Saturday, March 30, 2019

Writers4Higher congratulates Pat Stanford

Welcome back, Pat! Tell us a little about your new book.

I have been writing poetry practically as long as I could first hold a pencil, and have other poems published in several anthologies. This is my first attempt at publishing a whole bunch of them at the same time.

My mother had several of those little clothbound write-in books filled with her poems. They were mostly simple little ditties, but she still had fun with them and wrote them, matching the ink color to the color of the cover. That is what poetry is to me—just having a bit of fun with words. I never laid claim to being a “serious” poet and I doubt mine are “for the ages” yet there are a few gems here, so say friends.

Much of my poetry rhymes because I like the added challenge, and the fact that many of them came to me as songs back when I could still play the guitar. (Lopping off a fingertip stopped my career as a troubadour.) Most appear in quatrains, couplets, or similar formats, because that is the influence that most stuck with me, although I have been stretched a little by several local poetry groups where we explored new and obscure forms. I most like writing “off the cuff” as we sometimes do in our meetings, but I always go back and “mess with them” some more, simply because I can’t help myself.

Here, I present thoughts on many topics written throughout my “seasons” of life. Some thoughts have changed along with those seasons and I may no longer embrace what was written in the same way. Rather than destroy some poems, I either left them totally alone to remind me how far I have progressed since they were first conceived or have edited them to be more contemporary.

1.   Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.

      While I was born in Philadelphia, my farming family moved to Delray Beach, Florida when I was one, looking for year-round growing seasons. I lived there until a brief stint in the Air Force took me to California.

I graduated Florida State University with a Secondary Education, which was never used for its intended purpose.

I won second place in the 2004 Seven Hills Contest with my short story, Divorce Sale, and am working on other short stories. Fixing Boo Boo is my first novel length work, which won gold for Florida non Fiction at Florida Authors and Publishers Association Presidents Awards in 2017.

After being introduced to growing roses by my father, I created my own rose garden and frequently photograph them to share in social media. I served as President of the Tallahassee Area Rose Society and am a bronze medal recipient with the national organization, the American Rose Society.

I live in Tallahassee, Florida with my husband, a rambunctious puppy and a quirky cat.

2.   Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

I began a fiction set in Mongolia work over ten years ago, but it got bogged down in research, so I put it in a drawer. I now think I am better equipped to finish writing it. The characters are talking to me again after being shoved to the back of the room several times. I hope they will get their chance to be heard in the near future.

Aside from gathering up more poetry for a possible second volume, I am working on a second book about the many types of brain Injury. I’ve met a lot of people who talk to me at festivals and fairs and they have a different story to tell. I interviewed and transcribed over 20 stories and now the real work begins. To make their story interesting and compelling to a casual reader looking for general information. To make them stop and actually think about the stories being real people whose lives were interrupted.
Then maybe a sequel to the Mongolia story. I am open to the muses!

3.   How do you use your talents/time to help others?

With the publishing of Fixing Boo Boo, I begin a whole new chapter of helping people who are not disabled understand what they don’t understand. I have partnered with the Brain Injury Association of Florida and the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association in order to help them in their annual public awareness events and have information at my signing events to help people with questions on disability.  

In my role as President of the Tallahassee Writers Association, I try to encourage new and timid writers to ask the tough questions that will help them become better writers. I also love to see newly published writers in their first experience at the Downtown Marketplace, a chance to be out and talking about their work.

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Rhett DeVane, blogmaster

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