Monday, April 11, 2016

Blog of the Week ~ Carrie Van Horn

My friends, this week we are featuring one of Poets United's very first original members, Carrie Van Horn, who writes at A Net Full of Butterflies and Dancing With Elephants. Back in 2010, when Robert Lloyd started Poets United, Carrie signed on and was a regular participant. Her first interview was in 2010, and was conducted by Robb. I followed up with a Blog of the Week in 2012 , and a Poem of the Week in 2013. So it  occurred to me it is high time we visited her again and got caught up on the latest. Word has it, Carrie has a new book out. 

Sherry: Carrie, it is lovely to be chatting with you again! Bring us up to date, won't you? What's new? 

Carrie: Well, Sherry, so much has happened since 2010 for sure.   Back tracking a bit, when I first created a blog on blogger, I was fortunate to stumble upon the original creator of Poets United, Robert Lloyd.  I had tried to join another poetry site, not realizing it was no longer active.  Robert had the insight to contact several of the people that left messages there and told us of his vision to start a new poetry community blog that would  eventually  be “Poets United.”  

Sherry:  It was Robb who opened the door to the poetry blogosphere for me, too. I asked at Blogger's forum "where can I connect with other poets" and Robb responded, "why don't you try Poets United?" - and the rest is history. I will be forever grateful to Robb for that.

Carrie: At that time I was going through a very difficult situation  in my personal life.  You see my son was struggling with a severe addiction to pain pills and alcoholism.  I share this mainly because it had such a bearing on my writing throughout the last few years.  Fortunately, he is now clean and sober.  It will be 2 years this July, and I am truly grateful.  It has been quite a journey, that sometimes I have felt like I was not going to survive, but throughout the progression of change in my life, my blog has progressed with me, and the people I have met have been such a wonderful inspiration and encouragement to me!

Sherry: Oh, thank you for sharing that, Carrie. I do think it helps others with difficult journeys, giving them hope that they can survive whatever their challenges are. I am so happy to know your son has two years of sobriety. That is wonderful news. You must be very relieved and grateful. 

You have some exciting news to share about publishing your book.……..tell us a bit about how you felt when you were deciding to do a book. You and I share being non-tekky – were you daunted?  How difficult did you find it (or maybe it wasn’t as hard as you thought?) and how did you feel when it came into being, and you held that copy in your hands for the first time?

Carrie: Yes, I have been very excited about finally getting a book put together.  Like you said, I am very non-tekky.  I don’t own a computer at home and this has limited me majorly with blogging and publishing.  

I was very blessed to have Ninot from “Poems by Ninot Aziz” help me with formatting and some much needed editing.  She was one of the people that really encouraged me to publish a book.  She is an amazing friend and writer!  I only have the book on kindle format right now, but am going to work on getting it into paper print soon.  It has been a long process that truly started over 20 years ago, so sometimes it seems surreal that it is finally a book.

Sherry: Ninot is a wonder - another of our very first Poets United members. She was the one who  encouraged me to start doing books. I was convinced it was beyond me. Ninot took the time to sent me a file with some of my poems and photos in it, and showed me it was just that easy. Smiles. Would you choose  three of your poems to share with us? 

Carrie: The first one I would like to share is “A hunger that fills buckets.” It is about love and the heart.  They say that love makes the world go ‘round, and I feel that love, being our greatest joy, is also our greatest struggle and pain in life.  This poem is about how you just cannot make logical sense of love and the way we respond to it. Certainly love is the main subject of so many movies, songs, and poetry.  It is one that represents my heart’s view on some relationships I have had in my life.

