Monday, May 27, 2013

Life of a Poet ~ Leslie Moon


Kids, we have a highly productive young writer and artist to visit with today. Leslie Moon, of  Moondustwriter's Blog, does it all - art, music, writing, photography, and all superlatively, from what I can see. She tells us “The moon is part of me.......I create with moondust," and I think she is right. Hop in, we're zipping down Highway One, along the migratory route of the Monarch butterfly, to Northern California. I am eager to plunge in, so pull your chairs in close, and we'll begin. 

[*All photos in this interview are copyrighted to Leslie Moon]




Poets United: Wow, kiddo, your “About” page is amazing, and you are still just a puppy! Let’s go back to the beginning. Did you grow up in California? Did your pursuit of your many gifts begin in childhood? What came first? Art? Music? Writing?



Leslie: I grew up in Northern California during a period when excellence and the pursuit of creative expression were encouraged. When you live around creativity, I think you just breathe it and exhale it. What came first? All. If I look back at myself, I would say "overachiever", but I really was just trying to keep up with my family. 

Writing was probably the last thing I aimed for (achievement-wise.) I sang my first solo at 5, played multiple musical instruments, exhibited some art in Elementary school, and started getting paid for my drawings at 13. At 13, I decided I wanted to pursue medicine. I got lucky with multiple opportunities to work at Stanford University in medical research as a teen. My art and writing was what kept me from banging my head against the wall when my brain hurt. 

Though I didn’t think my art or writing was any good, several teachers did. My first poetry/ drawing duos were published in several literary magazines. My art teachers recommended that I pursue art school. I would probably be a physician today had I had the financial means, but that’s a different story.


My Desk

P.U.: You blazed through childhood like a comet! You mention a talented mother, who is an artist. Tell us a bit about her, and how she influenced you in bringing forth your own creative gifts?


Lovely Calla

Leslie:  I came to the realization as an adult that my mother is a genius and art is where her mind explodes. Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t know when I was younger, because I wouldn’t have tried so hard to be like her. My mother can make anything into art. I recently asked about a group of sculptures we had in our garden. Years ago my mother scavenged some trashed satellite pieces and originally made them as a fountain display at the county fair. She dismantled the pieces and made them into garden sculpture. She has the unique talent of being able to create in many genres; believe me (the realist) it’s not that easy. One of her well known series is comprised of impressionistic cellular structures that were taken from electron microscope images. These paintings document scientific history.

Poets United: Wow!

Leslie: My mother is not a teacher, so she led by example, and she’s a perfectionist, so my work was never good enough. Maybe I kept going in writing because it was the one area where I excelled and she dabbled. She loves my poetry, and asks my advice on the two novels she is presently writing. One thing I learned – tenacity.

Summer

P.U.: An incredible woman! And your family today?

Leslie: I have three children. Two daughters and a son. all are musical and artistic. My middle daughter is in the process of writing a novel (she's 19). My son has had several shots at filming/editing major documentaries - sadly each one fell by the wayside pre-production, but he has worked with some interesting/talented people.

P.U.: Well, clearly the  strain of creative genius runs right through your family! Fantastic! Tell us about your music. 


Cali Coast

Leslie: I come from a very musical family. My grandmother sang opera, grandfather conducted. Of course I was in a choir by 5, played several instruments, even tried my hand at conducting as a teen.  I stayed away from solo (singing) performances until a friend challenged me to sing in a worship band. I’ve sung in several bands, done some local music festivals, and played leads in a few musicals. As much as I love the rush of performing, I’m a very private person and have enjoyed passing the baton to my very talented daughter.

P.U.: It is all so productive, I am feeling a little breathless. (Smiles.) When did your writing journey begin, kiddo? 


Three Rivers Canvas

Leslie: Books were my world as a child. My childhood was far from magical, but there was a world where I could escape. It wasn’t too long before I was telling stories, and then, when I was old enough to write - writing them.

P.U.: Tell us how you feel about  poetry. What makes it sing for you?


poetry is a domain between music and writing

Leslie: I think poetry is a domain between music and writing. Poetry is a world where fairies, lovers, and darkness reside. The thing about poetry that I believe is essential for a writer is it gives an outlet of expression that fiction and non-fiction rarely (if ever) allow.

The world of the word
Can come so alive
In just a moment
It can open your eyes
Get a pen
Look and see
Feel the word
come along with me


Think about it - words open your mind like a prism. Depending on your age and your present situation, a poem (for the reader or poet) can mean and/or reveal so many different things.


Reflections on a Wave

I am always alone
Your arms briefly 
enfolded me
Love
Slips
Away
on a wave

P.U.: So lovely, Leslie - the coastline, your photography,  and your beautiful poem.



