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”
What defines Gabriela M?
Courage. Determination. The capacity to give and to receive. My forever love for arts and literature, and for the profession that I am in. The nights in which I write and the ones in which I plan for a better tomorrow. The hope that one day we all will live in a better world. The incapacity to understand hate and jealousy. A sense of disgust toward people who consider themselves better than others and think that they have the right to oppress or mock others. To name just a few things that I think define me.
APRIL 2019 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH / 2019 AUTHOR OF THE YEAR at Spillwords.com
Gabriela M. is a US university professor and author of three novels. Her poetry book, Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings, was published by Vita Brevis Press under the pen name Gabriela Marie Milton in April 2020. Gabriela published poems in Spillwords Press, Vita Brevis, Indian Periodical, Gioielli Rubati Poetry (translated in Italian by Flavio Almerighi), Tuck Magazine, KashmirPen, “Heretics, Lovers, and Madmen,” Literary Yard, Proletaria, Free Verse Revolution, and other venues. She was selected “Author of the Month” at Spillwords (April 2019). Her poem “The Breath of Love and Death” was voted “Publication of the Month” at Spillwords (November 2019). Gabriela’s work was included in the following anthologies: America’s Emerging Poets Southeast Region (Z Publishing House, 2018); Florida’s Best Emerging Poets (Z Publishing House, 2019); and Pain & Renewal (Vita Brevis Press, 2020). She blogs at shortprose. Christina Schwarz, the author of the New York Times Bestseller “Drowning Ruth,” on Gabriela’s poetry: “With lush language and lavish imagery, Gabriela M. evokes a fantastic world ripe with emotion.”