Monday, February 8, 2016

LIFE OF A POET ~ CAROL CAMPBELL

This week, my friends, we are visiting with one of our newer members, Carol Campbell, who writes at  Writer's Dream 9. I love doing these interviews. They allow us to get to know each poet better, so when we read their work, we can picture them in their setting. Also, in each interview, I find a story that knocks my socks off. Without fail. Carol's is such a one. Pour a cup of tea, pull up a chair, and you'll soon see what I mean.







Sherry: This will be fun, Carol, as you are one of our newer members and are a mysterious figure online. Let’s dive in! Give us a peek at the life of this poet, anything you are comfortable sharing.

Carol: I have a husband with whom I will celebrate 39 years of marriage on the 23rd of January. We have a grown son who is my heart. I was told that I would not have children, but I was determined because, as a child, I wanted 10 kids. 

My husband and I went on Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, prayed for a child and within a year, I was pregnant. I only wish that could happen to everyone who wishes to have children. I have always had critters of all kinds but right now we are not able to. That is hard to accept.

Sherry: Congratulations on your anniversary. And what a beautiful story, about your son. Prayers answered, how wonderful. I sympathize with you about not being able to have critters. I would find that very hard as well.


Tennessee - sodahead.com

Carol: I live in the South. I have lived in many different places: Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, El Salvador, Virginia, and now, Tennessee. While I moved very reluctantly, I have no regrets, and I’ve learned and grown in each place. I can’t pick a favorite, as all had a wealth of cultural diversity.

Sherry: Did you move so often because of work?  El Salvador pops out at me. Is there a story there? What took you to El Salvador?

Carol: We moved so much for two reasons. One is that my husband was a natural born wanderer. He was fascinated by diverse cultures and people. I was a homebody type woman, but I wanted to do the right thing.  Also, which leads me to the other reason, our religion encourages people to reach out and share life with all the people of the world. This truly does foster unity. 

We went to El Salvador and worked and lived with the Salvadorans. No one paid our way. That helped to  increase trust and friendship. 


Sherry: How wonderful! What an experience that must have been! 



Izalco Volcano, or
Vulcan de Izalco
photo: volcano.oregonstate.edu


Carol:  I remember one time I walked for four miles with friends, to a remote Nahuat (Indian) village. There were very few people. They were kind and welcoming. They offered the last of whatever they had. Of course, I tried not to accept. Didn't always work, though. 


The town we lived in, called Sonzacate
in the state of Sonsonate,
close to the Guatemalan border


One grandmother of the tribe told me that she was going to make a ceremonial dress for me and make me part of the people. As an adoptee, that simply warmed me to my depths. I never went back to be fitted for the dress. It was one of those things I intended to do, but then we left.


Sherry: I can see you gained a lifetime's worth of wonderful stories and memories there, Carol.

Sonzacate ~ streets we walked down
photo: panoramio.com

Carol: Another story I remember, in a humorous vein, is that I was learning Spanish when I lived there. When you're learning a language, there is a tendency to "Englishify" it. So I said, "Soy embarasada", thinking I was saying I was embarrassed. In reality, I was saying that I was pregnant. Not only that - because of the verb form, I was telling them that I was permanently pregnant. These very proper people turned three shades of red, and very politely chuckled under their breath.

Sonzacate
photo: stad.com

Sherry: Oh, my!  They might have laughed harder, once they were safely home. Smiles. What did you take away from that experience, when you came back home to the States, Carol?

Carol:  To be honest, it was profoundly heartbreaking to come back to the States, after living in a place where the people, for the most part, were loving and positive, even though they made each day's bread, each day. The  "rich" there lived on $5 dollars a day, and rarely complained. In fact, they were usually joyous. I learned so much from them. How to be thankful. How to really enjoy your work, even when conditions are trying. I learned the meaning of true friendship.


municipiosdeelsalvador.com


Sherry: Carol, this is exactly what I notice about indigenous people everywhere. They live simply, they have little materially, but they often have more inner joy than many North Americans do, with all our Stuff.




photo Otto Rodriguez via Flickr



Carol: I completely agree. My son was 9 years old and he picked up the language so very easily. He was tall, pale and had red hair. The children were fascinated by him. Loved him. One evening, they were playing so freely and they  were all so happy that they gathered around him very closely. My son became a little uncomfortable and said somewhat loudly in English, "I can't breathe!" They instantly responded and backed off. They all, including my son, laughed. That's the kind of joy children need to grow up experiencing.

Sherry: I like the Wayne Dyer quote you posted on your blog: “I don't want to die with my music still in me.” I love that. Tell us, what do you LOVE about poetry? What makes it sing for you?

