Interview by Ruby Bisson
If you missed the first post, you can read about independent author Kalyn RoseAnne here. Ruby continues her chat with Kalyn, focussing on her writing and the publishing process more broadly.
On what art means to me|
To me, art is very simply an extension of one’s own soul. It’s a tangible creation or physical expression of our thoughts, emotions, psyches, etc. I think a lot of us grow up with critics and teachers who base their judgments of art only on the technical aspects and I think this does us a great disservice over time. Culturally, we begin to dictate which creations qualify as art and which do not, and that’s so sad to me. I will stand in front of the shittiest painting and call it art if I know that the painter poured themselves onto that canvas. I don’t have to like it or say that I think it’s beautiful, but
I’m not going to tell you that I don’t think it’s art.
On publishing process and reception|
A year ago, I knew absolutely nothing about the process of self-publishing, and it seemed very daunting to me. Despite all of that, it was on my mind a lot. I was frequently receiving messages asking if I had a book of any kind and kept replying, “Hopefully someday…” But I knew that I had more than enough writing for a volume of poetry and I started really wanting to be able to put something out there. I didn’t even care if I made money off of it. I asked my roommate if she’d do the layout and I decided I was going to get it printed, a few at a time, at an office supply store and bind it with staples.
Fortunately, I started working a few hours a week babysitting for a woman who was a writer. I told her my plans, and she introduced me to the world of self-publishing. I went through a company called Create Space. Their site is really user friendly, they print to order and take care of distribution. It was so simple and I’m so thankful I opened my mouth and told her what I was planning on doing. Really, without that I’d probably still be printing it myself and going to the post office every time someone ordered a book.
I don’t have much to gauge it from, but I feel like it’s done pretty well. Or maybe it’s better to just say I’m happy with how it was received. It sold the most in the first 2-3 months and has dropped off since then, but I’m totally okay with that. It still sells a little each month regardless of whether or not I am advertising it. And that is honestly so neat to me. Just to know that people actually care about something I did like that, and to log on to check sales and see that someone across an ocean from me ordered it is just cool. Success is not a monetary thing for me. I don’t need to be making a living from my writing to feel like I am doing it right. Just knowing that people are reading it and being able to finally answer “yes” to those messages… that’s enough for me.
On the role the Internet has had in establishing myself as an artist|
I cannot imagine where I would be had I not used my blog to establish a following for my writing. It really gives me a different appreciation for writers who didn’t have the tools that we do today. I was blogging for years before anyone was really reading it. I had about 50 followers for over two years and I knew most of them personally. But I wasn’t writing for other people, really. Sure, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t care about other people reading it, but at the end of the day I wrote entirely for myself. It took me completely by surprise when one of my pieces took off and I suddenly had a blog following. It didn’t change my reason for writing, but it certainly fanned the flames. Practicing an art for years and then suddenly having an audience is just an incredible, exciting feeling. It makes the idea of doing that art as a living one day suddenly feel tangible. If it weren’t for the Internet, I’d certainly still be writing but it would be a different thing for me than it is today. My blog following is what gave me the nudge and then the courage to self-publish. Without that, a book would still be a “hopefully someday” kind of thing.
Ode to The Live Oaks
When we admitted to the air what had been playing through our minds
she said she’d been thinking about the live oaks we were sitting in
being in a helical shape and that this was the pattern water moved best in
The wind was rocking the branches and I wondered what shape your soul was
and if I was made to follow the pattern that would best deliver what you need
I could move in the ways of knowledge and bestow upon you words you’ve never heard
I’d read to you works of philosophy, mythology, my lips thick with intellect
I could sway in rhythm with poetry and music
Dancing to the masters of swing after telling you about the ways
we are born of language, reciting verses filled with visions
of the blood coursing through our veins being as ancient as the earth
I could fold into the perfect form of love
and fit into every space in you
that has not yet been touched by it
You are the poem I cannot write
The words get caught somewhere
in the space between
thought and reality
desire and satisfaction
longing and knowing
One day I’m going to stop trying and let you write yourself
which, maybe, is just what you have wanted all along
Ruby is a university student who is best known for her creative methods in avoiding class. She prefers to gallivant in forests and under waterfalls, attempt pottery and mixed media and read novels completely unrelated to her degree. She is loud and messy and contemplative and struggles to stay in one place for an extended period of time. You can usually figure out her location via her blog/ Instagram.