Monday, July 7, 2014

LIFE OF A POET - STACY LYNN MAR

Kids, this week we have a rising star in the blogging world, Ms Stacy Lynn Mar, who can be found doing a multitude of exciting things at Warning the Stars . Warning the stars, indeed, Stacy has a lot going on. Pour yourself a tall latte, as I didn't want to leave out a single thing!



Sherry: Wow, Stacy, your blog is so RICH and full of material, I scarcely know where to start. I love the Sexton quote up top: "Dear Love, I am that girl." 
Let’s just go all the way back. I read your bio, which is fascinating. Tell us about your mother, and how she encouraged and influenced you. 



Stacy and her beautiful daughter, Arianna


Stacy: My mother has always had a major impact on my educational endeavors and my writing.  I used to tell her of my dreams and she would encourage me by saying that the world was my proverbial oyster (as the old adage goes), and that the future was as broad as the sky (or as far as I could dream).   

I had a one whirlwind of a college career (spanning 13 years, give the 18 months I took off during pregnancy and early motherhood) where I juggled practicums, full-time and part-time jobs, studies, and being a single parent (after a four-year marriage), and my mother was always there as a confidant and fan, encouraging me on  the fruit of my labours, babysitting  when I worked, and inspiring me to persevere the challenges so I could reap the rewards of my hard work.

Sherry: That was a lot of hard work, and I applaud you for persevering, Stacy. Tell us how your childhood set you on your path of being a voracious lover of books and writer of poetry.

Stacy: My childhood was rich in literature and reading material.   Both of my parents molded me to my studious tendencies, with their ever-present speeches about the importance of education.  

Yet, I loved books and reading, words themselves, for as long as I could remember.  I was an advanced reader even in kindergarten, asking why the 'h' was silent in ghost when other children probably could barely read by then.  I delved into storybooks and was given to the whims of imagination.  

My mother said I would spend hours immersing myself in the imaginary world of my toys, playing out grandiose stories and adventures.   In the second grade I tested into a fifth grade reading class and my fourth grade year introduced me to an English/Literature teacher that doted on my writing and often read it aloud to the class.  My love for books, literature, writing, and the magnificent worlds of the imagination just bloomed afterward.

Sherry: So cool. It is wonderful when parents and teachers encourage children. Now let’s fast forward. Where do you live, and with whom do you share your life?


"My favorite corner of the world! There's nothing like
sitting there with some coffee and a book
and forgetting the world."

Stacy: I live with a life partner/roommate (Miranda) and my daughter (Arianna) in the green hills of the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky.  Everything outside my window is green.  My backyard is full of trees and birds, though my inner heart longs for the concrete of a busy city, coffee shops and huge bookstores.  I am hoping my future career will lead me into the arms of this concrete make-believe.

Currently  my living space is a quaint two-story townhouse with a backyard big enough for the follies of childhood (my daughter loves to play outside). 




Speaking of my daughter, she's seven years old and much to my pleasure she seems to have developed a healthy interest in the arts. 


Arianna's crafty birdhouse

She also has a grand imagination and a love for animals.   I often endure her to cute little art projects, and storybooks that were my old childhood loves, one including The Velveteen Rabbit, which my mother brought to me after the death of my late grandmother when I was seven years old.

Our most recent critter was a gray Maine Coon we endearingly named 'Narmal' (in reference to Garfield's nemesis in the vintage cartoon).   We rescued him from a dumpster, then passed him on to my sister who has a love for kitties.  He seems to be happy with his new home.

Arianna's Bug Village,
made from painted yogurt containers,
stickers and toy bugs

Sherry: It sounds like a rich and satisfying life, Stacy. And Arianna is already showing a lot of artistic talent! Tell us about your rural existence.




