Monday, April 16, 2018

BLOG OF THE WEEK - AN UPDATE WITH PAUL ANDREW RUSSELL

This week, my friends, we are flying Across the Pond to England, to visit one of Poets United's earliest members, Paul Andrew Russell, who writes at his blog of the same name. Paul joined our site when Robert Lloyd first opened its doors in 2010, along with some of the rest of us. We are always happy when our early members pop up in the Linky, and recently Paul's happy smile caught our eye, so we thought we'd catch up with him. Pour a spot of tea, and draw your chairs in close. There will be a castle!







Sherry: Paul, our last update (which I can't believe was back in 2014),  explained your having spent some years in Canada and moving back home across the pond, to England. I imagine you are very happy to be back among your family. How is everyone doing? Any news? (Any grandkids? smiles)

Paul: Hi Sherry. It's been an eventful few years since I returned from Canada. I came back the same year my daughter got married, and then my son got married not long after. And I now have three lovely grandchildren in my life. My son has two boys and my daughter a little girl. Life is good.





Sherry: That accounts for your proud and happy smile. That little girl is radiant!  And I love the photo of you with your grandson. Grandparenthood looks very good on you, my friend. 

Do you still have a job where you travel a lot? And do you still have your sporty orange car? Smiles.

Paul: I do still have the orange car! I have a new job now, Sherry, working as an inspector for Rolls-Royce Aerospace, in the most advanced turbine blade casting facility in the world; exciting times. 



I sometimes miss the travel aspect of my previous occupation but it's nice to no longer be on the road, or in the air, for days on end; although I was lucky to have travelled as extensively as I did. I'm thankful for the opportunities the job afforded me. I loved meeting new people and experiencing different cultures.




Sherry: I am fascinated that as a child you played in and around Bolsover Castle. Let’s re-visit that for our  newer members. Would you like to tell us again about playing there as a boy? Have you been back there since you returned home to England?



Paul: I loved playing in the castle as a child, although I never realised how lucky I was to live in such a lovely place. Now the mines have closed, and the chemical refinery has long gone, the surrounding countryside has reverted back to what it once was.

I have indeed visited the castle a few times since my return. It is a lovely place to unwind, wander unhindered, and take photographs. I love the place. It will always be special to me.
  
Sherry: It is an amazing piece of history - a medieval fortress dating back to 1612.

When did you begin writing, Paul? I know you write both poetry and prose. Which is your favourite? And what do you love about poetry?

Paul: I remember having a poem put up on the classroom wall by one of my teachers when I was a child at school. That is my first memory of enjoying writing. However, I didn't do much writing when I was young. Coming from a working class, mining and industrial area wasn't particulary conducive to artful expression. So I basically kept my thoughts to myself until I was a lot older. I was probably in my thirties before I accepted the 'creative' aspect of my personality and began to embrace it.

I love the emotion I feel when reading and writing poetry. It will always be my first love. I find prose to be very hard work but I love writing poetry. The way it can just start with one word, one phrase, one idea; it still thrills me. I have nowhere near the same affection for prose. To me, and this is entirely subjective, prose is just a delivery system, a way to get information over. Whereas poetry is emotion made concrete, like tears, like laughter, like making love; emotion given form. Yes, poetry delivers emotion. Does that sound flaky? Ask a poet a question and you may well regret having done so.
  
Sherry: I love the idea of "emotion made concrete." Great description. Do you have a favourite poet?

Paul: William Wordsworth will always be my favourite for a variety of reasons. Daffodils was one of the first poems I ever read, and if I had to choose a lifelong favourite poem that would be the one.




Sherry: Are there three poems you would like to share with us? 




He carefully selects
an apple,
one orange,
a small carton of milk,
places them in
his basket;
grabs a 'family size’ lasagne.
The 'meals for one’
yield little comfort
on lonely nights.




give me freedom
give me peace
give me the joy of sweet release
from all bonds of reality
from all the things I clearly see
give me eternity to sleep
give me the liberty I seek
give me the love
give me the time
give me one day of full sunshine
far from the dark that seeks my soul
far from the deep and gaping hole
that wants to swallow all my joy
that scares the man who’s still a boy
give me freedom
give me peace
give me the joy of sweet release


Sherry: Beautifully done. Paul allowed me to choose a third poem, so I selected one that will tell you who this man is - he truly has a heart of gold. 




I don’t watch football
Or tinker with cars
I don’t play a sport
Or hang around in bars
I don’t fight or
Have anything to prove
And if I get in someone’s way
I’ll more often than not move
I know I’m not brash nor
Do I play to the crowd
And I don’t flash the cash
Or have to be loud
I do however
Treat people with respect
And truly believe that what you
Give is what you get
I like being ‘nice’ and
I try to be kind
And I believe in being positive
in action and in mind
Not your typical ‘man’
I have often been told
Definitely not macho and
Often not bold
But promises I keep
And confidences too
And to my friends
I’ll always be true
And if I love you
It will be forever
No matter the hardships
For worse and for better
I can cook
I can sew
I can look after myself
I’m secure in my masculinity
My experiences, a storehouse of wealth
Yes I’m quiet
And introverted at times
I feel no need to constantly reveal
Whatever’s on my mind
I have endured bad times
I have enjoyed good times
I have faced many fears
And on occasion been reduced to tears
If I truly love you
I will give my all
And when life tries to bend me
I will always stand tall
Yes, I’m a man
But I’ve nothing to prove
No need for swagger
No alpha status to lose
Look beneath the surface
See what’s inside
You’ll certainly get
One hell of a ride
And if you reject me
For a generic plaster cast mould
You’ll never discover that inside is cast
a heart of pure gold

Paul:  I like my 'alone time' but like many single people I would love to share my life with someone special again.