Hinged

I have seen the beginning
the end
of harvests
you see
I'm holding fast through
seasons future and past

Leslie: I got back into poetry five years ago when I was writing about 10,000 words a day. 

P.U.: Did you say TEN thousand?

Leslie: Doesn't everyone write 10,000 words a day??? Kidding. I have several finished manuscripts written that I put away (for now). One is a paranormal, One is a WWII (3-book) series about a British woman fighter pilot. Did I mention that I was an airplane mechanic in the Navy and grew up around planes? Too many stories, too little time.

Poetry allowed me to exhale without losing my creativity. I think I must have the opposite of writer’s block – writer’s excess. Poetry has really helped me relax and have fun with a word or two that fell off the pen into my pocket.



February Sunset

P.U.: I am impressed that you were a co-founder of the popular One Stop Poetry.  How was that time for you? I used to “stop by” there and was sad when it closed. But running sites takes a lot of time, as Mary and I are discovering.

Leslie: One Stop really was amazing. I think many writers and poets were just finding social media and how it worked. It was fun to meet and encourage many who were just finding the means of expression in blogging. Running any public site takes a lot of time and emotion and team work doesn’t just happen. My own writing and art really stagnated during that time.
Kudos to you and Mary for the time and energy you expend to encourage others.

P.U.: Thanks, kiddo. Kim and Rosemary's help is crucial too, in keeping up with it all. What plans do you have in the works for your writing these days?

Leslie: I’m hoping to get a book published with one of the folks I have co-written with. We have just finished a fantasy where the dragon is the hero. It probably will age range between late elementary and YA lit. I’m sending drawings I have done to my mother in hopes that she can make those drawing ideas pop. This was one of those accidental manuscripts that happily wrote itself.


Eve of Sunset

P.U.: That is a very topical theme for these times. There's a big market for the genre these days. I'll bet a publisher will leap at it.

Leslie: Also I have two historical fictions I have blocked out (that share a similar theme). Each spans a 100 year period of time. They are both centered in places I have stayed, and the characters (from the past) really whispered their story to me. There are several logistical issues that my co-writer and I need to work out. One is spending some time living in the area; the other is getting translators so that we can dig a little further into the local history. Like archaeologists, we keep digging and planning.

P.U.: Tell us about your writing group of horror writers – that sounds like a hoot!

Leslie: Pen of the Damned is comprised of ten writers, whose founder is Joseph Pinto. We are one year old this month. Pen is an exceptional group of seasoned and published writers. I feel quite out of my writing element with these writers who know their craft. There is horror and then there is that slinking around the corner, shadowy darkness kind of horror. A chill runs down your spine but you don’t know the source.  We have some exciting projects coming up in the next year. My nightmares give me fodder for my writing now. Check Pen of the Damned out we post new short fiction each Tuesday. 

P.U.: Fantastic, Leslie. It sounds amazing. We’d love to hear about the children’s books you have published. 


Leslie: When I was a young mom, I started telling my son stories every night. The main character was a panda bear named Paddy. The panda bear and my son had so much in common that the stories flowed based on the events in my son’s daily excursions. It’s a sweet group of stories. I am terrible at marketing my own work. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&keywords=1450017940

The other book (that spurred an international radio story time for children) was written by my friend and co-writer who live in Wales. After coming back from a summer of leading children’s camps in Eastern Europe, I felt the need to have a book that I could leave with these children. Our major goal was to create a tool for children that would help them get excited about reading the stories in the Bible. This was a fun project that involved quite a number of people. 

We had people on two sides of the pond editing, several people underwrote the cost so that we could make the books available for free, and we also had several people working on translations. It’s not a book that you can buy on Amazon. We published this baby from scratch so that, if we had to charge, the bound cost would be minimal. The radio show sadly terminated because the team just couldn’t fund the monthly radio time any longer.


P.U.: What a wonderful project!  You have worked in a number of very interesting fields: health care, teaching, radio script writer. What would be your dream job?

Leslie: My goal for awhile has been to be a writer. I’m presently working on several projects as an editor. There are a few other possible projects using my health care/educational background.



P.U.: What did you learn on what you jokingly refer to as "the dark side of the moon you are presently emerging from"?

Leslie: I would hope that every part of life’s journey, we gain some knowledge and we give a bit of encouragement. I love the forest I live in now. It is filled with laughter and light. The dark side gives me great material....

P.U.: Oh, I so hear you about that! I have enough material for three lifetimes of writing. It's why we type so fast, right? Thank you so much, Ms. Moon, for a fascinating glimpse into your busy, creative, productive, amazing life! Kids, check out Leslie's pages, on her sidebar - there is a lot of interesting material to be found in her archives: poems, her photography and some beautiful poems for children.

