Monday, June 27, 2016

LIFE OF A POET ~ REBECCA SANCHEZ (BEKKIE)


We have a treat for you today, my friends. We are zooming down the west coast of the USA to the San Francisco area, to meet the energetic poet, bicyclist and photographer, Rebecca (Bekkie) Sanchez, who writes at Capricious Poet. Be prepared for some spectacular scenery, as Bekkie lives very close to the beautiful Bay bike trail. For this chat, we're sitting on a bench looking across the bay to San Francisco, and we're serving chilled California Iced Tea. Keep your eyes peeled. I have heard sometimes one can spot a small seal along the path!





Sherry: Bekkie, I am so pleased to be chatting with you. Would you give us a snapshot of your life: who you are, where you live, the life of this poet on any given day?
                                                               
Bekkie: I live in San Mateo, California, near the San Francisco Bay, which is why this is called the Bay Area. Close enough so I can ride my bicycle from my small apartment to the Bay Trail. The Bay Trail is a bicycle/walking path that travels around the San Francisco Bay so, in theory, one can go all the way around. Wetlands and nature thrive in these areas; it's a wonderful place to ride, used by many people.



Me and the California seal I found


I get up in the morning, have breakfast, and around 11 am take a 15-20 mile ride every other day. One day I found a Californian fur seal in the middle of the trail! It came up a walkway out of the bay to rest in the sun. 



Up close ~ isn't he cute?


It was the cutest thing I ever saw and what a thrill that was. I spent an hour with it, taking pictures and videos, but had to leave it behind. The next day it was gone back into the bay. I often see creatures of all kinds scurrying across the trail or in the bush, and the bird species are amazing.

Sometimes I leave my bike behind and walk the many beaches and paths the trail offers. I really enjoy nature and need these moments of zen. As much as I like being with people, I'm pretty much a loner who likes spending time with myself.




Another gorgeous day on the bike trail,
near Foster City


Sherry: I am much the same, Bekkie. You live in such a glorious area! It must be fantastic to have trails and beaches so close by.

Bekkie: When I get home, I open my Chromebook and get to work. I post on my social networks, read poetry and look for prompts to write for. I have more than a few blogs I write posts for. I keep a copy of Google Keep on all of my devices so I can jot down my thoughts wherever I am but do most of my writing in my comfy chair in the living room. It's been years since I used pen and paper.



My writing chair


Sherry: OMG, you have my Dream Chair!!!! 

Bekkie: When I'm not writing I like to cook. I'm always looking for new recipes. I prefer to eat at home and eat a healthy well-balanced diet. I cook with the same cast iron pans I've used for decades now; it actually adds iron to your food.

I'm a pretty simple person living a simple life and like it that way.




Looking towards San Mateo Bridge
during low tide


Sherry: It sounds wonderful to me! On your About Me page, you say “poetry chose me”. Would you tell us about your poetic journey? 

Bekkie: I am an artist at heart. Art was always my go-to for expressing myself, starting in Kindergarten. When I learned to read, Dr. Seuss had a real impact on me. I loved his artwork and his rhyming stories. Alice In Wonderland, with its wild fantasy and rhymes, had a big effect on me. When I got old enough to write I started writing rhyming poetry; it came so naturally. In high school, I married my art with poetry and never looked back. I feel I was born an artist, but poetry chose me. I also write flash fiction when the mood is right.

What I like about poetry is the same thing I like about art. Two people can look at the same object and have totally different takes on it. Only with poetry the output is much more personal. With poetry, you can dig deeper and express yourself, but with art sometimes you have to guess what the artist was feeling. When I put my poetry and art together, it's like a total thought or story.




This painting is from when I was 12. 
It was the first painting I ever had
in an art show at my school. 


Sherry: Oh my goodness, this is a fantastic painting for a 12 year old! It is beautiful! 

Bekkie: I've been an artist since I fell in love with crayons. My first painting was in an art show when I was 12 years old, and it's still hanging on my wall. Some of my favorite things are drawing, Japanese Sumi painting, jewelry making, drawing on clothes and making greeting cards. I will make anything that I get interested in. I used to sell my wares personally and in stores on consignment. When computers came along, I got into animation.

