Monday, May 23, 2016

BLOG OF THE WEEK ~ CHATTING WITH JAE ROSE AND ALICE

We have a very special treat for you this week, my friends. A clue: I see a white rabbit looking at his watch, and rushing about. It is tea-time, four o’clock, and I see two figures coming towards us, one tall, one short. The little one has a blue frock and white pinafore on………oh, look! It is Jae Rose, who writes at  the blog of the same name, whom we last spoke to in 2014, and this time she has brought Alice along with her. I am sure she and Alice will have a few wise words for us. The table is set prettily, with beautiful cups and saucers, the teapot is especially for Alice, and there are many sweet things on the table, because we know this little girl has a very sweet tooth.

Alice in Wonderland teapot 
at Peter's of Kensington  link








Sherry: Jae Rose, what would you like to tell us about you, since our interview in October of 2014? We see how you and Alice are doing in your poems every week, and you have a large family of loving fans out here who follow your progress. Are you happy with your writing, and its steady fan-base through the years?

Jae Rose: Hi Sherry,  thank you for asking us back. It is always a pleasure to share tea and a chat. I am very thankful for my blog family. I think it is fair to say that my blog family and my sister are the kindest, caring, most patient people in my life, who keep me going through the darkest of times. I am always amazed that people stick with me and my words, even when it becomes quite dark and painful. 

                                       
             (Me and my sister Skyping!

Sherry: Thank God for your sister. And we all love you, too, Jae Rose. We need to read your poems every week.  Is that a little tree suspended from the ceiling?

Jae Rose: It’s lavender!
It has been a difficult couple of years. A lot has happened and nothing has happened. Since we last chatted, I was formally diagnosed with autism. In a way it explained a lot and made some kind of sense, but with it came a heaviness of ‘what now’ - there is after all no treatment or cure for being me - and there are many days when I wish there was.
Sherry: While I know your life is difficult, Jae Rose, please know that we all celebrate you! Thank you for letting us know, so we can better support you.
Jae Rose: The outside world can feel very overwhelming. I find it very hard to switch off from the small details and bigger questions. When things are very bad, I can’t find the space inside to be still or silent. Maybe that is one reason why we spend a lot of time on the bathroom floor. It is cool, empty and enclosed. 
Very few people in the ‘real’ world are aware of my writing and how important it is for me. I like to keep it that way. It feels like a safe place where I can play, speak, cry and have a sense of emotional freedom I don’t often enjoy beyond the page.
Sherry: Thank heaven for that release. And I am glad you share those thoughts with us. We are much the richer for it.
Jae Rose: I suppose the way I think must effect how I write. Mostly I think things evolve with time and practice.
I think I write in quite a visual way, and rhythm and the sound of words are important, too. 
If I ever read back,  I can see how absurd our little world can be. If I can’t leave the house, I open the fridge and find some sort of story - jello...butter...the hum of the refrigerator engine...all nonsense really.
Sherry: That results in the most magical poetry, my friend. I never thought of looking in my fridge, but I doubt the results would be as spectacular as yours. Smiles.

Jae Rose: I don’t think I could write without the prompt words. They provide a structured but flexible way of opening up the brain.


 *Illustration* (Tove Jansson - Alice in Wonderland)*

Where do I fit in? asks Alice.

I think you are perhaps the childlike position I often feel trapped in. Except you are far bolder than me. I wish I could take you outside and you could help me say out loud what I am really thinking - and feeling. 

Perhaps we are similar - stuck at (almost) eight. Sometimes we have a wilful but limited understanding of the world. That makes us frustrated and crotchety because we can feel stuck underground. Unable to grow up and move on in a way.

If only it was just a dream, says Alice. 
Indeed. I do admire your self-confidence though, Alice. 

Sherry: Thank you, Alice, for weighing in. We have come to love you every bit as much as Jae Rose. I sense, in your poems, Jae, that Alice often speaks your deepest inner knowing. She is likely your true wise self speaking. I always listen carefully to what she is saying and, from that, I can guess how you might be feeling on a given day. It is interesting that Alice most often has a hopeful and very wise observation to make, when she speaks.
Jae Rose: As a girl or woman with autism, I think we have different emotional skills. Perhaps we compensate (or are taught), more than boys or men, not to appear even more different or ‘weird’.  Perhaps as you gain confidence in an area of life that you enjoy and value, like writing, you can let go of having to fit in. At least in one place. 