Stacy: I by no means identify myself as a 'country girl' and I'd much prefer some indie folk/rock tunes over country or bluegrass music, (and I'm probably considered a new age  hippie in these parts), but Eastern Kentucky is most known for its scenic railroads, the coal industry, and the bluegrass/country melodies that haunt these green hills of times long gone by.  Many a country and folk artist owe homage to my area, some such as Loretta Lynn (I live mere miles from the famous homeplace), Crystal Gale, Dwight Yokum and Patty Loveless (just to name a few).  Our hills also born famous journalist Diane Sawyer and prolific poet Wendell Berry.  There are many, many more.  And although I am proud of the tiny town I’ve come from, I do long for broader horizons and a city full of bookstores and swanky cafes (I won’t lie).





Sherry: You have lots of time....it can all still happen! What is your field of employment, and do you use your love of writing in your working life? 

Stacy: My most recent job was as a counselor's assistant.  As of 2012 I received my last graduate certificate (in Addictions Counseling), and in 2013 I completed two semesters of a doctorate degree in psychology.  I currently have a Masters in Counseling studies and have completed two post-grad programs (Addiction Counseling and Professional Counseling). 

Sherry: That is truly impressive, Stacy. You have put in a lot of hard work.

Stacy: Last summer I declared myself a break until proper employment came along.  So, right now, I indulge myself in redecorating the house, writing, learning the ways of photoshop, cooking new recipes, and working on one of my many blogs.


"A table of items meaningful to me
in my favorite corner"

However, the jobs for which I usually interview are in the realm of adult out-patient therapy, which is my ideal job.  I hope to soon secure a job as an adult therapist, and work  in psychotherapy  with an emphasis on addiction counseling.  I long to earn my state licensure and do all sorts of wonderful group therapy work in positive psychology, life coaching, and writing as a therapeutic outlet.

Sherry: A wonderful direction;  the work will be so meaningful.

Stacy: I have quite a bit planned in terms of writing therapy and self-realization on my women’s online magazine/blogzine  Pink.Girl.Ink. 


Sherry: Wow! Tell us about it.



Stacy: I actually am co-founder of Pink.Girl.Ink.  It will be an online women’s magazine devoted to the arts, literature, the life of a woman (different cultures and lifestyles), and will also include self help articles and many writing articles and prompts.  We currently are accepting submissions for our zine.

Pink.Girl.Ink. will also serve as an online publishing press.  We currently are accepting submissions for full-length manuscripts.  I am proud to say that my future books will be published with Pink.Girl.Ink. Press!  Please check us out, it is definitely worth your time! 


Sherry: We will, Stacy. It sounds fantastic.  I love this quote from a recent piece of yours: “Writing has allowed me the happiness and bravery to inhabit my own existence.  Poetry allows me the remembrance of anything that's ever meant anything to me.  All the little pieces of being alive that usually fall through the cracks of memory, important and irreplaceable moments we lose to time.  And I feel there's something unforgettable to be said about that”

That really says it all, about writing. I can definitely see a tie-in between your therapy work and writing “the pieces of being alive”.

Stacy: In reference to the quote, I see poetry as a way to immortalize one's self...memories, dreams, prominent moments in time.  When I read a poem from another person, that piece of writing allows me to habit another existence, a glimpse into someone else's world, a taste of their atmosphere, a chance to broaden my own horizon, to open my mind a little more, push a few extra moments of life into my own.  


"....poems allow us to live twice...."

Really, poems allow us to live twice...once when we actually live the moment, and the second time, when we write it...then we offer that extra piece of time to the reader as well.  Give someone your poem and you allow them those extra moments of life.  It really is the most beautiful thing...poetry and literature.

"I love taking random photos and creating 
a magnetic poem to match"

Sherry: I love that thought, sharing extra moments of time, of life. As a busy mom, how do you fit in time for so much writing? Is there a time that works  best for you? or do you snatch moments as they come and scribble furiously?