My career in electronics took most of my time and my hand made art got put aside. Now I do my animation and add it to my poetry.

Sherry: You are very versatile! Tell us a bit about your childhood. Looking back, can you see anything that might have predicted your becoming a poet? 




Me roller skating in the good old days


Bekkie: My childhood in Michigan City, Indiana, was a little different than most because my father was a professional wrestler in the 50's, early 60's. I grew up with larger than life wrestling characters (my father's friends) at a young age and the whole family traveled on the road around the midwest with him a few times. We all slept in our station wagon. Our family of 4 went with him to matches on Indian Reservations, at state fairs, and even a state prison, to name a few.

My father was a boxer initially, and fought Mohammed Ali when he still was Cassius Clay, and just starting out in boxing. My father lost, remarked he hit hard. Later my dad stopped boxing to wrestle instead. We joked that was because Ali knocked boxing outta him, LOL.




My dad


Growing up this way only helped a child like me, with an already wild imagination, to want to share my thoughts and ideas. As I got older, art and poetry became my conduits.

Sherry: Well, that is an unusual childhood indeed. You must have a ton of material for your writing! How very cool. What was your field of employment before retirement? 

Bekkie: I became too disabled to work as an engineering technician by 2005; hence, my early retirement. Bad knees made it impossible to crawl around and in machinery figuring out what was needed to put it into production. I went to a technical college to get my degree and worked in electronics. I liked working with the engineers on projects and enjoyed my work. Before being a tech I was an assembler and soldered circuit boards. I didn't get to go to college proper and taught myself all I know about poetry.

Sherry: Me, too, kiddo. Would you like to choose a few poems written by you to share with us, and tell us a bit about each one?


Busy Bodies

Busy businesses bestow bargains
on beings bedazzled by big buildings
and beau-coup buying.
People board backfiring buses belching black
while buxom blondes barter businessmen
on Broadway.
Bankrupt buildings sit boarded up
behind back-lit bars
as the bar-bands bodacious bass
beckons bodies and backstreet betrayals.
A bedraggled beggar’s barbaric behavior
blurred by booze barfs his breakfast.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2015

Sherry: That is a big bunch of B's, LOL.

BekkieI like to write allegations and have written many of them on different subjects. I find them fun and challenging. Busy Bodies is about a day in San Francisco where you see it all.

Ten Digits

Ten digits is what I own
ten fingers made of bone
not nine, not three
ten digits serving me.
Ten digits is what I use
ten fingers to amuse
two thumbs, eight fingers
ten digits that never linger.
Ten digits is what I love
ten fingers fit my gloves
ten phalanges help me so
missing one I’d surely know.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2015

Sherry: This made me smile.

BekkieTen Digits is a poem I wrote to honor Dr. Seuss; it's for adults as well as kids, just like his work was. I had those lines bouncing around in my head and had to use them. I think it's very Seuss-like and silly.


Nobody Knows

You liked him on Facebook
you sent him a Tweet
you follow on Google
in chat rooms you’ll meet.
You re-share his posts
and know him quite well
but he has a secret
that he’ll never tell.
For he’s a real dog
and he’s fooled everyone
and no one will guess
cause his secrecy’s won.
So next time you see him
he will not disclose
online he’s a dog
but nobody knows.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2015

Sherry: I think I recognize that guy! LOL.

BekkieI like to write humorous poems and Nobody Knows is a good example. I got this idea from an image of a dog on a couch in front of a computer. When you're online chatting you never do know who you're talking to. It could happen!


When My Baby Sleeps

When my baby sleeps she mirrors an angel.
Arms folded over her ample bosom
hands clasped
as if in prayer.
Full lips, almost
moving with her dreams.
Her face-
so gentle, unadorned and innocent
her breath quiet and even.
Only the shadows around her show movement.
They silhouette my sleeping angel
malevolent and churning
when she sleeps they let her rest.
When she wakes she resembles a banshee.
Arms raised and breasts shaking in their quake
hands formed like claws
long fingernails vindictively,
cutting.
Voluptuous lips pulled back
in a grimace
over that vomitous mouth
as she becomes like the bean chaointe
and the wailing starts.
When my baby sleeps she mirrors an angel.
Let’s not wake her just yet.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2015


Sherry: Yes, let's not. Such a well-described contrast.