Sherry: Poets often  feel they don’t fit in, I suspect. It is good we can express our true selves through our poems.

Jae Rose: I have a great respect for Temple Grandin. I find her writing hard to read but in the movie adaptation of her life her mother tells her ‘Remember, Temple, different, not less’ - it is hard to absorb that so late in life, but I hope one day I, too, will be able to believe that. 
Sherry: All of your friends hope that too, Jae Rose. “Less” is not a word anyone in our community would use to describe you. We are dazzled by your gifts.
How has blogging impacted your life and your work?  
Jae Rose: The blogosphere keeps me writing, and it keeps me going. To be able to have a voice and, more importantly, to be heard is so important, and I never underestimate it or take it for granted. 

Sherry: Me neither, kiddo.

Jae Rose: Talking out loud can be hard for me and yet I am finding a way to explore things in a safe space. And learn from others too. I think that’s the best thing about blogging. It’s more of a conversation than a static form of writing. And I have met some inspirational people and writers.
It is sometimes a struggle to sit still and do it, but no matter what comes out I think it is part of something that years down the line might make sense. A penny dropping, as Alice might say. 
Sherry: When I look back at my earlier work, I am always struck by what my unconscious knew back then that my conscious mind was not yet aware of. When did you begin writing poetry?
Jae Rose: The blog has been going since 2009. I am never sure how to define what I write. I pay more attention over word choices and rhythm, but generally speaking I wouldn’t ever claim to write poetry. 

Sherry: Whoa! Really?

Jae Rose: I think there has been shift in some ways. I listen to Alice more. Whatever part of me she is. The conversations do almost come subconsciously and often by surprise. Perhaps she is a little conduit from my synapses to my typing fingers - poor Alice.  
Sherry: I love that idea. And Alice can handle it. What do you love about poetry?
Jae Rose: I think my answer remains the same on that one - it can be whatever you want it to be. It is a voice and a connection to the world. 

Mousie
My little sparkle boy

Sherry: Tell us about your boys, Mousie and Bear. Do these little fellows make you smile? They are so adorable!

Mousie and Bear

Jae Rose: They are funny little critters. They like the odd treat and cuddle but, generally speaking, prefer their own space. Maybe they love me when I rattle the snack box; otherwise they are bit petulant and wilful. Now who does that remind us of?
Sherry: Alice is a force of nature! Bound to influence the critters! 

(note: Sadly, my friends, Mousie passed over the rainbow bridge after we completed this interview. But Bear is still doing well.)

Jae Rose, you live in Devon which looks, on Google, like a place of beauty, on the ocean. Do you have a favourite spot there? 



Jae Rose: Geographically, Devon is a pretty place, but I would like to move. Somewhere bigger with a decent library and more than one coffee shop, where I can sit and maybe take a notebook and pencil. 

Graffiti

I do enjoy finding little trails of creativity around the places I walk - little bits of graffiti and shapes and patterns. 

Wooden toadstool (they turned this stump 
into a toadstool after having to take down the tree)

Sherry: You have selected three very beautiful poems to share with us. Reading them, your voice comes through so clearly, along with your love for Alice, your poetic friend and companion. Let’s take a look at “Taste”.


We drink sour milk
In the middle of the night
Nothing takes the taste away
Not bleach or flowers or birthday cake
Sad and lonely sits gently on our tongue
As it always has
As it always will
Help is a unicorn
She giggles and burps
You really are a martyr to the cause
I limp
Find the cold floor
Wait for the pillow
And the fall
This is the sound of us coming apart
Dreadful
Hateful
Moon
Dark
Love
Purple is magic
Red despair
Blue is life
Just like me
She claps her hands
I marvel at the ceiling
We have stared at a million times before 
Who am I Alice
She swallows the last drop
Holds my hand
Whoever you want to be silly
Just like me
I made you up
I was always here
I came when you let me in
My silent witness
My invisible friend
We drink sour milk
In the middle of the night
Nothing takes the taste away
Not bleach or flowers or birthday cake
Sad and lonely sits gently on our tongue
As it always has
As it always will.
Copyright Jae Rose February 24, 2016

Sherry: I cannot imagine a bleaker taste than sour milk. “Sad and lonely sits gently on our tongue” is such an affecting line. The loneliness is palpable. I hope your many online friends help mitigate that loneliness. 

