Written by Robert Lloyd
Fredrick Keonig once said “We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” Sometimes we forget the little things in life and ignore our blessings. It takes the people around us to teach us how to be grateful and gracious. Sometimes small joys are lit by our husbands and wives, our children and grandchildren, friends and coworkers, maybe even strangers. There are always people around to inspire hope and to show you happiness and/or where to find it. I am lucky enough to introduce you to one such person today, Carrie Burtt.
As we continue our series “The Life of a Poet” we get to visit someone I am fairly certain many of you are familiar with. Carrie’s positivity and kindness can be found all over our community and the poetry blogosphere. Her blog is a wonderful and active beacon of hope, brimming with her wonderful poetry and outlook on life. I hope you enjoy learning a bit more about Carrie as much as I have.
PU: It is an obvious question but still a must. Carrie, what is the name of your poetry blog? Why did you choose that name?
CB: The name of my blog is Hope Whispers. Hope has always been a central theme in my writing and my life. I see it as the quiet giant. It is a huge part of what we need in this life to survive, yet hope is so easily lost at times, like a whisper in the wind. I have a quote from one of my old poems that is on my blog, "hope is like a pin drop, it falls to the floor unnoticed, yet it is there just the same." For me, hope has mightily carried me through life's struggles with the gentleness of a whisper, so Hope Whispers in essence named itself. :-)
PU: I have to say before Carrie had told me this I actually researched that quote so that I could cite who it was as I was planning to use it for the introduction to this piece. I had to scramble for a rewrite. So maybe it’s needless to say but I love it and think it’s easily quotable.
Tell us a little about yourself. We want to know where all this positivity comes from.
CB: I was born and raised in Texas and grew up north of Dallas in a small town called Sanger. We had a 100 acre ranch with 4 dogs, lots of cats, 100 head of cattle, a horse, and a pony named Creampuff. We eventually headed south, like geese, and worked our way slowly to the Houston area. I know you are wondering if I have a strong Texas accent, and actually I do not, but I have been saying the term "ya'll" all of my life. I am a country girl at heart, but have been living in the city for all of my adulthood. I am the mother to 5 grown adults, and grammy to 10 wonderful grandkids. They are all my teachers, and my true inspiration. I started my own house cleaning business when I was in my early 20's that I still do part time to this day, but almost 5 years ago I had the opportunity to work full time at our local Library.
I am a Circulation Assistant, and believe it or not, one of my responsibilities is to repair the damaged books that belong to our branch. I work with wonderful people, and love meeting so many new people. I truly love my work, and find it amusing that people assume that if you work at a Library that your job is boring or calm, and quiet. Obviously, some people have not spent that much time at many of the Libraries in the country. They are no longer quiet, and we always have wonderful and fun stories to tell when we get home. It certainly helps keep my muse alive. :-)
PU: What an intriguing life. I think I’m suffering from book envy. The geek in me thinks working at a library is a dream job. I will at some point have to ask you why that horse was named Creampuff.
Are there any lines from famous poetry that you repeat? I usually quote Shakespeare without realizing it. i.e. “what a wicked web we weave when at first we practice to deceive” (actually I have been corrected and rightfully so the quote is by- Sir Walter Scott (Marmion, 1808) 20 years of quoting the wrong person down the drain in one flush lol, Thanks Kerry)
CB: This may sound silly, but I do not quote any famous poets. There is no particular reason for this, I just never have. I do have some information I would like to add though. Both my daughters write poetry also. One has a blog, and is a member of Poets United, Rebecca Burtt @ Redprisma. My other daughter Amber Whitworth, does not have a blog, but she writes beautifully as well. Both of them have been through a lot, and are wise beyond their years. Their strength, resilience, and insightfulness reflects from their writing. Needless to say, I am very proud of the women and poets that they both have become.
PU: So we can see that the apple surely does not fall to far form the tree in your family. I wonder what a game of Scrabble would be like in your house during the holidays
Why do you write Poetry and when did you begin writing? What was the last poem you wrote?
CB: I started writing poetry when I was 11 years old, much like my dear friend Ninot Taziz. I do not recall all the lines in that first poem, but I do remember the way it made me feel. It was as if I had found my place in the world. Since that time, writing has been very therapeutic, and a great outlet for me, but mostly it has just become a part of who I am. Like the Jerry Maguire movie quote, "you complete me", well, writing completes me, as cheeeeezy as that may sound. :-) The last poem I wrote was for a wonderful poetry prompt site called Magpie Tales, hosted by Willow. She posts a picture each week, and writers post a short vignette, or poem and link back. My last poem posted was "The Strongest Strand".