Carol: I have been writing most of my life. Poetry is my love. The word play and the subtle communication of that play, truly fulfills me. I started as a teenager, when my family was going through crisis. Except for a few friends, as an adult, I kept my writing a secret. I was ashamed of it, as my parents had told me it was a waste of time and would never earn me any money. It was one of those things in life that one just can’t stop. It is worth so much to you that you are willing to hide it just to be able to do it.

Sherry: Poetry fulfills so much within us, one can’t put a price tag on it. We do it for the love of poetry, and to express ourselves, not with any hope of remuneration. I am so glad you kept on writing and didn’t let anyone discourage you.

Who is your favorite well-known poet, and why?

Carol: Have to say Maya Angelou, and, being a Libra, I cannot just pick one. The other is Clarissa Pinkola Estes.


from Women Who Run With the Wolves


Sherry: Ha, two of my faves, too. I sense another wolf-woman here. Smiles. Do you write prose as well? Fiction? Nonfiction?

Carol: I am stepping out into the fiction arena with short stories and micro-fiction and haibun. It intimidates me, I must say, but I am enjoying stretching my writer’s muscles.

Sherry: One thing online does, it stretches us and helps us grow as writers. Good for you, trying new things.

Are there three poems, written by you, that you would like to include here?

Carol: Sure. The first that I'll share is ‘Passage’.


The High Priestess

I am the veil between spirit and body
I am the channel to the inner sanctum
I am the conduit to the promised peace
Come to my abode within and find your way
To clarity and understanding, I will lead you
My ascendancy is humanity’s only hope
I am life giver found through travail
I am the maker of sacred, holy space
I am the guardian of all the mysteries
To guide souls through the dark night of the soul
Take my hand to find insight into a suffering world
Found in heart of every human being ever created

I AM THE FEMININE ASPECT OF GOD



Sherry: Wow. This is wonderful – the aspect of the sacred feminine. Well done! How did this poem come to be, Carol?

Carol: Writing this one was a very powerful experience for me. I was not much inspired by the prompt at first, but then, as is the way sometimes, I felt the energy building in the creative process.

Sherry: That comes across clearly in the poem, for certain.

Carol: The second poem is ‘Rise’.

RISE 

I had risen earlier than the others as is my wont to do. Mornings hold a sacred energy that I enjoy connecting with even in the cold weather. It's profound to feel the blue quiet of the slow awakening of life throughout my half of the world. That morning, I decided to make my way to the lake. I love the way the sun reflects her gentle light on the mirror-like surface. I quietly recited my morning prayers with a depth only dawn can allow. I felt very grateful and that feeling stayed with me all day.

sun rises slowly
the lake is still and peaceful
a catfish jumps
        ~~~  

Sherry: I love everything about this one. The prayerful stillness of the early morning, especially experienced in solitude, the “blue quiet” and, especially, the catfish jumping. Beautiful!

Carol: This one is a haibun. For the last few months I have been learning about Japanese poetry and I am loving it. It is so much more than 5/7/5. It is a deeply mystical, Zen experience to write it. This came from a prompt on CarpeDiem Haiku Kai.

The last that I'll share is called ‘Flute’.