Sherry: Paul, any woman would be fortunate to be with you. 

You have three books out so far. Do you have any writing projects on the go these days? Any writing goals for 2018?










Paul: I'm still trying to finish my novel/s but find myself getting nowhere at the moment. I have been writing poetry in private but it's very personal and I'm not quite ready to put it out there yet, if ever.

Sherry: When you aren’t writing or traveling, what do you like to do?




Paul: I still love reading, watching movies, spending time with my family and friends. Just the normal stuff of life that is really the extraordinary stuff we sometimes fail to appreciate. And of course I still like driving around in my 'mid-life crisis' boy racer. ;-)





Sherry: Thank you, Paul. Visits with you are always wonderful. We wish you all the best in the years ahead and hope you keep stopping by Poets United.

Isn't he lovely, my friends? Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


28 comments:

  1. Luv that guy's smile. AND his poems shared.

    Sherry, Thanks for introducing me to Paul Andrew Russell

    much love...

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  2. Such a handsome, intelligent, sensitive man will surely find that special other soon. I enjoyed all the poems especially the last one because of its introspective revelations. I hope Paul continues to visit PU and treat us to more of his lovely writing.

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    1. Thank you, Myrna. I like your optimistic outlook.
      I have been remiss in visiting this lovely community lately; life has gotten in the way, but I'm hoping to be posting again soon. :-)

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  3. Another fascinating interview. Thank you for this introduction to Paul, Sherry. I thoroughly enjoyed the clarity and wisdom in his wonderfully rendered pieces. And the paragraph describing the emotion of reading and writing poetry, resonates with me, so much ... I don't think I could have put it any better. Great job on this Poets!

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    1. Lovely to meet you Wendy, and thank you for the complimentary words. I'm not sure 'ordinary' people know how to cope with us emotional types when we put things into words. It's a great outlet though; very cathartic.

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  4. This was fun catching up with Paul...thank you Sherry and thank you Paul for sharing your poetry.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. It's good to be back. Hopefully I'll be sharing some writing again soon. :-)

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  5. Ah, what a delightful start to my day! So nice to meet someone with such obvious enjoyment of life and such a fine set of values. I love "poetry is emotion made concrete" and "the normal stuff of life that is really the extraordinary stuff we sometimes fail to appreciate" – and of course the poems ... and that gorgeous orange car!

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    1. Thank you, Rosemary. I've missed conversing with my fellow poets. Most of my friends think I'm a little weird, writing poetry, but it's weird in a good way. I guess my orange car is definitely a bit of weirdness showing. :-)

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  6. I knew you'd love him, kids! Paul has an utterly sterling character. I love it when our earliest members pop up from time to time! Paul, thanks for saying yes, kiddo!

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  7. Lovely, indeed! I see how the final poem reveals you, Paul, but I like the slyness of "Solitude" best. I can relate to that Lasagna. And in "Sweet Release," I love the surprise of "the man who’s still a boy." Thank you both for this feature.

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    1. Thank you, Susan. I wrote a few of the 'solitude' poems, and quite enjoyed it. I don't suffer from loneliness per se, but do enjoy my solitude.

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  8. Thank you Sherry for the lovely catch up interview, and thank you to my fellow poets for the lovely comments.

    It's been a pleasure being part of such a wonderful online community.

    To have a place to call 'home' when it comes to writing, and escaping into the joy that is words, is a precious thing. I love it.

    Thank you all for being in my life.

    Paul x

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    1. We are so happy you are among us, Paul. Thanks for a lovely visit.

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    2. It was a pleasure, Sherry, my friend. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at Poets United and hope to participate more in the future. I've missed it here. It really is a wonderfully caring, sharing community.
      No matter how a person is feeling they can pop up here and be feeling better in no time at all.
      Thank you. :-)

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  9. I remember reading "A Man" and enjoying the poem. So good to read more about you Paul and thanks Sherry for a great interview!

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    1. Thank you Thotpurge, I appreciate your kind words. :-)

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  10. A joy to read poems by another Russell! I also enjoyed reading about Paul's life in another part of the British Isles. I have a brother-in-law whose name is Paul Russell but he's no poet! My Favourite poem was 'Solitude' and those 'meals for one'. I hope you find a loving companion soon, Paul, and then you can cook up some meals for two!

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    1. I have a cousin who is also a Paul Russell, Kim. We went to the same school as children; it was a nightmare; the confusion!
      Thank you for the lovely words.
      I enjoy cooking, so you never know. ;-)

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  11. What a great interview - good to get to know you Paul

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  12. Thank you Sherry, loved reading all about Paul.

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  13. Your poem affected life?! Yes, you can share your lovely poem and its great "after story" with the world... Submit now on LifePoemsProject.com

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  14. I'd just like to say thank you to everyone for reading my poems, and Sherry's interview, and leaving such lovely comments.

    I'm sorry I've been remiss in answering you all. I have now rectified that.

    I've been recovering from surgery, nothing serious, but it has made me a little grumpy, weary, uninspired and very lethargic. (Or maybe that was the morphine lol weird dreams)

    Recovering well though, so onwards and upwards. xxx

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  15. Your poem affected life?! Yes, you can share your lovely poem and its great "after story" with the world... Submit now on LifePoemsProject.com

    ReplyDelete