Lost is the place my heart wanders
nowhere that has an uttered name
it's a choir that sings of loneliness
a hunger that fills buckets like rain

its point of exact location
cannot be found
on any printed map
it's a grain of sand to an ocean
a skyscraper laying on its back

 it's penciled in directions
to a permanent destination
that does not yet exist
it's a doorbell to a deaf man
a voice that shall forever have no lips

the true logic of the
code and boundaries
is teardrops tied to a locked up gate
it's a room that has no walls
a fork that will never have a plate

a broken heart is a manic hunter
searching for candles inside the dark
 it's a cure that has no potion
a wound that will never leave a mark

for love is a mighty fortress
 that no human strength can truly lift
it's a present we can only open
if we are willing to give back the gift

the heart's logical mathematics
is a lesson no one can truly teach
it's a rainbow to a blind man
a sermon no evangelist can preach

no sense can be reasoned out
of the obscurities of the human heart
it's lucidity to an utter madman
it feeds diamonds to a shark

for the ways of love and loss
are like a river and cast off stones
they wander drifting like a forlorn sailor
until they finally find a home.

Sherry: I love "a voice that shall forever have no lips". There is such wonderful imagery in this poem, Carrie.

Carrie: The next one is what I ended up naming my book, “Butterflies and Land Mines” It is about the relationship between faith and the soul, and the tender yet mighty force they hold.  I was inspired to write it from a picture prompt on Magpie Tales and it made me think of blind faith.

Faith is a white horse that must run in the black of night
and the soul is the rider that must hold on with no reins in sight.
It is a treacherous journey that requires a lot of guts.
The kind that walks through land mines with eyes completely shut.
So let go of your logistics and reach out for something true.
A credence that is mightier than any scientific proof.
For genuine conviction is a force that moves through hardy walls
and the voice that drives it onward has an ever gentle call.
You see the cement of the soul is full of both tenderness and might.
For faith is a true force yet enigma like butterflies and land mines.

Sherry: Your opening line reeled me right in! I saw the poem you wrote to announce your new book – called "My Love Letter to the World". I'd love to include it here, to celebrate the birth of your book.

Carrie: The title on that one speaks for itself.  This poem is about my book and how all the poems and essays it holds are my love letter to the world that my heart has been writing since I was a girl on a swing set.

From the time I was just a little girl
flinging my legs high into the air on the swing
my heart was writing a love letter to the world,
and penciling in each hope and every dream.

With time the words got bigger as did my questions why,
and the lines got all filled up as the book grew ever long.
I held on to every endearment and memory like a prize,
for the message became heavier but it read more like a song.

My love letter to the world will always be an unfinished work
my thoughts and recollections that forge onward to days ahead.
For the heart of every human is a voice that could be heard
and some choose to keep it closed while others long to have it read.

Sherry: Congratulations on your book, Carrie. I hope many people have the pleasure of reading it. 

You have now been blogging for several years. How has the world of blogging impacted your work? Does it keep you writing? Does your readers’ support encourage you to keep going?

Carrie: Blogging has definitely inspired me to write more than I probably would have on my own.  Interacting with other writers and doing the prompts has really fueled my creativity.  It is wonderful to find others that have the same passion, and to share work and get feedback.  It has been an awesome experience, and I have met some amazing people all over the world.

Sherry: It is lovely to feature one of our very first Poets United members, Carrie. Thank you for saying yes. And thanks for keeping Poets United in your heart through these years.

Carrie: Thank you, Sherry, it has always been a pleasure to visit Poets United and the many bloggers involved here.  I am grateful and honored to be featured here. 

My friends, it is my pleasure, week after week, to bring you these features celebrating the poets in our community. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. It's a delight to visit Carrie's blog, to read her poems conveying beautiful messages. Thanks for sharing your life's journey with us Carrie. It's truly amazing and inspiring. And thank you Sherry for another lovely interview.

    1. Thank you Sumana you are so sweet. I have found much inspiration from many including you when I visit other blogs in the blogosphere. :-)

  2. Carrie, it is so nice to have an update from you. There really is something special about connecting with people who have shared a long history with Poets United! Congratulations on your new book, Carrie. That is quite an undertaking. I liked the poems that you shared. I like "Faith is a white horse that must run in the black of night" in your second poem; and I really like your entire third poem. I think that one's love letter to the world is definitely a work in progress... Sherry, thank you so much for another fine interview.