The haunting sounds fill the mountain
Energies spread like a fountain
Precious time spent calling all life
Releasing from the daily strife
~
Play my true heart. O flute player
Help me remove the next layer
Let me sink into your soul’s light
Letting go of the city’s fright
~
The spirit of Kokopelli
Feeling it deep in my belly
Watching the animals respond
Seeing a frog jump from the pond
~
Playing my bones as if hollow
You I certainly will follow
Like the old wandering minstrel
Just like the hovering Kestrel
~
Play on!
~~~~

Sherry: This poem captures so well the feeling within on hearing the haunting tones of the flute......

Carol: I have always been in love with all things Native/Aboriginal and about 20 years ago, I found out I am Cherokee. The Native flute has always spoken to me, as have the drums, so this was a natural expression of that part, albeit small part, of me.

Sherry: I feel exactly the same way. The drums thrum within my being, and I feel a deep connection with First Nations. You are lucky you have Cherokee ancestry. I have none that I know of, but perhaps a long ways back, since I resonate so strongly.

When did you come to the world of blogging, Carol,  and how has it impacted your work?

Carol: That is one of my favorite stories. I was on Facebook, and a Facebook friend had shared something from his blog. I followed the link and read the article he had written. I enjoyed it and wanted to comment and "like" it. I tried to do that, but Wordpress wouldn’t allow me to without filling out a form. I honestly thought it was a security precaution.


thevmca.com

That same day, I checked my email and I got the notice saying, “Congratulations on your new blog!!” I am not too proud of this, but I was indignant at the ineptitude of “these people.” Then, a small voice said inside of me that I could write my poetry and no one would ever see it. I did not know about followers. In fact, I did not understand the whole blogosphere. I just started writing in my old secret way. The likes and comments started appearing. Oh my. I felt very exposed. That took awhile to overcome but I did.

Sherry: I LOVE this story – an accidental blog! The universe intended your poems to be read. And we are so happy to be reading them!

Carol: Yes. Never did I think that more than a handful of people would ever read my work.

Sherry: Me, too, Carol. It still blows me away! What hopes and dreams do you have for your writing as the years go by?

Carol: I would like to write a poetry book. I would like it to be small enough to carry in the pocket. My idea is that it would be used while waiting, or eating lunch. Perhaps during a break. Poetry needs to regain its rightful place among the arts, and to be used to inspire and confirm us in this obstacle course of a life.

Sherry: That is a wonderful idea. Self-publishing is very, very easy, you know. And not expensive. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you! The online templates are fairly easy to use.

What other activities might we find you enjoying when you aren’t writing?

Carol: I love meditative coloring books. I love drawing abstract art. I am not good, but it makes me feel good. I read. I don't watch tv but occasionally I enjoy a good movie.

Sherry: Is there anything else you’d like us to know that I dont know you well enough to ask? Is there a cause you are especially passionate about? What concerns you most about today’s world?

Carol: I can answer all three in just a few words. Before I do though, I share this not to convince or convert, as I am forbidden to do that. I share because it is who I am. I am a Baha’i. I have been for 44 years. I am passionate about working towards the ideals put forth by my Faith regarding peace, equality, racial healing and harmony, and the spiritualization of our world and her inhabitants.


akbahai.org


While we love to share our religion, we are encouraged to work very hard to “carry forward an ever advancing civilization”. Baha’is are involved all over the world in social projects, children’s classes in spirituality and morals, encouraging women and men to assume their rightful place, and serving wherever we can. Our world is suffering greatly, and it won’t be healed overnight, but we are asked to be part of the solutions, not the problem, in our everyday lives.

Sherry: How wonderful, Carol! The Baha’i religion has always appealed to me, such peaceful and positive beliefs. Years ago, I knew some Baha’i musicians, and have never forgotten the beauty of their songs and their spirits. Thank you for sharing that. Now when I read your poems, I will recognize that extra depthful layer.

Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Carol: I love your name!! I'm all about unity and anywhere, anytime is great, as we try to heal our planet and our hearts.

Sherry: Thank you, Carol, for allowing us to get to know you better. We look forward to reading more of your work, as the months go on.

Do you see what I mean, kids? Every time, there is an unusual story that pops up. I enjoyed this visit so much, among the people of El Salvador. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!



50 comments:

  1. I enjoy all the stories here, Carol, but especially the story of the son as answer to prayer and the poem "Rise." I love hearing that you listen to and express the spirit wherever you are. I also love Unity and Service. Bless you, Carol and you, too, Sherry.

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    1. Thank you, Susan. It was a pleasure to share with you all and I'm very glad to be here.

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  2. Wonderful interview, Sherry. Carol, you certainly have lived in a lot of interesting places! I really enjoyed your story about how you accidentally began blogging. Now you definitely are writing up a storm. Smiles. And I wish you well on your goal to writing a poetry book. I would say you have a pretty good start! So nice to have you participating here at PU!

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    1. Thank you, my friend. It is such a pleasure getting to know everyone. Love reading everyone.

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  3. Carol, it's so good to meet you. Your poetry is so rich and it clearly expresses the kind, sensitive and spiritual woman you are.
    Sherry, this is such a good interview. You just always know what questions to ask. Thank you.

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    1. Nice to meet you also ad truly, we here have a treasure in Sherry! Thank you, dearheart!

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  4. what a wonderful interview.. i find it so interesting all those people that we come across in the blogosphere... and Carol is always writing ... so proliferate... Love the accidental blogger story. What a great name that would be for a blog.

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    1. That would be a great name for a blog! You are such a goood poet! Thank you.

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  5. Smiles, always it is the poets themselves who mention something casually that I pick up on as a potential story. When I was a cub reporter on a daily newspaper, in my teens, my editor called it my "nose for news". LOL. Still nosey!

    Carol, I so enjoyed getting to know you better. I envy you your time in El Salvador. I had a similar experience working among the beautiful First Nations people. They have such honest hearts and how they love to laugh, in spite of all they have suffered.

