Victor isn’t talking to me, but Victoria is!
If you read my memoir, you know I called my ex-husband “Victor” in the book. I think he’s miffed that I wrote a good book that included him in it. I can only guess about his miffiness because he refuses to talk to me.
Oh well, at least Victoria Slotto doesn’t find me objectionable to hang out with. I’m glad, because I really like her.
You might know her. She has a very popular blog right here on WordPress in which she shares her gift of elequacity. Man, that woman knows how to make real words bow at her feet, unlike me, who contorts real words into fake words just for laughinations. I suppose we’re both creative souls. But she’s a supurbfluous poet and I’m a word bedlamite (hey, that one is a real word).
Victoria just released a new book.
Before we hear about that, take a look at snippets of my review of her novel, Winter is Past:
“Winter is Past is more than a book; it’s a beautifully crafted portrait of life–of the love and loss that make us human.
With her mastery of the written word, Victoria Slotto invites us into her characters’ lives; their thoughts, their words, their surroundings all spring to life. Vivid yet subtle passages captured my imagination and swept me into their world of twists and turns. No detail was too small to escape her mention; no human emotion was too vast for her to tackle with raw truth and beauty.
I read great books, not only for their content, but for their composition. A page didn’t go by where I didn’t stop and notice a magical description or pitch-perfect run of dialog. As an aspiring writer, I take every opportunity to learn from the best. I learned a great deal from Ms. Slotto.”
See why I want you to know about Victoria?
And now for our chat…
Lorna: Hi, Victoria! Thanks for coming over. Make yourself comfortable and don’t worry about Scrappy. As long as you don’t run around the place, he’ll just lie there calmly. He likes to chase things, but you don’t strike me as a runner. Okay. So, you wrote a novel and your new book is a compilation of your poetry. How do you define your creative self: poet? writer? both? neither?
Victoria: Thanks for inviting me, Lorna. And no, I’m not apt to jump up and dash around your lovely condo. I think we’re all set. As for your question, I’d have to say that I have a problem with “labels.” They are so confining and most of us don’t fit molds. I write fiction, poetry, non-fiction. I also do art. But my education is in science/nursing and health care administration. I’m a potpourri.
Lorna: [Blushing only slightly.] Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to imply that you are moldy. And I understand your hesitancy about labels. It would be awful to have the label: “Reduced for Quick Sale” or “Display Model: Do Not Touch.” So labels are out and potpourri is in. You are a combination of many different things and you smell good. Speaking of good…that is one great title. Where did it come from?
Victoria: I love playing with titles but this is straightforward. It’s the title of one of the poems. The poem came to me when I was in Palm Desert, CA last winter. I was walking the dogs and the Jacaranda trees were losing their beautiful purple blossoms. It was like a purple rainstorm. And I thought that in my next life I’d like to give back the joy that that visual brought to me and come back as Jacaranda Rain.
Lorna: [Mouth slightly agape] You’re awesome. That was an air-poem. You’re like a poem savant who believes in reincarnation. [Rubbing eyes and shaking head] Whoa! I think you had me under some kind of metapoetaphysical spell. I need to ground myself. [Stomping feet and taking deep, belly breaths] Okay. I’m back. You write poems all the time on your blog. Who is your target audience for the book?
Victoria: There wasn’t a target audience. The themes of the poems fly all over the place, so I arranged them alphabetically. I follow my muse wherever she leads me. There is one exception, however. For years my mother has asked me to publish my poetry. I’m hoping to be able to figure out formatting for Create Space and have it available soon. (She is almost 93 and has dementia.) I sent her a copy of The dVerse Anthology edited by Frank Watson and her caregiver told me she read it all day. When I asked her about it, she didn’t remember! That’s the key in dealing with people with dementia. Strive to provide them with one happy moment after another.
Lorna: You sure aren’t making this easy, Victoria. No labels. No target audience (except that sweet story about your mom), mesmerizing me with your verbalage. I’m a Highly Sensitive Person. [Crinkling up interview question sheet] How about this? What is it about poetry that is so alluring to writers and readers of poems?
Victoria: Many years ago, (as a teen and young adult) I wrote poetry to deal with emotions. I found some of those old poems and they were so embarrassing. A therapist would have a field day with them. About ten years ago, I told my husband I wanted to write. I retired, began my novel and eventually began writing poetry again. This time, my life experience with death and dying, spirituality and nature and wed them to words, my addiction.
Lorna: Huh. I always thought poets were sneaky and just liked hiding secret messages in obscure verses meant to torture readers who would never know if they decipherated the meaning correctly. You’re telling us that poems are about expressing emotions and wordsmithery. It figures. Speaking of figures… If you were having a dinner party, what kind of people would invite? You don’t have to name names (especially of dead people, unless you like ghost parties), just tell us the types of people who fascinate you.
Victoria: But ghosts are quite entertaining!
Lorna: Yeah, most are. But some are so transparent. Sorry, bad pun. Go on.
Victoria: My husband and I were talking about this at our lunch date today. A photo of Yogi Berra hung on the wall of the deli and I told David that he would be a fun dinner guest. Others? I’d invite Mary Oliver to represent poets, David Feherty for his humor and liberal use of the double entendre (he is a golf broadcaster). And maybe a couple of spiritual giants like Mother Theresa, Thomas Merton (ghosts if you will), and the Dali Lama. And my sister who died nine years ago. For more info about that, you’ll have to read Jacaranda Rain. I’d want to meet my father who died in WWII. I was an infant. I would need more than one dinner, though. Perhaps the others would not enjoy dining with the dead. I don’t think it would have much of a budget impact, do you?
Lorna: Nah. When I give ghost parties, which are the only kind I give, my major expenses are candles and sedatives. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping after all that spirit chatter. And those ghosties distract me. Given all the distractions writers have, what one piece of advice would you give to new (or old) writers trying to get published?
Victoria: Only one? I could write a book about that. Okay: don’t personalize rejection, keep trying and edit, edit, edit.
Lorna: [Worried look] That was three–five you count all the “edits.” I’m just saying… Don’t worry, that’s as hard-hitting as I get as an interviewer. And that was harder on me than it was on you. Let’s have some fun! Give us a fun fact about this book.
Victoria: This pushing-seventy year-old lady, who’s incredibly tech-challenged, figured out the Kindle formatting process with just a bit of help from her 60-something golfing buddy. It’s never too late. It was fun doing it and satisfying to meet the challenge.
Lorna: I hear you! I’m with a younger computer-guy, too. Now give us a fun fact about you, or another one [winking].
Victoria: I am a kept woman. My husband does all the grocery shopping and cooking. When I try, it’s a disaster. Besides that, he takes over. I do clean and do laundry in a compulsive sort of way. If he didn’t cook, I wouldn’t have time to write.
Lorna: Again, I can totally relate. It’s hard to find men who know who to do laundry and cleaning the “right” way. Maybe that should be the subject of your next book. Do you have any more writing projects planned or underway?
Victoria: My second novel is completed. More than likely I’ll self-publish that as well. I plan on publishing more poetry. I’ll keep on writing as long as my body and mind allow me to.
Lorna: Is your novel about a husband who cooks for a ghost party but can’t clean or do laundry to save his soul? Just an idea… Writing seems very important to you. When you’re not Victoria the potpourri author, who are you?
Victoria: The friend, lover, wife, dog-mom, crazy lady and would-be golfer. The golfer part could go under the fun part (or funny). I have the highest handicap they give, but I love being out in nature, keeping this old body moving in spite of back problems, and enjoying my friends. And golf does expand one’s vocabulary! If you’ve golfed, I don’t need to explain that. I also enjoy making jewelry or knitting while “we” watch TV. I’m not much of a TV person but he is. So we have our own time together. I am incapable of relaxing, so this is as close as it gets.
Lorna: I have a few handicaps, but none of them involve balls. This has been a long interview, but I have to ask: What question do you wish had I asked you but didn’t? Go ahead. Ask it and answer it!
Lorna: Whew! And you say you’re not tech-savvy. How can anyone interested in your books get a copy?
Victoria: Amazon.com—You’ll find my three publications::
Winter is Past, A Novel (this one is linked to the website)
Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia (an article on Kindle Singles)
Lorna: Before I let you go, can you give us a short teaser from Jacaranda Rain meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
Victoria: I’d love to!
Excerpt from “The Dead Woman Listens.”
The dead woman listens to
the sounds of soughing wind,
shifts within her soul-tomb,
aware of changing forces
without knowing sources of
relentless stirrings, of wanderings
of her lifetime’s progress through
Victoria: Thanks, Lorna, for taking time to do this. You are a great support to your fellow writers and a good person. I enjoy the humor breaks I get when visiting your blog and your memoir was so good. I hope everyone who follows you has read it!
Lorna: You are so very welcome! Thanks for being a good sport, a great person, and an exceptional writer.
There are more author interviews coming up. We have lots of talent around here!
~ by Lorna's Voice on August 27, 2013.