Stacy: Usually I try to write early in the morning, after I have my  coffee.  After I get my girl ready and off to school, my morning routine consists of a short workout, coffee and pastry, and writing.  There's just something about having your morning coffee while writing...I think the caffeine jumpstarts the brain. I'm more  creative earlier in the day, before I allow menial tasks to cloud my mind.  I feel ready for my day after my writing.

Sherry: Me, too, Stacy. Strong writing influences? Who lit the way for you?

Stacy: The first poet I ever read was Emily Dickinson.  I had to write about her as a project for a literature class in the 8th grade.  The project sort of began to pull my mind-strings, learning about the reclusive life of Dickinson. I think my interest in poetry was cultivated that year.  

Then, during my freshman year of high school,  I had several friends who dabbled in poetry and simultaneously encouraged me to write my own (which I did, and I'm sure the first thousand poems I wrote were probably just maniacal adolescent scribblings).

During high school you could usually find me in the library during early morning, and lunchtime (books before food?  that's right!)  The contemporary poetry section of the school library was a bit sparse, but it did introduce me to Sylvia Plath, then later Anne Sexton.  I was both fascinated and repelled by the raw, gritty confessions of Anne Sexton and have deemed her my personal favorite.  

I double-majored in English and Psychology (am merely 10 courses away from a BA in English, and might go that route again later in life) but was delighted when I was able to take a Major-Author class devoted to Anne Sexton in my undergraduate studies.   Sexton was definitely my most defining influence. I've read her every book and biography.

Sherry: She is a wonder! Is there a poem you are especially pleased with, or one you feel expresses who you are, that we might include here? 

“Things of Me”

I am...

The rambling farmhouse
of a  three-year-old's dreams
where depression lifted from the limbs
of my favorite aunt, a reverse mid-suicide
so she could grow into me,
my second mother.

The pink paper heart
of your childhood
Valentine's Day box,
time-beaten and wrinkled,
though you can still read me.

The lost words of Othello,
and a purple loose leaf notebook
where the lessons of teenage poetry
and John Lennon opened my world
like the rare knowledge of an antique book.

A private-college graduation,
my mind a melting pot of
Jung and Adler, then my own
intrinsic theory of the existential world,
how I could wrap it in my words
like a gift horse or a bad name.

A pair of bell-bottom jeans
draped across the fraying brown
recliner of my first marriage,
so worn they touch my curves
like a second skin, a latex glove.

A girl in love so thick
that it crowded the horizon
like a webbed bridge of frozen words,
so icy I tripped across the meaning
and an unforgiving clock-tick
stole our only chance.

A half-packed suitcase
that still won't close,
zippered smile amongst a pile
of frilly panties and parting letters,
San Francisco in the side pocket.

A long strand of brown hair
that dangles heavily, wet of tears
like an abandoned string
of spider web across his shoulder,
the one I always laid my head across.

I wrote this piece three years ago.  This is a poem I feel resembles some of the most defining memories of my life, the kind of moments that mold you into a collective whole.

Sherry: It is deep and wonderful, Stacy.  Browsing your site, I found another gem, that I  would love to include here, if I may: 



ARIANNA

The Seventh Birthday of My Daughter


My daughter's skin
Is the color of soft caramel
With the baby sleep
Feel of satin.
Sometimes I watch her play,
Phantom in her pretends’ doorway,
And hope she never feels
The need to tan,
The pressure of ‘pretty enough,’
The whim to pursue perfection,
Chasing its shadow
Into the darkened foyers
Of her twenties
Before realizing that, all along,
Everything she’s meant to be
Was already born into her bones;
The invisible rolling whims,
Fifty percent ancestry, fifty percent genes.
Fifty percent Asian eyes
In their gemmed Taiwanese.
Fifteen percent two great-grandmothers
She won’t remember,
Wrinkled in the skins
Of their new after-lives;
I imagine they watch over us
From the windows of each new moon.
Ninety-nine percent dead star matter
That roiled the residue
Of its mechanisms into my closed wound
And birthed my heart, this girl.
My gift to the clouds,
Made of universal clay,
The shrine-made-flesh
Part of me that lives and breathes
And kisses the earth


With the soles of her feet.