It never ceases to amaze me, hearing the stories of each poet's journey. It enthralls me. I suspect we'll be hearing more about this young writer. She is on fire! Do come back to see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

29 comments:

  1. Interesting interview, Sherry. Leslie, nice to be able to meet you here. It sounds like you are very diverse in your writing. Neat that your children are taking the creative route as well.

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    1. As most parents, I am so excited to see my children take the example set and run further and stronger.

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  2. Hey Moonie. Nice to see you! I miss One Stop; it has never been replaced.

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    1. FB - great memories
      so many wonderful people along the garden path of life - like you!!!
      Hugz

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  3. Sherry, I am in awe of Leslie's talent, energy, passion. The term multitasking must have been coined with her in mind! Whew!
    Thanks so much for sharing her story.

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    1. Helen - ha
      There is a swing side - I drive people crazy with all my ideas.

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  4. I came right over when I saw you were featuring Leslie Moon. Our paths crossed when she was doing an amazing job at One Stop Poetry. The site inspired me to write in different ways I never knew, and with One Stop, I ventured into writing French poetry for the first time ever.

    Hi Leslie! I have always loved bumping into you since One Stop Poetry, and this interview is amazing! 10,000 words a day?

    You take care and I will continue to look you up, Moondust Writer. Your poetry and energy - gives me hope. Cheers!

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  5. By the way, working with Mum is a great experience. My Mum is my editor for my Hikayat books and this has brought us even closer together. Our passion for preserving Malay folklore is now a joint crusade!

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    1. There is a sweetness in a mother daughter project. Best as you pursue this work - together

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  6. Good to meet you, Leslie. Sherry, I like how you dispersed the art and poetry among the tea and company.

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    1. Sherry is quite the creative one isn't she? I really appreciate the time she puts into these interviews.

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  7. Sherry, thank you so much for a wonderful interview, such a great read this was!

    I knew Leslie as @moondustwriter from the very beginning of my run as @Semaphore on Twitter, even before there was a One Stop Poetry. I've always been impressed by her talent and energy... and I remember her for the early support and encouragement she gave me when not very many yet were listening to my poetry stream online. She gave me one of my first interviews - it turned out to be for her column on One Stop Poetry - and also gave me the chance to write some of my first columns on craftsmanship.

    Beyond the talent, Leslie is an amazing and wonderful person. By chance our paths crossed, and I will always be grateful to providence for that.

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    1. Samuel - you to me are always that star that just keeps shining brighter and brighter (so proud of what you are doing now!!!). Not to mention the fact that your work touches something in the heart that few poets can reach

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  8. What a fascinating interview! I'm not sure that I even THINK 10,000 words a day!

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    1. MZ - You and that creative/ whirling mind of yours are spinning more that 10,000 ideas, words and activities a day!!!!

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  9. Whoa-busy and 10,000 words a day?! Amazing...
    Nice to meet you Leslie. I enjoyed this interview~
    Off to count my words, lol

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    1. Ella - so great to meet you too!
      I'm going to have a hard time living the 10,000 words down.

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    1. Rosemary - you are too sweet.
      I think our lives are much like that of the spider - looking at the woven work as it catches the sunlight is a beauty to behold for the spinner there is another lap to be made around the web.
      :)

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  11. it is so nice to know her beyonf her blogpage and outs wonderful poruings. I have read her too in this forum. Quite a roller coaster ride in life and hope you keep rioding higher and higher, Leslie!

    Sherry1 thanks for such an breezy interview.

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    1. Akila - I have enjoyed so much the work of all of you in the blogsphere - I sometimes wonder if creativity is bursting at the seams because there are so many of us who have this well spring of inspiration. Keep inspiring

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  12. Lovely interview. Always nice to know people. :)

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    1. and best to you Anand
      I loom forward to reading your work...

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  13. Sherry - It was awesome getting to know you through this interview. Writers are an exceptional breed we inspire, we fly, and like the butterfly land in some very interesting places,
    Thanks so for sharing some of my photography and snatches of my world - I am so honored by your kindness and that of the folks at Poet's United!!!

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  14. You are most welcome, Leslie. Truly, it was my pleasure. Keep shining!!!!! I love it that you were one of the talented Samuel's encouragers. He is another bright star!

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  15. She is so talented. Nice interview too. :-)

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  16. Long overdue. I have known Leslie Moon for many years now on the blogsphere scene and she is one of the pillars of this modern age internet poetry. Nice interview and a pleasure to read

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    1. I love you too poetry brother Kodjo!!!

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