Monday, October 24, 2016

BLOG OF THE WEEK ~ A CHAT WITH SANAA RIZVI ABOUT THE BLOGOSPHERE

This week, my friends, we are chartering a private jet (because when we dream, we travel First Class, LOL!), to visit a shining star in the blogosphere, Sanaa Rizvi, who is, herself, A Dash of Sunny. Sanaa took us all by storm when she appeared on the scene, with her brightness, her talent and her enthusiastic participation. I have watched with interest as she plunged into hosting her own prompt nights, which are very well attended, and I asked her if she might like to chat about the blogosphere a little bit. She said, quote, "OMG! YES!", so here we are. Sanaa recently made a spectacular move to Kuala Lumpur, so we will get a glimpse of some pretty gorgeous scenery, as well. Wow, private jets are nice!!!! Find yourself a seat by the window, and watch for a tropical paradise. That's where we touch down.




Sherry: Sanaa, this is a topic of great interest to us all, and I am eager to dive in. Tell us about your blogging journey, won’t you?

Sanaa: Sheila Graham once said, ‘You can have anything that you want if you want it desperately enough. You must want it with an exuberance that erupts through the skin and joins the energy that created the world.’

That is exactly how I felt about Poetry. To me it’s a means of expression: it’s the air I breathe. When I first began blogging last year in March 2015, the world of poetry was something like a foreign land, whose language I knew but lacked the knowledge of its history and culture.

Sherry: That is astonishing to me, as when I read your first poem, I was blown away by your talent. You often write like the Old Masters, and you are still so young. What were your goals when you began blogging? Were there certain key connections you made that helped you along?

Sanaa: Honestly speaking, I never thought I would accomplish everything that I have at present, because initially, my aim was to get my poetry across to others and to gain recognition. Sigh, Poets United changed my life in ways that I cannot describe. It gave me a new identity and made me into the person that I am now. It’s where I grew and learned how to write and in return made a whole lot of connections. I am and forever will be grateful to this wonderful community.

Sherry: Oh, thank you, Sanaa. So many of us can say the same thing. Poets United opened the doors to online poetry for me, as well, and changed my life forever. How has this past year been for you?

Sanaa: It’s been a little over a year; I began experimenting and learning new poetic forms. I came across dVerse Poets Pub sometime in June 2015. It was there that I began to learn new poetic forms. I still remember the day Mary featured my Echo Verse poem as an example for Meeting the Bar on 14th August’15. I was so overwhelmed that I made a decision to keep on learning and growing as a Poet.






Sherry: We never stop learning and growing. How do you manage to keep up online as well as you do? Do you have a set routine, or do you just  fit blogging in when you can?

Sanaa: I love blogging and no matter how occupied I become, I make sure that I participate and write at least twice a week. (Wink)

Sherry: Tell us about deciding to start your own Prompt Nights. They seem to have really taken off.

Sanaa: It wasn’t until a few months later that my mother suggested that I start hosting myself. At first I was terrified, because all I could think of was ‘who the hell would write for me and why?’ But she insisted that I stop being sceptical and so I gave the idea further thought.

You know Sherry, at that moment it occurred to me that even though I am a part of the blogging world, I had no idea who my fellow poets were. How could I expect anyone to be there for me if I myself wasn’t there for them? So, I decided that it was high time that I started talking to people as well as getting to know them.

Now, since I was an active participant at Poets United and dVerse, the trickiest part was to launch Prompt Nights at a certain day and time when it wouldn’t clash. So after a lot of debate, I chose to begin on Friday 1st January 2016 and let me tell you, Sherry, it was simply amazing! I remember the immense feeling of joy and gratitude at receiving the phenomenal amount of love and support. I never imagined that I would be getting such a huge response!

Sherry: I can well imagine you were pleased. Tell us a bit about Prompt Nights, will you, please?