    1. Thank you Mary. Yes connecting with others at PU and other sites has been a wonderful experience for me. I appreciate all the friendships I have made. You and Sherry are two dear friends I have met here in the blogosphere. :-)

  3. And Carrie, thank you for your loyalty to Poets United. It means a great deal to have people who have hung in with us the whole way.

    1. Blogging and different sites like Poets United have gotten me though a very rough time of my life, so I am very thankful for everyone I have met here and all through out the blogosphere. Thank you so much Sherry for thinking of me. Your friendship is a blessing!

  4. Carrie your blog is a delight as are you. Good luck on your book!
    Another good one Sherry. How nice to interview someone who's been with PU from the beginning.

    1. Thank you so much Myrna! I feel the same way about you and your writing. It is so full of hope and a deep love runs through your poetry. It is always a lovely treat to visit your blog.

  5. So good to see you featured here Carrie - thank you both - It is inspirational to hear how blogging and sharing has kept you writing.. Creating words aside it also opens up a connection between people who may share similar experiences...maybe that keeps us coming back as much as the poetry? It is after all good to take tea with friends...I love your metaphors..butterflies lend themselves to many a good image..and that bucket - very poignant..congratulations on your book and also very pleased to hear your son is doing well

    1. Thank you Jae Rose. You are very right, people need connection and I have met many people in blogger that had a similar struggle in their life as me. The wonderful thing is sharing with others that share the same passion. I am always in awe when I go to your blog.....your writing is amazing Jae Rose!!

  6. Congratulations, Carrie! I have known you since my Window Lad days & ever since you are always inspirational. I have always loved the words on your profile: "Someone once said to write about why the sky was blue,so I did,and now I can't stop...." I hope you will never stop writing & sharing your stories to the world... they are beautiful as you are. :)

    1. Thank you so much Kelvin! Yes I remember those Window Lad days. It has been a blessing to come to know people here and see their blogs and writing transform over the years. I look forward to the years to come. :-)

  7. I have 'known' Carrie for years, it's a joy to see her work featured ~~ thanks Sherry! And thank you Carrie!

    1. Thank you has been a joy to visit your blog over the years. Your humor and brilliance with words has always been a pleasure to read.

  8. Carrie what a pleasure getting to know you....I have only been here a couple of years now, I think, and meeting other poets here has been wonderful! Your poetry sings in my heart and soul, and I look forward to reading more and more! Sherry thank you for introducing Carrie to me....a fabulous interview!

    1. Thank you so much Donna. I have loved seeing your beautiful garden photography. I feel the same way, I look forward to seeing and reading more and more of your lovely posts.

  9. Congrats Carrie on your publication ~ Wonderful to learn more about you and good luck dear ~

    Thanks Sherry for another lovely post ~

    1. Thank you for your encouragement Grace. I am not sure how it will do, but it has been a wonderful adventure so far. :-)

  10. It was so good to hear of your introduction to Poets United Carrie. I loved all three poems that are featured and I look forward to reading more of your work. Thank you both for the interview.

    1. Thank you so much Robin. I am glad you liked the poems. I am looking forward to reading more of your writing and so many others her at PU who have become old and new friends. :-)

  11. Dearest Carrie,
    From the moment I read your poetry, I knew they deserved to be in a book on a mantel, read by those who love uplifting and beautiful poetry.

    Congratulations, my dear.

    1. Thank you my dear friend. You have been such a wonderful encouragement to me and a true inspiration.

  12. great to get to know more about you. I love "Hunger that Fills Buckets Like Rain." These lines, in particular, are so moving: "for the ways of love and loss
    are like a river and cast off stones
    they wander drifting like a forlorn sailor
    until they finally find a home."

    There is something about love and loss that just seem to be tangled together.....and your imagery of a forlorn sailor is so poignant here. I agree with Ninot...your poetry deserves to be in a book on a I hope you are able to get it into paper print in addition to the Kindle format you currently have :-) All the best to you!

    1. I agree CC love and loss do seem to hold hands in some way. Thank you so much for your sweet words. I look forward to reading more of your writing and getting to know so many here at PU and on blogger. You all inspire me. :-)


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