Bekkie: I enjoy doing dark writes; they are a lot of fun. "When My Baby Sleeps" speaks for itself I wanted to shock the reader a little. She sounds like such an angel until she wakes up.

Some people write in certain styles and are known for it but, when I write a poem, the poem tells me what form it will take. I like to make the reader feel all kinds of emotions, even pointing the finger back at them making them think. I like to write about any subject, use different poetry forms and can be funny as well as serious or dark.  



Looking towards Coyote Point,
San Francisco and boat harbour


Sherry: In your site  Bike With Bekkie, I enjoy your articles about your bike rides in the Bay area. You have some wonderful photos of your travels. Would you share when you began biking daily and the impact on your health and well-being? 

Bekkie: Bike With Bekkie is special to me because I need to share my story with others. Not just because biking or finding ways to move every day is important to our health and well-being, but because it's paramount to our emotional stability. So many people are fighting depression and you can't ride a bike regularly and be depressed! Once you feel better, taking better care of your health and yourself becomes easier. With a little effort, anyone can get their life back, be happier and healthier.

In February of 2014, my mother passed away unexpectedly quick and at that time my life I was at an all-time low. I was already depressed and weighed almost 200 pounds when I heard about her death. I didn't care to shower, brush my teeth or do anything but feel sorry for myself. I was already a hot mess when I went to the psychiatrist for help. He put me on 3 kinds of medications but instead of helping me they made me much worse, turning me into a vegetable that still did nothing.

In September of 2015, I looked at myself in the mirror one day and just felt sick inside. I wish I could tell a great story about a shaft of golden light coming down and hearing sweet voices telling me I was worth it to get better, but no. What I did do was stop taking my medication and started cleaning up.

In October I got a Jawbone health band that monitored various health points with a smart coach. I went on a 1,200 calorie diet, stopped drinking soda and logged my food. I was an insomniac and trained myself to sleep well again. Having bad knees I couldn't walk well, but I started walking anyway and lost 30 pounds. My depression was disappearing and I had energy again!

Sherry: I am sorry you lost your mother, Bekkie, and went through such a hard time. But it sounds like a transformative time for  you, a turning point.




Me and my bike


Bekkie: In February I started riding my 30-year-old Schwinn touring bike every other day. At first, it was really hard and I was so weak and out of breath, but it got easier. I couldn't believe how happy it made me feel! Now at 62, I have never been so healthy. I feel great and have a stronger body.

When I started all this, I couldn't walk very well now my knees have improved and I can walk a few miles. The biking is the best thing I ever did for my bad knees. I still need them replaced, but they are much better now.

Sherry: Wow, Bekkie, this is speaking directly to me. You are an inspiration! 

You have been blogging since 2008. What impact has blogging had on your writing? What have been the positives?

Bekkie: Blogging has been the best thing I've ever done for my writing. I used my blogging to learn to be a better writer. I learned what worked and what didn't in subject matter. The feedback you get from your readers is so valuable. Blogging gave me an opening to share my poetry and see what people thought of it. It also gives you a great way to network and make friends.

I started dropping in for image prompts in 2009 with Magpie Tales and there was no turning back. I think blogs are an excellent platform for sharing your passions and interests with the world and they're free! My first blog, Bekkie In Wonderland, is still getting plenty of hits and occasionally I still write for it.

Sherry: Cool! Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United? How did you find us? (we’re so glad you did!)

Bekkie: I liked writing with Magpie Tales but never felt at home. I followed the "breadcrumbs" (people I wrote with and poetry sites they wrote with) around for years until I found Poets United. I noticed at Poets United the founders not only had prompts but introduced and wrote about their members, highlighting their work and photography. Not many prompt sites do this; it's a great way to get to know who you're writing with. I was hooked.

I am so happy to be included in a group of such talented people and was thrilled when Sherry asked me to do this. This is my first time and I'm honored! I'd just like to thank everyone for your comments and support of my poetry. It means so much to me. They are like treats that I savor, and make my day.

I'm so happy to belong to such an eclectic group of creative friends! Hugs all around!

Sherry: Well, we are happy to have you, Bekkie. Thank you for your kind words. And for  letting us get to know you better during this visit.

Well, my friends? Another poet on her journey, which includes some pretty spectacular scenery! Smiles. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!



47 comments:

  1. Bekkie - I am so glad poetry found you - and you found poets United - your work sings of your spirit.. Curiosity - Alice's best quality and word play cats with hats always appreciate..I love how fluid your styles are and how you use illustrations too - I think you are right words have a different impact - more exposing in a way perhaps. I admire how you looked in the mirror and made healthy changes for yourself - that offers much hope (and your hair is gorgeous too! I love long silver locks) - thank you both for this uplifting ride

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    1. I love the long hair, too! My fave look for silver hair.

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    2. I like that we have both found Alice to be a good friend to have Jae. I admire the way you express yourself in your poetry it's so honest. I think writing can free us in many ways if we choose the right words.

      I want to offer hope so that others can find their way like I did. Finding that good health was a large portion of this was very surprising to me, that health was more help than any drug. It's not a quick or easy fix which is why it's so hard pull off.

      My brother and I both take after our mother she had thick silver hair up to her death. I'm very fortunate and have always loved long hair.

      I am happy to be your friend Jae! Thank you!

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    3. Thank you too Bekkie - I suppose in many ways it's all about the right words we say eventually allow to say to ourselves

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  2. Bekkie what a childhood and rich life. And your poetry is always delightful showing your artist's heart and your life's paths. I love where you live and wow meeting a seal on a path would get me to walk too. You inspire me Bekkie and I am glad you are here!

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    1. Thanks so much Donna! Seeing that seal on the trail was a big wow! It was so cute I wanted to lay down by it and hug it! What a face, right?

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  3. I love this... and yes I think we first crossed paths at Magpie tales... loved to hear more about you Bekkie...

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    1. Yes we did and even then I noticed you right off the bat Bjorn! That was a long time ago and yet here we are still writing when many aren't. I am pleased we are long time friends.

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  4. Awesome! We all have fathers' that were "wrestlers".
    Wonderful.
    Zq

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    1. I'm not sure what you mean by that. Was your father a wrestler ZQ? Lol!

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  5. Bekkie, I really enjoyed reading your interview. And I really appreciated your openness. How nice that you are a biker & ride 15-20 miles every day....I admire that really. I love the feel of the wind on my face. Fun to search out new recipes, isn't it? I find I find a lot of good recipes on Pinterest. How do you find yours? And you are right about poetry - two people can have different interpretations of a poem, and it is okay. I enjoy the diversity of poems and interpretations, and it seems you do too. And, like you, I sometimes enjoy dark writes. Darkness IS a part of each of us for sure. How exciting that your dad was a boxer and wrestler and that he knew Muhammad Ali! Wow! I enjoyed the poetry you shared, getting to know more about you. Glad you found us. Sherry, thanks for another superb interview!

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    1. Nice to know you like to cook, Mary. I have a very old cookbook of my mother's and by old I mean it has it "all" in there. How to kill, dress, pluck and cook just about anything. The recipes in it should be national treasures but instead they are my secret weapons. I like the slow cooker too it makes some delicious easy stuff. I get a lot of new recipes from doing Google searches. If you ever need a recipe idea just ask.

      I enjoy reading your work because it is so varied and interesting. There is no light without some darkness huh? I look forward to more.

      Riding my bike with the wind on my face is so enjoyable I never want to stop. I had to get new tires and tubes recently and the new ones feel even better. I've had that bike for half of my life and it took me that long to figure out how special it was.

      I feel very lucky that Sherry asked me to do this. I remember you were very kind to me when I first started here Mary, thank you for that you made me feel at home.

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    2. Bekkie, ha...I have an old cookbook of MY mother's too. In fact, I am going to make a rhubarb torte using her recipe as soon as I am done commenting here. Smiles. Yes, I do google searches too...but really give Pinterest a try. Thanks for saying my work is varied and interesting. I try. I could say the same of you. So glad you found PU, and looking forward to reading more of your poetry.

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    3. I belong to Pinterest but never thought of looking for recipes there. I am always on the lookout for images for my poems there so I will give it a try. Those old cookbooks are like gold! I bet your torte comes out perfect and rhubarb is delicious.

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  6. Thank you Sherry for asking me to participate and making me feel at home here at Poets United. You did an awesome job on this! I look forward to reading many more posts from you! Big hug!

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    1. You are most welcome, kiddo. It was my pleasure and you made it so easy and enjoyable for me. LOVE your photos. Anyone who knows me now would never know it, but in my late 30's I was an avid cycler - I used to ride twenty miles out of town and back just to get out of the town and into the countryside. Every day! Usually an hour and a half a day. I loved it. I felt so free. Sometimes I would have headphones on and would be dancing around on my bike seat to Bennie and the Jets. LOL.

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    2. I have a bluetooth speaker and sometimes listen to music and dance around on my seat too! It depends on the day if I want nature sounds or music. Lol! We have written a few poems that could have been paired and I feel we are sisters under the skin Sherry! I believe you because of how you describe biking. Only someone who's done it knows how great it is. Yesterday I saw 2 jack rabbits on the golf course playing with each other. They were hopping in circles and tagging each other (probably mating.) It was the best!

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  7. A lovely, cheery interview – and oh my, how talented and versatile you are, Bekkie!

    And I must ask, because although I have no great trouble, many of my friends do – how did you train yourself to go from insomniac to sleeping well? (You could probably make a fortune selling those instructions!)

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    1. Now THAT would make an interesting chat, wouldnt it, Rosemary. Wish I had thought of it. Smiles. (We could still do it, Bekkie. LOL. But tell us here in the meantime, some of us need more sleep.)

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    2. I can tell you how I did it and it took some doing but anyone can sleep better. You must be willing to do what it takes with no excuses. I used to think as long as I got caught up with my sleep all was good but more studies are coming out pointing to just how important sleep is. It even helps us live longer!

      I will write up how to do it and post it on Bike With Bekkie this week how 'bout that? I've been meaning to bring up sleep anyway on that site and have the time to do it now. When I'm done I'll drop the link here.

      Some of the things I do might be hard for some people, for instance, if you sleep with a person who snores...but I think everyone can improve their quality of sleep.

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    4. I just finished "Sleep 101" on Bike With Bekkie. I hope it helps you I know it did me! https://bikewithbekkie.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/sleep-101/
      Let me know what you think?

      Hugs! Bekkie

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  8. such a lively chat, ladies!...as it is now morning here, a wonderful way to begin a new day...thank you Bekkie for the glimpse of your amazing world...love that seal :)...and Sherry, thank you, thank you :)

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    1. Thank you for being interested Sumana. I look for seals all of the time now.

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  9. What some fun poems you featured here Bekkie. I admire your honesty about yourself and for taking your fitness into your own hands and winning! I am so pleased you are part of our community. Thank you too Sherry opening the door on our fellow poets.

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    1. I enjoy all of the writes Sherry does and the pics Mary posts on Poets United. It's what makes this community special above all others, that we celebrate our members this way. You have had a very interesting life I think Old Egg! Thank you!

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  10. What an enjoyable interview, Sherry! I knew it would be because Bekkie writes such varied poems. Thanks for the poems and for the pictures, Bekkie. I lived out there to go to UC Berkeley, so the pics made me "homesick." And I admire your strength to turn your life around, to wrestle with the depression and move through it to bring out your gifts and follow your bliss. What a fighter!

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    1. I must of got it from my father Susan. ~giggle~ I am in Berkeley sometimes when I visit my best friend in Oakland and has it changed! I'm afraid this area is getting so expensive it's ridiculous and I wonder if you'd recognize it now. A great place to go to school though! Thanks!

