VAH: Linda, there are two kinds of readers – The finish-the-book-once-you’ve-started kind and the leave-it and move on-if-don’t-like-the-book sort – which kind are you?
LS: My Catholic school background (and Ms. Nora Claire Sharkey) taught me to give the author the courtesy of reading the whole book. However, I’ve rebelled over the past few years. If the book doesn’t grab me in 50 pages, you lose me…so many books, and so little time.
VAH: Every writer faces this at some time or another – the blank page stares back at you, what gets you over writers block?
LS: Reading to those who don’t usually get the chance to connect to poetry – their reactions are fresh, honest, and often inspiring. Also, writing in a journal – I used to do it almost every day…I’m afraid it is now only sporadic. I always seem to unearth things that sound like they could blossom into an idea for a poem or essay. Another source for inspiration: reading titles of articles in women’s magazines –they form rich prompts. And finally, viewing a painting or other piece of art and choosing a point of view from inside the tableau.
VAH: An example prompted by an article in a magazine?
LS: I wrote a poem called “Simple Storage Solutions” that was instigated from an article in Family Circle).
VAH: 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?
LS: This is hard. I used to keep paper copies in a manila folder. Then I created a spreadsheet. But really, I wish someone would do it for me. Every year on the 31st of December, I spend time sending out work so that there is always hope and possibility for the New Year.
VAH: Totally get that! Sometimes December is my most productive month of the whole year! What is an interesting little known fact about you?
LS: My middle name is Ann Ann. No, that’s not a typo. The reason is that Linda is not a saint’s name, so my parents had to select a middle name that was. I was Christened Linda Ann. Being the feisty, stubborn 4th grader that I was, when it came time to choose a Confirmation name, I decided that I didn’t want 4 names – I wanted to stick with a trinity of names. So I picked Ann again. Linda Ann squared.
VAH: What is your favorite, inspiring quote?
LS: I like this by Leonard Cohen, because it says it’s okay to make mistakes, in fact, maybe it’s preferable:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything–
That’s how the light gets in.
VAH: Thanks Linda! That’s a good concept to end upon – that it’s okay to make mistakes.
Linda on the web:
Linda Simone on Three by Five in the month of September on the 3rd, 13th, 23rd and 30th.