PU: I am very Familiar with Willow and her Magpie Tales. And I agree it is truly a wonderful site, the people there are all so nice too!! Willow her self is amazing.
What do you find the most challenging about writing? What do you do to overcome writer’s bloc?
CB: When I am writing for poetry prompt it is more challenging for me, because it goes against the grain of how I usually write. Normally I get inspired by a thought, sentence, or ideal, and then I build a poem around that concept or theme. This can happen fast or very slow...I really have no control over that part of it. With a prompt there is a time crunch, and that is hard for me to work with. Magpie Tales, and Think Tank, have really made me push the envelope of my capabilities. I rarely get writer's bloc, but I do get it sometimes. When this happens, I simply place all my ideas on a shelf, like a vase and walk away for a while. I do not return to pick it up until I can pick it up whole heartedly with both hands. Time is usually a great healer, not just with wounds, but also with writer's bloc.
PU: you are smarter than me in that regard. I try and force stuff out and just end up with junk. I have tried teh walk away thing as of late though.
Quick random question, Chocolate or Vanilla? Why?
CB: CHOCOLATE all the way!! :-)
PU: I didnt get the why but I have to say Vanilla by far lol
Most writers read, what books if any are you reading right now?
CB: Right now I am reading a heartwarming book that was self published by one of our amazing patrons, Helen Henderson. It is called "Memories and Miracles". It is about her son Mark's inspirational and short life, and all the memories she has with him. It really does make you think about all we have to be thankful for.
PU: Sounds like a wonderful read. I may have to look into getting a copy.
Do you have any pets? If so do you talk to them?
CB: Learning How To Reach is a poem that I wrote many years ago, and has always been a favorite of mine. It is about life's lessons and how mistakes and those lessons affect our lives. If I were to ever publish a collection of poetry learning how to reach is what I would name the book.
PU: We are currently looking into publishing information. I will be sur eto pass on what I find to you. You can put away for when you ready to start that endeavor.
Do you have a favorite poet? If so who are they? What is your favorite poem by them?
CB: One of my favorite poets is Maya Angelou. I love her style of writing, and the beautiful message of freedom in her poetry. The poem by her that I consider my ultimate favorite is "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings". It has a wonderful flow, and beat in the lines. It is truly a song to me.
PU: Well since that is the case I can tell you that you will pleasantly suprised this Friday by Sherry Blue Sky.
In school did you ever have to memorize a poem? If so what was it? How much of it can you remember now?
CB: I do not remember the specific poem, but I am certain it was Robert Frost.
PU: I'm willing to bet it was the Mending Wall.
What other poets in the poetry blogosphere do you like to read or visit the most?
CB: Well, there are so many poets that I love to read and visit in the blogosphere. It is hard for me to narrow it down, but I will try.
The Chocolate Chip Waffle is one I am drawn to like a magnet to metal. Her writing and poetry is magnificent. I feel like I am at an amazing museum of art and poetry when I stop by. It is truly food for the soul.
Signed...Bkm is another poetry blog I love to visit. Her lovely blog, and amazing writing is full of passion, and truly takes my breath away in awe every time I read her wonderful words.
Poems by Ninot Aziz is full of wonder of legends and passion for life and legacy. I find her writing intriguing and beautiful. I truly feel a kindred spirit in her message, and have found a wonderful and encouraging friend.
PU: I couldn't agree with you more. All are wonderful places to visit and read.
Poets are often creative on many different levels, when you are not writing what other hobbies, talents or creative things do you do?
CB: My mother had an amazing talent with a pencil to sketch a person and capture them on the page. I decided in my 30's to attempt it myself, and was surprised to be a bit better at it than I expected. I will never be able to sketch with the ease of an artist, like her, but I do enjoy trying.
I also like to sing. I have always belted out tunes from the time I was a child. I had small parts in musicals in high school, and always dreamed of singing in a band. Unfortunately, whenever I have ventured out to sing Karaoke I usually become nauseous with fear. So I usually limit my singing to home and the confines of my car. I am the lady driving by that looks like she is screaming, but I am actually singing something like, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me" by Elton John.
PU: So I guess even though you are from Texas you don't sing many country songs. I firts envisioned you belting out a Tammy Wynette or Patsy Cline tune.
Everyone has their favorites quotes they live by or repeat, mine is “He who Laughs…Lasts” ~ Mary Pettitbone Poole. What quote do you use often or live by?
CB: My favorite quote is: