Poet Interview: L.R. Sterling
Here we go again! Let’s get to know another amazing poet that I have just recently got the opportunity to get to know through the Instagram writing & poetry community! I’ve only known her a couple weeks and already I have just fallen for her sweet personality and amazing writing!
I hope everyone read through the newsletter already because her bio in it, is pretty great!
Let’s dig right in!
Rebecca: Did you always want to write?
Lois: Yes, I’ve always known. As a child, I was always very shy and reserved. But when I turned 10, my parents gave me my ﬁrst diary, pink and purple with fairies and a golden lock and key, which I always kept hidden underneath my bed. I wrote what I couldn’t convey verbally in written format for years. My writings in my journal didn’t verge on poetry until I reached high school age.
R: I can totally relate to this! I also started writing as a child (about 8!)
R: What inspires you?
L: The things and inspire me on a regular basis are music, relationships, experiences in life both positive and negative ones, people I meet, the writing of other poets and novelists, the weather, and an amalgam of emotions that I feel from one day to the next.
R: What are your favorite topics to write about?
L: As far as subject matter and topics, I tried to keep the genres and styles of my poetry extremely varied, to not pigeonhole myself into one selective area of writing, so I am able to reach as many of my readers as possible. Topics range from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, sexual assault and abuse, romance, sensuality, loss, female empowerment, etc. Those are the topics that I enjoy writing on, but the prompts given to me by fellow poets within my Instagram community have pushed me outside my comfort zone, and to write on subject matter that I would not have originally considered. My goal as a poet, is not to gain a substantial following, but rather to reach at least one person, if not more, and create a sense of camaraderie to where they can relate to subjects that I’ve written on and ﬁnd comfort and solace within my words.
R: I love this!! Prompts are deﬁnitely a good way to get outside of your comfort zone!
R: You use a pen-name, why? Any particular reason?
L: I use a pen name as a way to protect my family. Unfortunately, in this day and age, people misuse the Internet and often engage in foolish, and even predatory behavior.
R: How did you choose your pen-name?
L: That being said, my pen name is in honor of my grandmother and great grandmother‘s names Eloisa and Rosa.
R: What does your creative process look like? When you’re writing…Music? Silence? Night? Day?
L: Typically, when I am writing, I am sitting on my couch or in bed with a mug of my favorite tea either listening to music, or with some form of feel good movie playing in the background on low-volume, such as “Pride and Prejudice”, “Chocolat”, “Eat Pray Love”, or “Bed of Roses”, all of which are my favorites. But usually, I’m just listening to music. It helps to get the creative juices ﬂowing.
R: What great movie choices!!
R: Laptop, pen and paper, typewriter, phone?
L: Pen and paper, and my phone usually. I’m dying to get a typewriter in my hands someday!
R: Typewriters deﬁnitely hold some magic in them.. I hope you do get one someday!
R: What would you say is your most interesting quirk?
L: I have a strange talent for ﬁguring out people’s temperaments/personalities after just a few short minutes. I’ve also been told I would make a good therapist, I apparently have a talent for making people feel comfortable telling me anything and everything. I guess that’s the caregiver in me that wants to help others in any way that I can.
R: You write about a lot of important topics; topics that are still surrounded by stigma such as eating disorders, etc… Why? And do you have any speciﬁc boundaries or processes when it comes to writing about these things?
L: I write on these subjects because they are the ones that I know the best and can articulate most successfully, I suppose. I have quite a history on my shoulders regarding those topics, and I prefer to write about them in an articulate and poetic way that does not cross any lines of graphic boundaries, or go into too much detail that may be upsetting to existing and potential readers. I feel like that while the subjects are somewhat taboo, or even difﬁcult to read or talk or think about, I feel that they’re important to be addressed. The reason being, that sexual assault, eating disorders, mental illness, etc. are subjects and experiences that people go through every single day and it’s important to shed light, and even a sense of comfort to others, and know that they are not alone in those emotions and feelings and experiences, and that they can feel that my page is a safe space to articulate/vent any comments or experiences that they’ve had personally, and feel a sense of support and compassion from my end.