Sanaa: A little bit of introduction to Prompt Nights, for those who aren’t familiar: the prompts are held every week on Fridays. In addition to the usual prompts, we have a segment known as ‘On Popular Demand,’ where you as the audience gets to pick, choose and vote for the topic of your liking. The topic which receives the highest number of votes is featured as the next prompt. The segment is held every third Friday of the month.

Sherry: That is a very cool idea. Audience participation is always a good thing. How do you keep coming up with fantastic prompts, week after week?

Sanaa: It’s not exactly easy coming up with prompts week after week, but I manage somehow, keeping in mind what everyone likes and what would best inspire them. I try to keep the prompts as open as possible and let everyone write whatever they feel like. The sole purpose of Prompt Nights is to encourage others to keep on writing and to enjoy while doing so. Along with poems, I also accept fiction pieces and previously written work.

Sherry: It is nice when prompts are open-ended, allowing the poet greater scope. What prompt received the greatest response?

Sanaa: The prompt which received the best response was the ‘Picture Prompt – Take me to the Ocean.’ It received an astonishing number of responses that left me amazed. It’s also my all time favourite prompt.  I am thinking of creating a similar prompt in the near future.

Sherry: Oh, that is a prompt dear to my heart! You are a very reciprocal poet blogger, so I can guess your response to this question. What are your thoughts on reciprocity in the blogosphere?

Sanaa: I believe in establishing reciprocity among others in the blogosphere. Which is why I often end up writing poems which compliment both my own prompts as well as those of others.





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Were I a Cloud

I believe in every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks. And so, I made my way through with a mind to mount up to the purest sky. Were I a cloud, would attempt to sweep through mystic thread of life; listen to hushed murmurs of water, for it’s by no means a waste of time. ‘The world is hard and cruel’ as such was written upon arched sky, give thanks for what you are —  and keep fighting for what you’d want to be tomorrow. I breathe in good thoughts skipping across a placid pond. The sky above was clear — as though gleaming crystal  — the air around me spoke in a tone both hushed and sweet. The atmosphere soon filled the heart with delight. I think I may have discovered some hidden secrets of life.

Twilight sky
mingling with emotion
a waltz with nature.


***   ***   ***

This poem was written for Haibun Monday ‘Sky is the Limit’ over at dVerse, where we were asked by Toni Spencer, also known as Kanzensakura, to write about the sky. It also meshed well with my own prompt, Prompt Nights ‘‘A photograph is but a memory in raw format.’




I took this picture near the Lake at South Quay Nautica Lakeside. Sigh, it was a beautiful evening, Sherry, and the atmosphere was calm and serene. It was also my first attempt at writing a Haibun.

Sherry: A beautiful photo and extremely beautiful haibun, Sanaa.


***   ***   ***

Undo With Love

And though you feel like drowning
Believe me when I say it’s true
Pick up the pieces and rise above
Undo with love, love, love, love
Most of our shadows are caused
By standing in our own sunshine
Upon truth as such as this only a
Few wild hearts would pine
So bloom where you’ve been
planted – oh light tomorrow
with today – lest summer sky
so blue becomes malevolent grey
And though you feel like drowning
Believe me when I say it’s true
Pick up the pieces and rise above
Undo with love, love, love, love


***   ***   ***

This poem was written for Midweek Motif where Susan inspired us to write a ‘Song of one Word.’  I remember being overwhelmed with joy as, coincidentally, it matched with my own prompt, Prompt Night’s ‘Let’s take a look at the cards, shall we’ where the theme was to pick three tarot cards. I ended up with The world (The Past) The High Priest (The Present) and The Sun (The Future).

Sherry: One cannot do better than rising with love, love, love, love!

Sanaa: I think it’s great that we are reciprocal and find pleasure in helping each other out on occasions. What’s more is that the feeling of love and respect is mutual in our online communities, something which I find to be exhilarating.

Sherry: I do, too, kiddo. We do such a good job of supporting each other in keeping the words flowing. 

