Monday, September 5, 2016

LIFE OF A POET - AYALA

Today, my friends, we are jetting down to Florida, land of sea and sun, to visit our friend Ayala, who blogs at a sun kissed life.  I am so looking forward to chatting with her, and hearing her story. For this one, I think wicker chairs in the shade, and tall glasses of iced tea would be perfect. Draw your chairs in close and let's begin.










Sherry: Ayala, it is wonderful to be chatting with you. I can't believe it has taken us this long to find our way to your door. Tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, with whom you share your life. And don't forget that beautiful dog beaming from your banner every time we visit. She is such a sweetheart!

Ayala: Hi Sherry, I live in South Florida with my husband and my youngest son. 


On our recent trip to Vancouver


He just started his  sophomore high school year. My older son and his wife live in Boston. I love to visit them during the spring and summer months.

My son's wedding


The dog on the banner is my sweet Daisy. She passed away, but I kept her on my blog banner. She was on it when I began in 2010 and she will remain there. 

Sherry: Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. She lifts my spirits every time I see her photo. It is so hard to lose them. Where did you grow up, Ayala?

Ayala: I was born and raised in Israel, up until the age of thirteen . My father was a poet and he wrote in the Israeli-Romanian newspaper. He was a politician, an entertainment impresario, and an art dealer. There were always interesting people and conversations in my life. 





My father was an inspiration to me. I would listen to him recite poetry to my mother and, even then as a child, I knew that I was privileged to be a witness to their love. When I was a teenager I allowed my father to read my poems. He encouraged me and believed that I had a gift for writing.

Sherry: What a rich environment to be raised in - art, poetry and love. Wonderful! I am wondering if the reason for the family's  move to the United States may have been political?

Ayala: My brother fought in the Yom Kippur war. After the war, there was chatter and political unrest which led my parents to decide to leave Israel. They sacrificed the life that they had built for their children.


My son's graduation from his 
emergency room residency


Sherry: You had very fine and loving parents, Ayala. And, looking at your family today, we can see you all thrived. I am struck by how much you look like your mother.

Tell us about your writing journey, won't you?

Ayala: I was eight years old when I wrote my first poem. I began to write journals at the same  time and I continued to write them throughout my life. I don't believe that I chose poetry, but  that poetry chose me. 

Sherry: True poets always say that. I know it is true. Would you like to share some poems with us? And tell us a bit about each?

Ayala: Yes, I would like to share 'Unvarnished'. It is a part of my story. It was a difficult poem to write because I did not want to hurt anyone. It's about trusting, loving, betrayal and rising from the ashes. Emerging better for having gone through the pain.

Sherry: My favourite kind of story, and poem! Let's have a look!

Unvarnished




The mirror shards,
sharp as the strands of grey hair,
unvarnished 
like the redwood trees.
You would not recognize
the resilient starfish
left on the shore 
to die.
You were a stray dog
that followed me home.
I let you into 
my consciousness.
You wagged your tail,
you licked my face
with adoration
before you barked.
When you bit me,
I put you down.
I was sober,
you were not.
I was not a munequita
to chew and spit out.
Blindfolded I was lured
by the darkness,
misery I mired in.
You set fire and scorched
our landscape.
I  rose from the ashes,
while 
you
became a 
ghost
of the past.

 Sherry: I resonate with the description of scorched earth. That is just how it feels. Thankfully, we do emerge stronger from such experiences. This is powerful, Ayala. 

Ayala: 'Forgiveness' is about someone that I loved dearly and in return betrayed my love and my trust. A relationship that spanned over thirty years. I forgave her but she could never be a part of my life again. 



I forgave her for lying
and trying to steal my soul.
I forgave her for bringing storms
into my days,
uncertainty in my steps,
and darkness in my hours.
I forgave her,
the sister I never had,
the confidante of secrets.
I brought her in from the rain,
from a past,
embraced her brokenness
unaware of her bite.
She loved me,
betrayed me,
said it was her illness. 
She took my heart,
sliced it open
watched me bleed
as she stood motionless.
I saw her photograph
on the internet,
her eyes haunted,
a scar on her forehead,
a ghost of yesterday.
It was not her words attempting
to crawl back into the place
she ravaged.
It was not her pleading voice
on the answering machine.
I forgave her
to crawl out of the gutter
she placed us in.
I forgave her as I battled
drowning in the outgoing tide.
I forgave her 
to forgive myself.

Sherry: An incredibly strong and powerful poem, I can see her haunted eyes, her sorrow, and feel the rightness in forgiving her, in order to free yourself. Such good writing!

Ayala: 'The color of my blood' was written out of sorrow and empathy for the victims and survivors of the Orlando attack at Pulse nightclub. It shook me to the core. 

The color of my blood



The shape of my eyes,
the sound of my voice,
the shade of my skin,
my sexuality.
The color of my blood
the same 
as yours.
If you saw the light in my eyes,
if you saw my mother's tears,
if you felt her fears,
grief engraved on her skin.
Would you have yanked me
like a weed from the
garden of life,
Would you have shattered
me in pieces
 leaving me
to bleed out in the dark.
Ideologies differ,
dreams unalike,
my diversity
makes me
unique,
beautiful,
majestic,
a beacon in the fiber
of humanity.
The shape of my eyes,
the sound of my voice,
the shade of my skin,
my sexuality.
The color of my blood
same as yours. 

