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Expression session with poet Jacqueline Belle

Jacqueline Belle poet pic

Hi, my name is Jacqueline Belle and I write poetry, short stories and children’s books.  I also do narration and voice all my recordings.

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Tell readers about what you do

I have been writing privately for about 20 years.  My first children’s story was created about 12 years ago. I used the stories I created orally at children’s story time in libraries and parent groups.  I travelled for almost a decade and compiled stories of my travels and used them in pubs and gatherings… always known for a good yarn.  I privately ‘travel blogged’ for friends and family… this was before blogging was even a thing. But strangely, my friends, family and acquaintances preferred to hear my stories instead of reading them. The intension was good, but they told me often that I could never be a writer because my stories needed my voice and facial expressions.

These comments stuck with me for decades, like a muzzle and is the reason I rarely wrote down my stories and never published. Thankfully, these stories are engrained in my mind and are coming forth now in an almost violent surge. I see things and my memories burst forward and I can do nothing else until the story is committed to paper. I owe my twitter friends, followers and the #WritingCommunity so much as they were the catalyst and the reason I started to share. My mouth had been closed for so many years, but my eyes and ears and senses were on high alert. I absorbed all of it; every minute detail around me and I remember everything. I am very grateful for the support I was given, and I hope that my creations will touch the people around me and allow me to feel as though I am giving back to the community.

I left full time work in May 2019 to move from New Zealand to Canada and to dedicate my time to writing. The Collection was my focus, but I have written micro fiction about #SmokeytheCat, poetry, short stories and I am currently working on a novella. My poetry genre is broad: there is humour, suspense, romance, politically charged poems and delightfully innocent children’s poems but all of them are focused on and triggered by the small moments in life and the emotions attached to these snippets in time.  I like to focus on details, the things we often miss out on. 

I like to take readers on a journey, and I don’t like for them to know where we are going this time or how we will get there. My goal is to make my reader stop in their tracks; I want them to feel as though they are in the story and feeling every emotion and are present in that moment. I like to think that I require the reader to use all their senses – there are no bystanders when reading my stories. You have no choice but to hop on or you will miss the train completely. 

Tell readers about your creations

My first collection of poetry, ‘When I Walk Upon the Earth’, was originally only available for download through CDBaby and Spotify. But I began to realise that people wanted to hold my poems in their hands.  So, I published it as a paperback available through amazon.  I then began to receive requests for a physical CD and an eBook for those living in countries where shipping a small paperback was very expensive. ‘When I Walk Upon the Earth’ is available now on Amazon, CDBaby and Spotify but the album will be rereleased next month as a physical CD and the download will be updated on CDBaby, Spotify and YouTube Music.

My current creation is my new book, The Collection: a poetic exploration of friendship, love, fantasies and the soulmate. This is a poetry and short story collection that comes straight from my heart onto the page. It has been said that these poems stay with the reader long after they are read. I believe it, this collection is very special to me and I feel it gives our most hidden inner emotions a voice. The reader becomes the main character and feels the journey as if it were their own…or that is the hope. Recording for this album will start soon and I am very excited about creating some melodies for this collection and collaborating with others to make this album even more appealing to listeners. The book will release on the 6 March 2020, and the album for this poetry collection will release Sept 2020.

Our World – Part One

I have an exciting new collaboration I would like to share with you. I, Daniel Lacho from @GuruArtOfficial and a male voice actor will be collaborating to create a series of nature videos called Our World.  Part One has been released and Part Two will introduce our male voice collaborator. I am so honoured to be a part of this series as it promotes awareness and protection of nature, the environment and the beauty of our earth. Please enjoy and stay tuned for Part Two and listen for me in future episodes.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by everyday life.  As I mentioned before, I have spent a lot of years watching, listening, tasting, touching, feeling and experiencing the world around me.  I like to look at life from all angles.  You can’t help but recognise this in my photography; I like to lay on the ground and look up as if I am a fairy or an insect.  Sometimes I will lean against a wall or bend over and take a shot through my legs or get really close in to see the smallest details. I don’t spend time setting up a shot.  I point, I click. What you see, is what I see. I rarely take more than two shots the same of anything. I like to play with time – stretch it, pull on it or push it out of shape. The results inspire me every time. Physical activity also inspires me. I like to jog. I’m definitely not a ‘pro runner’ but the sound of my breath helps me to think, work through word placement or to complete a yarn. 