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  11. What a wonderful interview Sherry and Bekkie! Others more or less have had a sheltered childhood very mild compared to fun things you did around you, Bekkie. Biking is perhaps a continuation of the 'free as can be' grand living you had. You are an artist too! That is great! Thanks for sharing Ma'am!

    Hank

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    1. You and I have written together in more than one place Hank. You have always been so friendly and open and I enjoy that about you. Biking really does feel like freedom one can go and do as one pleases and the exercise benefits are just a bonus. Thank you so much!

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  12. Hi Bekkie, nice to know you and your poetry (and art). isn't blogging amazing? here i am, half way around the world reading about a poet from the San Francisco Bay Area!
    i like cycling too, and i would go for some long rides during the weekends. it is one of the better activities i picked up. :)
    i enjoyed reading this interview. thanks!

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    1. Blogging is the best! When I started I would blog on Facebook and AOL, then the websites started to blossom. All of a sudden there were "blog sites." Quite a history when you look back. Blogs do make the world a little smaller so true.

      I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't like biking but you never know there are all kinds of people. Lol!

      Thank you for reading my story!

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  13. So glad to see a glimpse of you, Bekkie. There is great diversity and honesty in your poetry, that came through well in this interview. Sherry really does have a knack for interviewing people.

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  14. Sherry is very good at drawing people out! I have just started to backtrack and read what she's already written about our members and wow! So many interesting, talented members here! Each time I read one I feel like I know them so much better! There are some people I've written with on and off for over 10 years and still don't know much about them. I've said it more than once but Poets United is really special that way. Sharing prompts is one thing, but stories and photos show us just who we are writing and sharing with.

    Thank you Sara!

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  15. I've been a fan of Bekkie's poetry for a little while now. It's great to learn these "intimate details" of what makes you tick, Bekkie!

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    1. I'm pleased you liked my interview and even more happy you like my poetry. Thank you for letting me know.

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  16. It’s so wonderful to see you here, Bekkie!! Your poetic voice is one I’ve always enjoyed and am always thrilled to see...Enjoyed reading 'When My Baby Sleeps'-- the contrast is amazing! Your passion and brilliance SHINE.Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself!
    Thank you, Sherry for bringing this interview to PU. :)

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    1. I did enjoy writing that poem. I had to look up banshees but I often do a little research for my work. Thank you!

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  17. My pleasure, as always, my friends. I do think these features help us appreciate the poetry we read even more, when we know a bit about the people who write them. I am so interested in peoples' stories. It never gets old, each one is always so different.

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  18. I've seen Bekkie around and thanks to this interview I now know a bit about the person behind the pen. Nice interview ladies.

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  19. A great interview..lovely to get to know more about your wonderful talents Bekkie.

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    1. You and I have written together before. In fact, there's a few people here at PU that wrote at Magpie and other groups. Thank you for supporting my work!

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  20. Bekkie, I so enjoyed reading this and getting to know more about you through your story. LOVE that rollerskating shot of you! The seals are magnificent and so easy to spend time with....one cannot help but feel joy in their presence :-) I am not a biker, but I completely understand what you are saying about the ways in which getting out in nature can have such a positive impact on mood....just walking every day and hearing the sounds outside elevates that dopamine in the brain and is such a powerful healing tool for the mind :-) I appreciate your ability to write from so many different 'voices' --it is a very cool thing. Happy to have you here, Bekkie!

    And, Sherrie....you are the poet whisperer, for sure.....another winning interview for you. Thank you for bringing these to us so consistently.

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    1. That dopamine is such a good reason to get addicted to exercise and walking is wonderful. Nature is so inspiring and such a comfort to us all! Thank heavens for the healing it brings us.

      I wish I could still rollerskate but I had the best time when I could. I used to change my wheels and skate in the rink too.

      I hope to find another seal someday it's possible...

      Thank you for your warm welcome I appreciate it! Have a big hug!

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  21. Nice to get to know you Bekkie. Glad poetry found you.

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my interview Suzy! It's nice to write with you!

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