Sherry: That is just so lovely, Stacy. A treasure. And Arianna is beautiful. She looks like an Old Soul. You are a very prolific writer – you already have three books out. Tell us a bit about your most recent one.

Stacy: I have three books currently available for purchase: 

              
                                                                                    

The most recent book I've been working on is titled "Deeper Than Pink."  The book actually is about five years in the making, and includes some of my earlier published works and conveys largely the surreal feel of becoming a woman, owning your own gender role (however unconventional), and little pieces of my life thus far.

The book will be published with Pink.Girl.Ink, the new, upcoming ezine for women's poetry, for which I am founder and editor.



Sherry: It looks and sounds fantastic, Stacy. I am so impressed with how productive you are. You are on fire! Dare I ask what plans you have for your writing in the coming year?

Stacy: I actually am working on compiling two more chapbooks of poetry. So far the working titles are "The Moon is a Door” and “Small Boxes Closing.”   I also am working diligently on a book of creating writing prompts, grouped as chapters, each with its own theme for writing.

In addition to those projects, I  plan to write weekly and continue compiling wonderful literature and writing articles for Pink.Girl.Ink, so if you are a fan of poetry and poetry writing, you will want to definitely continue to check back with Pink.Girl.Ink for some wonderful writing material!

Sherry: I am feeling very inadequate at the moment, LOL. You  are inspiring! I gather you are a Gothic romance fan as well? Tell us a bit about that and what you enjoy about the genre.

Stacy: In addition to writing poetry, I am an avid reader of Gothic Romance novels.  I think this interest, in part, can be attributed to my love of vintage things.  However,  I just really enjoy the mysterious element of the books, the beautiful  and compelling cover art.  

And since they are vintage, they offer me the ability to take a step back into history.  Many were written between the 1950's and late 1970's, so when you read them you get the feel of what 'modern day' was back then...no computer or cell phones, no distraction of social media, and letter-writing wasn't a lost art.

I actually am working on my very first gothic romance mystery novella, you can read part of chapter one here: 
http://gothicromancereviews.blogspot.com/2014/06/house-of-hollow-wind-mini-blog-series.html




My blog Gothic Romance Reviews was born of my love for the genre and my hopes to commemorate the books/authors of this genre (both past and present).  I invite everyone to visit the blog at:  

Sherry: Oh, that is cool, Stacy. Thanks for the links! I love your quote “art is my hobby, poetry my muse.”  What type of art do you enjoy? 




Stacy: I love crafty arts:  smash books, artist trading cards, collage cards, scrapbooking and drawing. 

I am fairly distinguished in Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro and enjoy creating digital pieces.

Sherry: WOW! Stacy, your digital art is spectacular!




Stacy: I believe the arts and literature go hand in hand.  For me, it seems that my poetry serves as a basis of inspiration for some of my digital pieces, and vise versa.



Sherry: Your work is stunning! What causes do you lend your voice and energy to, Stacy? What keeps you awake at night?

Stacy:  Social injustice and civil rights.  I view myself as a humanitarian, as well as a ‘way-left liberal.’  I hate inequality and discrimination of any kind.  Am particularly in support of the no hate campaign and rights for persons of the LGBT community.  I support PETA and try to adhere to a more vegan lifestyle (though I do enjoy seafood quite a bit!).  I am geared towards the support of equal pay for women and the end to workforce gender discrimination.  

I despise racism of any kind.  My daughter is Asian American, I don’t want any child to grow up in a world where they are judged by their race.  I am trying to teach her how to embrace her nativity.  We are all humans, despite the color of our skin, the gender we identify with, or our sexual orientation and religion.  We all deserve a fighting chance in this circus we call life!

Sherry: YES! You are teaching her well. What are you doing to ensure Arianna has the same sky-high dreams you had as a child? If she begins to write, what advice will you give her?