Sanaa: Since we are chatting about blogging, I thought it might be cool to include an old poem, one which was written for Midweek Motif. The prompt was Fire, by Sumana, on the 14th of October, 2015. It serves as a contrast, as it is one of my earlier works.

FIRE


They say the world will end in fire;
But what if destruction – reeks of ice
To this alone my thoughts aspire.
Several are those who worship – inquire
And shall be judged like all the rest.
They say the world will end in fire.
His favor leaves us nothing to require;
Good actions alone in the end will save.
To this alone my thoughts aspire.
For those who sin – results are dire;
None shall come to take the blame.
They say the world will end in fire.
Like saints that at the stake expire;
No guilt in life or fear in death.
To this alone my thoughts aspire.
There is a Voice whose tones inspire;
Enlarge the close – contracted mind.
They say the world will end in fire;
To this alone my thoughts aspire.


(Inspiration from the title of Robert Frost's poem "Fire and Ice")
Form: Villanelle

Sherry: I find your earlier work every bit as remarkable as your current poems, Sanaa. Well done!

Looking back, has your blogging journey taken you in unexpected directions? Has it taken you farther than you dreamed? How do you see this journey continuing in the years ahead?

Sanaa: Looking back on my journey, I am amazed at how far I have managed to come, and the direction in which it has taken me. For instance, I never ever imagined to host, let alone have so many people by my side. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to everyone for their constant love and support.

I hope to continue hosting Prompt Nights for more years to come ahead. Perhaps it will grow bigger and become a separate blog in the future, we never truly know with these things do we, Sherry?

Sherry: I can see that happening, Sanaa, and we will watch your journey with great interest and admiration.

Friends, Sanaa recorded herself singing a  song for your enjoyment, a lovely treat, so let us close this conversation by listening to it. 






                                                                     ***

An interesting chat, was it not, my friends? And a lovely song to finish off with! Thank you, Sanaa!   Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


58 comments:

  1. Thank you Sanaa! And thank you Sherry! I enjoyed reading this. I think it's great that you keep growing as a writer, kudos to you!

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    1. Thank you so much, Ayala πŸ’– good to see you πŸ€—

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  2. Another good interview, Sherry; I do enjoy reading Sanaa's poetry of which she writes so well and with a great conveyance of emotion.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Julian πŸ™‚ appreciate your kind words.

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  3. "Undo with love"
    That is the key behind your poems and in the song as well. Love and smiles make a great signature for you as they show up in all you do. Thank you and Sherry, too, for this interview.

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    1. Thank you so much, Susan πŸ€— for your love and kindness. So good to see you πŸ’–

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  4. I'm so happy to resume reading you Sherry and especially like that it's an interview with Sanaa. She's a lovely young woman, whose heart and kindness show in all her writing. I'm so impressed with her determination and dedication to poetry. How sweet was this song!

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    1. Awww thank you so much Myrna πŸ€— I am so glad to see you're back and hope everything is good with you πŸ’–

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  5. What a bright spark you were when you came into the blogging world Sanaa. It has been a delight to participate in your 'Prompt Nights'. You have put a lot of work in creating and maintaining your site and involving your contributors. Thank you too Sherry for choosing Sanaa this week and for hosting this particular favorite for Poets United.

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    1. Thank you so much, Robin πŸ€— it wouldn't have been possible without your love and support πŸ’–

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  6. What a very nice interview...and on such a timely subject. Sanaa, you are definitely a very participatory and reciprocal addition to the blogosphere, and that is what I really appreciate most! And, I see, in your interview you mention that as well. I will always respond to people who comment on my poems, and I know YOU do too.And yes, getting participation at any given site is very positive....and it sounds as if Prompt Night is doing well. Right now I cannot participate anywhere but PU, but if that changes I will look into your site as well. I enjoyed the poetry that you shared here, Sanaa;and Sherry, I thank you once again for getting the idea & carrying out this update!