Writers block can be frustrating; I am known for sweeping emphatically when the words won’t come, staring off into space… there might even be a bit of cursing that occurs under my breath… terrible words like sugar cakes or fiddle sticks. lol. When the words just won’t come; as I mentioned, I take pictures – usually textures, colours, shapes or ordinary things from unusual angles.  When nothing seems to work… I get creative… I hide my manuscript, tell a friend where it is and then erase its location from my memory, I build things… often strange, out of the box, things or I try something new. Once I shake things up, my mind will usually release the story and things will start to move again.

What is the best advice you have ever given?

The best advice I have given…hmmm… that is subjective… lol. My advice would be to never dim your light for others.  Shine at full brightness and by doing so, you give others permission to also shine and they will rise up to meet you or even surpass your brightness. This is when magic happens, you feed each other, taking turns to rise and shine; building each other up.  When you find these people, it is beautiful, and it is bliss.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

The best advice I have been given would be to stop worrying about what other people will think of what I write and just write it. Worry about how to bring it out into the world after it is written.

Idc Whatever GIF by Joey Bada$$
Idc Whatever GIF by Joey Bada$$

Do you think having a degree or diploma in the arts makes for a better writer?

This is an interesting and loaded question Taryn. I have a broad range of post-secondary education; I have studied advanced mathematics, computer science, religion, art history and librarian studies. I have experience writing nonfiction and I know how to research but does that make my words ‘better’ than someone with no education? I think not.

I think everyone has a unique voice; everyone has life experiences that are different, and we can all feel.  I think it could be quite magical to read a child’s story about string theory or the meaning of life. I think it depends on the type of writing.  If you write what you know, and you put your energy into it; people will feel it – positive or negative. I know that my writing has evolved because of the practice I had writing research papers in school and beyond, but I think it was the practice that helped me to improve – practice gave me confidence.  Some people may have that confidence without the practice – everyone is different. 

Now that I am writing poetry, my education plays a part because it is a part of me.  I put myself into the story and bring to life the characters emotions and senses… it is what the character experiences and therefore what the reader will experience. My most cherished poems come from being inspired; surrounding myself with people that are also open to being inspired. Writing from the heart… I believe this is the key.

Off the top of your head, who would you give a shout out to on Twitter?

I have so many wonderful supporters, I’m almost afraid to start naming names. I will shout out to my breakfast followers @Moomii_Moo, as they bring me so much joy and inspiration every morning at breakfast. I love hearing what’s happening in their world and I always make a point of checking out their pinned tweet or feed when they visit.  It is one of my favourite rituals of the day.

I’d like to shout out to my twitter friend @BellaRayne10 for her unconditional support, positive energy and thoughtful observations. To @Romston for providing me with positive affirmations and a warm drink every morning. I would also like to shout out to #GALECrew and Daniel @GuruArtOfficial. Daniel and I have been collaborating on numerous poetry videos and he created my most recent book trailer. He has a gift for interpreting word and ideas into videos that are not only professional but respectful and creative. It is very difficult for an author to hand over their work to be interpreted by someone else; it is a great risk. Daniel’s work is unique because of his ability to feel the words in a respectful, humble and nonjudgement way.  His book trailers are superb and reflect the authors words not just about creating hype for a book.  His creativity inspires me every day. 

What’s rocking your world this month?

What is rocking my world… well, music always rocks my world. I love it. I have been helping with #MusicMonday with @DisparoJack as @Moomii_Moo.  We have been running this celebration of music for quite some time now and we just had our 13th episode. As @Moomii_Moo, I am now co-hosting #MusicMonday with @DisparoJack and it now happens on the last Monday of every month and everyone is welcome.  We encourage people to share songs that inspire them, and we also love it when musicians stop by and share their songs and stories with us.

It is a great way to hear some new tunes, join us for some fun interaction and meet some new friends. I create a Spotify Playlist throughout the day so if you follow the account you can listen along with us and enjoy all month long. If you don’t have a Spotify account, no worries, you can listen to the first 30 seconds of each song on the playlist or follow along with us on Twitter on the last Monday of the month. 

Next #MusicMonday is 30 March 2020.

I hope you will join us and I’m looking forward to hearing your song picks!

It was great to chat with all of you. Thank you kindly, Taryn, for having me on your blog.

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