I was born in an American military hospital in Munich, Germany but my family left there when I was still a small child. We moved within the United States about every two years. The best part of my childhood was when my parents moved off base and bought a red brick house on four acres. I lived within the land of make-believe amongst our woods with old oaks, where I felt safe. I moved to Washington State after college where I met my husband. We were married on a beach on the Oregon Coast as the ocean has always called to me – it was the first place I experienced a sense of temporary safety when I was young. After living in Washington State for many years we moved back to North Carolina, which has also always called to me.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
I always feel safe. It is a haven for my husband and myself. We have a yard which is almost all natural due to all the trees we planted that have gotten so large. We also have a bee and butterfly garden, which I love, and a group of deer that frequent our backyard year round – watching them munch on the moss and leaves makes me feel such happiness. I grew up in a place that was not safe and a sense of safety is something we all need.
What turns you on creatively?
I can watch a movie that intrigues me, read about a place abroad where I long to go, and study specifics about that area, and then I try to picture myself there. Nature was an escape for me as a child growing up in an abusive home with two alcoholic parents. I find great solace in the trees and the forest creatures. I do most of my writing in my bed, looking out the window into the woods. Whenever we visit the ocean I am always inspired to write. I have memories of my childhood that still find themselves in my poetry. I share what I have been through without shame as an adult. Many of my best poems come from pain that I don’t think will ever altogether leave me. Love is also something I am grateful for, just like my faith which both have a lot of influence in everything I do.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
It would have to be the word love. It is something one feels on earth that makes one develop a literal connection to this earthly plane.
LOVE love seeps through each pore as you tenderly play my heart like a finely tuned flute
What is your pet peeve?
I feel a great deal of the population ignores the changes in our world as if they don’t matter. I am not saying everyone does this but there seems to be this lack of concern about what is happening in our lifetime to our beautiful world. This saddens me beyond words. I write about our environment and try to bring awareness without being judgmental.
What defines Joni Caggiano?
I am a woman who survived an unbelievable childhood. I experienced every kind of abuse imaginable. I am a survivor, and a strong woman with great faith. My life has been a productive one for which I am exceedingly grateful. I enjoy writing to express many of my feelings that I could not voice as a child. Singing and dancing are things I do when alone, and I get great pleasure from them. I hope that my journey will ignite more things within me and many more experiences. My daughter, who works very hard and has helped so many people worldwide, will always be an essential part of what defines me. My husband, with whom I share my life is my connection to this world. These things define me today, but I expect many additions to this list as I continue to grow as an individual.
Joni's blog is Rum and Robots, where she has published poetry, photography, and short stories. Take a look at Joni's work in Spillwords Press NYC, Vita Brevis Press, The Finest Example, The Tiny Seed Literary Journal, I Write Her - The Short of it, and MasticadoresUSA. Joni's work was included in the following anthologies: The Sound of Brilliance (The Short of It Publishing, Volume 1 2020), Inner Eye (Poets Choice, 2021), and It's Not Easy (Poets Choice 2021). Her blog is an effort to give back - she is a surviving Adult Child of Alcoholics. Joni is a retired nurse and paralegal.