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    1. Thank you so much, Mary πŸ€— for always being there for me. Your love and support is one of the reasons I have managed to come through this far πŸ’–

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  7. I think many of you realize that Sherry had cataract surgery today, so at the moment it is hard for her to come in and make her usual comments. I am sure she will WHEN she is able & will be heartened by the response to her article. Sherry, hope you are doing well today & that your vision will soon clear!

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  8. Hi kids. it is hunt and peck as one eye is patched and the other doesnt see well without glasses.....and strange swirling colours keep blacking out the screen. But surgery went well, not much pain and day by day it will get better. I am very impressed. I told the doc how grateful I am that vision can be fixed. My mom and grandma both lost most of their vision in their later years. I am fortunate. They sure know what they're doing. I go back tomorrow to get the patch off which will be good as I need both eyes. I am happy to see you all here and thank you, Sanaa, for saying yes and providing us with this wonderful feature. I am perforce on the couch as cant see anything....surgery is always my annual vacation, lol.

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    1. Thanks for checking in with us, Sherry!! Glad that your surgery went well.

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    2. Sherry, so glad you are doing well :)

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    3. Thank you so much, Sherry πŸ€— so glad you joined us. Sending love, hugs and prayers your way πŸ’–

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  9. How lovely to have a chat with Sanaa, who won all our hearts so quickly with her enthusiasm for poetry, her delight in luscious words, her beautifully romantic subject matter, and her very sweet nature. Not to mention the brave willingness to learn and grow as a poet so publicly. It's been a fascinating, exciting journey to observe, and I applaud you, Sanaa. Alas, with increasing computer access problems I have been participating less and less often lately at any other sites but here, and even this is slow and difficult much of the time. I am hopeful it will be sorted fairly soon. I enjoyed participating in Prompt Nights when I could.

    Sherry, I had two cataract ops years ago, and both my eyes have benefited enormously. I think you'll continue to be very pleased you've had it done.

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    1. Thank you so much, Rosemary πŸ€— It's been such a pleasure getting to know you via this wonderful community πŸ’–

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  10. I really enjoyed reading this. Another wonderful "chat", Sherry. I am a big fan of Sanaa's work ... so talented!

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    1. Awww!Thank you so much Wendy πŸ’– so nice to see you πŸ€—

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  11. Such a great interview! I love learning more about a poet and the passion that keeps them writing and growing!

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    1. Thank you so much Susie πŸ€— I am so glad you enjoyed it πŸ’–

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  12. A great interview.. Sanaa, I can recognize your writing so well now, even if you haven't put your name to it...good luck with your hosting and writing. Sherry, insightful as always and hope your eye heals real soon. It's certainly true how Poets United draws one in and provides support and learning..fully endorse that.

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    1. Thank you kindly, Rajani πŸ’– means a lot to me πŸ€—

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  13. Thank you so much, Sherry for this incredible update πŸ’– and for the amount of love and praise with which you have showered me here. I am so relieved to learn that your surgery was successful! Wishing you health and happiness πŸ’– It's ten-thirty here in K.L and it's Tuesday morning (talk about time difference lol) having breakfast at the moment and preparing to reply to commentsπŸ’–

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    1. It was a pleasure, Sanaa. Lovely to see all the wonderful comments in here.

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    2. Yes it's truly a wonderful feeling, Sherry πŸ’–

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  14. i so appreciate your talent, your youthful vision from the other side of the world. your insight in 'Undo With Love' is precious and wise. gracias sherry for this lovely interview, gracias Sanaa Rizvi for sharing your soulful words

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    1. Thank you so much, glad you stopped by πŸ™‚

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  15. I love your energy and enthusiasm, Sanaa! <3

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    1. Thank you so much, Loredana πŸ€— so nice to see you πŸ’–

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  16. What a great interview! Thanks to Sherry and Sanaa for this :-) Loved the song, dear Sanaa... :-)

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    1. Thank you so much, Maniparna 😍 so glad you liked it πŸ’–

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  17. Wonderful to read about you, Sanaa. I greatly admire your writing, and style. You seem to be an optimistic person, stretching your wings. Love your song at the end!