Jae Rose: They do for sure - thank you.
It’s strange I don’t often read back but I can see how my writing is definitely a diary of how things were and what was going on. Yes, I think this one is about loneliness. Of trying to fill your tummy but that not being the space that will ever make you feel full or warm and loved. The way I live and the things I do leave me very isolated and trapped, and that can feel scary. Especially as you get older and your sense of invincibility disappears.

Sherry: I resonate with how our invincibility diminishes with every decade. By the end, we're as vulnerable as when we started out. Smiles.


Next is “Leaps and Bounds”, which speaks to the blindness of the bureaucratic system. 

You've come on leaps and bounds
They say
Did they not notice we died
She whispers
How could they
They never knew we were alive
She rolls over
Yawning
Well it’s all pretend anyway
A kind of myth
Ink on paper
Truth on skin
A phrase
A start
A crisp attack
As if we can turn the volume down on silent
It’s perfectly wise to feel anger and rage
Do you feel hungry
Always 
We chase the sun
Yearning a full
Shear
Break
Down
Still, we can dream up
As much pretty as we like
She taps her nose
Crawls under the bed
Finds the basket
In which we keep
The remains of what is missing
It is nice
Swimming over the jagged edges of sorrow
Bliss she smiles
Just the two of us
Wrapped up and free
What I do not say is
Next time
I will not phone it in
She leans into me
Remember that terror you cannot name
I know what she is called
We curl up on the floor
Sleep under the mirror
All in good time
She says
Holding my hand
I love her
My little story book pilgrim
My friend.


Copyright Jae Rose February 20, 2016



Alice illustration by Iain McCaig

Sherry: “How could they / They never knew we were alive” really strikes me in the heart, Jae. To think you are such a beautiful being, unseen by those who are supposed to support you. “Swimming over the jagged edges of sorrow” is such an affecting line.  I love Alice, and am so moved by your closing lines: “My little storybook pilgrim. My friend.” Thank God for Alice, when live humans can be so disappointing.
Jae Rose: This one was remembering something I was told before leaving a locked psychiatric unit. I was sectioned for a year and never felt so alone and misunderstood, even though I was locked up with people and constantly monitored. I was in that particular unit for six months and they still got my name wrong up until the day I left. And yet that is what one of them said as I left.
Sherry: It amazes me how un-tuned-in so many in the “helping"  professions can be. They are trying to be positive and hopeful. But it would be kinder to be real.
Jae Rose: By the end of that year I felt I had died in a way. To be observed. Manhandled. Nameless for so long strips you of any hope and any internal world. I think you need to feel safe in order to enjoy your imagination, as well as it being an escape in dire times. 
Sherry: Yes, feeling safe is a basic need. Would you like to tell us a little about what Alice means to you? How long has she been with you? (I personally see her as your inner child, and also your inner wisdom, as it is always Alice who speaks your deepest knowing.) We all love Alice.
Jae Rose: I think Alice is all of those things - and I suspect more - which I’ve yet to discover.  Actually she ‘appeared’ after that year, and doesn’t come with me if I’m hauled off to hospital. I wonder if she only feels free when we are in our own world, too. Even though we have our difficulties, we at least strive to hold onto some sense of humanity and dignity. Believe me, it makes a swift exit when you can’t even pee alone.
Sherry: Such indignities you have experienced, my friend. I am sorry. Let’s take a peek at your third selection, shall we?