Stacy:  She loves art and art projects, particularly scrapbooking and painting, so we  do quite a bit of that.  She’s too young, just yet, to really write poetry or anything, but I do indulge her in storybooks; she’s particularly fond of fairytales and anything that includes talking animals. 

I feel it’s important to instill a sense of personal self-worth to our children at an early age, so I try to make sure always to encourage her, especially to try new things (books, movies, food, tv shows, activities, games).  I strive to raise in her such a way that she will never feel the need to question herself or her abilities, especially in relation to her race or gender.  She is a special, amazing, unique little human being, who enlightens me on a daily basis.  I always try to make her aware of this! 

Sherry: You are so right. Self-worth  is the key, Stacy. She is off to a great start! You are doing a wonderful job of mothering her.

When you write a poem, are you thinking of your reader? Do you ever censor yourself in consideration of your readers?

Stacy:  When I write a poem, I am usually expressing myself, or my thoughts.  Perhaps trying to preserve a moment or memory or simply relating something of observance.  I want to clarify my poem/experience in such a way that my readers will feel they’ve captured whatever I’m writing just as intimately as I did.  I try to be thorough in my comparisons and descriptions, to make my reader really think, see, what I’m saying.  I hope that my words ‘show’ rather than ‘tell.’  I feel that’s what good poetry does.

I hardly ever censor myself.  I actually have professed that a great part of my poetry is confessional.  I am a confessional poet.  I feel that my most prolific influence was Anne Sexton.  I studied her at great length in my undergraduate years and I feel that her work really taught me how to write poetry, thus,  I believe I adapted a bit to her writing style as well.

I feel that to censor what I’m trying to say in my poetry would greatly devalue the meaning I’m attempting to convey.

Sherry: Well said, kiddo. How has the online world impacted your writing? Would you have written as much without it?

Stacy:  I feel that the exchanging of ideas and experiences is pertinent to one’s growth as a writer.  Therefore, I feel that I’ve grown exceptionally as a writer since I began to indulge in online poetry communities.  I do not feel I would have written as extensively as I have in the past few years without the inspiration of internet resources and lovely communities like your own!
Not only has the internet proven to be great for writing resources and inspiration, but also for networking with fellow poets.  I’ve met some wonderful, talented people via the web in the past few years!

Sherry: The blogosphere is like pirate treasure, we the deep sea divers. Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Stacy: Yes!  Two things.  First, you’ve designed a brilliant community of talented writers and kind souls.  You ALL do a magnificent job at encouraging us to hone in on our creative writing abilities.  And second, thank you for that, and thank you for allowing me to become a part of such an amazing community in celebration of the written word.  I am so happy to join you weekly, whether it is in reading or writing or both!

Sherry: Thank you, Stacy, for your kind words, and for our wonderful visit today. I have enjoyed it so much. Thanks for your participation at Poets United. We look forward to watching all of the activity at Pink.Girl.Ink, as well as on your poetry site.

Are you not impressed, kids? I am truly awed by how much this young woman has accomplished. Each week, I am blown away by the life stories and journeys these poets are making, each one so unique. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you! (Here's a hint: another chat just might be involved!) 



26 comments:

  1. Hi Sherry! Hi Stacy!

    So good to get to know you better Stacy. I love your work and it is always a treat for me to see some of the poet behind the words--so thank you Sherry for doing this!

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  2. Oh Sherry and Stacy...I didn't want this conversation to end you know...I find the same deep rooted words here as they are in your poetry Stacy...thank you ladies for this wonderful treat.. :)

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  3. sherry youve done and outstanding job asking stacy all those questions...
    stacy i loved reading each of your replies... i love your little daughter... she is so cute... thank you sherry for bringing stacy to us!! i am literally amazed!!

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  4. I'm so glad I stopped by today. Stacey you're an incredible woman. I don't know how you manage to do so much and with such talent. I will certainly visit your blog and keep track of your ezine.
    Sherry, it's amazing how you find such wonderful people to interview. Thank you for asking just the right questions. I so much enjoyed reading this post.

