I am posting Tria’s contribution to The Writing Process Blog Tour since her Website is geared for other purposes. Now, here’s Tria!
My thanks to Sandra Sarr for inviting me to participate in The Writing Process Blog Tour. I met Sandy in a writing critique group years ago and continue to be amazed at the breadth and beauty of her writing. You can read her responses to the questions I answer below elsewhere on her blog.
Sandy has an MFA in creative writing from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts and is revising her first novel, THE ROAD TO INDIGO. Her poem, “Sestina for a Young Widow,” was nominated for a 2012 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Intro Journals Project award. Another poem, “Matinal Oceania,” represented Washington State in YARN’s 2012 National Poetry Month’s project, Crossing Country Line by Line. She writes for Arches, the magazine of the University of Puget Sound.
What am I working on?
I’m writing a novel set at the end of the seventeenth century in the region we now call the Columbia River Basin. My stone-age heroine, Umari, travels through a treacherous rain forest inhabited by slave-taking bands to save her people, the Grass Seed Eaters. Only the blessings of the Great Water—an ocean far north and west of her desert homeland—can save her kin from starvation and drought.
This tale offers not only an excursion into an ancient era but also an allegory that portrays a transforming spiritual process. In order to survive the journey, Umari sheds layer upon layer of painful memories and beliefs until, at last, she abides in her sacred essence—the fearless love-power pulsing inside her.
This book continues the spiritual themes I explore in essays and poems on http://www.spontaneousmeditation.org.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
My novel stands in the long tradition of inspirational tales—stories that portray humans grappling with that most basic question: Who am I? The book’s stone-age setting, lyric writing, use of universal metaphors, and portrayal of our true nature as love make it unique.
Why do I write what I write?
Thirty-three years ago, I experienced an awakening—an upwelling of spiritual energy—that has flowed inside me ever since. At the time, I had no teacher or tradition, but I recognized this flowing force as both love and peace.
This force took me into a deep stillness, but my mind was active enough to be curious about the process unfolding within me. Aided by an academic background in comparative religion, I looked for similar experiences recorded in the world’s religions. Eventually, I combined my personal introspections with this research in a brief memoir, a short story and two epic poems. I presented these writings through informal readings and one-woman performances at healing centers, churches, national conferences and in private homes. My desire is always to communicate the closeness, power and beauty of our true nature.
How does my writing process work?
I’m a café writer. I treasure my mornings spent sipping tea while allowing spontaneously arising images or words to carry me into a scene. From this experience of literary “free fall,” come the most surprising results!
Photographs—bold, clear and colorful—also play an important role in my writing. In the 1990s, while I was performing my two epic poems, I illustrated them with dozens of photographic slides. I spend countless hours looking for just the right picture to illustrate my words. These photographs are so important to me, I sometimes rewrite a phrase—even a cherished one—so I can pair it with a breath-taking image.
I’m grateful to the photographers who’ve provided me with the images that support and ignite my writing. I’m also grateful to my husband, my literary buddies and my critique group partners who help me see what I fail to notice in my own writing.
The Writer’s Process Blog Tour continues with paranormal romance author, Jeanette Raleigh. Her series, WHEN WHERE AND HOWL takes readers on a hilarious journey with the antics of a were-mouse who falls in love with a werewolf. The first book in the series, Moon Struck, is currently free on Amazon. Blessed with an amazing imagination and mature writing skills, Jeanette creates fantastic tales filled with reality, warmth and wit. To learn more about Jeanette’s writing process, please visit her blog: http://jeanetteraleigh.wordpress.com/