We are a mixed puzzle
A book
A phone
A long lost hat
The car sleeps under the black stray cat
How do we know
We are
Because we have a heart beat
She whispers
Lubdub
Lubdub
Two little girls in a dunking tub
I have to check
Time must not dangle 
So many rules
She sighs
If I was a gem
How precious would I be
She asks
Lying on her side
Hair drizzling over baby bird elbows
I don’t have the backbone to answer
You are cobalt blue
She squeals
My favourite colour
Forever and ever 
I hug the wall
This is me sober
Want to see me fall
No one came Alice
Only the people in grey suits
Who wrote our story
With a company pen 
They got it all wrong
Of course
She smooths her hair
Tried to make us cheap
And nasty
We are
A picture 
Of a picture
On a wall
On a wall
A distant star
Circling the moon
But still shining
She says
Quietly
Shh
We drop
Like a penny in the night
He used razor wire
To staunch the flow of blood
How perfectly silly
She says
The silver warms against my skin
See a penny pick up
A shilling is even better luck
Is that the phone or the moon
We are in a state aren’t we
No
We are feeling
We are
We are 
I hug the wall
This is me sober
Want to see me fall.
Copyright Jae Rose February 10, 2016

Sherry: “A distant star circling the moon and still shining” – such a beautiful image. As you keep shining, week after week, in your poems, my friend.
Jae Rose: Thank you Sherry - It’s hard to feel shiny at times. I think this one was another lost in the system moment. Feeling puzzled and being seen as a problem, not a person. Although not one that is worth being solved or soothed.

Sherry: I wish you much strength, to hold onto your self-worth in such situations. It has been wonderful having this little visit with you and Alice today, Jae Rose. We are so happy to have you here among us. It is a privilege to read your work. Is there anything you would like to say to Poets United?

Jae Rose: Thank you very much for inviting us back. I always appreciate people visiting and leaving such kind comments. Let’s hope there are many more blog adventures ahead. And tea and cake. Of course.
Sherry: You touch our hearts, Jae Rose. Thank you, very humbly, for trusting us with your poetry, and your thoughts. What you have shared with us here is golden. It is treasure. Thank you to you and Alice for your words week by week, from your heart to ours, as we all make our bumpy passages through this life, and yet still find its shimmering beauty.

It goes without saying that I knew you would love this feature especially much, my friends. Sigh. I hate to leave Wonderland, but suppose we must, as the White Rabbit is expostulating and gesticulating at his stopwatch. Do come back and see who we talk to next. (It will be a tough act to follow.) Who knows? It might be you!


62 comments:

  1. It is such a joy to learn more about Jae..…her work has been such an inspiration to me!! Your passion and brilliance SHINE!!!....Reading your poems is akin to stepping out of this world and into a world of grace. Alice...plz keep taking us down the rabbit hole!
    Sorry about Mousie....RIP Li'l one! Hugs to Bear...

    Thank you, Sherry! Jae's bio was a poetic encounter and I enjoyed it very much. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Thank you so much Panchali - we will certainly do our best - and Bear sends a thank you for the hug!

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  2. Hi, my friends. It was such a pleasure to put this chat together with our friend< Jae Rose, and so delightful to hear from Alice, too. I am off to spend a couple of hours with little ones, but will be back to continue the conversation later this afternoon. Keep the teapot warm!!!!



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    1. The teapot is in it's best hat ;)

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  3. Ah, Jae Rose, I have enjoyed learning about you. Your writing helps me understand what you are feeling and dealing with. I marvel that Alice (“My little storybook pilgrim. My friend.”) is your companion and champion in writing. Who better than Alice could be such a comforting friend? Your imagination and word crafting is a treat. I'm so glad to have the opportunity to visit with you through our poetry. I esp., love "Leaps and Bounds. I also, almost entirely, write to prompts for the same reason you state, prompts are a catalyst for my thoughts.
    Lovely to meet you, Jae.

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    1. And lovely to see you here too - thank you very much Debi - and for your supportive comments on my blog..and you're right..there's no one better than Alice ;)

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  4. Thank you so much Sherry and Jae for taking out time and sharing this wonderful conversation with us.

    I am so overwhelmed with emotion after reading about you Jae. You are a strong, noble and caring person and I have always loved your writing. I remember the first time when I was reading "Taste" and thinking to myself wow she is so talented with words :D

    And now after reading your interview and learning about the situations which you have been through in your life tears me up from inside. You will always be in my prayers and thoughts Jae. Wishing you loads of happiness and success in the years to come. Big hugs to you!

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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    1. Thank you Sanaa - we always appreciate your :D and the sunshine you spread

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  5. Oh Jae Rose I was so happy to see this week's interview would be with you and Alice....and I am glad you have some answers now with the new diagnosis. You have been through so much that I am glad you have Alice to keep you company in those darkest times my friend....and we are here too! Sherry this was a treat and so beautifully put together...thanks for this wonderful interview! Lots of love to both of you!!

