Monthly Archives: July 2013

Sarah Bracey White Part IV

Welcome back to the final installment with Poet Sarah Bracey White. In part IV there’s a little bit more of the writing life and a few interesting facts Sarah shares with us. Sarah 6

VAH: Sarah, the blank page stares back at you, what gets you over writers block?

SBW: Usually I have so many things percolating on my mental back burner that when I get a chance to sit down at the computer, I don’t have time for writer’s block. I also visualize page after page flying out of my printer as I print out the completed work.

VAH: Percolating is an excellent image. That’s how I think about ideas swimming around in my brain also. Now, the brass tacks of the writing life – what do you do in order to keep up with what you send out and results of your submissions?

SBW: I wish I were more organized about submissions. I print out the cover letter and put it in a folder marked “submissions.” When CavanKerry Press called me to say that they had selected my book for publication from all the submissions they received during their open call, I had to ask them what book had I submitted to them. The Managing Editor laughed at me. It had been six months since I submitted and I assumed that I’d been rejected once again.

VAH: That’s a great writing story. Let’s move away from writing a bit. What little known fact about you will amaze and/or amuse?

SBW: I’m a gardener who’s afraid of worms and I always wanted to be a back up dancer for Tina Turner.

VAH: When I first saw your photo, I thought of Tina Turner. How fun. What is your favorite, inspiring quote and why it works for you?

SBW: “Live as if there’s no tomorrow; but plan for one just in case.” I wrote that quote because the promise of writing success is far-fetched, but the joy of writing fulfills me. Thus, I do both things, and thrive.

VAH: What are three random non-writing related facts about you?

SBW: I’ve taught firefighting. I’m a good ballroom dancer and cook. I’m very spiritual.

VAH: I think we could add a whole ‘nother series of interview questions off those three. We’re going to leave the readers wondering!

It’s your last meal – what would you eat?

SBW: A Maryland Crab Imperial appetizer, baked butterfly shrimp, macaroni and cheese, corn muffins, coleslaw, root beer soda, and banana pudding for dessert.

VAH: And why?

SBW: It would be my last meal because I was embarking on a life in an alternate universe where food and other physical things don’t exist.

VAH: Sounds like a story percolating. Thank you Sarah for taking the time to participate in Three by Five. Readers, below are some links to Sarah’s work and Sarah on the web.

Fiction: The Wanderlust

Interview in January 7, 2013

Memoir: Primary Lessons at CavanKerry Press

Dreaming In Color Living in Black and White, Page 39 Sarah Bracey White

Introducing Sarah Bracey White, Part I, Part II, Part III

Find Sarah on the web: WebsiteTwitter.

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Napa Valley Writers Conference, Here I Come!

Tomorrow morning, I depart for Napa Valley and the Napa Valley Writers Conference. One week of immersion in the writing life, writing community, and writing. I’ll be studying with Camille T. Dungy. I’m excited as I had the opportunity to attend a workshop at the last San Francisco Writers Conference where Camille was one of the presenters and that was both enjoyable and I gained some valuable insights.

I’m still fundraising for expenses related to attending this conference. Please visit WriteVickiWrite to find out more.

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Sarah Bracey White Part III

Welcome back to the third installment with author Sarah Bracey White, Poet and Essayist.

Sarah7VAH: This question is one asked often, especially by those who are not writers. Sarah, what helped you know you were a writer? When did it all begin?

SBW: I honed my storytelling skills as a 12 year old letter writer with a pen pal in South Dakota and a boyfriend in New Rochelle who both waited anxiously for my missives.  Nothing like an interested audience to make you know that you’re good at something and try to be better.

VAH: And what would be your best advice for emerging writers?

SBW: Read, learn the craft of writing and be prepared for the onslaught of rejections that will precede any success you may experience. And find a supportive writing group. Mine did an “intervention” when I considered giving up because nobody seemed interested in publishing my work. Thank God they did. Otherwise, I would never have made it to the place where I’m getting my memoir published.

VAH: Sounds like the “intervention” could be its own story.  Writing community – Do you have a favorite conference or writing retreat/seminar and if so, why is that a favorite?

SBW: No.  But I do belong to a writers’ group that for over 25 years has sustained, browbeat, and kept me writing when it seemed like a futile endeavor.

VAH: I know a few writers that have the benefit of a long time writers’ group – that’s a tremendous support. Sarah, are you a full time writer? And what is the day or night job that sustains you so you may write?

SBW: I am an arts consultant to a Westchester, NY town of 83,000 people. I curate exhibits by local artists in public buildings, manage a writing program for young children I designed the program as I would have wanted when I was a young writer, sponsor a poetry contest for poets of all ages, manage a group of poets who take poetry into under served places like hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, prisons, etc.  I also edit several publications and write grants to fund all my programs. The job challenges my creative side and feeds my love of people, which in turn fuels my writing.

Sarah’s interview wraps up on the 30th.

Introducing Sarah Bracey WhitePart I, Part II

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Sarah Bracey White – Part II

Welcome back to Three by Five and part II with Sarah Bracey White.