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    1. Sherry, thank you so much. You helped me get comfortable with this idea and I would love to hear about your experiences. Thank you so much!

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  6. Always such a pleasure Sherry to read these interviews. I do learn so much. And Carol, welcome! What a pleasure to know you and your fabulous poetry! I love the story also of your foray into blogging accidentally. I look forward to reading more of your wonderfully, powerful and spiritual poems.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. It is a pleasure to read your work and get to know you!

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  7. Sherry, I am so glad you chose to interview Carol. And what a rich, surprising life is revealed!

    Carol, I have been delighted to encounter your poetry online. I consider your work very beautiful and accomplished. The fact that you have been writing so long helps to explain that. Yet it is a surprise to me, because I had pictured you as a fairly young woman. You come across with such vibrancy! Now I understand – not chronologically young, so much as ageless. And I am fascinated to learn you are Baha'i. I'm not planning to change from Pagan, but have great respect for the Baha'i people and teachings I have come across. What a delight to get to know you better!

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. People often think I am younger than I am. I believe it's because I am really a simple person. I am a fan of you all!

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    2. Rosemary, I forgot to reply regarding the teachings of the Baha'i Faith. There's so much. Basically, we are taught that God is one, mankind is one and all the religions basically agree. That religion is here to unite not to divide. Please feel free to go to bahai.org t find out more or ask me. My email address is carolfc1958@gmail.com You will receive no pressure from me as I hold your religion as sacred.

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    3. Well that brief summary is right in line with my views! (Smile.)

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    4. I know because so many of us regardless of our religion want the oneness. :)

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  8. Such a wonderful opportunity to know you better Carol! Thanks Sherry for your kind interview as always. Carol is such a special person. When one gets around to move to places, exotic ones at that it is a special kind of a person. A roving being is all the richer in experiences and the blogging community gets the wonderful benefits. Welcome aboard Carol!

    Hank

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    1. Thank you, Hank! I so enjoy your work and look forward tp getting to know it and you better.

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  9. I'm making a comment so I can check the box that says I want notification of comments. :) ;)

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  10. A wonderful interview with a very sensitive and compassionate writer. Happy to meet you Carol.
    ZQ

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    1. Hi ZQ. Nice to see you here on a Monday. Smiles.

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    2. Thank you, R.K. Happy to meet you also! Have a blessed week!

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  11. Carol is a spiritual insightful poet who produces lovely work and who has been very supportive of my work. Thank you !

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  12. A spiritual insightful poet who produces lovely work and who has been very supportive of my work. Thank you Carol !

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    1. Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to read your writing!

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  13. Another fantastic interview! Thanks so much for this Sherry and Carol.

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  14. A great interview Sherry. So good to get to know you Carol, what a great approach to life!

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  15. I was thrilled to read about your son an answered prayer. This is deep. Then again we share a friendship through Carpe Diem, enjoyed your haibun so much
    Thank you both Sherry and Carol. What a beautiful interview

    much love...

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  16. As poets we are all so different but have so much in common. This is such a great interview Sherry and it is so rewarding to learn more about a fellow poet, thank you both so much.

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  17. It's so wonderful to get to know you better Carol in this engaging conversation..enjoyed your poems with simple yet very deep words.another wonderful interview Sherry...

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  18. enjoyed getting to 'see' and hear something' of you Carol - you've reluctantly revealed yourself (as per your header) and there is so much of interest and depth to you
    I visited the B'Hai gardens in Haifa but know very little of the faith - it comes across as somewhat secretive
    p.s. thank you Sherry for another great reportage - you know how to wheedle the more introverted limpets from the rocks

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    1. LOL, this made me laugh...it is true, I am persistent, it is just that I am so curious about peoples' stories, which never fail to astonish me.

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    2. Haha! Thank you. I really didn't realize I was recalcitrant. I guess I figure that people don't really want to kn ow about me. This has been very affirming. The Holy Land is where I prayed for our child. :)

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  19. Good to learn more about you Carol - you certainly have many a story to tell - thank you to you both!

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  20. Wonderful interview Sherry. And glad to meet you Carol and to read of your travels and experiences,

    Elizabeth

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  21. Carol, it is nice to meet you. These 3 lines really summarize the journey in life. Powerful.

    I am the veil between spirit and body
    I am the channel to the inner sanctum
    I am the conduit to the promised peace

    Carol and Sherry thanks for another insightful look into the life of a poet.

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  22. Nice to meet you, Carol! I've been enjoying your blog for a bit now, and it's great to put a face with the beautiful words.

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  23. Hi Carol

    liked what you said about "Poetry needs to regain its rightful place among the arts". many times, it is the poor cousin of fiction and prose.

    glad to know more about another poet in the community, especially someone from the Baha'i faith. :)

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  24. Hi! I think that poetry is no longer taught as an art but as a source of mechanics. I am so glad to be here and thank you.

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