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    1. Thank you for your kind wishes Donna - and yes..a big thank you to Sherry too

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  6. Dear Sherry...I have missed Poets United for quite some time due to a work assignment which is now over...Thank you for sharing more about Jae and her lovely creative poetry...Dear Jae you write so well and bring out deep touching images of life's reality...I love Alice and Alice in Wonderland..a great inspiration for my jottings as well..Jae wish you all good health happiness and the joy and peace of writing.May Allah bless you with the best always amen.Thank you Dear Sherry..the tea is so welcome-the teapot so warm...

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    1. Good to see you back Anjum - and thank you for your kind wishes..we send them back to you and hope too for you to return to the joy and peace of writing

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  7. How good it is to see you featured here again Jae. You and I have been chasing each other about the blog sites since 2009 and have both been faithfully commentating on each others work since then. I am so glad you are part of this world wide family of poets and that we learn so much both in writing and in life by this association. Thank you and Sherry for this beautiful interview and assure you of the love and wonder we have of your mesmerizing writing.

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    1. Thank you so much Old Egg - it always makes me smile when we seem to nestle together in the blog lists! We always appreciate your kindness and support - thank you

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  8. Jae Rose, thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with Poets United. I have enjoyed reading your blog. You are a creative person and your posts are full of adventure. I like to write a bit of adventure poems myself. I think Alice is a fine friend to travel with in your journey.

    Bright Blessings!

    Thank you Sherry for introducing us to Jae Rose.

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    1. That she is thank you Truedessa - and your poems are indeed an adventure too - bright blessings back to you!

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  9. Well, well! It's Jae Rose and Alice hanging out with Sherry! Nicely done, ladies, a happy surprise for me and with a good variety of poems as well. "Leaps and Bounds" and "Luck" are two of my favorites. Jae Rose, I knew your life is hard and that you often were in places where you felt powerless, but it is some months since I have been reading your poems as art featuring characters rather than an intimate tale. I hope that doesn't bother you. That allows me to comment on the art rather than your life, which, really, I am no good at doing at all. I hope I don't step over some line where you feel discomfort. Using this wonderful form you invented, and using your unique knowledge of the world, you create beautiful images that help me also to see my own life good poetry always does--it opens doors and windows. So thank you for persisting and creating. Maybe someday a collection of these poems will find the light of day as a novel. And maybe you will not want to be so public, but I'm just saying I can imagine the possibility. They are that good.

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    1. PS: I love seeing your face and a bit of your space. Did you pick the wonderland photos, too?

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    2. Jae Rose picked the black and white illustration, but I picked the other ones, LOL........I especially love the small Alice in the McCaig painting..........I suspect Jae Rose is asleep right now, given the time difference.........and I will not be far behind her. But I know she will come back in tomorrow to see who's been by. I agree, Jae Rose's work is book-worthy, we have talked a bit about lulu.com.

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    3. Thank you for your supportive and considerate view of my scribbles Susan - no, you never step over the line or cause discomfort (it's me that does that!) - it is good to have different perspectives on the words - and often by default the life bits.. thank you for persisting with us too.. yes not long awake and one day maybe we will make it to Lulu.com! Thanks both

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  10. So many of the sentiments I carry after learning more about you have been so better expressed and it's fantastic to see you have a way to open up in this world. Your writing is beautiful, complex and simple at the same time. A true testiment to your voice. It is with absolute pure courage that one can persevere when others fail to recognize us or our place in this world, but we all most certainly have a place when we have the courage and strength to find it (though we may never feel it is there). I loved what I read here and to discover we have another remarkable person amongst us.

    btw, I'm sorry to hear about Mousie!! I have a soft part in my heart for small animals as I used to have hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbit and ferrets. Precious, every single one of them


    Sherry, Another brilliant interview btw;)!

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    1. Thanks, kiddo. Yes, we do have a very remarkable person among us.