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    1. Thank you so much, Sara πŸ’– so nice to see you! πŸ€—

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  18. Lovely interview, Sanaa. Always good to read about the person behind the poetry one enjoys.
    Thank you, Sherry!

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    1. Thank you so much Nick πŸ€— so glad you liked it πŸ’–

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  19. Sanaa, I had no idea you had been blogging and sharing poetry for such a short amount of time. You are so prolific and full of wonder... I enjoy the words the muse kisses into the air, and even more, I love the bliss you feed into your poetry and your interaction with other people.

    Sherry, fantastic chat! ♥

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    1. Thank you soo much, Magaly πŸ’– I am so overwhelmed with emotion by your kind and loving words. Its a pleasure to know and write poetry alongside you!πŸ€—πŸ˜ Love you πŸ’–

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  20. The patch came off today, kids, and I was ASTOUNDED at how much brighter the world instantly became.When I look through the old eye I am shocked at how limited the vision is. I had not realized just how marginal my sight had become. I have to baby the eye for six weeks - he inserted a little screen behind my retina, and I have to be careful to not dislodge it. I now cant wait to have TWO eyes, the world will be even shinier - that is a few months off. I truly cant believe the improvement and am so grateful for modern medicine and technology. Wow.Plus I always love an excuse to slow down and take it easy. LOL. Thanks everyone for your lovely comments here and the warm response to Sanaa's feature.

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    1. I am so glad to hear that your vision has improved πŸ’– all thanks to modern technology.. sigh.. Big hugs!

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  21. What a delightful interview, Sherry!! I’m a long time fan of Sanaa and its always great to get some insight into how she crafts her poetry!
    So good to see you getting better! Colour your world with the new light, my friend! πŸ’

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    1. Thank you so much, PanchaliπŸ€— so good to see you πŸ’–

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    2. Ooops..the last line was meant for Sherry! <3

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    3. Yes yes, we know πŸ€—πŸ’–

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  22. It is wonderful that you made your entry into blogosphere, Sanaa! You've certainly made a great impact and in such a short time. It is always a delight for Hank tries as much as possible to participate in your Prompt Nights (though missed a few lately) Thanks Sherry and Sanaa!. Glad Sherry, your operation went well (Hank had both eyes done many years ago. So far so good!)

    Hank

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    1. Awww shucksπŸ€— thank you kindly, Hank πŸ’–

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  23. What a wonderful interview. I am a regular at Sanaa's Prompt Nights and can say she really is an inspiration to us would be writers :D XXX

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    1. Awww! 😍😍 thank you so much, Gina πŸ’– xo

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  24. "I made a decision to keep on learning and growing as a Poet."
    This statement resonates well with me Sanaa, as a poet in community blog-land. One cannot help but be willing to grow in the love of poetry energy shared
    So happy to know a little more about you Sanaa. Thanks for your warm sunny presence.
    Thank you Sherry for this week's highlight - Sanaa

    much love...

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    1. Thank you so much, Gillena 😍😍 so nice to see you πŸ’–

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  25. Sanaa, you are so inspirational--And so talented. I love that you made the decision to keep on growing as a poet--Thank you Sherry for doing these interviews. It really helps to get to know everyone here!

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    1. Thank you so much, Audrey πŸ€—πŸ’– so nice to see you.

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  26. Sanaa, you certainly add a dash of sunny to this community and to the blogosphere. you are so enthusiastic and positive, and gosh, i don't know where you find that energy and verve to do what you are doing now. perhaps it's the passion? plus, you are such a talented poet, and i have always enjoyed reading your works. thank you for lighting up this community. :)

    and thanks, Sherry, for this chat!

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  27. Oh I enjoyed this visit so much...thanks Sanaa and Sherry!

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    1. Thank you Donna ❤️ so nice to see you! :D

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