R: How do you feel about Trigger Warnings? Do you use them for the more sensitive topics you write about?
L: I have a love-hate relationship with the idea of trigger warnings. Having been in rehab myself in the past for my experiences with an eating disorder, that word was tossed around quite frequently. Not to mention that in contemporary culture today, that word is used almost in jest, which is bothersome, but I try to ignore it. However, I feel that as a sense of courtesy and respect to readers within the Instagram community, most especially those who may be under age, I feel it’s appropriate to put those warnings within my writings so that people are aware of the subject matter being expressed in my poetry, and that it may not be something they are emotionally and mentally prepared to read.
R: Writing a book? Tell us a little about it!
L: I am in the process of writing a book, yes. However, I am on the fence over whether or not I want to pursue a publisher, more speciﬁcally Andrews McMeel, or if I want to go the route of self-publishing through Amazon. I am impatient, so it will most likely be the latter. If that’s the case, my Instagram community should see a book within the coming months. I already have my title! R: Oh man, it’s also a dream of mine to be with Andrews McMeel! I wish you all the luck!
R: Any tips for new writers?
L: My one piece of advice is to continue writing, and if you experience writer’s block, listen to music, go out in nature, meditate, reﬂect, or quite literally, give yourself the time to step away from writing if it needs to happen to regain that sense of inspiration once again.
R: Do you believe in writer’s block?
– If yes, what would you say is the best way to work through writer’s block?
L: Yes, I most deﬁnitely believe in writer’s block. Fortunately for me, it does not last for long, simply because I have so many pent-up words that I have not expressed over the years, that they
just come out. On the rare occasion that I do get writer’s block, I typically I’ll listen to music, or as mentioned above, I’ll embrace it and wait until the words come to me.
R: Favorite book?
L: My favorite book? Oh man, that’s a tough one. I would probably have to say “Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia” by Marya Hornbacher. I know the title is obviously offputting, but it is genuinely one of the most powerful and emotionally raw non-ﬁction books that I have read in my entire life. I will warn any potential readers that her writing is extremely graphic as far as the subject of eating disorders go, but when I came across that book, I was in one of the most unhealthy points of my life, and quite truthfully shouldn’t have read it at that time. But after having re-visited it years later, I realized how sick I was and that I wanted to lead a more healthy lifestyle in which my body was not a battleground, but a temple and a place that I should love and respect as my own.
R: Favorite author?
L: Favorite author is another difﬁcult one so I’ll cheat and share a few: Marya Hornbacher, Arthur Golden, Tracy Chevalier, and Jane Austen.
R: A book that made you cry?
L: A book that made my ugly cry was “The Rescue” by Nicholas Sparks (cue the male eye rolls). Sue me, it was a great book!
R: Haha!! I’ve never heard of this one! I know quite a few people who ugly cry to some one his other books though!
R: What is your mission?
L: My mission: Man, you’re killing me with the tough questions. This is something that I’ve made clear to my Instagram community, but numbers, an immeasurable following, popularity, and money are not very important to me. My desire in getting my book out there is to see the physical format of my writing in a book. It would just make me feel really good to see. On top of all that, I really just want to reach as many people as I can with my writing. I have always wanted to write a book, more speciﬁcally, a memoir of my experiences with disordered eating and behaviors, but I decided to step away from that subject, and write instead on more varied subject matter to touch hearts, make people think, make people feel something, anything, and reach them at some visceral level, and be a relatable person that’s not simply an Instagram handle, but a human being like all the rest, prone to heartbreak, love, depression, anxiety, bad body image days, addictions, loneliness, loss, etc. It’s a journey that I am so very honored to experience with them.
R: You answered so amazingly, honestly! This is a great mission!
Thank you so much L.R. for metaphorically sitting down with me and answering all these questions. I really enjoyed reading through these and putting this blog together. I can’t wait to read your book and watch you continue your journey!!
You are always able to find L.R. Sterling and her amazing work on Instagram @thetasteofmypen.