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    2. Thank you both very much - it seems the hardest thing at times to find our place - it is heartening when others can say that eventually and hopefully we will - and Mousie says thank you from over the Rainbow Bridge

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  11. Hello Jae. I was, but wasn't surprised when you said that you would not claim to write poetry. I did the same for many years, living on the hope that what others said might one day be true. Long after leaving college, I had a chance to sit down with my college mentor and we finally got around to speaking about just that subject. He laughed and told me that although I might not think of myself as a poet, I'd been picking up poetic techniques, for years. Then he got serious and said, "What it all comes down to is that poetry is whatever the poet wants it to be." Yes, it is good to learn the rules, the forms, and the established methods. But after that, you still go out there and do your own thing, break the rules, and find the poetry that lives inside of only you." You have done that and so much more. You've been hanging out and writing and reading years of poetry. I believe it has the ability to change people and even worlds. Thanks to both you and Alice for your courage and honesty. And loving hugs to both of you,

    Elizabeth

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    1. This is wonderful, Elizabeth, and so true. Jae Rose has created her own genre, her voice is unique. I feel very lucky that we get to read her every week.I love what your mentor said. He is absolutely right.

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    2. Thank you so much Elizabeth - what a wonderful thing your tutor said and we greatly appreciate your continuing gentle encouragement - still on the window sill sits the wise words you offered all those years back 'Writing my way through the darkness was the only thing I could do. I hear you doing the same. I respect your courage'.. it watches over me..like all the kind people i've met whilst picking up the odd word or two - thank you

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  12. Another excellent interview, Sherry, and I so appreciated learning more about you, Jae Rose. Your poetry is awesome!!! Someone very dear to me has Asperger’s Syndrome – also diagnosed as an adult having being labelled with a plethora of one-more-time-down-the rabbit hole diagnoses from the age of 3. He has gone through (and been put through) so much in his life, and yet (now in his thirties) he is the most empathetic, loving, kind, interested and interesting; genuinely happy individuals (almost unbelievable so, given what he has been through) that I know … though every day, he still faces challenges. Struggles, I think, can bestow gifts, such as inquiring observation, introspection and wisdom – to say nothing of, a loving heart and appreciation of caring people. Your writing is infused with crackling, sharp incisive remarks that are powerful, eloquent and unique and very much, your own: WONDERFUL WORK!

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    1. And what a wonderful comment Wendy - thank you always for your insights in your comments - the 'plethora of one-more-time-down-the rabbit hole diagnoses - made me smile.. i think having a sense of humour is the key to surviving mental health care - which can often be worse than the 'problem' itself

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    2. i told you so
      i told you so
      said the queen of hearts
      off with her head!

      Indeed, worse than the problem itself
      It's a punishment for not being a conformist
      the reason why we learn as children to adopt
      the correct responses and behaviour in order to survive...jump all the hurdles but some of us know
      none of it is true and why we have to do it.

      Laughed heartily at

      you've come on in leaps and bounds
      did they not notice we are dead
      she whispered


      When they make the movie of your book I insist that I play the part of the faux caring health worker.I have studied all the pertinent characteristics so I promise to give an oscar winning performance:) When we win the Oscar awards I get to choose the outfits (Vivienne Westwood) and you can write the acceptance speech and keep the Oscars because I have no room at my place.

      Thank you for your support over the years (6 now)
      I have always admired your courage and tenacity in surviving your ordeal and hope you write a book exposing the scandalous situation that the people who are labelled as mentally ill are subjected to.
      Also it pleases me that you are so valued by the poetic community .
      Peters of Kensington is just 1O minutes drive from where I live in Sydney .I shop out there sometimes...long way from Devon:)Is this some kind of hint to buy that teapot for you?:)
      Cheers
      Rall

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    3. I LOVE this comment, especially the part about the Oscars. But I think you have a valid suggestion about Jae exposing the bumbling and inept mental health system in print.....it would be a knockout! I have two family members using those "services" and, whichever side of the pond we are on, the system lacks heart, sensitivity and the ability to provide more than sadly inadequate support.