Sherry: Diversity is majestic! I love "a beacon in the fiber of humanity". A fitting poem for those dark days, Ayala. Well done.

Would you tell us a bit about your blogging journey?


Ayala: I began my blog, a sun kissed life, at a painful time. My father and my mother passed away thirteen months apart. I was mourning, I was depressed, I was trying to live again. I was vulnerable. I was also afraid. My fear was to open myself up to strangers and share my feelings. I thought about it and finally I decided to take a leap. 

Sherry: Oh, Ayala, two such painful losses! How very hard. I am so sorry. And so glad you began to blog. The online community is so supportive. It really helps us through both good and hard times.

Ayala: I write for myself, so at first I was not discouraged that no one else was reading the blog. One night I was drinking, one drink too many, and I wrote a message to one of my favorite bloggers, Aidan Donnelley Rowley. She responded by visiting my blog and leaving comments. Her words fueled me to continue.  At  the same time I met Belinda Munoz and Brian Miller, on line. They were a constant source of encouragement for me. 

What I could not imagine at the time was that my writing would lift me. My writing blossomed and so did I. I began on-line relationships with kindred spirits, other poets, bloggers, journalists and authors. The on-line community was encouraging and supportive. 

Writing helped me heal. I examined my loss. I examined the ordinary and extraordinary moments of my life. Writing unearthed the gratitude that I always felt. 


"Writing unearthed the gratitude 
that I always felt."




Sherry: I am so happy you found good people. And I love your gratitude quote. Gratitude is the secret of happiness, I do believe.







Ayala: Recently one of my poems was published in a book called Poetry as a SpiritualPractice. It's a collection of personal essays and poems by fifty women. My words are alongside some of my favorite poet friends. The book was edited by the lovely Catherine Gosh. The wonderful thing is that all the proceeds go to WriteGirl, a non-profit organization that promotes creativity and self expression to help empower girls. To be a part of this gave me great satisfaction.

Sherry: It looks beautiful! And it's a wonderful cause, too! What things might we find you doing when you aren't writing, Ayala?

Ayala: When I am not writing I love to read, take walks, travel and visit museums in new places.  I also love to go fishing with my husband. He is an avid fisherman and he ignited my passion for fishing. When we are out in the ocean we see so much beauty everywhere. I realize how small we are in the universe. I always feel humbled. 






Ayala
My prized Tarpon catch
(It was catch and release)




Sherry: Me, too, kiddo. Is there anything you would like to add? Anything you would like to say to Poets United?

Ayala: I would like to thank you for inviting me to share a piece of my journey. We truly bleed on the page. Having other poets sharing their struggle makes us feel less alone.

I would like to thank my fellow poets for always lifting me up. Our community is filled with great talent and great heart. I am honored to be featured here. A special thank you to you, Sherry, for everything.

Sherry: You are most welcome! Thank you for allowing us to get to know you better. I am sorry it took so long! This has been such a lovely visit!

Wasn't this heartwarming, my friends? It is wonderful, week after week, to learn more about each other's lives. It gives more depth and understanding when we read each other's poems. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


55 comments:

  1. Oh Sherry this was such a wonderful interview and Ayala, I agree poetry picks us....it is such a healing practice for me too! Congrats on having one of your marvelous poems published...such a great compliment for your amazing writing.

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  2. What a wonderful interview!!! I loved learning more about Ayala. And I am touched by her selection of poems...she speaks of "hard" things. Thank you so much to both of you for the dept of your sharing.

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    1. And everytime I see Daisy, I always say to myself, now here is a lucky dog.
      She looks like a dog that is well loved! She just beams her love back.

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    2. Thank you, Annell. Daisy blessed us and we made sure that she felt the same. :)It's nice to know that you can feel her wonderful energy.

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    3. She warms my heart every time I visit your blog, Ayala. In this way, she is still among us, and loved, and remembered. She looks like a sunny soul.

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    4. Aww that's how I feel, Sherry. Xx

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  3. Ayala, your writing is beautiful and well experienced by me (the reader :)
    It was nice to meet you and hope to see you around the "Pantry"
    ...and Sherry? Another great interview and choice of subject :)
    ZQ

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  4. So lovely to read more about you Ayala - and dear Daisy. Long may she give us all joy at the top of your blog. What a strong and determined person you are. A real example of learning how to determine your life.. You should be very proud.. I think I thought at the time that the image and poem 'The Color of my Blood' was so affecting..long may you keep writing and blogging

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    1. Aww thank you!Such kind words. I truly appreciate it.

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  5. Thank you, Sherry. I appreciate the invitation and your lovely interview.

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    1. It was my pleasure, Ayala. Thank you for sharing some of yourself with us today. We will read your poems now with much more of a sense of the poet behind the words. And - that is one smoking red dress, kiddo! You look fantastic!

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  6. Another interesting interview Sherry, and so nice to meet Ayala.Fantastic that you've had some work published, Ayala, and for a good cause too. Your poems "Forgiveness" and "The colour of my blood"
    So full of emotion; I look forward to reading many more of your poems.

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    1. Thank you, Julian. I appreciate the support.

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  7. Always so lovely to meet with poets up close and persona. I luv the poem Unvarninsed. There is a little bit of phoenix in us all, i am happy you tapped into yours. Pain is not a happy zone in which to dwell

    much love...

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    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind words.

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  8. This was an interview to savor, Ayala and Sherry. I have always felt sad about the loss of your dog, Ayala; and I don't blame you for keeping that same photo on your blog. How neat that you began writing poetry at such a young age and were even confident enough to share your poems with your father. "Unvarnished" is a magnificent poem. It really portrays feelings so well. And "Forgiveness" is a painful poem to read, but speaks to a very real experience. I like this poem because it is SO real. So glad you are a part of our community, Ayala. And thanks for the interview, Sherry.

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    1. I'm happy you enjoyed it, Mary. Smiles.

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    2. Thank you, Mary. Your kind words and support always meant so much to me. Interesting that the older I get the easier it becomes to express those hard and painful things.

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  9. Ah--Ayala, you are one of my favorite poets out in the blogosphere--thank you for sharing a bit more of your life with us all--you make my heart sing

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  10. Wonderful interview. I've kept up with Ayala's work since I first came to the poetry blogs five or six years ago. I always find something to admire and think about in her work. Thanks, Sherry, for highlighting this fine poet.
    Steve K.

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    1. Thank you , Steve. The admiration is mutual.

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  11. Ayala is always an inspiration. Ayala writes beautifully, longish but that's good, non-flowery easy to comprehend! Thanks Sherry and ayala!

    Hank

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  12. Another fascinating interview: a pleasure to read. Loved the poetry. Thanks, so much, Sherry and Ayala.

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  13. Thanks, Sherry and Ayala, that was great to read. I too always love to see Daisy smiling at me from the blog. (I knew she was no longer in the body, but I believe their spirits do continue to look out for us.) I remember being very struck by the poem Unvarnished at the time it appeared on the blog, and these others here are simiklarly arresting. I was very excited to see Ayala's name (along with some others I know) in the book Poetry as a Spiritual Practice, which I bought recently. (I haven't read your poem yet, Ayala, because I want to read the book in order.) Not only do I always enjoy visiting 'a sun kissed life' but I also very much appreciate Ayala's always kind and thoughtful comments on my writing. xx

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    1. Thank you, Rosemary . I am happy you enjoyed this interview . I thank Sherry for the thoughtful questions. I appreciate your continued support and friendship. Xo

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  14. I read the poems shared here again and again Ayala. I could feel the power of the words. You do inspire. Thank you for sharing your world with us. Thank you Sherry for the amazing chat...

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  15. Bless you, Ayala. I love how your poems go to the unvarnished truth. Sorry I am so late to this party honoring you as a blogging poet, and now a published one, too.

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    1. Thank you, Susan. Blessing to you,

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  16. Really loved the interview. Fell in love with the vulnerable poems immediately. What a wonderful forum to find amazing poetry!

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  17. Thank you for sharing your life with us, Ayala. I really enjoyed reading it

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    1. Thank you! It was a pleasure chatting with Sherry.

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  18. Loved reading the interview. It was great to know about your life and your writing journey, Ayala. And I loved the poem "Forgiveness". It was very relatable. God bless you!

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  19. Ayala, The most arresting lines for me were

    "Ideologies differ,
    dreams unalike,
    my diversity
    makes me
    unique,
    beautiful,
    majestic,
    a beacon in the fiber
    of humanity."-- Beautifully expressed...and yes, such diversity is indeed 'majestic'. I love the poem. Great to read you, Ayala. Glad to see you in the spotlight!!
    Sherry,Thanks for featuring Ayala who deserves all the recognition...great interview!Enjoyed reading, truly.

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    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind words.

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  20. You are most welcome, friends. Panchali, those are the lines that resounded with me as well.

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  21. I do love to visit your poems Ayla... I remember your poetry from when I started blogging, and it has been great to know a bit more (though i think I have learned to know you by your poems actually)... great choice of poems for the interview.

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    1. Thank you... Smiles... The poems say it all :) I appreciate your support.

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  22. I love how strong and emotive your poetry is Ayala. How important it is to give such voice to our feelings. I really loved the photo of your son's wedding and we could see you squeezing his hand...beautiful!

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    1. Smiles... I was squeezing his hand. Thank you!

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  23. Always nice to read when poets write straight from the heart... poignant, timely, real poems. Thanks as always for a great interview Sherry.

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  24. I've always enjoyed your poetry Ayala. It reveals your heart so genuinely. How nice to know you better now, to see your beautiful family and learn how you've transformed hardships into wisdom.
    Sherry thank you for this interview. As always, it's a gem.

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  25. Another great interview! Ayala, I enjoy visiting your blog and reading your work. Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself!

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  26. Thank you Sherry for featuring Ayala. She always write from her heart ~ All the best to you ~

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