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  5. nice....cool to get to know you a bit better stacy...what an adorable little girl you have there...and i love that she is getting into the arts at a young age...her bug village is so cool....and wow, quite ambitious with all the degrees and starting the magazine...(guess i dont qualify. ahem...ha)...best wishes on that....and your new book.

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  6. Stacy, I really enjoyed getting to know more about you. I will have to check out pink.girl.ink. Your daughter is beautiful and has a great role model for a mom! Sherry, your interviews always bring out the best in people. Thank you.

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  7. It's great to know you better Stacy! Visited your blog! You're now through with unpacking and we'll be seeing more of you. A cute little darling you have and who knows her directions early. Thank you both, Sherry and Stacy!

    Hank

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  8. As always, it is my pleasure to bring these lovely people to you every week. I so love peoples' amazing stories, each journey so unique. Stacy, you are amazingly productive with multiple talents. Good luck with the new e-zine. I know it will be a blast!

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  9. Thank you all for the kind comments, you each inspire me on a weekly basis. I am so happy to partake in this community and meet so many talented poets. I had so much fun conversing with you on this interview, sherry, you're such a gem! We would all be lost here without your contributions and hard work!!

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    1. I enjoy it, Stacy. I always say, I have the best job in the world!

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  10. Wow!! you are so talented and intelligent. Outstanding both in studies and creativity and your daughter is lovely:)

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  11. I love it when our best interviewer finds a fabulous interviewee!

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  12. Stacy Lynn, you are amazing in totallity. your accomplishments in your pursuits in academics, your writing, your reading, your art. more impressive, though, is your continued pursuit of your personal development with Arianna holding on gently to your hand in this sojourn. what a wonderful contribution to my day this read about you has been. gracias mi amiga, Sherry. your eyes, your vision your finding, your towing in these bright stars closer from the distance to share with us is so heartening in a world that has become so sad.

    gracias Stacy Lynn and mi amiga, Sherry

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  13. hi Stacy!

    nice to meet you. and i like your quote about "poems allow us to live twice.", it's true. :)

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  14. Wow, Stacy it's great meeting you. Your daughter is so cute..continue your good work.
    Sherry that was a wonderful interview. Thank you both:)

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  15. Intensely wonderful! You've lived through some hard stuff and yet find life positive and meaningful. Thanks for letting us get to know you better. mmm. I love your art too--writing to and with it would be mighty fine. I'll be checking out Pink.Girl.Ink. too.

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  16. Stacy, I am in awe...your poetry is absolutely beautiful, and your productivity is incredible! I enjoyed learning more about you and your daughter. I will definitely go check out your Pink.Girl.Ink site.

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  17. Very, very impressive! So much wisdom and creativity!! Stacy, thank you for sharing yourself and your many creative accomplishments. Sherry, another fantastic interview ! :-)

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  18. Enjoyed this interview filled with energy..thank you for sharing your story.

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  19. Excellent interview, as always, Sherry :)

    Stacy, nice to learn more about you. You have a distinctive, memorable voice, and I always look forward to reading your pens ~

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  20. Stacy, it is nice to meet you! I enjoyed the energy in your responses-yes, art and writing are truly twins. I love your thoughts and look forward to your zine~
    All the best in your endeavors! Your daughter looks so happy~
    Wonderful interview, ladies!!

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  21. So talented in many ways, loving that artwork.

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  22. Wow you are so productive Stacy. I love how diligent you are, all that hardwork is quite admirable. I'm inspired by you.

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  23. i am just as happy to meet you all here as well! reading your comments is so moving and inspiring. once this whole mess of moving/reconnecting everything is finished, i plan to visit each of your blogs personally. right now the internet is sparse (and it's killing me lol) :) thank you so much for taking a little time to visit my interview and comment, it means so much!

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  24. I liked the interview! Great post!

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