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    4. I love this comment also thank you Rallentanda - and thank you for helping me see the funnier side of things as well as entertaining and supporting our nuttiness.. You are as ever spot on in your observations..for one happy little moment we were standing on a plinth giggling and holding a 'fuck you muchly' finger up to all those who thought we'd never be - that was a good daydream - cheers to another six years of your company xo

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    5. Ps -Sherry found the teapot..luckily Internet tea parties can be arranged in seconds despite the miles ;)

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  13. Sherry, I was thrilled to see who you would be interviewing this time. How could one not love Jae Rose and Alice?! – for courage, truth, wisdom, intelligence, wry humour, lovingness ... and amazing, beautiful poetry. As you say, quite unique. Dear Jae Rose, 'poetry' is sometimes used in such a nebulous, yet elitist, way; perhaps it will help if, for the moment, you simply label your writing verse, which clearly it is. Perhaps that will let you see that, in perfectly practical terms, as it is not prose (though it sometimes tells good stories!) and it is not drama (i.e. plays – although it makes good use of dialogue) then it must be poetry. :-) As I have said so often, I find it utterly enthralling. You have great gifts for creating vivid scenes, capturing mood and nuance, drawing the reader right into the world of the words. And all that with clear, accessible language, used brilliantly. I have always felt, too, that your poetry was your sanctuary, as you have now told us. I'm glad you have one, and that we get to share it with you! As for the bureaucrats and hospital staff in these poems – Alice it quite right: 'it's all pretend anyway / A kind of myth.' Your poetry is often fanciful, and often delightfully so – but it is never pretend.

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    1. Thank you Rosemary - a comment to treasure and tentatively think hmm..verse.. we can cope with that.. am very glad of your visits and insights and hope one day that what Alice says I will believe too

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  14. This is an excellent interview... it gives such perspective of the poetry (yes it's poetry)... wonderful to learn a little bit more about you Jae.. (and Alice)...

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    1. Thank you Bjorn - always a pleasure to read your comments and your poems too

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  15. Hi Jae, the words in your poetry (yes, it is poetry) are the lights that shine in your world. they seem to be from worlds of fantasy and anime, but at the same time they are very human. they speak of pain but they also dream of hope. they glow with magic.

    can i give you a hug?

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    1. And what a magical and glowing comment thank you ds - and for the hug too!

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  16. So nice to learn about you more Jae. You have a gift of turning pains and despair into a deep poetic experience. Really love how you’ve crafted reality into a precious work of art. “Swimming over the jagged edges of sorrow” and being comforted by your little story book pilgrim (a dear and wise soul, isn't she?) is such a difficult journey yet you’re acing it. Thanks Sherry for the amazing chat.

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    1. She is a dear, wise soul thank you kindly Sumana - and for all your support over the years

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  17. Thank you Jae. Few people are willing to expose their suffering. They assume vulnerability makes them less than others. Yet, we're all vulnerable and that makes us human. You are a champion for exposure of the human spirit and I love that about your poetry. Alice is a true heroine - and she is truly real. I'm so glad that you have found a community here that accepts and cheers for you. As we do so, we are also cheering for ourselves. Take care Jae. I hope you and Alice find some happiness in wonderland.

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    1. How perfectly put - thank you Myrna - yes finding a community which accepts you is so important.. We are very lucky to have found it. Take care too thank you Myrna and here's to happiness for all who tread here

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  18. Oops. How could I forget to thank you too Sherry. I so admire the sharpnes of your questions. You seem to intuitively know what stimulates good, genuine answers. This chat was delightful.

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  19. Thanks, Myrna. Peoples' stories fascinate me, especially ones like Jae's, where someone is transcending difficult circumstances with such grace.

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    1. My sister read this too and said Sherry's questions were knowing, caring and wise xo

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  20. Sherry, loved the interview! Jae is the best! Thank you both so much!xoxoxoxohugs

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  21. You are most welcome, my friends. It was truly a pleasure.

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    1. Thank you Annell good to see you as always xo

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  22. I like sharing Wonderland with you, Jae. What a fabulous interview, Sherry. Thanks so much for the glimpse into this brilliant woman.

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    1. Thank you Sara - what a lovely comment

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  23. I have always wondered who this person who takes all of us into her world of Alice with so much ease and elan....So nice to hear more about you! Its like a bitter sweet feeling

    But I think life is all about that
    If bitterness is not there we wont be appreciating sweets as much as we do now!

    You tell sweet stories with your bitter thoughts I say!

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    1. What a lovely way of putting it - thank you PT - and absolutely we can't know sweet without bitter!

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  24. Such a unique style that always leaves me wanting to read more. Thanks Jae and Sherry. Such a brave interview. Inspiring all who have a secret Alice that they turn to at the hardest times.