VAH: Sarah -what is your full time job and how do you feed your writing?
SBW: I am an arts consultant to a Westchester, NY town of 83,000 people. I curate exhibits by local artists in public buildings, manage a writing program for young children (I designed the program as I would have wanted when I was a young writer), sponsor a poetry contest for poets of all ages, manage a group of poets who take poetry into underserved places like hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, prisons, etc. I also edit several publications and write grants to fund all my programs. The job challenges my creative side and feeds my love of people, which in turn fuels my writing.sarah 2

VAH: This is one of my favorite questions: What books or authors keep you up at night (because you can’t put them down)?
SBW: All of Reynolds Price’s early books, especially Kate Vaiden; Shogun, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I especially love self-help books.
VAH: What about a movie about your life and times, who would play you? What would the theme song be, and why?
SBW: Now this is an interesting question because I’ve often heard that I’ve lived a cinematic life. Maybe Kimberly Elise or Thandi Newton. The theme song would be Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” (LOL.) I like to think that I’ve led a quiet, circumspect life. But I really haven’t!

VAH: If you had a super power, what would it be and why that one?
SBW: It would be the ability to change into anyone I want to be because that’s been my quest all my life. As a writer, I get the chance to create characters and delve into their minds.
I’d also like to be able to time-travel. During my younger years, so much seemed unimportant that I forgot to remember things that would make my non-fiction writing easier. Some parts of my life traumatized me and I “forgot” things in order to stay sane. If I could go back in time and relive some of my early experiences, I’d pay closer attention – maybe even keep a journal. It would enrich my writing.
VAH: I’m with you there. I eschewed journal writing since all my friends seemed to do so, now I wish I’d kept such better records for the same reason – to help remember and write those stories. Sarah, are you a finish the book once you’ve started kind of reader or leave it for another if don’t like the book sort of reader?
SBW: If a book doesn’t grab my interest quickly, I stop reading it. I don’t waste time doing anything that doesn’t meet a need for me. However, if the book has been recommended by someone whose judgment I trust, and they’ve told me I need to keep reading until I get to the good parts, I’ll keep reading. That first happened with Shogun and I was amply rewarded with a great read — my long-time favorite, in fact.
VAH: I couldn’t put Shogun down the first time I read it either.
Here is a sample of Sarah’s writing: The Wanderlust

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Sarah Bracey White – Part I

VAH: Sarah thanks for taking part in Three by Five. I always start with the question why do you write?
SBW: I became a poet after college. Here’s the poem I wrote to answer inquiries about why I write:

Laughter, joy, pain and sorrow
are all emotions that seduce my pen
and inspire it to act as scribe for my heart.
I must feel; therefore, I must write.
This is no mean task
which my heart performs.
It is an obligation incurred in my childhood
and renewed at each milestone I encounter.
Like magic, my pen moves.
like water, the words flow.
my head becomes the computer,
my heart the programmer,
my hand the tool.
And the message is set down on paper
as proof that the feeling existed somewhere.

Sarah WhiteVAH: The line “an obligation incurred in my childhood” really got my attention.
You write more than poetry, what was your first story?
SBW: A fox who fell in love with a flower.
VAH: And your favorite literary character?
SBW: Madame Bovary
VAH: A classic that. Sarah, what book or series of books would you want if stranded on a deserted island and why those books?
SBW: The Bible, to give me entertainment, hope and consolation; the Whole Earth Catalogue to teach me survival skills; and a collection of blank journals in which to record my thoughts and thus stay sane.
VAH: Whole Earth Catalogue -wow, that takes me back. I think I still have my copy of that huge catalogue somewhere in storage. Tell me, what was the biggest influence on your development as a writer?
SBW: Rejection letters and peer criticism from my writing group. I’ve been with my writing group longer than I’ve been married. (LOL)
VAH: (LOL) Thanks Sarah.

Find Sarah on the web: WebsiteTwitter.

Return on the days that have a three in them to find out more about Sarah Bracey White.


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Coming in July – Sarah Bracey White

Three by Five welcomes Sarah Bracey White to its pages in July

Sarah WhiteSarah Bracey White was born in Sumter, SC. She is a librarian, teacher and motivational speaker. As a long-time arts consultant to the Town of Greenburgh, she designed and manages a creative writing program for children, edits an annual edition of their short stories and sponsors an annual poetry contest. The author of a collection of poetry, Feelings Brought to Surface, her creative essays are included in the anthologies Children of the Dream; Dreaming in Color, Living in Black and White; Aunties: 35 Writers Celebrate Their Other Mother; Gardening On A Deeper Level and Heartscapes. Her essays have been published in many regional newspapers and on the internetHer memoirPrimary Lessons, is scheduled for publication by CavanKerry Press in September, 2013. She lives with her husband in Westchester County, NY.

Primary Lessons: Sarah, a precocious five year old, is ripped from a middle-class life with surrogate parents in Philly and transplanted to a troubled, single-parent household in the Jim Crow south. Feeling alienated, she bristles at the poverty and unfairness, and refuses to accept the cultural system of segregation that tries to confine her — a system that her mother accepts as the southern way of life.

This coming-of-age memoir follows Sarah from Philadelphia to South Carolina – with its Colored water fountains – to the White Mountains of Vermont – where racism masquerades as classism – and finally to Baltimore, just as the 1963 March on Washington unfolds.  Sarah’s refusal to accept the cultural system that tries to confine her parallels the unrest of a nation seeking to re-define equality.  The author’s fiery spirit and unyielding sense-of-self sustain her through family, social and cultural upheavals. It also puts her at the forefront of the change that Martin Luther King dreamed about.

Join Three by Five on the 3rd, 13th, 23rd, and 30th to find out more about this author.


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