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    1. I love that - we all have a secret Alice - thank you always for coming back and reading and commenting thotpurge

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  25. Jae Rose most of my comment would be in a private email encrusted in a hug.
    I appreciate your writing on many levels - know this your words are a conduit of release for your days (and nights) on the cold unrelenting floor.(WE ALL HAVE THEM). I almost always find a rosebud to inhale embedded in your prose.
    You know you have a safe haven with the people here at Poet's United.

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    1. Thank you Leslie - for understanding the floor..and the hug.. And for finding the rosebud and yes it is a very special safe haven because of the people here

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  26. JaeRose, what an open and honest interview, Jae. I feel the pain in so many of your words, but really appreciate your openness and willingness to share your humanity in your interview here, your poetry, and in the perceptive comments you make on everyone's poetry. Yes, as Sherry said, YOU are to be celebrated! I also must say that when I was teaching I had a particular student who was undiagnosed (but I knew he was..) autistic. He had a hard time socially, but he was among the MOST intelligent students I ever taught. So glad YOU are here at Poets United!

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    1. And so glad to be a part of Poets United thank you Mary - thank you for your continued support right from the start - always very much appreciated

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  27. Jae Rose I am so moved! Being fairly new to Poets United I wasn't that aware of these interviews Sherry does. They are so amazing! I got to this late but would like to say a few things.

    I somewhat know how you feel when you say, "I am never sure how to define what I write. I pay more attention over word choices and rhythm, but generally speaking I wouldn’t ever claim to write poetry." Sometimes I feel the same way about my poetry! It's not that I don't feel what I write but I look at my work and think, yes it's clever and the timing is good, but is it poetry? I can have a lot of doubts about my work.

    Alice In Wonderland is one of the books that made me fall in love with writing and poetry. I am an Alice fan forever! You couldn't have a better friend than Alice I think!

    I am sorry about your diagnosis and am surprised that it wasn't caught earlier when you were younger. I have had some awful times with depression in my life but autism must be very hard to deal with. I'm glad you have Alice to help you.

    I love your poetry and yes, it's poetry to me in it's most raw form. I just started really having the time to read everyone's work here and yours is amazing! I look forward to more.

    My beloved cat Boo had to put to sleep May 6th and the house is so empty. I am so sorry about Mousie! The way you put it, "Mousie passed over the rainbow bridge," was so sweet! I will think of Boo's death like that now. For some reason it gives me some peace about it.

    I am so happy to be at Poets United because at no other blog I write with do they get into their members like this! It's wonderful and makes me feel like I'm part of something special. I so enjoyed reading about you Jae and getting to know you better.

    Big hug! Bekkie

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment Bekkie - it was nice to learn a little about you too in your words. Alice is a good friend..like many things i didn't discover her until i was older.. i think for some of us things come later because no one was there to see in the beginnings.. like disappearing down the rabbit hole and no one noticing (just like Alice!) - I am so sorry about Boo - Sherry lovingly described Mousie as passing over the rainbow bridge..it is indeed a comforting image..long may they be happy there.. thank you

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  28. Love this so much as I have long appreciated and admired the words and insights we receive from Jae Rose and Alice! Thank you, Sherry, for bringing more about them to us in this beautiful interview.

    Jae Rose....your words about the tension between the relief and 'what now' that follows a diagnosis of autism resonate so strongly with me. My middle son experienced that strange combination of emotion when we finally received his diagnosis on the autism spectrum. But, the longer we have sat with this diagnosis the longer we have realized the truth of Temple's words, 'different, not less.' The differences make him amazing, beautiful, astonishingly brilliant!

    When I read your poetry (and, yes, it IS poetry), what makes you different is what sets you apart as a poet....and it blows us away, as your readers, week after week....consistently. The Wonderland you have created with Alice, through the incredible sensory image you weave, is stunning and emotionally evocative in an unparalleled way. You let us get a glimpse into your world and we are immeasurably grateful. Thank you for being you and for welcoming us to tea with you and Alice so warmly :-)

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    1. And thank you so much for your beautiful and thoughtful comment C.C. - sitting with those differences is the key - i am glad to know it is possible - thank you for coming to tea! :)

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